Normandy Update and Evolution of Vaulting at FEI Sports Forum

Tuesday, April 29, 2014
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Laurent Cellier, Sports Director for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014, updated delegates at the Sports Forum on progress in Normandy. (Germain Arias-Schreiber/FEI).
Laurent Cellier, Sports Director for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014, updated delegates at the Sports Forum on progress in Normandy. (Germain Arias-Schreiber/FEI).
The Organising Committee of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 (23 August to 7 September) and the FEI marked the 116-day countdown to the FEI’s flagship event today in the afternoon session of the FEI Sports Forum 2014. Two members of the Organising Committee - Laurent Cellier (FRA), Sports Director, and Pauline Laidi (FRA), Head of Services to National Federations - gave delegates a detailed update on the event preparations covering the timetable, competition venues, veterinary services, logistics, accreditations, entries, communications and key dates. “Normandy, the land of horses and horsemen and women, will soon be welcoming 1,000 riders and horses and over 500,000 spectators for 15 days of top equestrian sport at the world’s biggest equestrian event,” Cellier said.

Underlining the scale of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 in Normandy, which is being organised with public and private funding totalling €75.6 million, Cellier continued: “We will create an incredible legacy with these Games, which will last for at least the next 15 years, thanks to our close working relationship with the FEI, our 100-strong Organising Committee and over 3,000 volunteers supporting us at our five competition venues.”

The popularity of Vaulting on digital media, the revision of competition formats, introduction of new tests and protecting horse welfare were the focal points of the Vaulting round table, the final session of the FEI Sports Forum 2014.

The FEI Vaulting Technical Committee proposed the introduction of a new Junior level - CVIJ3* - designed to raise the standard for young athletes looking ahead to Senior competition. The new level would test Junior vaulters with three technical exercises to be performed in front of the surcingle.

“The proposed introduction of a CVIJ3*, which will be presented to our National Federations for further feedback, would help our Junior athletes to progress more easily to Senior level”, explained Emma Seeley (USA), Chair of the Vaulting Committee and round table panellist. “The level of our Junior athletes has progressed to such a high standard that we have very gifted athletes around the world, who are ready for this challenge.”

At Senior level, the introduction of a new CVIO4* format was proposed in which the team competition would take place at the end of the event as a grand finale, ensuring an exciting build-up for spectators. Chef d’Equipes would declare their teams only after the performances of their individual, squad and pas-de-deux athletes, adding to the excitement of the final competition.

The welfare of Vaulting horses was also discussed in the context of increasingly sophisticated tests being performed by athletes. The Vaulting Committee opened a discussion on a more specific rule descriptor relating to the back pad used on Vaulting horses (currently described in Article 719.2.9) to ensure equipment with the latest back and muscle protection is used on Vaulting horses.

“The Vaulting Committee will be closely monitoring the evolution of back pads, surcingles and handles being used in Vaulting, and assessing whether new and improved technology could actually encourage vaulters to increase the difficulty of their exercises,” explained Bettina de Rham, FEI Director Driving, Reining & Vaulting. “It is essential that new technology used in back pads and Vaulting grips evolves positively for the horse.”

The panelists for the Vaulting Round Table also included Erich Breiter, Vice-Chair Vaulting Technical Committee (AUT); and Vaulting Committee members Gaby Benz (ITA); Ulla Ramge (GER), and John Eccles (GBR).

An online discussion platform to continue the debate on all topics discussed at the FEI Sports Forum 2014 is available here: