Steve Guerdat and Other Riders Heavily Criticise the FEI

The general assembly of the International Jumping Riders Club (IJRC) in Geneva became a critical situation for the FEI. Led by Steve Guerdat some top riders spoke out against the FEI, represented by general secretary Sabrina Ibáñez. The reason for their criticism: the changes to the Olympic format, mainly the reduction of the team to only three riders which results in the absence of a drop score, as well as the FEI’s attitude towards the riders.
The FEI said that the changes were necessary because the IOC wanted more nations to take part and that was only possible if the teams consisted of less athletes
At the beginning Steve Guerdat said he was disappointed that FEI president Ingmar De Vos did not appear for the meeting and that was a symbol of lacking respect for him and the other riders. “I do not want to be arrogant,” so the Swiss rider said, “but I think the FEI should hear what we riders have to say since none of you were there if it were not for us.”
The winner of the 2012 Olympic Games said that they had tried repeatedly to make a proposal for the general assembly that took place in Tokyo. The IJRC had proposed 12-14 teams with four riders each, in order to have enough space for individual slots for riders from different nations. Guerdat furthermore said that it was not desirable to simply see riders from just any nation. “Who saw the B final in Barcelona was able to see that many teams were struggling to finish the course. Anyone telling me those teams have the level we want to see at the Olympic Games is lacking knowledge,” so Steve Guerdat. Irish Cian O’Connor also found clear words: “This year in show jumping, we saw some extra flags at the Olympics knocking five down – is that good sport? You are going to bring people in who A) are not prepared for such courses and B) force the course designer to bring down the level. Then that is not the Olympics any more, but a watered down version.”
General secretary Sabrina Ibáñez said that the FEI respected the riders. She furthermore said that the proposal that will be given to the IOC was simply a mathematical issue. “They told us we had 200 slots, deal with it. We have 75 for the show-jumping, 65 for dressage and 60 for eventing. Therefore our proposal is the only solution that will bring more nations in.”