Every four years on a rotating schedule, each Fédération Equestre Internationale discipline undergoes a full review and revision of its rules. This year, show jumping is on the table for major changes.
During the first day of the annual FEI Sports Forum, held this week, the key rule-change proposals were brought up for discussion. While only the biggest proposed changes that would affect the sport or organization of competitions were discussed, a full set of proposals for 2022 will be published July 12.
The rules will be discussed and voted on during the FEI General Assembly, Nov. 13-14. Once approved by the FEI and the national federations, the rules will go into effect January 1, 2022.
Here are some of the key rule change proposals discussed during the session:
• The Italian Federation of Equestrian Sports proposed allowing a team’s traveling reserve athlete to compete as an individual in continental championships. This athlete will not be permitted to substitute for a team member in the event of an accident or illness.
The FEI recommended the change be applied to world championships as well, and that the proposal should be discussed with the other disciplines to ensure consistency across all sports. This change would not apply to Olympic Games.
• The U.S. Equestrian Federation officials put forth a proposed rule change that would increase time penalties, changing one penalty for every 4 seconds over the time allowed to one penalty for each 1 second over.
“We believe that time is a crucial element to the sport and the penalties should be reflective of how close an athlete is to meeting the time allowed,” the USEF explanation read. “This is especially true in Nations Cup competitions. There is a significant difference of 0.5 seconds over the time allowed versus 3.5 seconds over the time allowed and the penalties should be commensurate of the performance.”
FEI officials indicated support for the proposal, agreeing that this rule should apply to all competitions.
• Another proposal put forth by USEF would revert rules for splitting competitions to a previous version, requiring that organizers double prize money if a competition with 100-plus entries is split in two, then divide the money equally between the two groups.
• A rule change proposal affecting all Nations Cup competitions would use time to break ties for second place and lower. This will be used both to determine which teams advance to the second round, and then the time from the best three rounds in the second round would determine final placings. Ties for first place will still end in a jump-off.
Other proposals put forth by the FEI or the International Jumping Officials Committee included:
• Aligning the technical requirements for CSIOs with the star level of the event.
•Standardizing the Minimum Eligibility Requirements for world and continental championships. Currently, each championship has different technical requirements for MER competitions; the proposal is meant to further harmonize the technical requirements for MER competitions.
• Changing the CSI invitation rules as they apply to individual medalists at the most recent Olympic Games and World Championship. Under the proposed new guidelines, gold medalists would receive an invitation to all CSIs for four years following the championship. Silver and bronze medalists would be invited to all CSI for two years and one, respectively.