The FEI Endurance Temporary Committee has met with FEI stakeholders ©Getty Images

The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) Endurance Temporary Committee met with stakeholders to discuss the future of the discipline. 

The Endurance Temporary Committee was created in October by the FEI Board, with the purpose of reviewing the endurance discipline to bring it back to its "original roots" of endurance riding rather than endurance racing. 

It met with 26 stakeholders in total who provided the Temporary Committee with feedback regarding topics such as the qualification system, mandatory rest periods, track design, the number of loops, access to water, elimination codes, heart rates, the weight of athletes and officials. 

Increased sanctions for anti-doping violations were also discussed. 

The European Equestrian Federation (EEF) and the FEI Group III were represented in the first of the five sessions. 

Representatives from the FEI Groups IV, V, VI, VII, VIII and IX were also present. 

Other organisations that met the Committee included World Horse Welfare, the Alliance of Endurance Organisers and the International Equestrian Organisers Alliance.

"It was a very positive meeting and it was very important for those who participated, that they were being asked for their contributions," said Quentin Simonet, chair of the EEF Endurance Working Group. 

"Our position is that we have to tackle the real problems which concern a fairly limited number of people.  

"There are plenty of places where the sport of endurance is going very well."

Roly Owers, chief executive of World Horse Welfare, added: "We are heartened that the FEI is taking the strong initiative to 'take back', in the FEI President's words, the sport of endurance, placing far greater emphasis on equine welfare in what has been a rapidly growing, but all too often, controversial discipline.

"We hope the Committee will come up with substantive, and in places radical, changes to better protect equine welfare and so secure the future of endurance."

The Temporary Committee had held its first meeting last December and received Board approval for a change to the endurance rules, including the introduction of the concept of severe injury.

The FEI Endurance Temporary Committee is reviewing the discipline to try and bring it back to its original roots of endurance riding rather than endurance racing ©Getty Images
The FEI Endurance Temporary Committee is reviewing the discipline to try and bring it back to its original roots of endurance riding rather than endurance racing ©Getty Images

They then met again last month to continue their discussion. 

The Endurance Temporary Committee will now hold a meeting to consider the input from the stakeholder group discussions, and to prepare for the FEI Sports Forum 2019, from April 15 to 16.

There will be a dedicated endurance session at the Forum, providing delegates with an update by the Temporary Committee as part of the full consultation process prior to voting on proposed rule amendments at the FEI General Assembly in November.

The Temporary Committee was set up following the cancellation of the endurance riding event amid confusing circumstances at last year's World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Tryon in the US. 

The FEI announced that Spain's Ignasi Casas Vaque had been provisionally relieved of his duties as deputy chair and member of the Endurance Committee pending legal proceedings for alleged incorrect behaviour at the WEG. 

It also confirmed that it had received and accepted the resignation of Dr Brian Sheahan of Australia as chair of the Endurance Committee due to ill health.

In an FEI release, De Vos criticised the "win at all costs" mentality that has emerged in endurance racing, adding: "We need to bring the discipline back to the principles of the FEI where welfare of the horse and horsemanship prevail."

Competition in Tryon saw athletes misdirected at the start of the endurance ride and FEI officials had to halt the action after the first loop.

The event was re-started as a 120 kilometres competition, with officials claiming it was the only "pragmatic solution" as there was no possibility to re-schedule the event for the next day.

But the competition was then cancelled due to bad weather and conditions on the trail.