Category Archives: FEI

Swiss Set for Strong Challenge at St Gallen

Martin Fuchs and Leone Jei clinched victory for Switzerland in a thrilling two-way jump-off against Brazil at CSIO St Gallen (SUI) in 2023. (FEI/Martin Dokupil)

They’ve had it all their own way at the last two editions of CSIO St Gallen, but Team Switzerland faces a mighty task in their quest to make it a hat-trick of victories on home ground, when the third leg of the brand new Longines League of Nations™ 2024 gets underway on 31 May 2024.

The ten competing countries are battling it out for the eight places on offer at the inaugural Final, which will take place at the Real Club de Polo in Barcelona, Spain on 6 October. After two thrilling legs so far, the leaderboard is headed by Ireland, winners in Ocala, USA in March, while Team Germany, who came out on top in the opening leg of the iconic new series at Abu Dhabi, UAE in February, lies close behind in second place.

Switzerland lies third ahead of USA, Brazil, Sweden, and The Netherlands. Already battling it out for that eighth and last place with only two more legs to go are Belgium, France, and Great Britain. Ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, every nation wants to look strong, so it’s no surprise that amongst the athletes signed up for the penultimate qualifier are the top three in the world rankings who, between them, hold the individual Olympic, World, and European titles.

Selection

The British selection includes Tokyo Olympic gold medallist Ben Maher, along with Harry Charles, Tim Gredley, and Robert Whitaker, and they know they have a job to do to move their country off that bottom end of the LLN leaderboard.

The same applies to Team Belgium, and Chef d’Equipe Peter Weinberg sends out a sharp side with Abdel Saïd joined by rising star Gilles Thomas and the experienced duo of Koen Vereecke and Gregory Wathelet, the latter a member of the bronze-medal-winning team in Tokyo three years ago.

The French are also sharing that eighth and last place with just 85 points racked up to date, and Henk Nooren has chosen Francois Xavier Boudant, Marc Dilasser, Aurelien Leroy, and Olivier Perreau to buoy up their chances at the next leg.

The Dutch need to add to the 115 points they have collected in order to stay well out of the danger zone, and with Willem Greve, Harrie Smolders, and the Van Asten brothers Leopold and Mathijs on call-up this time around, they look well set to do just that.

Just five points ahead of The Netherlands is Team Sweden, who finished third in the opening leg of the series but ninth last time out. World number one, double World Champion, and the man who collected his second successive Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ title in thrilling fashion in Riyadh, KSA last month, Henrik von Eckermann, was on both of those teams, jumping double-clear in Abu Dhabi but picking up eight faults in Ocala where Henrik Ankarcrona’s side failed to make it into the second round. They’ll be expected to be back to their normal level of brilliance in St Gallen where von Eckermann will be joined by Wilma Hellström, Amanda Landeblad, and Fredrik Spetz.

Fifth

In fifth place on the leaderboard is Team Brazil, and although St Gallen is known as something of a fairytale town in Swiss folklore, it was no fairytale for the South American visitors last year when they lost out to the hosts in a two-way third-round jump-off against the clock. They’ll be wanting to put that to rights this time out, and with Luciana Diniz, Santiago Lambre, Yuri Mansur, and Pedro Veniss saddling up, they look ready to present powerful opposition to the rest of the field.

The Swiss are taking no chances either. It was Martin Fuchs who clinched that 2023 victory, all the sweeter for the fact that it was two-in-a-row after a drought of 22 years for the host nation. The world number five rider is backed up by 2012 Olympic gold medallist, multiple World Cup champion, and reigning individual European champion Steve Guerdat once again, along with Alain Jufer and the rock-solid Pius Schwizer. The home team won’t be giving anything away easily, that’s for sure.

They lie a comfortable third on the leaderboard, with a 15-point advantage over the fourth-placed Americans who carry 135 points. Robert Ridland’s US team consists of Natalie Dean, Katie Dinan, Callie Schott, and Spencer Smith, who will be aiming to improve on that running tally.

At the top

At the top of the League table, the Irish have a 30-point advantage over Germany in second place, but German team manager Otto Becker is bringing out more of his big guns in an effort to alter that. His very much on-form foursome of Hans-Dieter Dreher, Andre Thieme, Richard Vogel, and Jana Wargers are a formidable force, and Michael Blake’s Irish side of Bertram Allen, Denis Lynch, Mark McAuley, and Cian O’Connor will probably need to be at their very best to keep them from moving ahead before the final qualifier in Rotterdam in The Netherlands at the end of June.

Of course, the format for the newly minted Longines League of Nations™ adds a whole new level of pressure for every team, with only the top eight sides and only three of the four team members returning to decide the result in the second round.

by Louise Parkes

press@fei.org
www.fei.org

CAS Upholds FEI Tribunal Decision Imposing 10-Year Suspension for Horse Abuse Case

Following lengthy appeal proceedings, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has confirmed and upheld the FEI Tribunal’s decision in the case against Andrew Kocher delivered in June 2021, which saw the US Athlete suspended for 10 years for the use of electric spurs on several horses throughout a prolonged period of time.

Other sanctions in the FEI Tribunal decision rendered two years ago also included the disqualification of results from eight FEI events between June 2018 and November 2019 where evidence supported the athlete’s use of electric spurs on horses, alongside a CHF 10,000 fine and legal costs to the amount of CHF 7,500. Kocher appealed the said FEI Tribunal decision on 1 July 2021, seeking to eliminate or otherwise reduce the sanctions imposed.

The FEI Tribunal decision was the result of a lengthy investigation by the FEI, starting in June 2020 following allegations of electric spur use reported to the independent Equestrian Community Integrity Unit (ECIU). It was alleged that Kocher had used electric spurs on a number of FEI registered and national horses in international and national events, as well as during training.

Upon the conclusion of the investigation, the FEI formally opened disciplinary proceedings against Kocher in October 2020. During the proceeding before the FEI Tribunal, it was also discovered that Kocher instructed his employees to use the electric spurs on specific horses. For that purpose, Kocher provided to his employees several electric spurs devices which he manufactured himself.

In its decision, the CAS Panel reached the same conclusion as the FEI Tribunal, to the effect that a ten-year suspension was merited, during which Kocher is barred from participating in or attending, in any capacity, including as a spectator, any competition or event that is authorised or organised by the FEI or any National Federation. The provisional suspension served by Kocher since 28 October 2020 shall be credited against this period of suspension, which will therefore come to an end on 27 October 2030. The CHF 10,000 fine was also upheld, and Kocher is furthermore ordered to pay costs of CHF 7,500.

“We are extremely satisfied with this outcome and that the sanctions the FEI Tribunal imposed, to reflect the severity of the offenses committed by Mr Kocher, have been upheld by CAS,” said FEI Legal Director Mikael Rentsch.

“It may have taken two years to complete this process, but it confirms that we had the right decision to start with, and that there is no room for leniency when it comes to cases of horse abuse.

“We have rules and regulations in place to protect the integrity of our competitions and the wellbeing of our horses, and when these rules are breached and their welfare is jeopardised, we will continue to seek to impose maximum sentences.”

The full CAS decision is available here.

The FEI Tribunal Decision is available here.

Media contact:

Olivia Robinson
Director, FEI Communications
olivia.robinson@fei.org

FEI Issues Decision Regarding Eric Lamaze (CAN) Tampering Violation

The FEI has suspended Eric Lamaze (FEI ID 10000439) for a period of four years (12/09/2023 – 11/09/2027) following an anti-doping rule violation under the Anti-Doping Rules for Human Athletes ADRHA Article 2.5 (Tampering), due to the submission of fabricated medical documents during an ongoing CAS proceeding.

A summary statement has been published here explaining the FEI decision in relation to the tampering violation within the ongoing CAS proceeding. Therefore, because the CAS proceedings are still ongoing, the FEI will not be providing any further details at this moment.

Media contact:

Olivia Robinson
Director, FEI Communications
olivia.robinson@fei.org

Oliver Townend Soars to the Top of FEI Eventing World Athlete Rankings

Photo: Oliver Townend at the FEI Eventing World Championship 2022 in Pratoni del Vivaro (ITA). FEI – Massimo Argenziano

British equestrian athlete Oliver Townend has claimed the top spot in the FEI Eventing World Athlete Rankings with 504 points, a spot he takes from his fellow countrywoman, Rosalind Canter, who held the coveted position for just one month.

Townend’s ascent to the summit of the rankings comes as no surprise for the Olympic gold medalist, who previously held the world’s number one ranking over a year ago. He temporarily relinquished his position to New Zealand’s Tim Price, who enjoyed an 11-month reign before being surpassed by Canter.

“It is and always will be an honour to be at number one in your sport and it’s great to be back in that spot. The horses are incredible – they’re improving every day, have been so consistent, and will always be my ultimate teammates. I also want to thank the massive amount of people behind me that make this happen, including the team at both yards,” Townend explained.

Townend’s career has seen him hold the top position in the FEI Eventing World Athlete Rankings for a total of 50 months, with a streak of 37 consecutive months at number one.

Rosalind Canter now stands at second place with 467 points, while American athlete Martin Boyd has made a remarkable jump from eighth to third place with 436 points. Meanwhile, Tim Price (NZL) continues to slip in the rankings, currently occupying the fourth spot with 434 points, closely followed by Tom McEwen (GBR) in fifth place with 431 points.

Great Britain’s stronghold in the top end of the Rankings is unequivocal, with three out of the top five in British hands; they also have back up and can count on Harry Meade (408 points), David Doel (393 points), William Oakden (383 points), and Laura Collet (371 points) in 6th to 9th respectively, making that a total of seven British athletes within the Top 10 rankings. Coming in tenth place is USA athlete Philipp Dutton with 367 points.

FULL RANKING HERE

FEI Contact:

Didier Montes Kienle
Manager, Sport Communications and Media Relations
didier.montes@fei.org

Education, Culture, and Equestrian Sport Converge at FEI World Cup Finals for Omaha’s Youth

Young fans at the FEI World Cup Finals in Omaha (USA) in 2017 – Photo Credit: AJ Olnes.

More than 80 of the world’s top athletes from the disciplines of Jumping, Dressage, and Vaulting will congregate at the CHI Health Center Omaha in Nebraska (USA) for the FEI World Cup™ Finals, where, over the course of five days, they will compete for the ultimate honour of becoming FEI World Cup Champion in their respective disciplines – a title steeped in history – in front of an enthusiastic crowd and global media from around the world.

But for the more than 1,000 elementary school students bound for the event through the Omaha Equestrian Foundation’s (OEF) field trip programme, the event might mark the first time several children ever get to lay eyes on a sport horse.

Thirty-eight schools and homeschool programmes will visit the Finals with a mostly academic objective — and a bit of homework.

OEF has partnered with Prairie Stem to create STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) kits for students to create prior to attending the Finals. Based out of Omaha, Prairie Stem is an education-based non-profit organisation that seeks to improve critical thinking and creativity in students, from Pre-Kindergarteners to high school seniors.

The World Cup-themed STEAM Kits challenge students to create their own working horse carousel in one of four designs: Dressage, Jumping, Vaulting, and Lakota painted horse — a nod to Omaha’s cultural history.

The Lakota, a Native American people, were among Nebraska’s earliest settlers, and Lakota is a dialect of the indigenous language, Sioux. “Omaha” means “to go against the current” in Sioux, a nod to the Omaha tribe’s journey to the Nebraska territory. The Omaha Tribe of Nebraska thrived through the 1700s and were known for their hunting and farming. Today, the Omaha reservation located in Macy, NE is home to about 3,000 residents.

Among the field trip exhibits for visiting students will reference Omaha’s Native American roots, from a full-size fiberglass horse (to demonstrate Lakota symbology), Native American tribal artifacts, and live and visual storytellers.

They will also be exposed to equestrian sport and horsemanship. Students will get hands on with grooming and receive an introduction to horse care, go on a virtual ride using Virtual Reality headsets, and explore a variety of equine and agricultural career paths.

“We feel that a very important part of running such historically important events such as the FEI World Cup Finals is to inspire and educate the next generation of equestrian athletes and horse lovers,” said Julie Boilesen, CEO of Equestrian Omaha. “The equine legacy in Omaha is deep-rooted in our culture and history, so we are proud to honour our equine athletes by introducing our youth to them in this way.”

The legacy continues for Omaha after hosting the FEI World Cup Finals™ back in 2017, and they are providing the kids with undoubtedly one of the more unique types of classroom, as the young students will be learning in the arena and schooling area from some of the best equestrian athletes in the world.  As they experience horsemanship and our majestic equine athletes up close and personal – valuable lessons that will stay with them for a long time to come.

Perhaps it will mark the start of an equestrian pursuit for a few young, stargazing students.

The 2023 FEI World Cup™ Finals is set for 4-8 April 2023 in Omaha. To learn more, visit https://omaha2023.fei.org/.

By Catie Staszak

press@fei.org
www.fei.org

Countdown to the XXXIII Olympiad, Paris

Laura Collet (GBR) with London 52 at the FEI Eventing World Championships 2022 © FEI/Christophe Taniére.

The 2024 Paris Olympic Games will host equestrian sports 27 July through 6 August at the iconic Palace of Versailles. For athletes in the Olympic disciplines of Dressage, Eventing, and Jumping, the biggest objective on the road to Paris remains qualification. Some key nations — including host nation France — have secured their quota places, with these National Federations focused on team appointment. Others, meanwhile, are set on fielding their best teams for remaining events with qualification opportunities.

Dressage

Including the host nation, seven nations have qualified for Dressage competition in Paris, accounting for 24 of 45 available team quota places (3 athletes per team). This group includes all three medalists from Tokyo 2020 (JPN). Defending champions Germany, the United States, and Great Britain all earned their places from their results at the 2022 FEI World Championships in Herning (DEN) — as did Denmark, Sweden, The Netherlands, and Australia.

All eyes will be on Germany on the road to Paris, as not only did they top the team competition in the last Olympics, but its athletes Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and Isabell Werth also claimed the individual gold and silver medals, respectively. Bredow-Werndl remains at the top of her game and sits atop the FEI Dressage World Rankings with her partner from Tokyo, TSF Dalera BB.

Twenty-one team quota places (accounting for seven teams) remain, many of which will be decided at the year’s continental and regional championships. Most notable will be the 2023 FEI European Dressage Championship, set for Riesenbeck (GER), 4-10 September. Fifteen individual quota places are also available, awarded to athletes from nations that have not already accepted a team quota place. Of course, these athletes will be a mix of males and females, as equestrian sport remains the only Olympic event in which men and women compete as equals.

Eventing

Nearly half of the team quotas places have already been secured in the sport of Eventing.  Germany is among the first nations qualified, which should provide some excitement. After all, the nation produced Eventing’s first ever female individual Olympic gold medalist in Julia Krajewski in Tokyo. In addition to the host nation, the United States, New Zealand, Ireland, Sweden, and Switzerland have also qualified. These places were all earned at the FEI World Championships in Herning, where the United States secured its first team medal at a World or Olympic Championship since 2004. The United States is the only nation from North, Central, or South America to have secured a team quota place.

Most notably, Tokyo’s silver medalists Australia have yet to secure their place. They have remaining opportunities at the Group F and G FEI Designated Olympic Qualification Event at Millstreet (IRL), 01-04 June and the FEI Eventing European Championships 2023 in Haras du Pin (FRA) and via the 2023 FEI Eventing Nations Cup Series.

The competition for ranking points for the Individual slots has started, and will continue through the rest of the year.

Jumping

Jumping offers the most quota places of all the equestrian disciplines, with 75 up for grabs, including 60 team athletes.

Sweden is undisputedly the team to watch on the road to Paris, having claimed team gold medals at both the Tokyo Olympic Games and the FEI World Championships 2022. Safely qualified, their concern will be trying to replace Peder Fredricson’s incredible All In, who earned a most celebratory retirement in February. “Allan,” as the barefoot bay was affectionately called, won six championship medals in his career. In Tokyo, he became just the second horse in history to jump the entire Olympic Games without having a single rail.

The Netherlands, Great Britain, Ireland, and Germany also secured their places in Herning, while Belgium earned its spot at the FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final 2022 in Barcelona (ESP). Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates secured team quota places at their Group F Designated Olympic Qualification Event, but 33 team quota places remain.

The United States earned the silver medal in Tokyo, but they will rely on the 2023 Pan American Games to qualify for Paris. Among the powerhouses of the sport, the U.S. won back-to-back team gold medals at the 2004 and 2008 Games and has medalled at seven of the last 10 Olympics, but the pressure will be on in Chile for them to add to that Olympic resume. If they do not qualify at the Pan Ams, they would have one last opportunity at the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final 2023 In Barcelona.

The 2023 FEI European Championship in Milano (ITA), 29 August – 03 Sept. will also offer three team quotas for European nations from Group A and/or B. Fifteen additional individual quotas are also available for athletes from nations that have not already accepted a team quota place.

By Catie Staszak

press@fei.org
www.fei.org

Meet the Next Gen: Gilles Thomas

(Photo: Rolex / Ashley Neuhof)

You have had a great year; what has been your highlight?

I have an such an amazing year; it is hard for me to pick just one highlight! I had my first 5* victory in the King George V Gold Cup at Hickstead in July, which was amazing, and then coming third in the CP ‘International’ at the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Tournament was a fantastic result. Most recently being on the Belgium team and winning the FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final was incredible for me. I don’t think I can choose just one of those moments!

What are you hoping to achieve between now and the end of the year?

I am hoping to ride at CHI Geneva – that would be amazing. Then in Belgium we have the have a 5* show which includes a FEI Jumping World Cup™, in Mechelen, between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. This show is always very important to Belgian riders, and my family are involved in the organisation of it, so I really hope I can have a good result in the FEI Jumping World Cup™ there.

What are your hopes and ambitions for 2023 and beyond?

My ultimate dream is to compete at CHIO Aachen; in my opinion, it is the best show in the world and the Rolex Grand Prix there is one of the most prestigious classes in the calendar. I am also aiming to compete in a Belgium senior team at a big championship. I have competed in Junior and Young Rider teams, but to be part of the Belgium team at the FEI World Championships or the Olympic Games and win a medal would be a dream come true.

After your great performance in the CP ‘International’, how will you prepare for CHI Geneva?

I’m not totally sure whether I will be competing there yet, but I hope that I will. They are two very different shows, but I would still take Aretino 13, as even though the arena at CHI Geneva is indoors, it is still very big. If I go to CHI Geneva, it will be the only indoor show that Aretino 13 competes in because he is a big horse and needs more space, so he suits outdoor arenas better. CHI Geneva is such an amazing show and so I will plan to take my three best horses if I go.

Read more here.

© 2022 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

Training Tougher Than Competition for Ukraine’s Equestrian Vaulting Girls

Ukrainian Vaulting team in training in Bernolákovo (SVK) (Copyright: FEI/Richard Juilliart)

Bratislava (SVK), 30 May 2022 – There is no easy way to prepare for an international competition. But five young equestrian Vaulters have needed to dig extra deep for grit and determination as they trained for their first ever international competition.

Polina Shovkova (14), sisters Katya (14) and Jenya (11) Panasenko, Sonia Shulga (14), and Marta Lopaienko (15) became the first team to ever represent Ukraine in international Vaulting when they participated in the one star competition in Kaposvár (HUN) from 20 to 22 May.

The team’s participation in Kaposvár came just a few short months after fleeing their hometown of Poltova to escape the war that has upturned the lives of millions of Ukrainians. They are currently living and training in Bernolákovo, a suburb of Bratislava (SVK), where they have been welcomed by members of the local Vaulting community and supported financially by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) Solidarity Fund.

“We didn’t have competitions in Ukraine because we are the first Vaulting team,” Marta explained.

“We didn’t feel too comfortable with the horses here in Slovakia at first because they are bigger and have a different rhythm to our horses at home. But now we know the character of each horse.

“We were a bit worried about taking part in our first international competition and it was important for us. But as Katya, our trainer from Ukraine, always says: ‘You have to do this performance just for you.’”

Joining the Vaulters on their sporting journey is 29-year-old Anthony Bro-Petit, himself a former international competitor for France, who has played a key role in developing the sporting infrastructure for Vaulting in Ukraine prior to the war.

“Preparing young athletes for a competition or a Championship is always tough because even when they are motivated, the mental focus is very hard to maintain. The war has added an extra layer of mental difficulty for these girls. It’s not easy to fully concentrate on your training when you know your family is not safe.

“The girls are still very young, and it is hard to know how much I can push them during their training session. But this is a good learning experience for me. I’m still learning as a coach and I have to develop my skills.

“We would have been able to prepare more if there was no war. But the team did really well in their first international competition and now we know which aspects we need to focus on more during our training.”

With their competition experience in Kaposvár under their belt, the team now have their sights set on the international Vaulting competition that will be held in Samorin (SVK) next month. The road ahead will be easier to navigate than the one they took in March this year.

“We knew that we would have to leave Poltava about a week before we had to go,” said Marta. “We first thought that we were going to France, but two days before we left, we were told that we’re going to Slovakia.

“We were on the road for three days. It was a very long journey, because of the traffic jams everywhere. It usually takes us one day to drive to the Slovak border.

“The first night we didn’t stop and we kept going. But the second night we stopped near the Carpathian Mountains, and we stayed in a flat with just two rooms. There were 15 of us, and the girls and I slept on one sofa, and the others slept on the floor. Then the third day we crossed the border very quickly. We thought it would be slow with all the traffic, but we crossed over very fast.

“We were not frightened, but we were really sad and tired. And when we crossed the border, we all started to cry.”

The girls’ trainer Kateryna (Katya) Andreiva and her 18-month son David, as well as three mothers, have accompanied the Vaulters to Slovakia, while other members of their families have all stayed back in Ukraine.

It is a situation that has caused Katya’s and Jenya’s mother Ekateryna a great deal of anguish. “When you first come from war, you think that it would have been better to stay at home because your mind cannot feel safe,” Ekateryna said.

“It’s harder to be in a safe country because you feel at fault for leaving your family. My mother is in the Kharkiv region and I know that she’s sitting in a bomb shelter while I’m here in Slovakia. But we are mums and everything we do we do for our children. You don’t think about yourself. You just think about your children.”

The Vaulters have settled into a routine at the local school, which is currently housing the group from Poltava, as well as 40 refugees from other parts of Ukraine. The girls begin each weekday morning by joining online lessons with their school in Poltova, which leaves them the rest of the day to train at the local riding school, and at the school gym that has a mechanical horse and barrels.

“It is good to see that the girls are training really hard,” said the Secretary General of the Slovak Equestrian Federation Zuzana Bačiak Masaryková.

“The community here in the Bratislava area have been extremely generous to the team. The owner of the shop that sells Vaulting shoes has given the girls free pairs, and other people have provided us with everything they require.

“My aim is to give these girls all that they need to train, so that they can forget about the war, at least for a few hours each day.”

The Vaulters and their mothers still hope that they can return home to Poltava after the competition in Samorin (SVK) that will take place from 9 to 12 June.

Until then the girls are determined to continue their training. “We are not sure if Vaulting is our sport in the long term,” Marta explained. “But in 2023, our aim is to take part in the Vaulting World Championship and we’re going to train hard for this.”

FEI Solidarity Relief Fund for Ukraine

Media contact:

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

New FEI Solidarity Relief Fund initiatives for Ukraine launched in May 2022

Photo: Ukraine’s Diana Borovyk and Baby Royal at the FEI Dressage European Championships 2021 for Youth in Oliva (ESP) © Lukasz Kowalski.

A recent visit by a Ukrainian delegation at the FEI Sports Forum 2022 in Lausanne sees additional initiatives and projects approved for funding by the FEI Solidarity Relief Fund.

Established in February 2022, the dedicated CHF 1 Million FEI Solidarity Relief Fund for Ukraine has been actively supporting a number of equestrian related schemes across Ukraine and neighbouring nations receiving Ukrainian horses and athletes. This includes, among others, the creation of a logistical hub in Granat (UKR), located between Lviv and the Polish border, to prepare horses for transfer into the European Union; funding and distribution to regional hubs of critical horse supplies such as feed and bedding; and the emergency evacuation of a Vaulting team.

In order to deliver the aid efficiently and have the desired impact in situ, the FEI has been working hand in hand with the Ukrainian Equestrian Federation (UEF) and the UEF Charity Foundation, with FEI President and Chair of the Solidarity Committee Ingmar De Vos (BEL) referring to their Ukrainian colleagues as their “eyes and ears on the ground.”

For the FEI and the Ukrainian delegation, headed up by Secretary General Mykhailo Parkhomchuk from the Ukrainian Equestrian Federation (UEF) and accompanied by members from both the UEF and the Charity Foundation, this recent in-person visit provided a platform to discuss the priorities, review ongoing support systems in place, but also establish new programmes and set long term objectives for Ukraine and the FEI Solidarity Relief Fund.

Following these discussions, among the programmes being launched in Ukraine throughout May, four new athlete scholarships have been allocated; bespoke veterinary supplies have been sourced and prepared for dispatch; as well as financing for the purchase of 80 temporary horse boxes in order to support the setup of additional horse hubs in Ukraine.

Based on the existing FEI Solidarity Athlete Scholarship scheme, two Ukrainian Jumping athletes – Oleksandr Prodan and Anastasia Bondarieva – and two Ukrainian Dressage athletes – Danylo Konovalov and Diana Borovyk – have been selected to receive the scholarship grant to support training and competition related preparation with the ultimate goal of representing Ukraine at FEI Championships in 2022 and 2023.

Aged between 17 and 24, they were already competing at international level before the onset of the war, but the current circumstances meant they had to put many of their aspirations on hold. For Diana Borovyk, having survived the blockade of Sumy and taking up residence in her local equestrian centre to be with her horses while the war raged around her, being able to continue training and competing is “a dream come true.” She has also received a personal invitation to participate in a Young Riders Class at the CHIO Aachen Festival 2022, where she has every intention of showing her sporting determination and perseverance in the face of adversity.

The dedicated emergency veterinary supplies, which are being packaged into specialised kits and dispatched to strategic locations around Ukraine, include over the counter as well as prescription medication so the veterinarians onsite have all the necessary supplies to care for the horses remaining in the country. The bespoke veterinary kits have been sourced through the FEI Veterinary Department and are entirely funded by the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) Ukraine Relief Fund, which is supplementing the FEI Solidarity Fund with 100 percent of all donations raised being distributed through the FEI to ensure effective and targeted use of the funds.

The USEF Ukraine Relief Fund has already reached over 100,000 USD and continues to work closely with US based philanthropic organisations to leverage their fundraising networks to support the horses and people of Ukraine.

In addition to the existing horse hub in Granat which was financed by the FEI to prepare all the necessary documentation for horses to cross the border and has been operational since March, the FEI is now working with the UEF Charity Foundation to supply 80 horseboxes to two new hubs which are being built to allow horses to remain safely in Ukraine. The new hubs are located near existing stables so the horses will have access to all the necessary infrastructures and can continue to train in good conditions.

These last two initiatives are especially relevant given the unknown when it comes to the duration of the conflict and the need to work together to keep horses and athletes safe in Ukraine. For FEI President Ingmar De Vos (BEL), there is a clear progression in the support structure and goals of the FEI Solidarity Relief Fund. “At the onset of the war, the FEI reacted quickly to the situation and set up the Solidarity Fund with the initial outreach aimed at sourcing and funding for immediate and vital supplies as well as evacuation related procedures, unaware of how long the conflict would perdure and how devastating it would be.

“We have now reached a point where we can be more strategic because we have the systems in place, so the meetings in Lausanne with the Ukrainian delegation at the end of April were really fruitful, and we can already see several programmes and initiatives launched as a result.

“The initiatives are a mix of short to mid-term objectives aimed at keeping individuals and horses safe and well in Ukraine, but also long-term future proofing to ensure the sport is not entirely put on hold and can recover after the war. It has been awe-inspiring to see the global equestrian community come together to support Ukraine and we will continue to do everything in our power to maximise the reach of the FEI Solidarity Relief Fund to help the equestrian community and the horse lovers of Ukraine.”

About the FEI Solidarity Relief Fund:

The FEI set aside a CHF 1 Million Solidarity Relief Fund for the equestrian community in Ukraine, following the invasion by Russian military forces. The allocation was approved by the FEI Executive Board during a meeting convened on 28 February 2022, where members also unanimously condemned the invasion and agreed to remove all international equestrian events in Russia and Belarus from the 2022 FEI calendar. The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) has also joined forces with the FEI Solidarity Relief Fund, establishing the USEF Ukraine Relief Fund to Support Ukraine horses and equestrians, with 100% of funds raised going to the FEI Solidarity Relief Fund to be distributed by the FEI.

About the UEF Charity Foundation:

The Charity Foundation is registered in Belgium and its mission is to help the Ukrainian equestrian community during the crisis. The Foundation works closely with the FEI and national equestrian federations. For all the latest information and activities, visit https://helpukrainehorses.eu/.

Media contact:

Olivia Robinson
Director, Communications
olivia.robinson@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 35

Tegan Vincent-Cooke: “Whether I win or not, I’m a face that is a role model for people of colour”

The May edition of The Para Equestrian Digest is now out!

In this edition of The Para Equestrian Digest, British Para Dressage athlete, four-time British Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) Dressage Champion, aspiring Paralympian and TikTok (@teganvincentcooke) star Tegan Vincent-Cooke talks about race in equestrian sport.

About The Para Equestrian Digest
The FEI launched The Para Equestrian Digest in February 2022.  The online magazine was created for Para Equestrian athletes and the people connected to the sport so they can share – in their own words – their personal experiences and disability stories. Every month, the Digest will put the spotlight on an athlete or project in Para Equestrian sport with the aim of improving disability awareness and inclusion.

Previous editions of The Para Equestrian Digest: https://www.fei.org/stories/lifestyle/my-equestrian-life/para-equestrian-digest

April 2022: Paralympic & World Championship medallist Rodolpho Riskalla (BRA) provides his views of what businesses can do to provide a more inclusive environment for people with disabilities.

March 2022: US Paralympian and 2021 FEI Against All Odds Award winner Beatrice De Lavalette (USA) talks about mental health and how she coped with losing both her legs in the airport terrorist attack in Brussels (BEL) on 22 March 2016.

February 2022: Five-time Paralympic gold medallist and two time European Para Dressage champion Natasha Baker, MBE, OBE (GBR) talks about ableism and what can be done to change people’s attitudes towards disability.

Media contact:

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