March 14 - Ten fewer eventing riders will compete for their country at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, with an extra ten dressage athletes to take their spots, according to new equestrian quota systems proposals released by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI).
Outlined in the document, which aims to bring the qualification for the three equestrian disciplines into line, a country's eventing team would comprise four riders plus a reserve – a decrease from the usual five-member teams, while an extra ten dressage riders will be called up to also make four athletes per team to match what is already the standard for Olympic jumping squads.
The main goal of the proposals, which will be presented at the FEI Sports Forum in Switzerland next month, is to "harmonise our rules by doing this to make them easier to understand for a larger public," Ingmar de Vos, secretary general and chief executive of the FEI, explained.
Despite growth in the sport, particularly in emerging nations, no increase to the quota of athletes and horses for Rio 2016 was on the cards for the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
"When looking at all the different aspects we need to bear in mind the very clear message of the IOC that no increase of the all over quota for equestrian sport of 200 horses will be accepted," De Vos said.
"Consequently any improvement needs to be addressed within this quota of 200 horses.
"With a sport that is luckily developing in all parts of the world this is not an easy exercise."
De Vos went on to say that the success of the equestrian events at London 2012 put the sport in a "somewhat more secure position" with regard to its future on the Olympic programme.
Nonetheless, he was cautious to say that they are not resting on their laurels and working hard to improve the sport still further.
"We must remain vigilant and alert and we should not spare any effort to keep our sport as successful as possible in the Games," he said.
"Furthermore, we must understand and accept that it will be impossible to make everybody happy.
"The success and respect for our sport and for the FEI will also depend on the capability of our community to stand together unified behind a proposal for the IOC, knowing that in this case the solution will be the best one possible, but not ideal."
To read the full FEI proposal click here.
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