The Horse Show

Lucinda Green MBE Explains The New Olympic Format for Eventing

Lucinda Green, Olympic Format for Eventing, FEI, IOC, Olympic Games

Lucinda Green MBE Explains why the New Olympic Format for Eventing is Hurting the Sport and Could Have Dire Consequences for its Future.

The Horse Show: S2E1

Chris Stafford talks to Eventing legend Lucinda Green MBE about the changes to the Olympic format for Eventing that the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) has made. She explains why she fears the new format is hurting eventing and the implications to three and four star level. Lucinda unpacks what it could mean for the future of eventing in general if the four star level is no longer the pinnacle of the sport. The fallout could have dire consequences, which begs the question of who the governing body is listening to as the sport struggles to stay in the Olympic family. And we hear Lucinda’s reasoning about why cross country construction today may be contributing to rotational falls.

“The Olympics is meant to be the best of the best and it is as far as I understand in every other sport, and just because there’s some smaller people wanting to do basketball you don’t bring the rim to a lower height; the rim stays at whatever it is, and if you’re too small you don’t play basketball,” notes Lucinda.

Scroll down for a summary of the proposed changes to the Olympic format.

Podcast: 36′ 27″


The Horse Show podcast


Summary of Proposed Changes to the Olympic Format:

Under the new proposals, the number of athletes in national teams will be reduced to three, and the drop score, which previously allowed for a team’s worst score to be discarded, will be removed. The use of a reserve combination for teams will remain in place, but will be even more important and will be a key element in ensuring horse welfare.

A total of 11 of National Federations, out of 107 represented, voted against the proposal – Albania, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Latvia, Luxembourg, Monaco, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Romania and Switzerland.

“This was a really important vote for the future of our sport if we are to increase universality in accordance with the recommendations of Olympic Agenda 2020”, said FEI President Ingmar De Vos.

“We need to increase the number of participating nations at the Olympic Games but within our existing quota of 200. Reducing team members to three per nation was probably the only way to boost the number of flags. Of course this now has to be approved by the IOC, but it opens the door to countries that previously could only see the Olympics as a distant dream. There were some National Federations that didn’t agree with the proposal, but that’s all part of the democratic process. Now we need to work together to make this a success.”

Teams of three horse/athlete combinations per nation, no drop score
One reserve combination per team will be allowed. The reserve combination is an important element of the proposal in order to preserve horse welfare. If a reserve combination is substituted, it will incur a penalty for the team. The exact penalty will be finalised in the Olympic Regulations
Maximum of two individuals per nation not represented by a team

Order of tests to remain unchanged (1st Dressage; 2nd Cross Country; 3rd Jumping Team; 4th Jumping Individual)
Olympic Eventing to take place over three days (Dressage test reduced to one day)
Technical level of the three tests to be defined as the “Olympic level”: Dressage and Jumping 4*; Cross Country: 10-minute optimum time, 45 jumping efforts, and 3* technical difficulty

Qualification of athletes/horses to be achieved on the same Cross Country technical level to ensure implementation of the recommendations of the FEI Independent Audit in Eventing. For the purpose of the Team classification only: any horse/athlete combinations not completing a test can continue to the next test if accepted as fit to compete at the relevant Horse Inspection.
For the purpose of the Team classification only: penalties for the non-completion of a test for any reason, Dressage =100 points, Cross Country = 150, Jumping = 100
Rules for the Individual event remain unchanged

Timeline for finalisation of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic formats:
May 2017 – IOC Programme Commission make recommendations to the IOC Executive Board
July 2017 – IOC Executive Board decides on events and quotas
November 2017 – FEI General Assembly in Montevideo (URU) finalises the proposal for qualification procedures (quota distribution and eligibility)


For more information about the sport’s governing body: International Equestrian Federation (FEI)

To read more about eventing’s Risk Management

To find out more about the rules of international eventing click here.

To learn more about the Olympic Games – International Olympic Association (IOC)


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