Category Archives: FEI

Dressage Calendar Task Force Agrees Proposals via Videoconference

The Dressage Calendar Task Force, one of the eight discipline-specific task forces created by the FEI to evaluate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the FEI Calendar and propose ways of mitigating its effects, held its first meeting via videoconference 16 April 2020.

The meeting was chaired by FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez, who has overall responsibility for the FEI Calendar and who is chairing each of the discipline Task Forces. Jumping was the first of the Calendar Task Forces to meet online on 2 April.

The members who joined the Dressage teleconference call were FEI Vice Presidents Mark Samuel (CAN) and Jack Huang (TPE), Chair of the FEI Dressage Committee Frank Kemperman (NED), European Equestrian Federation Vice President Ulf Helgstrand (DEN), Dressage Athletes’ Representative Beatriz Ferrer-Salat (ESP), and Thomas Baur (GER), representative of the International Equestrian Organisers Association. The FEI Dressage Director, FEI Calendar Administrator, and representatives of the FEI IT, Legal, and Governance departments were also on the call.

The main topics discussed by the group included:

  • Deadlines for National Federations to come back to the FEI with proposed alternative dates for Events looking to reschedule in 2020
  • Rules relating to date clashes and late-date/date change applications
  • Prioritising all CDIOs
  • Dressage Championships in 2020 and 2021
  • FEI Dressage Nations Cup™ series 2020 and the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final 2021
  • Initiatives to help Organisers

The proposals from the Dressage Calendar Task Force will now go to the FEI Board for consideration. The Board has already tasked each of the Calendar Task Forces to look into the impact of the requested date changes on the existing Events in the Calendar and to provide proposed solutions to the FEI Secretary General and the Board.

The FEI President is being kept fully updated on the work of each of the Task Forces and, where required, will assist in finalising proposals to be put forward to the FEI Board for approval.

The principles agreed by the Board after the first Jumping Calendar Task Force meeting at the beginning of the month have been shared with the other seven Task Forces that will evaluate the impact of the virus on the FEI Calendar for their discipline. Each of these Task Forces consists of the core group plus the Chair of the relevant Technical Committee, a representative of the Athletes, and the FEI Sports Director of the specific discipline.

Meeting dates for each of the Calendar Task Forces are now confirmed:

20 April – Joint Task Force meeting for Driving, Vaulting, and Reining, specifically to discuss FEI European Championships for Youth and Seniors in 2020 and 2021, which is the most pressing calendar issue. Following this, separate meetings will be held with each discipline Task Force to review potential date clash issues.

22 April – Jumping (2nd Task Force meeting)

24 April – Eventing

28 April – Dressage (2nd meeting)

29 April – Endurance

30 April – Para Dressage

Media contacts:

Grania Willis
Director, Communications
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 42

Vanessa Martin Randin
Senior Manager, Media Relations & Communications
vanessa.randin@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 73

FEI Vice President Mark Samuel to Receive Equestrian Canada Gold Medal Award

Equestrian Canada has named FEI Vice President Mark Samuel the recipient of the 2019 Gold Medal Award, the highest and most prestigious of the governing body’s national honours.

The award is only given when the Equestrian Canada President and Executive believe a recipient has exceeded expectations in providing long and exceptional service to the organisation as a builder of the sport both nationally and internationally.

“I am honoured and humbled to receive this prestigious award and I wish to thank Equestrian Canada for this recognition,” Mark Samuel said.

“I am blessed that my passion, experience and abilities have found purpose in service to my sport, my country, and now, the FEI. Contributing to making a sustainable, meaningful difference is its own reward.

“I share this award with all of my fellow tireless volunteers who contribute their time, talents, and energy in support of our great industry and in service to our incredible equine partners. It is my hope to continue to be a deserving recipient of this award and an ambassador for horse sport locally and globally.”

Having first been elected Chair of FEI Regional Group IV in 2012 and then re-elected for a further four years in 2016, Mark Samuel has played a key role in helping to direct the development of equestrian sport in 11 North American and Caribbean countries.

He was unanimously elected FEI 2nd Vice President at the General Assembly 2017 and was subsequently elected Vice-President in 2018 in Manama (BRN).

Mark Samuel has been an invaluable member of multiple FEI working groups and committees, including chairing the FEI Officials Working Group, which was tasked with providing analysis and discussion on all issues related to Officials, from education to age limits.

He played an important role in the Temporary Endurance Committee, facilitating communication between the Committee and the FEI Board during a comprehensive review of the discipline’s Rules aimed at bringing the sport back to its roots. Along with the Chair Sarah Coombs and the rest of the Committee, he welcomed the overwhelming support for the Rule changes at last year’s General Assembly in Moscow (RUS).

Most recently, he was called on to join the FEI’s Covid-19 task forces, sitting on each of the discipline-specific groups to help evaluate the impact of the pandemic on the FEI Calendar and make specific recommendations to counter negative effects.

“We are delighted to hear that Equestrian Canada is to give Mark Samuel this award and I cannot think of a better qualified recipient,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said.

“Mark has dedicated an inordinate amount of time and expertise to international equestrian sport over the years. He is well respected by all who know him for his remarkable intellect, charisma, and ability to always find the right words in any situation.

“His depth of knowledge of sport, business, and governance is matched by his generosity and willingness to help people during difficult times. We saw this determination in action in 2017 when he co-founded the Caribbean Equine Relief Fund to raise funds for relief efforts for equines and equestrians in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

“I am proud to call him my friend and can only hope that this is first of many accolades to come his way.”

As a Jumping athlete, Mark Samuel represented Canada at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2002 in Jerez (ESP) and the 2003 Pan-American Games in Santo Domingo (DOM).

He co-founded Jump Canada (JC) in 2004, and remained a key member of the Jump Canada Board and the subsequent Equestrian Canada Jumping Committee for over 15 years. During this time, he spearheaded many key initiatives, including the Jump Canada Hall of Fame and Bursary, and helped to build and support Equestrian Canada programmes and initiatives for Jumping athletes across Canada.

He has also been instrumental to the sport on a provincial level as a co-founder of the Ontario Hunter Jumper Association (OHJA) and past Director of Ontario Equestrian (OE).

FEI contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Communications
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 787 506 142

Vanessa Martin Randin
Senior Manager, Media Relations & Communications
Vanessa.Randin@fei.org
+ 41 78 750 61 73

FEI Sports Forum Online Session Content to Be Published by Mid/Late April

In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the FEI has completely stripped back the FEI Sports Forum 2020 in order to address the time sensitive topics and delay the themes which can and should be discussed at a later stage.

The two sessions concerning FEI Anti-Doping Rules for human athletes and equine athletes will therefore be the only sessions to be covered (not as webinars) as part of the FEI Sports Forum 2020. The FEI will be publishing all the supporting documents and relevant deadlines for feedback by the mid/late April. Note that we have had to reconsider timelines for the FEI Anti-Doping Rules sessions in view of the cancelled WADA symposium which should have taken place mid-March and the subsequent delivery of WADA support materials and implementation tools. Nonetheless, all the relevant materials for the FEI Anti-Doping Rules sessions will be published here, and the community’s feedback alongside the full consultation process will be maintained.

Among the sessions on hold, Tokyo 2020 was a key theme covering practical and informative topics such as transportation, logistics, climate mitigation, and administrative matters. However, given the full 12-month delay of the Games, the FEI will be holding this session at the Sports Forum 2021 in order to ensure the timely delivery of the relevant and most up to date information around the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo (JPN). In the meantime, for all information relating to Tokyo 2020 logistics and planning, please don’t hesitate to visit our dedicated hub for all news and FAQs around the Covid-19 pandemic.

FEI media contact:

Olga Nikolaou
Media Relations Officer
olga.nikolaou@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 56

FEI Jumping Calendar Task Force Agrees on Resolutions at First Virtual Meeting

The Jumping Calendar Task Force, one of eight discipline-specific task forces created by the FEI to evaluate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the FEI Calendar and propose ways of mitigating its effects, held its first meeting via teleconference on 2 April 2020.

The meeting was chaired by FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez, who has overall responsibility for the FEI Calendar and who will chair each of the discipline Task Forces.

The members who joined the teleconference call were the FEI Vice Presidents Mark Samuel (CAN) and Jack Huang (TPE), Chair of the FEI Jumping Committee Stephan Ellenbruch (GER), European Equestrian Federation President Theo Ploegmakers (NED), Jumping Athletes’ Representative Pedro Veniss (BRA), and President of the International Equestrian Organisers Association Peter Bollen (BEL). The FEI Deputy Jumping Director, FEI Calendar Administrator, and the Directors of the FEI IT, Legal, and Governance departments were also on the call.

Key topics discussed by the group during the almost three-hour meeting:

  • The deadline for National Federations to come back to the FEI with proposed alternative dates for Events looking to reschedule in 2020
  • The rules relating to date clashes and late-date/date change applications
  • Possible initiatives to help Organisers
  • The impact of the new Olympic Games dates on the FEI Calendar 2021

The conclusions and resolutions from the Jumping Calendar Task Force will now go to the FEI Board for consideration at a specially convened Board teleconference next week.

Following this, the principles agreed by the Board will be shared with the other seven Task Forces that will evaluate the impact of the virus on the FEI Calendar for Dressage, Para Dressage, Eventing, Driving, Endurance, Vaulting, and Reining. Each of these Task Forces, which will hold their meetings in the coming days, consists of the core group plus the Chair of the relevant Technical Committee, a representative of the Athletes, and the FEI Sports Director of the specific discipline.

The FEI President is to be kept fully updated on the work of each of the Task Forces and, where required, will assist in finalising proposals for solutions to be put forward to the FEI Board for approval.

FEI media contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Communications
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 787 506 142

Olga Nikolaou
Media Relations Officer
olga.nikolaou@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 56

FEI Creates New Policy for Calculating World Rankings during Covid-19 Outbreak

As part of its measures aimed at minimising the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on the FEI Calendar, the FEI has put in place a new policy for calculating the world rankings from 1 April until the Calendar returns to normal. The new policy was initially discussed with the International Jumping Riders Club (IJRC) specifically for the Longines Jumping Rankings, but will now be used for each of the disciplines where a rolling 12-month period is used for the calculations.

Starting from 1 April 2020, the period during which ranking points remain valid in Jumping (Longines Rankings), Eventing, Dressage, and Para Dressage will be prolonged by one month and will continue to be prolonged for an additional month with each new ranking until the competition calendar returns to normal.

Points earned in ranking competitions at events that take place during the current Covid-19 affected period will continue to count, and the maximum number of results that count for each athlete will remain, i.e. for the Longines Jumping Rankings best 30; Dressage best eight; Eventing and Para Dressage best six.

Rankings for the other FEI disciplines – Driving, Endurance, Vaulting, and Reining – are calculated on a fixed period (calendar year or other fixed period) so they will remain untouched. The change to the Driving Rules that means the discipline rankings will be based on a rolling 12 months does not come into effect until 1 January 2021.

For Jumping, Eventing, Dressage, and Para Dressage, the following system will apply:

– The rankings established after 29 February 2020 remain unchanged (points valid for 12 months: best results at events taking place between 1 March 2019 and 29 February 2020)

– The rankings established after 31 March 2020 have been calculated based on the best results at events taking place between 1 March 2019 and 31 March 2020 (points valid for 13 months)

– The rankings established after 30 April 2020 will be calculated based on the best results at events taking place between 1 March 2019 and 30 April 2020 (points valid for 14 months)

– The rankings established after 31 May 2020 will be calculated based on the best results at events taking place between 1 March 2019 and 31 May 2020 (points valid for 15 months)

– and so on until the competition calendar returns to normal.

A working group will recommend to the FEI Board at what point the competition calendar is deemed to have returned to normal worldwide. As of that date, the rankings will continue to be calculated over the extended timeframes above, guaranteeing there will always be at least 12 months of normal competitions included in the calculation of the rankings.

The new system provides a level playing field for all our athletes as ranking points can still be earned in countries where the sport is able to continue, regardless of the length of time the current situation lasts, but athletes in countries where the sport is on hold will not lose points. An athlete’s ranking points can only improve, not decrease during this period, as the relevant number of best results in each discipline still applies.

Twelve months after the competition calendar is deemed to have returned to normal globally, the timeframe during which ranking points remain valid will be decreased by one month with each new ranking until the standard 12-month rolling timeframe has been reached.

FEI media contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Communications
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 787 506 142

Olga Nikolaou
Media Relations Officer
olga.nikolaou@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 56

FEI Sports Forum Moves Online Due to Coronavirus Covid-19

Lausanne (SUI), 6 March 2020 – The FEI has conducted a full risk assessment of the rapidly evolving Coronavirus Covid-19 situation in line with the recommendations of the relevant health authorities in order to evaluate whether the health and safety of delegates at next month’s FEI Sports Forum can be assured.

The FEI Sports Forum involves a gathering of multiple persons travelling from all over the globe and, while delegates may be healthy on departure from their country of origin, they are at risk of in-transmit contamination. Additionally, if there were to be a confirmed case of the virus during the Sports Forum, there is insufficient infrastructure and resources to quarantine all participants.

As a result of this assessment, it is absolutely clear that there are too many risks associated with hosting the Sports Forum this year and, regrettably, the FEI has had to make the decision to cancel the in-person event and host the time-sensitive sessions online.

Maintaining the full consultation process is important to us, so we will organise an online FEI Anti-Doping Rules session, including an update on the new WADA Code and on the proposed changes to the Equine Anti-Doping Rules.

The full session on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic & Paralympic Games will also be hosted online, with detailed updates on final venue preparations and logistics, horse transportation, and optimising performance in challenging climatic conditions for both horses and humans.

Other important topics that were initially included in the Sports Forum, events requirements and standards, status of grooms, and coaching, will be addressed at a later stage.

FEI media contacts:

Olga Nikolaou
Media Relations Officer
olga.nikolaou@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 56

Vanessa Martin Randin
Senior Manager, Media Relations & Communications
Vanessa.Randin@fei.org
+ 41 78 750 61 73

Fifteen Para-Equestrian Nations Earn Team Slot for Tokyo 2020

Photo: FEI/Liz Gregg.

The identity of the 15 nations who will contest the Para Dressage Team title at this summer’s Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games has been revealed. By qualifying, each country will be able to send up to four athletes to Tokyo.

Joining Great Britain, The Netherlands, and Germany, who secured their places at FEI World Equestrian Games Tryon in 2018, are the USA, Italy, Sweden, Canada, Singapore, Denmark, Belgium, Australia, and Austria. They qualified by being either in the top seven teams in the International Equestrian Federation’s world rankings (apart from those three who qualified at WEG), or the top team in either Asia, Oceania, and the Americas. As host nation, Japan will also field a full team.

Currently Russia has also qualified, but its participation in the Games is yet to be confirmed.

“Team Canada is delighted to have secured a team slot for Canada Tokyo,” Canada’s Coach and Chef d’equipe Clive Milkins said. “It is a recognition of the determination hard work, committed effort and motivation from all our grooms, athletes, and coaches involved from grass roots to international level. The hard works starts now.”

The team competition in Tokyo will be a hotly contested one. In the race for medals, USA who are currently ranked world number one, will mount a strong challenge, while Denmark has significant talent. Belgium will also be in with a shot as will a resurgent Australia and Austria. The Netherlands, currently European and World champions, will be desperate to add Paralympic gold to that pair, while the British will do everything in their power to defend the title, having won at every Paralympic Games since Para Dressage was introduced in Atlanta in 1996.

And in Tokyo, the team competition is given extra tension by changes to the format. The team medal will now be decided over two days by just three riders per country (it used to be four). Not only that, the three competing riders won’t be chosen until the Games themselves, on completion of the individual titles on the first two days of competition.

Outside of the team competitions, a host of other nations have gained slots for up to two of their top athletes, so the Games will see individual competitors coming from South Africa, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Latvia, and Brazil. There’ll also be athletes from Norway, Finland, and Mexico in the mix too. Further individual allocations will also be made as the year progresses according to the rules of the bipartite commission.

The Para Dressage competition will be held at the Tokyo 2020 Equestrian Park from Thursday 27 to Monday 31 August. Individual medals will be decided on the first two days, the team completion takes place on the Saturday and Sunday, and the whole competition rounds off with all five grades’ freestyle titles being decided on Monday.

Click here for more information on the Paralympics qualification.

Names of athletes competing will start to be announced from mid-July, on completion of nations’ individual selection processes.

By Rob Howell

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 4

Multiple Olympian Klimke Takes FEI Best Athlete Award in Moscow

(left to right): Ingrid Klimke, Uno Yxklinten, Madeleine Broek, Semmieke Rothenberger, Zuxian Li, and Yaofeng Li.

Double Olympic team gold medallist and five-time Olympian Ingrid Klimke was announced as winner of the Peden Bloodstock FEI Best Athlete award at the FEI Awards Gala presented by Longines in Moscow (RUS).

The glittering gala awards ceremony, which took place in the splendid surrounds of the Kremlin State Palace in the Russian capital, was attended by more than 400 distinguished guests, including top sporting legends, National Federations, FEI partners, and stakeholders.

The award is the latest in a series of accolades for German Eventing legend Klimke, who was also nominated for the Best Athlete honour in 2015 and 2017. Klimke received the award from Peden Bloodstock’s Managing Director Martin Atock.

In September, the 51-year-old successfully defended her title at the Longines FEI Eventing European Championships on home turf in Luhmühlen with SAP Hale Bob OLD, becoming only the second person in European history to win back-to-back titles on the same horse. Klimke’s stunning performance in Luhmühlen also led Germany to team gold.

Klimke is the third German female to win the Peden Bloodstock FEI Best Athlete award, following in the footsteps of six-time Dressage Olympic gold medallist Isabell Werth in 2017 and FEI World Equestrian Games™ Jumping champion Simone Blum in 2018.

“I’m really proud that after Isabell Werth and Simone Blum, I’m now winning,” Klimke said. “It’s three women from Germany from three different disciplines. I’m very proud to be here and to win the Peden Bloodstock FEI Best Athlete Award.”

The evening saw Semmieke Rothenberger also flying the flag high for Germany when she took home this year’s Longines FEI Rising Star Award. The 20-year-old has won 22 FEI European Championship medals ranging from ponies category through to Young Riders.

“To win the Longines FEI Rising Star Award it’s really special for me as it sums up this year perfectly,” Rothenberger said. “What makes it really special is that my brother has won it before. So now we’ve got two people in this family who’ve won the Rising Star award. That just makes me very, very happy. My future goal, after following in the footsteps of my brother, is to compete in the Olympic Games. Now that’s a very big goal but it would be a nice thing to work towards.”

Rothenberger received her award from Longines Vice President of Marketing Matthieu Baumgartner. “This award celebrates youth, talent, determination, and the stars of tomorrow,” Baumgartner said. “The work ethic and drive that you see in rising stars like Semmieke is closely aligned with our brand values and one of the main reasons why Longines supports this award. We are proud to be part of this journey in such a talented young athlete’s life.”

The Cavalor FEI Best Groom Award was presented to Madeleine Broek (NED) in recognition of her tireless efforts behind the scenes for Dutch Olympian and Jumping star Marc Houtzager. The award, presented by Cavalor’s Founder and Managing Director Peter Bollen, is given each year to grooms who work behind the scenes providing the best possible care for their equine athletes.

“It’s not really a job but a way of living and you get so much back from the horse, so that’s why it will never be a boring day or a boring week,” Broek said. “Winning the Cavalor FEI Best Groom Award means a lot to me because you feel really appreciated for everything you do. It’s a lot of work and I feel really appreciated.”

This year’s FEI Solidarity Award went to Uno Yxklinten (SWE), the Educational Leader of the first Farriers’ training programme in Zambia, set up with the aim of increasing the know-how of farriers in order to improve the well-being of horses in the African country.

Presented by Russian National Federation President Marina Sechina, the award is given each year to an equestrian development project or an individual or organisation that has demonstrated skill, dedication, and energy in expanding equestrian sport. “Winning the FEI Solidarity Award 2019 is of course something big,” Yxklinten said. “I’m humbled and I’m so happy that we actually got this prize. It makes a difference in Zambia for many people.”

Taking the FEI Against All Odds Award was Zhenqiang Li (CHN) who started riding at the age of 27 and became a professional athlete just two years later. He was the first Chinese equestrian athlete to obtain the minimum eligibility requirements for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Sadly, in 2009, his horse Jumpy passed away from cancer leaving Zhenqiang without his beloved equine partner and in financial trouble. Zhenqiang recovered from those difficult times, setting up an equestrian centre in Guangzhou.

“I hope that other Chinese riders will now follow the title of this award, Against All Odds, to work together to overcome the challenges of developing Chinese equestrianism,” Li said. “Thank you to the FEI for supporting the sport in China and for all the people who voted for me at home and abroad. Your support and encouragement will inspire other Chinese riders to reach their goals.”

FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez presented the award to Li’s children Yaofeng Li and Zuxian Li who were in the Russian capital on their father’s behalf. Zhenqiang Li competed with his son Yoafeng Li, a former Youth Olympic Games athlete, to earn China’s qualification earlier this year for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The FEI Against All Odds Award is for someone who has pursued their equestrian ambitions despite a physical handicap or extremely difficult personal circumstances.

“Each year we receive a high calibre of nominees for the FEI Awards,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said. “Our winners this evening are perfect examples of the excellence, commitment, dedication, and courage that are required in equestrian sport.

“When my predecessor HRH Princess Haya introduced these awards 11 years ago, our hope was to celebrate not just sporting achievement but also the unsung champions of our sport. This evening’s winners have inspired everyone at tonight’s gala here in Moscow as well as a new generation of athletes who need heroes to emulate.”

For the second year running, Paralympic gold medalist Natasha Baker (GBR) and Dressage ace Juan Matute Guimon (ESP) took to the stage to emcee the Awards ceremony.

The winners of the five awards were decided by combining 50% of a public vote and 50% of the judges’ vote for the final result. There were 130,000 online votes cast this year for the nominees.

FEI media contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Communications
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 787 506 142

Olga Nikolaou
Media Relations Officer
olga.nikolaou@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 56

FEI President Opens In-Person Board Meeting at FEI General Assembly 2019

FEI President Ingmar De Vos opened the first in-person meeting of the FEI Board at the FEI General Assembly 2019 in Moscow (RUS) with a vote of thanks to outgoing Board members and a particular vote of thanks to the Russian hosts.

The President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, posted a personal message on the Kremlin website welcoming the FEI President and delegates of the FEI General Assembly to the Russian capital for the first time.

Persons whose terms of office have come to an end and who were personally thanked by the FEI President for their distinguished service include FEI Vice President H.E. Sheikh Khalid (BRN) and Chair of FEI Regional Group VII from 2006 to 2019, Sadyr Mamytov (KGZ), who has chaired Regional Group III from 2015 to 2019, Medical Committee Chair Dr Peter Whitehead (GBR) from 2009 to 2019), and FEI Tribunal Chair Henrik Arle (FIN) from 2011 to 2019. Betty Wates (JAM), who has chaired the FEI Nominations Committee since 2015, has also completed her four-year term.

The FEI Board, the body responsible for the general direction of the FEI and for all relevant matters not consigned to the General Assembly, held its meeting at the Hyatt Regency Moscow Petrovsky Park, venue for the full FEI General Assembly 2019.

Details of the main decisions and talking points at the meeting are available here.

FEI media contacts:

Olga Nikolaou
Media Relations Officer
olga.nikolaou@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 56

Vanessa Martin Randin
Senior Manager, Media Relations & Communications
Vanessa.Randin@fei.org
+ 41 78 750 61 73

Natural Horse Power Provides Heat and Electricity to Helsinki

Photo: © FEI / Satu Pirinen.

For the fifth year in a row, all electricity used at the Helsinki International Horse Show, which hosted a Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping qualifier, was generated entirely from horse manure. Over 150 megawatt hours of energy was created from the 100 tons of manure collected from competing horses during the four-day event in the Finnish capital.

The manure-to-energy system developed by Fortum, an international company specialising in electricity generation, heat production, and waste recycling, met all the equestrian event’s electricity needs, including lighting, scoreboards, and cell phone charging stations. The surplus energy that was generated went back into the national grid to heat homes in the Helsinki area.

What started off as a desk project in 2014 is now a resounding endorsement of the power of horse manure as a reliable source of renewable energy, not just at equestrian competitions but also for local communities.

“The manure-to-energy system holds immense potential for countries with large horse populations and has shown that out-of-the-box solutions are needed if we are to move away from our reliance on fossil fuels,” Fortum HorsePower Vice President Anssi Paalanen said.

“It’s possible to charge a phone with only 0.2 decilitres of horse manure and the manure produced daily by two horses can generate heat for a single family home for a year.”

Electricity generated from horse manure is just one of the many initiatives under the ‘Helsinki Jumps Green’ environmental concept that aims to make the event the most ecological horse show in the world. The Jumps Green concept also includes recycling and paper reduction initiatives, the use of environmentally friendly procurement practices, and sustainable food consumption at the event.

“As event organisers it’s our responsibility to create partnerships with local industry to make sustainable sporting events a real possibility and not just a nice-to-have,” Helsinki International Horse Show Event Director Tom Gordin said.

“Our vision is to become the worldwide leader for sustainability in equestrian events. We know from first-hand experience that this takes commitment and dedication, but the end results are so worth it. We are proud to work with Fortum and to be part of the renewable energy solution.”

The manure-to-energy system has also provided a way of dealing with the waste disposal issue for stables in a country with stringent controls on the use of horse manure as a fertiliser and the disposal of manure in landfill sites.

Fortum provides stables with horse bedding made out of sustainable wood shavings generated by Finland’s forest industry. The manure that is collected from the stables is then delivered to plants around Finland, where it is used as raw material to produce clean, renewable, and eco-friendly local energy.

Approximately 70,000 tons of manure have been collected from horses stabled around Finland since the manure-to-energy system started in 2015. The power and heat plant in Järvenpää, located just outside Helsinki, provides heat to 1,250 customers in the area and electricity to the national power grid.

The system partly replaces the reliance on fossil fuels in energy production and helps lessen the impact of climate change. When horse manure replaces other biomass in power and heat production it reduces carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 200 kilos per ton of manure. And if horse manure replaces fossil fuels like coal, the benefits are even greater.

“The manure-to-energy system has demonstrated that ideas for alternate energy solutions can come from the most unexpected places,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said. “The Helsinki initiatives make a tremendous contribution, not just in terms of the value they deliver to equestrian sport, but also for the wider implications they have for local and regional communities. It clearly shows that the equestrian community is serious about its responsibility to preserve the environment.”

With environmental sustainability a priority for the FEI, the international governing body has worked towards the implementation of equestrian-specific reporting indexes and the creation of a comprehensive guidebook for event organisers world-wide.

The FEI Sustainability Handbook for Event Organisers was published in 2014 to encourage event organisers to implement sustainability initiatives that help reduce the negative environmental impact of their events and create a positive social and economic legacy.

The FEI is also a signatory of the United Nations Climate Change Sports for Climate Action Framework which calls for parties to “undertake systematic efforts to promote greater environmental responsibility.”

In addition, the FEI has adopted a number of sustainability initiatives at its Headquarters in the Olympic Capital of Lausanne (SUI). The FEI head office is recognised as a “Minergie” certified building, a Swiss standard indicating low energy use, with a reduced energy consumption of 25 per cent. When the Headquarters were refurbished in 2011, only two per cent of renovated buildings in Switzerland met these standards. Increased recycling and staff training have also featured in the FEI’s Green Office project.

Vanessa Martin Randin
Senior Manager, Media Relations & Communications
Vanessa.Randin@fei.org
+ 41 78 750 61 73