Belgium Puts Selection for 2020 World Young Horse Championships on Hold

Sun, 04/26/2020 - 11:34
KBRSF Young Horse Workgroup member Katrien Verreet competing Oblix van de Kempenhoeve (by Quaterback x Sungold) at the 2019 World Young Horse Championships :: Photo © Astrid Appels

The Belgian Equestrian Federation (KBRSF) has announced that it will put its selection of a Belgian team for the 2020 World Championships for Young Dressage Horses in Verden on hold due to the corona crisis. 

The 2020 World Young Horse Championship (WCYH) are scheduled to take place on 5 - 9 August 2020, but the German Federal Government has prohibited mass events until the end of August 2020.  The WCYH organisation has submitted new hosting dates to the FEI and is awaiting approval. 

Because of the uncertainty of the WCYH dates and recent developments in the corona pandemic, the Belgian Young Horse Work Group - consisting of Thomas Eyckmans, Katrien Verreet and Mariette Withages - have decided to put selections on hold. 

"On the one hand we need to wait for the international situation, and on the other hand, we need permission from the Belgian government to host selection events," said the Work Group. "As soon as there is more clarity concerning the WCYH date and the possibility to host competitions in Belgium we'll reschedule the selection days under their announced form."

In The Netherlands WCYH selections have already started with a first assessment of the horses via video. Combinations had to send in a video of them riding the test at home, which was reviewed by the selection committee. The best performing pairs were long-listed and will be invited to a "physical" selection day as soon as possible. 

Belgium, however, states that the selection based on online video footage is not allowed by the FEI and therefore it will not use video as a first possible selection moment. The KBRSF quotes the FEI Rules:

“The position of the FEI Board is that FEI judges are not permitted to judge in national or international online competitions.  This type of competitions falls under the category of “unsanctioned events”, and they don’t guarantee some of the fundamental FEI principles:
–  it is impossible to control horse welfare issues; in each equestrian discipline, the welfare of the horse must be the paramount consideration at all times. It must never, in any circumstances, be subordinated to competitive or commercial considerations.
–  athletes must compete against each other under fair and equal conditions; the organizer must provide similar benefits and conditions to all participating horses and athletes;
–  it is not possible to control and ensure the uniform application of all the necessary rules and regulations and to hold event organizers and participants accountable for conducting themselves in a manner that protects the safety and integrity of the sport;”

 In The Netherlands the video assessment is not considered a "competition" and has only served as a starting base for a long list previous to the actual physical selection moment, later on. 

Photo © Astrid Appels

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