The FEI has released their proposed rules for 2018 and the biggest changes will come in the global structure of the sport. I have pulled out what I think are the most interesting changes to the rules for the sport.
There are changes in the Minimum Eligibility of riders with the new rules but rather than get bogged down in the detail I have left them alone until we see whether they pass the National Federations who still get an input.
NEW CATEGORIZATION FOR 2018 — EXISTING LEVELS IN 2017
CCI 5* (Long) — Olympic & WEG format
CIC 5* (Short) — New level – cross country (CIC 3*), dressage and jumping (CCI 4*)
CCI 4* (Long) — CCI 3*
CIC 4*(Short) — CIC3*
CCI 3* (Long) — CCI 2*
CIC 3* (Short) — CIC2*
CI 2* (Unified) — CCI 1* and CIC 1*
CI 1* (Unified) — New introductory level not existing in 2017
The current CCI4* will be transferred to a separate “SPECIAL EVENT” category, i.e. “Iron-horse” (maximum technical difficulty) which will not be compulsory for the general progression of the Olympics and WEG.
We knew this rule was coming but it does make the big current 4*s stand alone. Do I think anything will change for these events? No. People want to win Badminton/Burghley, they are not interested that it’s 4*, 5* or effectively 6* as they would now be. You will effectively be qualifying at 4* level (old 3*) even though a 5* level exists for a 6* event because the cross country is harder. The FEI is copping out by avoiding classifying the current 4* in order to appease the IOC that the Olympics is the highest level of the sport. It strikes me that we have added a layer of bureaucracy in just purely for the Olympics. Nothing technically alters but now explaining to non horse friends about the levels it is a bit of a joke that you would say the Olympics are at 5* but oh, we have these ‘special events’ which are harder than the Olympics but they are not 6* they are just ‘special’.
The introduction of a CI* at a lower level event of a XC at 1.05 meter level. This new category would allow a transition between national and international competitions in developing countries. The level can be used for the Pony championship as well as the basis for developing a Children level/category in Eventing.
At the moment this states that it is for developing nations. But let’s be honest this is a massive potential cash cow for the FEI. Are we honestly not going to see this pushed for in the UK? It is not that long ago that we did not have CIC1* in the UK because it was not thought to be required. Instead we had the old school Novice Two Day Events as an additional qualifying route to CCI1* for those who did not want to go Intermediate. I fully understand why CIC1* was brought in, because it brought British Eventing into line with other federations, and they are very popular. For a market like the UK this could be potentially huge if it was allowed to move into developed eventing nations.
It will be interesting to see the outcome of this level. I fully support it for developing nations. It is important that eventing widens its base at the bottom of the sport and outside the traditional eventing nations. What I am very interested in is to see how quickly this concept proliferates into the mainstream. My guess is it will not take long before Facebook becomes inundated with ‘international event riders’ who have competed at this 1* level.
As an aside I am sad to see what is currently 1*, soon to be 2* coming in as Unified. This means the distinction between CIC and CCI1* will be lost. Looking at the distances that the unified is to be run over, it is being recommended that it is 3120m – 4160m.
Currently CIC1* is 2600 – 3120m and CCI1* is 3640m – 4680m. There is no recommendation about what the format will be but looking at those distances it is going to be more in the CCI guise than CIC? This will be a shame for the UK if this happens because of time and money required to take part. CIC1* are a great way of dipping your toe at FEI level without the costs of stabling and taking days off work for amateurs. Also if the level is unified what is British Eventing going to do about qualification for this as the CIC1* was a sensible route before CCI1*. I honestly do not understand the reasoning behind this move as the system works. My only guess is it is to help with developing nations and the qualification process. For me this is a kick in the teeth for amateur riders. It will not affect professionals in the same way.
The dressage co-efficient is being removed. The Eventing Committee proposes to remove the Dressage Coefficient, to promote the importance of the Cross Country Test, essence of the Sport.
Finally! This to me is one of the fundamental good things to come out of these proposals. Cross Country should be the big test and have equal importance to dressage. We all know that Burghley in 2016 was one of the results which would have been very different without a dressage co-efficient, and Sam Watson talks about it very eloquently in his Equiratings blog http://www.equiratings.com/2016/09/06/getting-the-balance-right/
Run out – missing a flag – A Horse is considered to have run out if, having been presented at an element or obstacle on the course, it avoids it in such a way that either the head, neck or either shoulder of the Horse fail to pass between the extremities of the element or obstacle as flagged. In case the Horse has clearly attempted to jump the element or obstacle and may have missed a flag, the athlete can choose: a) To represent (accepting automatically 20 penalties) , or b) To continue on course incurring 50 penalties (no elimination) in case the element or obstacle was not correctly cleared.
Note: If the Athlete represents and was clear in his first attempt, the Athlete will not be penalized with 20 penalties and no time will be deducted. A Horse will be considered to have cleared the fence when head, neck and both shoulders of the Horse pass between the extremities of the element or obstacles as flagged.
This is further clarification to the rule that we saw come in this year.
Analysis are currently being carried out to define the influence on the deletion of all collective marks, maintaining only rider mark. The Committee have conducted an analysis on the removal of the collective marks. Further investigations will be made to prepare a proposal to replace all collective marks with one mark, and remove the general comments, taking also into account the level of the competition. Discussion postponed until 2018.
An interesting concept and it will be interesting to watch this space. Will this also then come into place within National Federations? Will BE tests eventually only have one collective? It should not change the overall result because a lovely test will still get good marks but it does mean mistakes will be penalised more heavily because they will not be softened by collectives. Will this mean the feeling sorry for the rider mark on a horse who does not want to do dressage will disappear?!?
Athlete’s National Identification – For the Eventing Dressage and Jumping tests, the Eventing Committee suggests to line up with the proposals coming from the relevant disciplines. For the Cross Country test for all team competitions, members of the national teams to be required to use national identification colours for dress and saddle pads to clearly identify and differentiate the competing countries. Colours and pattern to be registered in advance to the FEI to allow differences between nations.
I love this idea. Better distinction for teams. It will make it viewer friendly and could lead to a bit of fun, colour and national pride. No bad thing in a stuffy sport like Equestrianism. Though remember the Columbian women’s cycling team disaster as a warning to think about choices carefully!
A link to the changes is http://inside.fei.org/system/files/Eventing%20Rules%202018_06July2017.pdf