The FEI in all its amazing-ness and inscrutability and–did I mention $$$$?

2 May



The German dressage team will be named July 8.

Mandatory observations shows are National Championships at Balve ( June 1-3) and Aachen (July 3-8).

“Everything is still wide open” says Germany’s dressage  coach Jonny Hilberath, but the reality is that the team of 3 is shaping up as Rath/Totilas, Sprehe/Desperados (both members of the exclusive 80+ in the GP club) and most likely Langenhanenberg/Damon Hill. Missing from that list even though it is unthinkable is the name of Isabell Werth, who for many has always been the standardbearer  and face for Germany’s international teams. But problems with El Santo’s piaffe and the still-early form of Don Johnson make her a better candidate for the individual spot. Germany of couyrse is one of the three nations that FEI in its obliviousness has awarded an actual individual spot to, the others being Great Britain and Holland.

Naturally, no one from any of those nations spoke up when the regulation went public –and other team coaches apparently never bothered to read the entire regulation in time to demand a rewrite. FEI has sort of apologized but insists that this particular Olympics will go forward with this idiotic,unfair, contrary-to-everything-Olympics- stand for regulation in place.

OTOH, there are,of course ,loopholes. Colombia has been awarded a  3-rider team spot thanks to their showing at the Pan Am Games, the regional Olympic qualifier for the Americas, North through South. BUT, Pan Am dressage is run at PSG-Int One level, not Olympic GP (yes, this will change starting next year with mi9xed teams).

It does not look as though Colombian riders will be able to qualify with minimum GP scores, sooooo…that leaves room for some more individuals. And the U.S. has of late jumped  up on those ever-mysterious FEI ranking lists, with Steffen Peters’ awarded points from Florida’s World Dressage Masters. Of course, it depends WHICH ranking list the FEI decides to use as to which next nation will be awarded an Individual slot as opposed to just bringing a reserve horse in case of necessary substitution at the last minute.


I’m already tired just from writing that.


2012 FEI Sports Forum

among issue discussed under “veterinary” was the so-called ‘blood rule’. This is the rule that caused Dutch champion  Parzival’s elimination at 2010 WEG,  and more recently at Dressage World Cup Finals where a bloody spur hole eliminated a Polish rider/horse. The topic has elicited much debate since then, as photos show countless horses in countless FEI disciplines sporting signs of blood.

Head FEI vet John McEwen’s statement is truly FEI-worthy:

” No special regulation is required within the veterinary regulations as this is well covered in the general regulations”, he said.

Further, he added,  “No horse will be allowed to compete if there is a welfare risk. The principles are the same, but the implementation has to take into account  THE DIFFERENCES WITHIN THE DISCIPLINES.”  (Capitals are all mine).

So,hey,  yoo-hoo everyone besides dressage: no worries,business as usual!


FEI Nation’s Cup  vs. Jan Tops and Global Champions Tour

From 2013, the FEI jumping committee wants to replace the current league system with a knock-out competition which would embrace dozens more countries.

But— existing nations cup shows could be left out on a limb.

The Saudi Equestrian Fund has graciously agreed to fund the FEI’s flagship money-maker, Nation’s Cup, for the next 5 years.

But there is a BIG catch to all this munificence– Prestigious Nations Cup shows such as Spruce Meadows (Alta.) and Aachen (Germany) will have to consider date changes and abandoning their grand prix classes if they wish to stay in the new-look official Nations Cup series announced by the Fédération Equestrian International on May 1 at its sports forum in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The FEI has blandly declared that the Nation’s Cup has been “too Eurocentric” and will look to make their competitions more, um, global. As in more in,oh Qatar, and  Doha…why yes, little grasshopper, those are INDEED places where Jan Tops has extremely popular and wow-fully lucrative GCT shows that have attracted far more sponsor and rider support than anything FEI has put on.

Not to mention Nations’ Cup standout shows such as Hickstead and Dublin  will now  have to try to re-bid ($$$$$$$$$$) to be allowed to put on such classes in the future.

On another note: with all this largesse and support of show jumping–one feels a need to ask if Saudi Arabia has reached a decision as to the Olympic appearance by 18 year old Dalma Malhas, who has indeed qualified by results for London Olympics.

But,of course, she is female. Saudi Arabia, along with Qatar and Brunei, does not permit women to take part in any international athletic competitions.



OTOH–two top male Saudi showjumpers are under suspension for their horses’ positive drug results. Even as this is written, FEI Tribunal must be at least thinking about meeting, get some ideas on what to do. If found guilty,these two showjumpers will not be going to the Olympics–and at least one of them was pretty much part of the proposed Olympic team.

And of course, the Tribunal’s decision will be totally un-influenced by this recent  Saudi donation to FEI Nation’s Cup future existence.



Just a shout-out to Claire Lomas, the paralyzed British eventer who ,with the aid of a Robot Suit, is WALKING the British Marathon. Around a little over half-way now, Lomas is raising money for spinal research:  read/donate here



Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin could hardly be much busier. The British dressage darlings are at Addington even now: Hester will ride Uthopia,who of course had to miss Hagen due to a pulled shoe, as well as other horses from his barn. Dujardin is (of course) resting her World Record holder partner, Valegro, but will be on Don Archie, yet another new possible star from their barn.

Results as soon as they are in later today.


And a shout out to Mark Todd, Horseman of this or any other Century, whose desire for more Olympic eventing hardware may be dampened by the decision to lay up his No. One star, Land Vision.  An old tendon injury from last year will require more rehab.

New Zealand selectors are not too worried yet–Toddy has a few back-ups and will have them all zipping around courses over the next few months.





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