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