FEI: It is run like Wal-Mart. Why can’t it run like Costco?

10 Jun



The Walton family who own Wal-Mart are one of the richest families in the world and the GNP of Wal-Mart—built on the backs of starving employees worldwide—is greater than many countries in the industrialized world. Greater than 157 countries, at last comparison

No unions, no dissent, no camaraderie.

Sound familiar?


Meanwhile Costco embraces its employees, pays one of the highest wages in its sector, and is slowly but surely reaching  immense power and status .taking over from Wal-Mart.

What will it take for the horse world to get off its collective ass of inertia and stand up for itself?

No matter how petty, how venal, how stupid, how corrupt, how two-faced, how hypocritical…the horse world raises the alarm, discusses it to death and then sits on its hands and does…nothing.

At World Cup Final a few years ago, McLain Ward and his great partner Sapphire were poised to win. And then the FEI trotted out hypersensitivity. Vets poked at Sapphire’s cannons with pencils, recorded the number of ‘flinches’ and…well, everyone who cares knows the story.  Link to the FEI admitting the elimination was ‘incorrect’:


It was a chance—much discussed—for the riders and their sponsors to stand up and say, Enough. Enough with the ridiculous ,improbable, silly defined allegations of guilt with no presumed innocence or appeal.


But of course, they did not. Everyone slunk off and eventually, a winner was declared, minus the participation of Ward and Sapphire. Not even Ward’s own Federation stood up.

Now we have Nations Cup in St.Gallen ,and this time, the riders and teams were united in their concerns for welfare of the horse—the fences were deemed unsafe to jump, given the conditions.

Everyone talked about refusing to compete.

Eventually, only the German team stood up and said No.

Of course, the FEI retaliation was well known—DQ from the Finals this year and relegation next year to a lesser series. (It remains to be seen what the final decision will be.)

Like it or not, Germany remains one of the essential powerhouse nations in horse sport. They helped create the EEF, (European Equestrian Federation) the ONLY check and balance to the immense power of the FEI.


So  now might be the time for federations to stand up and just say No and take back their sport and at least a little of their dignity. The Americas can have an American Equine Federation for North Central and South America; Asia can certainly band together in an Asian Federation, etc.

Instead of being mere puppet figureheads and designated FEI “regions” , they can wield some actual say in their own organization.  Why this does not happen should be a concern for anyone who values horse welfare.


Next HORSESPORTNEWS: Interview with Charlotte Jorst, who with  equine partner  Vitalis (Vivaldi x D-Day) and the rest of  her team will go to World Young Horse Championships in Verden later this summer and try to reproduce their success in the Six Year Old Tests–or maybe even reach higher peaks.


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