The International Jumping Riders Club (IJRC) and the International Dressage Riders Club (IDRC), which together represent the world’s top athletes, have signed Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with the FEI. The two organisations, formerly FEI Associate Members, will work closely with the FEI to expand the Olympic disciplines of Jumping and Dressage. The number of Jumping events have grown by 20% since 2010, and Dressage events have grown by 28% in the same period, with over 1,300 Jumping and 450 Dressage events taking place in over 70 countries last year alone.
The IJRC, founded in 1977 by a group of 25 international Jumping riders, including David Broome, Raimondo D’Inzeo, Paul Schockomöhle and Nelson Pessoa, is under the dynamic direction of Eleonora Ottaviani Moroni (SUI-ITA). The organisation represents over 250 of the world’s best Jumping athletes, which have competed at Olympic, World Championship and FEI Nations Cup™ level, as well as the top athletes in the FEI World Jumping Rankings - now the Longines Rankings. The IJRC also represents the North American Riders Group (NARG).
“Our club strongly believes that the co-operation between our riders, event organisers and the governing body for our sport, the FEI, is key in bringing equestrian sport to a higher level,” said Olympic Jumping athlete Christina Liebherr (SUI), who was appointed as the IJRC’s first woman President in August 2013. “This is the start of a new way of working with the FEI and the athletes we represent, as we focus on the global development of Jumping.”
The IDRC, founded in 1986, is the voice of almost 600 Dressage athletes around the world, with President Kyra Kyrklund (FIN) and six active Olympic Dressage athletes on its board.
“This is an exciting new chapter for the IDRC as we represent more and more Dressage athletes thanks to the rapid growth of the sport,” IDRC President Kyra Kyrklund said. “We now have a formal agreement with the FEI that recognises the IDRC as the sole international organisation representing the views and interests of international Dressage riders, and our athletes fully understand the weight of this agreement.”
“Our athletes are the lifeblood of our sport, and the FEI’s collaboration with the International Jumping and Dressage Riders Clubs helps to ensure that we all have our fingers on the pulse of the sport and fully understand the views of our athletes on the future of two of our most popular disciplines,” FEI Secretary General Ingmar De Vos said. “These new relationships underline the importance of collaborating with our athletes and represent a very important step as Jumping and Dressage continue to grow in all four corners of the world.”
The FEI decided in 2012 to use Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) to better define its relationship with the different stakeholders. The MOUs cover universal issues such as FEI recognition, FEI Rules and Regulations, horse welfare, code of ethics, commitment to democratic processes, consultation, FEI General Assembly, FEI Sports Forum and meetings, governing law, dispute resolution, communication, and implementation. MOUs have already been signed with WHW, organisers and officials. Although recognition by the FEI does not entail voting rights at the FEI General Assembly, the MOUs formalise the relationship with the FEI, giving a voice to organisations working with the FEI in the development of equestrian sport.