Frequently Asked Questions 

You are here

Questions and answers related to Endurance, the FEI's fastest growing discipline in recent years

 

INDEX (Click on the Question to view the Answer)
General Information
How popular is the sport?
How many athletes compete in Endurance?
How is Endurance different to other equine sports?
What was the Endurance Strategic Planning Group?
Why was it necessary to establish the ESPG?
What was the approach and outcome of the ESPG?
Is there universal support for the ESPG's recommendations?
What measures has the FEI taken following the ESPG recommendations?
Will these measures reduce incidents of equine injury and fatality?
What is the FEI doing in terms of veterinary support for the discipline?
What work is the FEI doing to prevent injuries in the sport?
What work is the FEI doing on anti-doping?
As a member of the equestrian community, how can I make my voice heard?
What is the role of the FEI President with regards to the Endurance discipline?
What data is collected in order to analyse problems reported by the Officials at FEI Endurance events?
Does the FEI publish information that has been collected from event reports and the conclusions that may have been drawn from them?
What kind of additional investigation is carried out if major problems occur?
What is the FEI policy with regard to access to water for horses?
How does the FEI check that resting periods between competitions are respected?
Are horses required to stay overnight after a competition?
Is additional riding equipment (horse blinkers, ear covers, etc) allowed in competition?
Does the FEI plan to restore the prohibition of any treatment within the two hours following an event under penalty of disqualification?
What was the number of yearly entries of the past five years by group of countries and/or country?
What was the annual total of EADCM fees paid by the athletes over the last five years by group of countries and/or country?
Do the EADCM fees cover the cost of the programme?
Who decides which horses are tested?
How are Testing Veterinarians appointed?
Does the FEI receive feedback from Testing Veterinarians and, if so, what is done with this feedback?
What is the role of Independent Governance Advisors?
What are legal proceedings when Prohibited Substances are found in samples from a horse that has died?
What is the procedure for reporting a horse fatality at an event?
Does the FEI inform the public about a horse fatality at an international event?
What is the size of the team, scope, schedule, budget, skills, deliverables, public reports and main achievements of the Injuries Surveillance System?
Are sampling kits provided when the FEI has not scheduled anti-doping control at an event?
How does the FEI monitor a horse’s career?
Is there a relation between the number of participants and the number of officials at an event?
How does the FEI sanction repeat offenders?
Pdf version available for download

 

General Information
Everyone at the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) shares a commitment to horse welfare. The welfare of the horse is central to all our work and, whatever the sport or discipline, any action or activity at an FEI regulated event that compromises the welfare of a horse will not be tolerated.
 
Furthermore, everybody involved in equestrian sport has a special responsibility for horse welfare, a principle clearly enshrined within the FEI Statutes.
 
In Endurance, the regulations imposed by the FEI are amongst the most stringent in world sport. No other equine sport provides a greater level of veterinary attention and support to each individual horse. Veterinary Officials, Judges and Stewards work together throughout the event to safeguard the welfare of the horse. To give an example, during the course of a 160km competition, the health and welfare of a horse is checked no less than 10 times by a panel of qualified veterinarians.
How popular is the sport?
Endurance is one of the fastest growing equine sports in the world. Since 2004, the number of nations participating has risen by 50% (from 37 to 53) and there has been a 100% increase in FEI competitions to over 900 per year.
How many athletes compete in Endurance?
Over 6,000 registered male and female athletes compete each year with more than 10,000 registered horses. Together they travel over two million kilometres in around 900 FEI Endurance competitions each year.
How is Endurance different to other equine sports?
As well as the accessibility of the sport, Endurance stands out from other equine sports because no two events are the same. Each and every event is different due to terrain, layout and climatic conditions.
What was the Endurance Strategic Planning Group?
The Endurance Strategic Planning Group (ESPG) was established in July 2013. The Group was tasked by the FEI Bureau to develop a strategic plan for Endurance and to make recommendations to address the issues within the sport, in particular the need to reduce the scale of positive dope tests and incidents of equine injury. The Group’s Committee was independent of the FEI and included officials, vets and athletes with international experience in Endurance.
Back to the Index
Why was it necessary to establish the ESPG?
Since 2004, the number of nations participating in Endurance has risen by 50% (from 37 to 53) and there has been a 300% increase in FEI competitions to over 900 per year.
 
There are now more than 6,000 registered riders and over 10,000 registered horses; combined they travel over two million kilometres in FEI Endurance competitions each year. Over the last 20 years, average winning speeds for 160km rides have increased from 15kmh to around 25kmh, reflecting the growth of competiveness as well as participation.
 
The FEI responded to the growth and evolution of Endurance by introducing rule changes to reflect the changing dynamic of the sport in 2005, 2009 and 2013.  However, concerns for the future health of the sport persisted and, with this in mind, the FEI established the ESPG.
What was the approach and outcome of the ESPG?
As part of its in-depth review of Endurance, the ESPG consulted extensively with the discipline’s participants and National Federations worldwide. The result of the Group’s work was 41 recommendations together with a five-year strategic plan. The ESPG was disbanded on completion of its final report and its recommendations formed the basis of new rules that came into effect on 1 August 2014
 
The ESPG report covered a wide range of subjects and made proposals to address issues relating to structure and governance, financing and policing of the sport. The values of horse welfare, clean sport and integrity were prioritised throughout.  The ESPG also called on the National Federations to provide leadership and to drive the necessary culture change in Endurance with regard to anti-doping and horse welfare and to ensure that their member athletes take individual and collective responsibility for the welfare of their Endurance horses at all times.
 
The complete report from the ESPG can be found here.
Is there universal support for the ESPG's recommendations?
The ESPG’s recommendations were well received and unanimously endorsed by delegates from the National Federations  at the 2014 FEI Sports  Forum. These measures are specifically designed to address the concerns identified by the ESPG, namely to protect and promote the welfare of horses competing in Endurance and to provide a level playing field globally.
 
Following on from the ESPG's findings, the FEI announced a series of far-reaching initiatives for implementation in 2014 and 2015.
What measures has the FEI taken following the ESPG recommendations?
These widely supported measures include additional dope testing, injury surveillance and reporting, athlete penalties for equine injuries, introduction of independent governance advisors (IGA) and extended rest periods. Other measures increase the responsibility and accountability of participants and officials, as well as steps to address any conflicts of interest.
 
These led to important rule changes being made.
 
The rules changes, which include athlete penalties, extended rest periods and the involvement of independent governance advisors, were approved by the FEI Bureau at its meeting on 10 June and will come into effect on 1 August 2014.
 
The new rules and the "Notes for guidance" that relate to them can be seen here.
Will these measures reduce incidents of equine injury and fatality?
“The welfare of the horse is not just a veterinary issue, it’s an issue for all those who work in the sport,” FEI 1st Vice President John McEwen and Chair of the FEI Veterinary Committee said.
 
No one issue on its own can change things, progress will be made due to the cumulative effect of the measures. For instance, already implemented initiatives such as the Injuries Surveillance System (ISS) and increased levels of testing in and out of competition will help, together with increased control over course design and extended mandatory rest periods.
 
All equine sport carries a risk of injury, a risk that cannot be wholly eradicated however stringently a sport is policed.
Back to the Index
What is the FEI doing in terms of veterinary support for the discipline?
 
The regulations imposed by the FEI for Endurance are amongst the most stringent in world sport. No other equine sport provides a greater level of veterinary attention and support to each individual horse. Veterinary Officials, Judges and Stewards work together throughout the event to safeguard the welfare of the horse. For example, during the course of a 160km competition, the health and welfare of a horse is checked no less than10 times by a panel of qualified veterinarians.
What work is the FEI doing to prevent injuries in the sport?
The FEI has also invested in the development of an injuries surveillance and reporting system that uses modern data management techniques. This began in 2013 and the findings will provide the basis for further rule changes and measures to prevent injury.
 
In 2011 the FEI Veterinary Committee examined best practice in this area by both equine and human sports regulators before approving the system, which is being used initially in Endurance, and will then be rolled out across other FEI disciplines with the support of the University of Glasgow.
What work is the FEI doing on anti-doping?
The FEI has already seen a reduction in the number of incidents of positive cases. The FEI’s Clean Sport campaign has been a success globally, reducing positive tests in all FEI disciplines. Every equine sample taken at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2010, the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and the Longines World Endurance Championships 2012 was negative.
 
In order to build on the success of the campaign the FEI is enhancing the educational outreach so that awareness of the Rules is easily available to all. As part of the education programme, the FEI Clean Sport toolkit, launched in 2013, has been translated into Arabic, Russian and Chinese. Spanish and French translations will follow. A short video providing basic information about the FEI's Clean Sport campaign is available on the FEI TV YouTube channel in English, French, Spanish, Dutch, German, Arabic, Russian and Chinese.
 
The regularly updated FEI Clean Sport website provides all the information equestrian athletes need to know.
As a member of the equestrian community, how can I make my voice heard?
There are established channels through which issues and concerns can be raised. The FEI is a democratic body, acting in the best interests of the disciplines for which it is responsible and carrying out the wishes of the National Federations who make up its membership.
 
The annual FEI Sports Forum was introduced in 2011 and is an important, transparent stage in the FEI's decision-making process. Anyone from the international equestrian community can attend to voice their opinions on rule change proposals several months before they are voted on by the FEI General Assembly. Athletes, National Federations, veterinarians, event organisers, media representatives and other equestrian stakeholders share their insight and experience, which is taken into account and incorporated into the final drafts of any rule change proposals that the FEI General Assembly votes on. An online forum enables anyone who cannot to attend to submit questions and comments.
 
So, while the FEI is equipped with the power to regulate seven equestrian sports, as part of the democratic process, all the National Federations have channels through which they can press for change and all FEI proposed rule changes are voted on by the National Federations. In this way, the National Federations and the participants are also accountable.
 
Such a process also means that rule changes will, in the vast majority of cases, be developed on an evidence based approach. It is not the FEI’s policy to introduce regulatory measures without there being clear evidence of a need for them.
What is the role of the FEI President with regards to the Endurance discipline?
The FEI Bureau voted unanimously to officially mandate the 1st Vice President John McEwen to take over full responsibility for the entire Endurance discipline during Princess Haya’s term of office, so as to formally recognise HRH Princess Haya’s previously stated conflict of interest with regard to the discipline.
What data is collected in order to analyse problems reported by the Officials at FEI Endurance events?
The FEI receives reports after each event from the Foreign Veterinary Delegate, Technical Delegate, Chief Steward and President of the Ground Jury. On the basis of these reports the FEI undertakes the necessary action. This may involve contacting the Event Organiser, National Federation or FEI Officials to address any issues that require further attention.
Back to the Index
Does the FEI publish information that has been collected from event reports and the conclusions that may have been drawn from them?
The reports received are confidential in order to encourage FEI Officials to comment openly and extensively. The FEI would not wish to change this by making public the content of those reports. However the FEI will take issues further as required and will address them with the Organising Committee, athletes, officials or any other parties concerned.
What kind of additional investigation is carried out if major problems occur?
If required, the FEI will undertake a detailed review of an event and undertake interviews with those who were there. It is possible the FEI can refuse to accept a future event run by the same organiser or to sanction individuals who are considered to have failed to comply with the regulations in force. It is also possible that the FEI asks the Equine Community Integrity Unit (ECIU) - an independent body - to carry out further investigations.
What is the FEI policy with regard to access to water for horses?
The FEI Endurance Rules are clear: the horse must have access to water every 10km. The responsibility is, of course, that of the athlete to ensure that the horse is allowed to drink when it wants to. Furthermore, dehydration is assessed at every vet gate and a horse will fail to qualify for the next stage of the competition if its welfare is in any way compromised.
How does the FEI check that resting periods between competitions are respected?
The FEI online entry system (effective October 2013) now automatically enforces the mandatory resting periods.
Are horses required to stay overnight after a competition?
The existing rules only require horses that have competed in 160km competitions remain in stables overnight under the observation of the veterinary panel. However, all horses that compete at FEI events must be signed off as ‘fit to travel’ by the veterinary panel before departing the venue. Organisers are required to arrange overnight stabling for horses that are required to delay their departure.
Back to the Index
Is additional riding equipment (horse blinkers, ear covers, etc) allowed in competition?
The rules allow for their use in competition, but exclude their use inside the vet gates and during examinations at the vet gates.
Does the FEI plan to restore the prohibition of any treatment within the two hours following an event under penalty of disqualification?
The Rules removed this requirement some years ago following discussions with National Federations and Veterinary experts. It had been noted that a practice had developed of stopping horses from receiving post-competition treatment for the two hours required in order to keep the result which was lost if the horse was treated. Under the present rules this no longer applies and a horse can be treated immediately. However, the treatment must still be authorised by the veterinary Panel. If the treatment is related to the elimination of the horse and considered immediate and invasive the horse is removed from the results and under the rules receives a mandatory extended rest period applied to National and International events.
What was the number of yearly entries of the past five years by group of countries and/or country?
The online entry system was introduced in October 2013 for Endurance. At the end of 2014 we will be able to provide accurate entry figures for Endurance competitions.
What was the annual total of EADCM fees paid by the athletes over the last five years by group of countries and/or country?
Currently, in Europe (Groups I and II), the Organising Committee can charge the athletes CHF12.50 per horse. The FEI does not collect such fees directly. The FEI charges the Organising Committee a fee based on the prize money. However, the FEI Bureau has reviewed the system and a new proposal for a global EADCM will be presented to the FEI General Assembly 2014.
Do the EADCM fees cover the cost of the programme?
No. Although EADCM revenues cover the cost of sample testing, there are many hidden costs that are paid by the FEI. The figures in the published report do not include these costs, which relate to staffing, education, administration, management, laboratory accreditation, the List Group, etc
Back to the Index
Who decides which horses are tested?
The role of the Testing Veterinarian is described in Art 1016 of the FEI Veterinary Regulations. Samples are collected in accordance with those regulations. In association with the Veterinary Commission and the Veterinary Delegate the President of the Ground Jury must be advised on the selection of horses for sampling. The decision to test or investigate evidence rests with the Ground Jury. Targeted sampling in permitted for a specific reason or if circumstances warrant that a particular horse be selected.
How are Testing Veterinarians appointed?
The role of the Testing Veterinarian is to collect samples in accordance with the Veterinary Regulations/standards. The FEI ensures that all FEI Testing Veterinarians have the knowledge and expertise required. 
Does the FEI receive feedback from Testing Veterinarians and, if so, what is done with this feedback?
Specific feedback is followed up by the FEI Veterinary Department if required. In addition, Testing Veterinarians are brought together at the FEI's expense for meetings that enable them to share their experience over several days.
What is the role of Independent Governance Advisors?
Part of the ESPG recommendations, the FEI's Independent Governance Advisors (IGAs) will provide support and guidance to Officials at certain events. They will not be Officials at that event and will, if required provide the FEI with confidential reports that will be actioned in the same way as other reports received.
What are legal proceedings when Prohibited Substances are found in samples from a horse that has died?
The procedure is the same as for a living horse and the athlete is the Person Responsible. FEI legal procedures are clearly detailed in the FEI General Regulations and can be accessed on the FEI website.
Back to the Index
What is the procedure for reporting a horse fatality at an event?
The FEI Veterinary Regulations state (Art 10389) that the Veterinary Commission and Veterinary Delegate must ensure that the FEI Veterinary Department is notified as soon as possible and no later than 12 hours following such an incident. A detailed report must be submitted within 72 hours.
 
It is compulsory for a post mortem to be carried out as soon as possible and samples must be taken from the horse at the event venue and sent to an FEI approved laboratory for testing.
Does the FEI inform the public about a horse fatality at an international event?
The FEI is presently reviewing its procedures in terms of how information concerning horse fatalities at FEI Endurance competitions is circulated. There is a process in place to collect the full facts and to communicate with those directly involved. The FEI continues to monitor its processes to ensure that facts are made public and provided through the correct channels of communication.
What is the size of the team, scope, schedule, budget, skills, deliverables, public reports and main achievements of the Injuries Surveillance System?
The Injuries Surveillance System, to be applied across all disciplines, will be at its core a standardised reporting system for use by existing officials. The main costs are the IT development and the costs of the use of international experts and the possibility of extra research funds.
Are sampling kits provided when the FEI has not scheduled anti-doping control at an event?
The FEI Veterinary Regulations state that all Event Organisers should ensure that a sampling kit is present at the venue for the event.
The Presidents of Ground Juries can request a test if they have any concerns.
How does the FEI monitor a horse’s career?
The FEI can only monitor horses at events, hence the introduction of the Online Entry System linked to mandatory rest periods for horses at national and international events. The current rest periods are continually monitored and are linked to the ongoing Injury Studies project.
Back to the Index
Is there a relation between the number of participants and the number of officials at an event?
FEI Regulations clearly state the minimum number of officials required based on the number of confirmed entries.
How does the FEI sanction repeat offenders?
The FEI has recently introduced new rules which, for the first time in FEI equestrian sport, introduce Athlete penalty points for Athletes who compromise the well- being of Endurance Horses. These penalty points trigger mandatory suspensions in the same way as with the driving licence penalty points which is in place in many countries.

Download the Question and Answers in pdf format
 
 

 

X
Enter your FEI username.
Enter the password that accompanies your username.
Loading