Session 4: Future of Reining

15 April 2019
15 April 2019 Author: fei

Francisco Lima, FEI Director Governance & Institutional Affairs, introduced the final session of the day on the Future of Reining. He focused on the unique challenges created by the existence of two international governing bodies, highlighting that it is against the FEI Statutes which require the FEI to be the sole authority for each of its disciplines.

The session provided an overview of its history from when it first came under the FEI umbrella in 2000 to now, and the future of the sport internationally.

Bettina de Rham, the FEI Director who includes Reining in her remit, outlined the evolution of the discipline, highlighting the need for its associated affiliates NRHA and AQHA to fully comply with the FEI General Regulations, FEI Statutes, FEI Veterinary Regulations and how the sports specific rules were amended in different steps to comply accordingly. The competition formats were revised, to recognize sporting achievement and the rules on stewarding and respect of Horse welfare were strongly reinforced.

Sven Friesecke (SUI), Chair of the FEI Reining Committee and head of Reining at the Fédération Suisse des Sports Equestres (FSSE), spoke about the potential for a three-year and five-year plan for FEI Reining and achieving compliance with the FEI rules and policies by all external parties.

Here are some of the key takeaways below…

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15 April 2019, 17:00 - 18:30
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Francisco Lima opened the session explaining the importance of FEI Reining and that whatever decision is taken following these open discussions and the ongoing consultation process, the integrity of the discipline must be ensured and a level playing field must be maintained for all athletes. He reminded delegates of the breaches of the cooperation agreement with NRHA/AQHA which had resulted in its termination last November and emphasised that if there were to be any future cooperation, the FEI rules regarding anti-doping, horse welfare and stewarding would have to be fully respected.

Bettina De Rham went on to explain in further detail the extensive review of the existing structure of FEI Reining from the sports perspective and the measures put in place since 2009 which have assisted in the management and development of the sport. Despite these continued efforts to encourage the growth of FEI Reining and the overall increase in the number of Events, Reining is the only discipline with a decrease in the number of registered athletes over the past decade.

Sven Friesecke talked about the significance of working on a well thought out plan with the potential to change FEI Reining, based on a three to five-year plan which would include promotion of 1 and 2* competitions, a U25 category and a youth Nations Cup series.

“The youth and young riders are our future. We have to build on them and it really is our plan to build up the system for these grassroots riders.”

He stressed the need for taking the time to work towards a possible new cooperation agreement and called for a clear commitment from the Reining community to FEI Reining. This was strongly supported by the European Equestrian Federation (EEF) and individual European National Federations, as well as USA Reining representative Rick Weaver.

“I want to congratulate the FEI for taking on this very important topic and for having the courage to take this on”, Rick Weaver said. “So now we have an opportunity to use the National Federations and to go ahead and to build a business plan that will create a pathway for us to recruit and retain FEI members.”

FEI President Ingmar De Vos, who earlier in the day had stressed that no decisions had been made and that the discussions were all part of the consultation process, highlighted the importance of the governance aspects. “We are just putting the situation here in very objective way to this audience and I have a lot of sympathy for all that has been said. 

“Maybe we don’t like to talk a lot about legal affairs and rules and statutes but they are really a fundamental basis of our organisation. We need to respect these statutes . . . and to try to find an agreement with these other international governing bodies which is much more successful than the FEI in Reining to find a solution for us to be able to respect our statutes, in other words to be the sole governing body.”

The FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez wrapped up the day’s proceedings by telling delegates that all the discussions on Reining will be taken into consideration by the FEI Board. “Regarding Reining, we need a recommendation from you to take forward to the General Assembly in November”, she said.





The Future of Reining


Speakers bios

Executive Summary Session 4 - Future of Reining