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March 18, 2013

FEI Proposes Four-Person Teams Across Disciplines For 2016 Olympics

Like the 2012 London Games, 200 horses will participate in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, set for Aug. 6-18, but fewer eventers will take to the field, allowing more dressage riders to compete.

The Federation Equestre International released a report of proposed changes to be discussed at the FEI Sports Forum, April 8-9, in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The most significant change in the proposal is the equalization of the number of riders per team. Where the eventers had five-member teams with two drop scores and the dressage riders had three-member teams with no drop scores at the last two Olympic Games, now every sport would have four-member teams with one drop score.

As a result, a total of 65 eventers and 60 dressage riders (a change from 75 and 50, respectively, in London), will compete. Show jumping stays steady at 75.

Both dressage and eventing teams will be allowed one alternate to travel to Rio to replace an athlete if needed.

In jumping, the new rules will allow 16 teams instead of 15 to compete, but both eventing and dressage will maintain their 11-team limits. The remaining spots are open to individual competitors based on the FEI Olympic Riders Ranking lists.

“Compared to the past, the success of equestrian sport at the London Olympics and Paralympics has put us in a somewhat more secure position with regard to our place in the Olympic Program,” said FEI Secretary General and CEO Ingmar De Vos. “However, we must remain vigilant and alert, and we should not spare any effort to keep our sport as successful as possible in the Games…. We must understand and accept that it will be impossible to make everybody happy, and that after an open discussion, we have the responsibility to come to a conclusion.”