Message from the secretary general

Sabrina Ibáñez

2015 was a very busy and interesting year.

The FEI Sports Forum which took place in Lausanne on 27-28 April 2015 was an eye opener for our community. The 2015 edition was dedicated to the future of our sport and more specifically the future formats of the competitions at Olympic Games and World Championships. Prior to the Forum, the FEI Technical Committees had worked on possible format changes; these were presented to the participants for feedback and input. The takeaway message was that our sport must appeal globally to attract new audiences whilst enhancing and retaining the traditional values which sets us apart. The FEI must continue to lead and not be afraid to present changes which will help the FEI remain competitive with other sports. This is especially true in light of some of the recommendations included in Olympic agenda 2020. Following the Sports Forum, the work and consultation with stakeholders and members continued and at the General Assembly 2015 in Puerto Rico the three Olympic disciplines presented their proposals during a dedicated session on 12 November 2015. 

On the commercial side, the first half of 2015 was highlighted by the addition of Ariat as a new FEI partner; preparations for the launch of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping – North American League; and, some important and meaningful changes to FEI production and digital initiatives.

At Headquarters we had some important changes and additions to the staff including new directors and members in the commercial, veterinary and press departments – additions which were very timely in this new digital and fast-paced communications sphere where we are proactively competing for people's attention and loyalty.

On the governance side, I am very pleased to report that a 2015 Good Governance audit commissioned by Play the Games placed the FEI first among 35 Olympic international sports federations. Naturally, this good rating is very much a reflection of the good work that has been achieved these past few years, and aside from all the benefits we gain as a community through good governance, we must not forget it is also a very important point on Olympic Agenda 2020.

There were so many exciting events on the 2015 Calendar. Las Vegas (USA) enjoyed the return of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping and Reem Acra FEI World CupTM Dressage Finals. Toronto (CAN) hosting the Pan American Games which also acted as a qualifier for the Olympic Games, and provided the spectators with quality sport showing just how much the bar had been raised since previous editions.

The equestrian community also had the opportunity to enjoy the successful FEI European Championships with Jumping, Dressage, Driving, Reining and Vaulting all held together by the very experienced team in Aachen. The FEI European Eventing Championships in Blair Castle, which enjoyed the presence of HM The Queen during the Prize Giving ceremony were very successful despite the impressive amount of rain during the Cross Country. Samorin (SVK) hosted the biggest event on the 2015 Endurance calendar and saw competitors from 20 nations gathering to challenge for the title of European champion. The FEI European Para-Dressage Championships were organised in Deauville (FRA); this three-day championship also included a record number of 20 nations. And finally, the riveting Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping Final which took place at Real Club de Polo in Barcelona (ESP).

Before I finish I want to take this opportunity to truly thank Longines, Furusiyya, Reem Acra, and Ariat for being our partners. A huge thank you to the FEI Executive Board, Bureau, Technical Committees and Volunteers whose passion, expertise and generosity are pivotal to our sport. I would also like to mention that without the hardworking and committed staff in Lausanne I would not be here to write this report. And last but definitely not least, I would like to thank our President for his support and wise counsel.

Sabrina Ibáñez