HELLO //

I’m delighted to welcome you to this second edition of FEI Focus where we revisit some of the great sporting moments from the past few months and talk to individuals that have and are contributing to the diverse sporting landscape that make equestrian sport so unique.

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One such individual is Ulf Rosengren, former Secretary General of the Swedish Federation and the initial organiser of the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 25 years ago. It takes great vision and a lot of planning and meticulous preparation to host a multi discipline event such as the FEI World Equestrian Games™ and we are grateful for his perseverance and dedication to staging the very first edition in Stockholm in 1990. Since then, the Games have gone on to become one of our flagship events and have already left a lasting impression on thousands of individuals – from the athletes and their support teams to the thousands of volunteers and fans.

It has been an exceptionally eventful few months since the last edition of Focus with Games and Championships in all the FEI disciplines and for all age categories taking place around the world alongside the bustling international competition schedule which keeps our athletes, their grooms and support teams as well as all the Organisers very busy.

If there can be one overall sporting impression, it may be the success and impressive performances of the Dutch teams and athletes this summer at both the multi discipline FEI European Championships in Aachen and their record medal haul at the FEI European Para-Equestrian Dressage Championships in Deauville, France – although I would be lying if I did not say that the Belgian team winning at the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping Final in Barcelona was a very emotional and inspirational moment for me and the entire Belgian nation! And certainly meeting HM the Queen and seeing Her genuine appreciation and enthusiasm for our sport alongside thousands of other spectators at the Longines FEI European Eventing Championship at Blair Castle was truly invigorating.

Olympic qualification has also been high on the agenda for many teams and with less than 300 days to go to the Olympic & Paralympic Games, everyone and every nation is pulling out all the stops to make sure they get their ticket to RIO2016.

Team spirit is a theme which runs through all the events that have been held recently and not just the official “team” events – because equestrian sport, whether you are competing for your team or putting on an event – or even competing as an individual – we all know is a team effort. Making sure our sport continues to evolve and progress is also very much a team effort and I am delighted that we now have an Athletes Committee – inaugurated in 2015 – giving them a voice and a say in the future of their respective disciplines. In this edition, we talk to Lukas Klouda elected as the Vaulting representative, about his career, his views on the sport and his ideas for the future.

As this will be the last edition of FEI Focus for the year, I want to take this opportunity to thank our sponsors – Longines, Furusiyya, Reem Acra & Ariat – and all the National Federations and Organisers, from the smallest to the largest shows around the world, for their dedication and commitment to bringing the best of our sport to the fans and their respective regions. Of course, none of this could take place without the tens of thousands of volunteers and officials that lend their knowledge, enthusiasm and time to ensure that the athletes have the best conditions in order to test their skills and partnerships.  

And, last but not least, thank you to all the horse owners, the athletes and their extended support teams for pursuing their dreams and inspiring generations of athletes and fans to come, and of course thank you to our noble partner, the horse.  

See you all next year… Perhaps in Rio?

May the horse be with you

A message from Longines //

The partnership between Longines and the FEI reinforces the traditional and long-lasting commitment of the Swiss watchmaker to equestrian sports, which share the common values of Elegance, Tradition and Performance. As part of this partnership, Longines is lending its name to the FEI world ranking for riders participating in the jumping trials: The Longines Rankings. The brand is the Official Partner of three leagues of the FEI World Cup™ Jumping: the Western European League, the Chinese League and the reformatted North American League. It is also the Official Timekeeper for the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™.

FEI Awards 2015

Interview with Ulf Rosengren

Ulf Rosengren: horses, World Championships and a lot of determination

By Marianne Burkhardt

This summer marked the 25th anniversary of the inaugural FEI World Equestrian Games™, hosted in the Swedish capital Stockholm. The 1990 event showed the world the beauty, diversity and excitement of equestrian sport on a then unprecedented scale. But without the determination of Ulf Rosengren, former Secretary General of the Swedish Federation, it is likely that the multi-championship event and the six that have followed would never have come to be. Here, Ulf gives us a lesson in believing in the impossible.

  1. How did you become involved in horse sport and, later, the Swedish Federation?

    I grew up with horses, competed a lot and became a member of the Swedish national Jumping team. The Swedish Federation hired me as a lawyer and I later became Secretary General. In that role, I set up a mission to develop the sport through the organisation of international events.

    It was HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, FEI President from 1964 to 1986, who had the idea of bringing together all the World Championships at the same time and in the same place. But the people who worked with you in the 1980s say that without you, the FEI World Equestrian Games™ would never have taken place...

    That is basically true. When I attended the FEI General Assembly 1983 in Amsterdam and heard Prince Philip talking about grouping the World Championships, I thought it was a brilliant idea. I wasn’t alone in thinking that, but almost. We were definitely a minority as our sport is so conservative.

    The day before I presented the idea to the Board/Bureau of the Swedish Federation and asked for the mandate to work on it, the Board Members were told: “Ulf has to be stopped!” All the big Federations were completely against the idea and thought the project would never be approved. They believed that if, by miracle, it was approved, the little country of Sweden would not be capable of organising the Games. I proved them wrong in both respects.

    Germany was particularly against the idea. The President of the German Federation, Count Dieter Landsberg-Vehlen, who was also 1st Vice President of the FEI, was my biggest opponent. After the Stockholm Games, he congratulated me, admitting that he was wrong and I was right. He was a gentleman and we became friends. But I worked hard for two years, lobbying and convincing people to see the advantages of holding a multi-championship event. In the beginning it seemed like mission impossible. But eventually, they were receptive to my arguments, the main one being that the synergy of multiple disciplines and championships would raise worldwide media interest in our sport.

    At the FEI General Assembly 1985 in Lisbon, the decision was taken to organise the Games as a one-off event in Stockholm in 1990. Immediately afterwards, I set up an Organising Committee, which included some of Sweden’s top industrial leaders and was presided by Pehr G. Gyllenhammar, Chairman and CEO of Volvo.
     

  1. What did your role consist of?

    I was the constant driving force, with the self-imposed task of making things happen. My title was President of the Executive Committee.
     

  2. Preparations for the Games started in 1986. Can you briefly take us through the different stages?

    In 1986, we held a test event for Jumping at the Riders Stadium. The following year we tested Eventing in the Royal Park. In 1988, the Olympic Stadium was used for the first time to test Jumping, Driving and Dressage. Finally, in the year before the Games, we staged a “dress rehearsal” at the Royal Park and the Olympic stadium for all the disciplines except Driving.
     

  3. What was the budget for the Games?

    117 million Swedish krona (13 million euros). I was able to negotiate a guarantee from a commercial partner, IMG, covering 40 per cent of the budget before we started raising funds from sponsorship and ticket sales. In the end, we had a state guarantee of 25 million Swedish krona, which was more than enough to cover the deficit of 15 million Swedish krona that we had roughly anticipated. We were able to obtain the guarantee because we were staging the first event its kind with all the accompanying uncertainty. The financial impact from tourism was calculated at 400 million Swedish krona, so the event was beneficial to the state and the population.
     

  4. In what ways did the Swedish authorities help?

    That was a tricky operation. They were not immediately helpful but eventually they really supported us. I involved key people from the City Council in key positions within our organisation and made them feel that they shared the responsibility and, ultimately, the success.

    In the beginning, the environmental pressure groups wanted to stop us from using the Royal Park and the City administration didn’t want to close certain streets. Finally, they did everything I asked. The main street in Stockholm outside the Olympic stadium was closed to traffic and hosted hospitality tents, exhibitions, etc.
     

  5. How convinced were you that what was to be the biggest equestrian event in history would be a success?

    I was convinced and didn’t hesitate a single second, which was important, as I had to be the forerunner.
     

  6. Were there any aspects of the organisation that were more challenging than you expected?

    We had a solid strategy, which proved itself at each stage of the preparations. Designing and building the cross country and marathon courses in the middle of a capital city in a Royal Park was certainly a major challenge. The park is public and a place of recreation for Stockholmers so selling tickets to the competitions there was not easy…
     

  7. Were there any surprises?

    The Schockemöhle saga. The rapping affair was a nightmare that came to public attention just before the beginning of the Games. One day, just before they opened, I had fourteen international TV crews lining up outside my office. In all modesty, we handled this mega problem well by emphasising the sport’s intolerance of any mistreatment of horses. In that way, we were able to turn the scandal to our advantage and we also made use of the high level of media attention when the time came to communicate the success of the Games.
     

  8. How easy was it for you to recruit volunteers and how many were there?

    We had 2,400 volunteers. When we recruited them, we pointed out that they would be helping to make history in our sport. They came from all over Sweden and abroad and were full of pride to be part of the Games.
     

  9. Tell us about the different venues that hosted the competitions.

    The concentration of the venues was a winning formula. Around the Olympic Stadium we had stabling, specially-built warm-up arenas, a press centre with the main warm-up arena outside the press conference room, and a sponsor and VIP village with hospitality tents, exhibitions, etc. The cross country and marathon courses in the Royal Park were walking distance from the Olympic Stadium.
     

  1. You must have some wonderful memories of those Games: can you share some?

    There are many. One symbolic memory that comes to mind is the morning of the cross country day. In tense expectation, we climbed up onto a big rock from which we could look down over the big esplanade between the Olympic Stadium and the Royal Park. It was filled with a massive crowd heading for the Royal Park. We were absolutely elated to see so many people. There were 68,000 paying visitors in the park that day and approximately the same number of non-paying people.
     

  2. How successful were those first Games in attracting spectators with no previous interest in equestrian sport?

    To my knowledge, no specific survey was carried out but the general feeling was that we attracted new equestrian fans both at the event itself and through TV coverage. It was estimated that a minimum of 500,000 people visited the Games, exhibitions etc, including 300,000 ticket buyers.
     

  3. Have you attended all the FEI World Equestrian Games™ since Stockholm?

    Unfortunately not. Only those at The Hague in 1994 and Jerez de la Frontera in 2002.
     

  4. How emotionally attached are you to the event now?

    It was, and still is, a major part of my life. If you had woken me up during the five years of preparation and asked for my name, I would have said "World Equestrian Games”, which was logical in a way, as I created that name.

    The Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2014 in Normandy were the biggest in the event’s 25-year history: 74 competing nations, 1000 horses, 575,000 tickets sold, a total TV audience of 330 million and 5.5 million views on the FEI’s youtube channel. This year’s FEI Sports Forum in April opened with a discussion on the future of the Games. It aimed to outline changes to disciplines and competition formats that could increase the interest of future bid cities, the public, media and broadcasters. How would you like to see the event continue to evolve while maintaining its original aim of uniting the equestrian family?

    I agree that the Games have to be more compact in order to reduce costs and I think interest should be raised through qualifications. In general, lowering the number of participants results in higher quality and this would generate more attention from the public and media. Fewer participants would allow the duration of the Games to be shortened.

    This could certainly be done while, as you say, maintaining the original aim of uniting the equestrian family.
     

  5. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

    Looking over various documents, I found some interesting facts and figures. The firework display on the opening night was the biggest that Sweden had ever hosted. Also, the marquee set-up was the biggest in Europe to date, including those for the tennis championships at Wimbledon and the British Open combined.

    Finally, we had to pay a lot for police supervision. During the two weeks, only one person was arrested and that was for drunken behavior. It was later discovered that the same guy was frequently arrested at events and had nothing to do with Games as such. The image of the equestrian fans was untarnished…
     

An in-depth feature on the inaugural FEI World Equestrian Games™ can be found in the July 2014 edition of FEI Focus.

Introducing FEI Athlete Representative

Lukas Klouda

For the first time in the history of the FEI, Athletes were given the opportunity to vote to elect their FEI Athlete Representative. A total of 26 candidates from 10 nations stood for election as FEI Athlete Representatives on the FEI Technical Committees who also then form the FEI Athletes’ Committee chaired by Sweden’s Maria Gretzer. The following athletes were elected:

Jumping Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA)
Dressage Anna Paprocka Campanella (RUS)
Para-Equestrian Laurentia Tan (SIN)
Eventing Daisy Berkeley (GBR)
Driving Bartlomiej Kwiatek (POL)
Endurance Valerie Kanavy (USA)
Vaulting Lukas Klouda (CZE)

 

All photos ©FEI/Daniel Kaiser

We recently followed Vaulting Representative, Lukas Klouda whilst competing at the Bern CVI to find out a little about him and his aims as an FEI Athlete Representative…

  1. Why did you want to become an FEI Athlete Representative?

    I am always interested in learning something new as well as trying to improve and help our sport. This looked like a good occasion to combine the two… 
     

  2. What are you hoping to achieve throughout your time as an FEI Athlete Representative?

    I hope to help athletes and all those involved in vaulting however they need support - this could be hard or even impossible, but I will try. What I didn't expect at the start but would now like to achieve is bringing the vaulting public closer to FEI. I want to show them that the FEI is not just a ‘un-useful’ institution making rules, but a modern company trying to manage our sports in the best possible way. Also, even if it sounds like a cliché, I want to show everyone that we really are one big family... 
     

  3. Do you have any rituals or superstitions before competing?

    Not many and they change from time to time. Unfortunately I cannot switch off and pretend I don't see everyone who would like to speak with me when I am getting ready. So they usually change some of my rituals even if they don't know it. But in general I like fresh underwear, fresh breath and chewing gum, not much more and it develops over time...

  1. What do you do when you are not vaulting?

    I have always been jumping when I am not vaulting, I still have my horse for it, but somehow not enough time for everything. Right now, trying to establish my company HORCES.DE which is slowly growing into my only hobby... :D
     

  2. What advice would you give a young athlete?

    To be patient and keep going. If you are tough, the success will come. It is also important to remember that not everyone can be a champion; you should take smaller victories as a success, while aiming for the biggest ones.
     

  3. What is your guilty pleasure?

    Chocolate, Espresso, sometimes some good alcohol with friends. I hate smoking and drugs.

  1. What is your all-time favourite equestrian venue?

    Aachen, Kentucky, Al Shaqab, Jerez de la Frontera... Did you ask only for one?! :D
     

  2. What are your goals for this season?

    I decided to keep going with vaulting because it is so much fun. But if I am honest, it was already time to stop and concentrate on my other work and businesses. So my goal is to be satisfied with myself. For me that means vaulting well and trying to keep up with the young guys.
     

  3. What could you not live without?

    Love. Friends. Family. Horses and dogs. Because they are not things. Things can make you happier, but not happy.
     

  4. What is your signature meal to cook?

    I am better at making good drinks then a meal... :D but I do like to cook eggs in different variations.
     

  5. What is your favourite way to spend an evening?

    It varies, but in the summer like now, I like to sit outside with friends, enjoying the weather, having some good food, drinks and fun of course.

South East Asian Games

Interview with Reem Acra

Dressage,
design & destiny

Chaker Khazaal meets Reem Acra

Rotterdam - Behind the scenes

Hickstead – Behind the Scenes

Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League

The Longines North America League uncovered

An exciting and reinvigorated addition to the elite-level Jumping landscape, the new North American League will boost the continent’s landscape for international-calibre Jumping. FEI Focus speaks to FEI First Vice-President and chair of the FEI Jumping Committee John Madden about the far reaching consequences for the sport, the riders & the fans. 

#FEIWorldCupNAL

Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Final Team Photoshoot

FEI TV //

Provisional Live Broadcast Schedule

December
05
FEI World CupTM Vaulting 2015-16
Salzburg (AUT)
December
06
Reem Acra FEI World CupTM Dressage 2015-16
Salzburg (AUT)
December
13
FEI World CupTM Driving 2015-16
Geneva (SUI)
December
16
Reem Acra FEI World CupTM Dressage 2015-16
London Olympia (GBR)
December
19
FEI World CupTM Driving 2015-16
London Olympia (GBR)
December
20
Longines FEI World CupTM Jumping 2015-16
London Olympia (GBR)
December
26
FEI World CupTM Vaulting 2015-16
Mechelen (BEL)
December
30
FEI World CupTM Driving 2015-16
Mechelen (BEL)
December
30
Longines FEI World CupTM Jumping 2015-16
Mechelen (BEL)
January
16
FEI World CupTM Vaulting 2015-16
Leipzig (GER)
January
17
Longines FEI World CupTM Jumping 2015-16
Leipzig (GER)
January
17
FEI World CupTM Driving 2015-16
Leipzig (GER)
January
23
Longines FEI World CupTM Jumping 2015-16 - North American League - West Coast
Valle de Bravo (MEX)
January
30
Reem Acra FEI World CupTM Dressage 2015-16
Amsterdam (NED)
January
31
Longines FEI World CupTM Jumping 2015-16
Zürich (SUI)
February
06
Longines FEI World CupTM Jumping 2015-16
Bordeaux (FRA)
February
07
FEI World CupTM Driving Final 2015-16
Bordeaux (FRA)
February
07
Longines FEI World CupTM Jumping 2015-16 - North American League - East Coast
Wellington FL (USA)
February
13
Longines FEI World CupTM Jumping 2015-16 - North American League - West Coast
Thermal CA (USA)
February
19
Furusiyya FEI Nations CupTM Jumping 2016
Ocala (USA)
February
19
Furusiyya FEI Nations CupTM Jumping 2016
Abu Dhabi (UAE)
February
21
Reem Acra FEI World CupTM Dressage 2015-16
Neumünster (GER)
February
28
Longines FEI World CupTM Jumping 2015-16 - North American League - East Coast
Ocala, Live Oak Plantation (USA)
March
12
Reem Acra FEI World CupTM Dressage 2015-16
s-Hertogenbosch (NED)
March
23-28
Reem Acra FEI World CupTM Dressage Final 2015-16
Gothenburg (SWE)
March
23-28
Longines FEI World CupTM Jumping Final 2015-16
Gothenburg (SWE)

Thank You //

I hope you’ve enjoyed this edition of FEI Focus which clearly shows just how diverse and multifaceted equestrian sport is. So many stories, so much dedication and so much passion for the sport and the horsemanship that underpins the sport – that is what makes us unique.

Looking back over the last twelve months, the words busy, bustling, interesting, intriguing, challenging, thought provoking, inspirational and focused come to mind. Busy and bustling refers to our sporting environment which is ever present and expanding and never sleeps. Interesting and intriguing is for the many individuals one comes across when working in this passionate field. Challenging, thought provoking and focused is on the future ahead – and how we as a community make the decisions we need to make to ensure that our sport continues to grow and attract new fans around the world whilst enhancing and retaining the traditional values which sets us apart. Inspirational is for all the individuals pursuing their dreams in this sport – athletes, grooms, officials, volunteers and the list goes on – this year’s FEI Awards winners and all those who enable others to have a future in this sport. Wherever you are – may you enjoy the best of equestrian sport.

Sabrina Ibáñez
FEI Secretary General