FEI reaches out to new Olympic equestrian sports fans at Rio 2016 

8 Aug 2016

With the long-awaited Rio 2016 Olympic Games already well underway and the Eventing athletes heading across country today in their campaign for Olympic glory, the FEI is reaching out to fans across the globe – current and new – to showcase the beauty and magic of the sport.

An innovative Equestrian Playground in the Deodoro Olympic Fan Park in Rio, a brand new website dedicated to fans, and a host of exciting #TwoHearts content for everyone to share, are all taking the sport out to the masses, including a funky video Hoofloose – cut loose, showing the Olympic disciplines in a whole new light.

Over the next few weeks in Rio tens of thousands of people will have the opportunity to experience the magic of equestrian first hand at the FEI Equestrian Playground in the Deodoro Fan Zone. The main attraction is a life sized mechanical horse – called Biscuit - which stole the show today (see picture).

The one-tonne simulator, normally used by professional and amateur riders to perfect their skills and balance using sensors linked to video screens, was shipped from UK-based specialists Racewood to Rio, and is a first at an Olympic Games.

Fans around the world have now have a wealth of content at their fingertips at fei.org  where a new entry point caters to the wider equestrian community and new fans by offering a 360˚view of equestrian sport. From lifestyle and fashion to the many personalities that make our sport unique or even the rich heritage that underpins equestrian history – we have a lot to celebrate and share. And all the technical content is still there at Inside FEI.

The “Hoofloose” music video, unmasks the three Olympic equestrian disciplines of Jumping, Dressage and Eventing in a unique and contemporary way, reaching out to younger audiences. Produced by Lausanne-based communication agency But First, and featuring the Swiss under-18 high jump record holder Alessandro Consenti, the 2009 Swiss trampoline champion Sarah Chilo and Cirque du Soleil performer Stéphane Détraz, the Hoofloose video taps into urban sports including BMX and Parkour to custom-made music by Swiss band ANTIPODS, with a wardrobe inspired by the classic 80s movie Footloose.

All this activity sits under the banner of #TwoHearts, the FEI’s Olympic campaign engaging people around the world through the most unique feature of the sport, the relationship between horse and human.

“It’s a departure from tradition, some might say it’s pretty radical, to be reaching out to new audiences in this way and we’re excited to help unravel some of the mysteries of our sport and enable everyone to get involved”, FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez says. “We have a sport for all ages where men and women compete side by side, and there’s nothing quite like the magical partnership between horse and rider.

“Equestrian sport has been part of the Olympic movement for 104 years and is growing in popularity across the globe, so it is the perfect opportunity to harness the excitement and inspire a whole new world of fans to engage in the sport.”

Of the star attraction, Biscuit, she says: “We’re very excited to be welcoming all the fans to the Equestrian Playground and introduce them to Biscuit. There’s nothing like trying out riding for yourself to understand the thrill and skill involved and Biscuit is the perfect partner to give it a try. It’s the next best thing to having a real horse in the Olympic Deodoro Fan Zone!”

The FEI Equestrian Playground, created by UK-based communications agency Twelfth Man and a team of technical experts from London, Berlin, Brazil, Mexico and is based in the 250m2 pavilion in the Deodoro Fan Zone, where visitors can learn all about horses and the thrills of equestrian sport. So make a date with Biscuit today! 

Fans enjoy a ride on Biscuit, the one-tonne mechanical horse at the FEI Equestrian Playground in the Deodoro Fan Park, Rio (FEI/ Martin Angerbauer)

Fans enjoy a ride on Biscuit, the one-tonne mechanical horse at the FEI Equestrian Playground in the Deodoro Fan Park, Rio (FEI/ Martin Angerbauer)

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