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March 31 & April 1 at Le Meridian Hotel, Paris France

Opening address by Ian Williams
FEI Endurance Director

"On behalf of the FEI and the FEI Preident, HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, we would like to thank you for attending this Forum here in Paris.." (more)

Malaysia World Endurance Championship 2008
Handing Over of the FEI Flag and Signing Ceremony


Where is the sport today?
Is FEI Endurance today the same sport that was formally founded almost 40 years ago?
Where is FEI Endurance headed?

According to the FEI Endurance is the fastest growing equestrian sport. But many are wondering if this rapid growth is good for the sport, and many are wondering if the speeds which are currently being attained in the sport indicate the emergence of a "different" sport. Is a 7 hour 160 km race in the desert of the United Arab Emirates really the same sport as a 15 hour race across the mountains of the western United States? Can horses sustain the current speeds, or are we approaching an unnacceptable level of injury and metabolic distress?

Many Federations are focused on the acceptance of Endurance as an Olympic sport, but to do so one must evaluate the sport from a different perspective: among other things, Endurance as an Olympic sport must be media friendly, it must be viewer friendly, it must be engaging and entertaining. And all agree that the sport must be palatable and humane. While some want whatever changes must be made to create an Olympic style sport, many feel that these changes are not compatible with the 'true' definition of the sport, and foresee a potential split: one side favoring a fast, easy, viewer friendly version of Endurance, and another side favorig a return to the original sport - where the technical challenge of a natural course is the important component of the race.

These are among the questions and concerns being brought to the table at this forum. While there will be no definitive answers or decisions made over the weekend, there will be questions raised. There will be alliances formed between regional groups, and there will ultimately be working groups elected to formally carry the issues into the FEI body.

Summary of -- Kevin Myers

FEI Official Statement

Sumary of Day1 and Presentation Documents

Forum Presentations and Documents (PDF)

Photos: People

Photos: Presentation Slides

What are
People Saying? (It's a Big Deal)

more people

Malaysia: Luncheon and Handing Over of the FEI Flag Ceremony

Handing Over of the FEI Flag and Signing Ceremony
  • Forum Schedule
  • North American Presentation
    French Translation Some History:
  • USEF FEI Forum - February 2003
  • Toulouse Group (2003)

    Endurance.Net will provide photos and coverage, and information from this weekend's forum. It's our sport.
    Whether we ride FEI or not, decisions made by the FEI regarding Endurance as an FEI sport will ultimately affect us all.

    Stay tuned!

  • (from the FEI website:)
    "In its 24th year with the FEI – Endurance became an FEI discipline in 1982 – Endurance has come to be the Federation’s fastest growing discipline. In 1982, there were four international rides. This number slowly increased to an average of 18 rides per year up until 1998 when the World Championships were held in the United Arab Emirates. Thanks to the sponsorship of the UAE National Federation, 47 NFs came from all over the world to compete. This huge attendance proved to be the catalyst for an amazing growth in participation. This tendency was confirmed in 2005, when the 353 international competitions made Endurance second only to Jumping and Eventing. The area with the biggest growth being South America."
    Proposed Forum Schedule
    Saturday, March 31
    8-9 CHECK IN
    12.30-13.30 LUNCH BREAK
    11.30 - 13.30Malaysia/FEI WEC Flag Handing Over and YDSM (Malaysia) Hosted Luncheon

    Opening Address by Ian Williams

    Dear Delegate,

    On behalf of the FEI and the FEI Preident, HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, we would like to thank you for attending this Forum here in Paris.

    As everyone is aware, it is felt that the sport of endurance is in need of a full review following its incredible growth and change over recent years.

    The total number of FEI endurance events in 2006 (393) is 480% greater than the number in 2000.

    With this rapid expansion the discipline has changed from being a sport enjoyed by amateurs at weekends to a sport where Breeders, Owners, Trainers and Riders earn their living.

    Of course, there still remains many, many, riders who compete with a single horse which they own and have trained themselves. They continue to enjoy the fun and companionship they experience through endurance.

    Our present discipline structure and rules have been updated over the years, but it is now time for an in depth review to produce a more modern and more wide ranging competition environment and the requisite rules to support it.

    The recent trend to higher and higher speeds with a matching increase in the number of competition eliminations also warrants careful scrutuny in order to better protect our endurance horses in the future, and the image of our increasingly high profile sport.

    This forum is just the start of the review process which is scheduled to last a year. During this review, everyone involved with the sport will have the opportunity to contribute.

    Here in Paris, Regional Groups have been asked to make presentations highlighting what areas of the sport are considered to work well, what no longer meets what is required and what they would like to see in the future in their respective regions.

    The individual working sessions of the FEI Judges, Technical Delegates and Veterinarians, during Saturday afternoon, will then debate those subjects raised by the regions using their recognised experience and knowledge to start the process of review.

    Their comments and suggestions will then be presented to the General Forum on the Sunday morning to allow open debate thereafter by the delegates present.

    Present throughout the forum will be accredited members of the press and accredited observers from a number of FEI National Federations and FEI Regions. In line with the FEI's stated wish for this review to be open and transparent those members of the press and observers, whilst not being able to raise issues within debate (this is available only to Official National Federation delegates), will be able to attend all sessions across both days.

    The Review provides the discipline of Endurance with a unique and exciting opportunity to create a solid foundation upon which the sport can continue to grow in the years to come.

    Best wishes,

    Ian Williams - Director