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[RC] Changes to FEI rules, from an Australian perspective. Part 1 - Jay Randle

Hi All
The current debate on the French and Belgian reaction to the FEI rules is very interesting.  The National Federations (NF) of these countries are the organisations that 'run' the local endurance scene there.... which would be like USEF (your NF) running endurance in the US instead of AERC.  We have a similar arrangement to the US, in that the AERA runs endurance here, not the EFA (Equestrian Federation of Australia), which is our NF.
So, we (USA and Australia) are a bit luckier than our European kinfolk.... our dedicated organisations for endurance look out for our riders and our horses, and run our endurance rides exclusively.
All this time, the FEI have been (nominally) in charge of running FEI rides in our respective countries, under the auspices of our National Federations, however in reality it is our local clubs that have done all the hard work and have incurred the costs of doing so.  And so, your 'average' endurance rider has had the opportunity to enter FEI rides, and gain FEI qualifications with not much of a hassel, except possibly for higher nomination/entry fees in order to do so.
One of the major differences that strikes me, however, is that the various European systems and the Australian system have had defined, specific, and regulated qualification procedures in place for both horses and riders, whereas the USA system has not.  As has been stated, some of the European country's NFs run local rides of up to 100km for any and all comers, some run up to 120km rides, some run up to 160km rides, and in some countries the FEI steps in to run the higher mileage rides.  However in each instance the riders in each country must qualify by completing shorter distance rides, and graduating to the longer distances, with some European countries also imposing speed restrictions for each distance.
In Australia all riders must complete 2 x 40km rides at a speed of no more than 14kph, with a pulse rate of no more than 55bpm within 30 minutes, and then complete 3 x 80km-120km rides at a speed of no more than 14kph, with a pulse rate of 60bpm within 30 minutes, before they are allowed to enter longer rides and/or ride at a faster speed.  (The pulse rate for all our longer rides also remains at 60bpm.)  While the horse/rider is going through this qualification process they are catergorised as "Novice", and then reach "Open" status when all the novice requirements have been met. 
So, now the FEI have issued new rules that require all horses and riders to have completed EITHER a) 2 x 40km and 2 x 80km rides, OR b) 3 x 80km rides, at a restricted speed of 16kph.  Because the AERA rules are so ingrained, and because the AERA have total control over all endurance rides in Australia, we all have to firstly fulfill the AERA qualification procedure, before we can then enter any FEI rides.  This is really not a big problem at all for us, and I believe the European countries are also in agreement here.

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