Equestrian sport has a rich and diverse history, dating as far back as the ancient Olympic Games when chariot racing was one of the main spectacles as of 680 BC to the inclusion of Jumping, Dressage and Eventing in 1912 following the revival of the modern Olympic Games in 1896. As you will see in the timeline below, the inclusion of equestrian sport in the Olympic Games then led to the creation of the FEI in 1921, as the necessity to have internationally approved rules and qualification systems was essential to the integrity of the competition.
More than 100 years have passed since the FEI was created to oversee the Olympic disciplines of Jumping, Dressage and Eventing with just 8 member signatories. Today, alongside the Olympic disciplines, the FEI also governs the non-Olympic disciplines of Driving, Endurance and Vaulting as well as the Para Equestrian disciplines of Dressage and Driving and has 136 member National Federations.
Olympic Games Stadium in Athens (GRE)
Italian team at San Sebastian (ESP)
Introduction of Jumping, Dressage and Eventing
June 1921: A woman riding a horse alongside a woman on a motorcycle in Hyde Park, London. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)
Baron Du Teil served as President of the FEI from 1921 to 1927
Major Hector served as Secretary General of the FEI from 1921 to 1951
General G.J. Maris served as President of the FEI from 1927 to 1929
Major Quarles van Ufford served as President of the FEI for the first time from 1929 to 1931
General Henry served as President of the FEI from 1931 to 1935
General Baron Von Holzing-Bertstett served as President of the FEI from 1935 to 1936
Major Quarles van Ufford served as President of the FEI for the second time from 1936 to 1939
M. Rydman served as President of the FEI from 1939 to 1946
General Baron de Trannoy served as President of the FEI from 1946 to 1954
Indiividual Dressage Podium (from L to R): André Jousseaume (FRA), Henri St. Cyr (SWE), Lis Hartel (DEN)
Francisco (Paco) Goyoaga (ESP) riding Quorum 1st World Champion
HRH Prince of the Netherlands served as President of the FEI from 1954 to 1964
Team Jumping Bronze medallists for Great-Britain (from L to R): W. White, P. Smythe, P. Robeson
HRH Prince Philip served as President of the FEI from 1964 to 1986
Lana du Pont (USA), the first female Olympic eventing rider on Mr Wister, team silver
Double Gold - Individual and team - Josef Neckerman (GER) riding Mariano at the World Dressage Championships, Berne (SUI)
Individual Gold and Team Silver - Carlos Moratorio (ARG) riding Chalan at the first World Eventing Championships in Burghley (GBR)
Horses were driven long before they were ridden and, as such, Driving is the oldest competitive equestrian sport yet it continues to thrive in the 21st century. Drivers sit on a vehicle drawn by a single horse or pony, a pair or a team of four.
Individual Gold August Dubey (SUI) and HRH Prince Philip, FEI President at the first World Driving Championships in Münster (GER)
Hugo Simon (AUT) on Gladstone, Winner of the 1st FEI World Cup™ Jumping, at the final in Göteborg (SWE)
Endurance is a long-distance competition against the clocktesting the speed and endurance of a horse and challenging the rider over their effective use of pace, thorough knowledge of their horse’s capabilities and ability to cross all kinds of terrain.
Vaulting is a youthful, theatrical discipline in which athletes perform on the back of a cantering horse. As such, it demands an outstanding physical condition from the vaulter, a harmonious relationship with the horse, and first-class teamwork.
Princess Royal served as President of the FEI from 1986 to 1994
The opening ceremony in Pratoni del Vivaro with 10 nations represented
1990 Jumping World Champion, Eric Navet (FRA) and Malesan Quito de Baussy
Doña Pilar de Borbón served as President of the FEI from 1994 to 2006
Para Dressage is the sport of Dressage, the highest expression of horse training, for Athletes with an impairment.
Reining is designed to show the athletic ability of ranch-type horses in the confines of a show arena.
HRH Princess Haya served as President of the FEI from 2006 to 2014
26 sports were represented at the first summer edition of the YOG amongst which Equestrian (Jumping)
The first event took place in Kiel (GER), 13 - 16 October 2011 and saw the victory of Sarah Kay and Thomas Brüsewitz from Germany in their respective category Female and Male.
An annual opportunity for athletes, organisers, veterinarians, officials, National Federations, sponsors and other vital players in the equestrian world to publicly exchange their opinions on proposed rule changes and complex issues that affect our sport.
Ingmar De Vos serves as President of the FEI since 2014 and was reelected for a second term in 2018 in Manama (BRN).
Sabrina Ibáñez, who has been with the FEI since 1991, has served as FEI Director, Governance and Executive Affairs since 2011. She now serves as the Secretary General of the FEI since her appointment in 2014.
FEI Campus is a free of charge and cutting-edge e-learning platform in the sports world and is set to become the virtual reference point for education within the FEI and the equestrian world for education around our partner and fellow athlete, the horse.
On 17 November 2021, the FEI Extraordinary General Assembly voted to remove Reining as an FEI discipline