A first draft of the proposed rules for eventing from 2020 have been released by the FEI. Eventing Worldwide takes a look at these proposed changes.

World Championships

Further to the review of the FEI Board of the overall concept of World Championships and should it become a stand-alone Championship in the future, the Eventing Committee agrees with the proposal that the host nation should not be able to participate with higher number of Athletes compared to the other participating Nations.

However, as 80 entries is the target at major Championships, the Eventing Committee proposes to retain the possibility to allow each nation to bring additional individual combinations as per the initial wording of article 502.3.2, retaining the principle of equal opportunity for all.

The proposed changes state that at all Championships and Games, the host country will be limited to the same number of Athletes and Horses as the maximum number permitted for the foreign countries.

The number of individual Athletes authorised to take part in addition to each team is:
a) Seven or more teams entered – two individuals per country
b) Five or six teams entered – three individuals per country
c) Four or less teams entered – four individuals per country

At least three nations must pass the Horse inspection for the event to be recognised as an FEI Championship (with a minimum of nine athletes). The maximum number of athletes at a championship will be restricted to 90.

Long format CCIs-L and Short format CCIs-S

The Eventing Committee suggests to provide Organising Committees with more flexibility in regard to the timetable of their event when several competitions are run simultaneously.

A Long Format Competition may take place over three or more days. The Dressage Test will be spread over one or more consecutive days, depending on the number of competitors, directly followed on the next day by the Cross-Country Test that will be directly followed on the next day by the Jumping Test. However, when multiple competitions are running simultaneously a gap day between the Dressage Test and the next test is permitted, with the approval of the FEI, in order to accommodate the timetable.

A Short Format Competition may take place over one or more days. The Dressage Test will always take place first and will be followed on the same or following days by the Jumping and Cross Country Test. When multiple competitions are running simultaneously a gap day between the Dressage Test and the next test is permitted, with the approval of the FEI, in order to accommodate the timetable.

Sanctions for dangerous riding

The FEI has proposed to separate and redefine Recorded Warnings from the Yellow Card sanction.
The Recorded Warnings would be Eventing specific and the Yellow Cards would apply for the same offences as for all disciplines

Recorded warnings will be awarded for (but not limited to): riding out of control (before and during the cross country test); continuing after three refusals, a fall or any form of elimination, pressing a tired horse, minor cases of blood, leaving the event without seeing the vet if the competitor was eliminated, retired or stopped on course, minor cases of blood and an athlete not seeing a vet or doctor after a fall.

All cases of dangerous riding will come under recorded warnings and can be penalised with 25 penalties and/or elimination. The 25 penalties will count as Cross-Country obstacles penalties in the results.

Should the same person receive three or more Recorded Eventing Warnings at the same or any other International Event within two years of the delivery of the first Eventing Warning Card, for any offence, they shall be automatically suspended for a period of two months.

Should the same Person receive one more Yellow Warning Card at the same or any other international Event within one year of the delivery of the first Yellow Warning Card for the same any offence, they shall automatically be suspended for a period of two months.

A Yellow Card Warning Card will be systematically awarded for: All cases of excessive use of whip (stronger sanctions could be applied); any other cases of abuse of horse; excessive pressing of a tired horse and riding an exhausted horse. It could also lead to elimination, disqualification and/or a fine.

Changes to cross country course design and penalties

The Eventing Committee agrees with the Risk Management Steering Group recommended rule that frangible devices in 4*, 5* and championship competitions be made compulsory from 2020 and indicate in the Cross-Country guide that compulsory use across all levels is envisioned from 2021.

As of 2020, At 4*/5* and championships, all open oxers, verticals or near verticals with open rails, top rail on triple bars and gates where the rail dimensions and weight fit the acceptable parameters of an FEI approved frangible device, must be fitted with frangible devices.

The Eventing Committee has suggested to include a new rule about sloping and round leading edges with the description to be defined in the Cross Country Design Guide: “As a guide the top of the front of all spread fences should be rounded or sloped at 45 degrees to a point 20cms or more below the top of the leading edge.”

Spread fences must not have an upright or vertical leading edge. The top of the front of the fence must be rounded or sloped. All other fences, including gates and fences using square and/or sawn materials, must not have any sharp or square edges. Brush fences are excluded provided there is at least 20cms of brush above the solid part of the fence.

The Eventing Committee suggests to specify the maximum/length before/after jumping into water in the rules and remove it from the Cross-Country Design Guide.

At obstacles involving water crossings, the depth of water, from the entrance to the exit must not exceed 35cm. The length of any water crossing must be at least six meters between entry and exit, except where an exit step(s) or fence is jumped directly out of the water, in which case the minimum length must be nine meters. A fence should not be less than two strides before a step out of water or three strides after a drop in water. Water to water with a drop is not considered an appropriate obstacle question at any level.

Further to the 2019 Rule modifications, and questions received, the Committee is proposing to include the definition of the activation of a frangible device. As a result, 11 penalties will be awarded when activating a frangible device where the dimension of the fence is modified.

Missing a flag has been a contentious issue. This rule is currently under discussion and a proposal will be made by the Eventing Committee taking into account the different suggested wording and reviewing the overall concept for the reason of the rule and, taking into account a 2019 season evaluation. The proposed wording currently reads
a) Clear: A Horse is considered to have cleared the fence when the head, neck and both shoulders of the Horse (to the point of the front of the saddle) pass between the extremities of the element or obstacle as originally flagged and the hindquarters of the horse jump the dimensions of the fence.
b) Missing a flag: A horse is considered to have missed a flag (15 penalties) if part of the Horses head, neck or shoulder (to the point of the front of the saddle) jump outside the extremities of the element or obstacle as originally flagged. The hindquarters must jump the dimensions of the fence.
C) Run-Out: A Horse is considered to have run out (20 penalties) if, having been presented at an element or obstacle on the course, it avoids it in such a way that the head, neck and both shoulders (to the point of the front of the saddle) fail to pass between the extremities of the element or obstacle as originally flagged or the hindquarters have not jumped dimensions of the fence. Continuing on course will incur elimination.

Saddlery

The Eventing Committee believes that Bitless bridles, such as hackamores, should not be used during the Cross-Country Test for risk management reasons. Rule 539.3.2 Forbidden will state; for Cross Country, bitless bridles are not allowed.

The Eventing Committee suggests to extend the non-allowance of stirrups with restricted separation from boots (such as magnetic stirrups) for the Eventing Jumping test as well as the use of rein with handloops for the Jumping test. The wording for Rule 539.3.2 Forbidden will state: any gadget which does not allow an immediate and unrestricted separation of the Athlete in case of a fall is forbidden.

These proposals will be discussed by national federations and stakeholders before a second draft is released. The proposed changes will be voted on at the FEI General Assembly in Moscow in November.

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