Due to recent scandals surrounding equipment testing, members of the global equestrian community are calling for sweeping changes to the flawed appeal process of the FEI, which is becoming increasingly criticised.

A process that has recently come under fire due to issues of misconduct and abuses of power within the FEI, the global equestrian community are demanding a fair, ethical and transparent equipment testing process with appropriate avenues for appeal. The FEI Dressage and Eventing departments remain at the centre of this controversy, as a result of their unwillingness to release information and answer questions that would resolve outstanding cases of equipment testing. Of particular interest ahead of the 2018 FEI General Assembly is the matter of the STS Space Technology Safety stirrup irons. Despite evidence and testimony in support of this life-saving equipment, they are yet to be approved by the FEI.
All avenues of appeal have been flawed and farcical. “The FEI say you can appeal, but then they refuse to provide the correct testing reports and answer questions, making it impossible. “The FEI enclosed an appeal form. However, it is clear this form is written for objections to competition rulings or drug testing, with a 30-day time limit to appeal. It does not apply to equipment testing, as indicated by the FEI.”

“As mentioned on the FEI web site “there has been ongoing communication for 18 months with the WTP NP Bit equipment testing case” – another incidence whereby personal interests have overruled the importance of honesty, integrity and transparency.

Therefore, this confirms a no time limitation period can start until we have received the information and reports to allow an appeal to be made.

However, the requests for the information were ignored, making it impossible to lodge an appeal, and making their claims and the FEI appeal process farcical.

“Such information is vital in exhausting all avenues of appeal as part of a fair and ethical process.

“To prevent conflicts of interest, FEI members must be compelled to provide all testing reports in accordance with the new FEI equipment rule and process, or immediately after completion, thereby supporting its implementation.

“In the STS stirrup irons case, we requested the testing reports seven times, but both the FEI President Mr. Ingmar de Vos and members of the Dressage and Eventing departments refused to supply them, which is considered unethical conduct under the FEI Constitution.

“They then made false claims the appeal time had expired, which was deceptive and misleading, and refused to correspond with us any further. We allege this was an attempt to cover up a scandal as any release of evidence would unveil the truth.”

Many disgruntled equestrian competitors who are barred from using the STS stirrup irons at FEI Dressage, and Cross-Country competitions feel their lives are being put at risk for the sake of personal interests within the FEI Dressage and Eventing departments.

“The FEI Constitution states rider safety is paramount and cannot be compromised. The FEI Australian National Federations have tested and approved the STS stirrup irons for Dressage, Show Jumping and Eventing. All agreed they should be approved for all FEI competitions. 

“While the irons have been approved for FEI Jumping competitions, claims made by the FEI Dressage and Eventing departments have been proven to be flawed. The FEI could not fault our evidence or deny their objection was flawed. Yet, they have done nothing to rectify this.”

The STS stirrup irons have garnered immense support and remain the only stirrup irons in the world to win the Australian international design award for safety. However, all requests for information and right of appeal have fallen on deaf ears.

good design award
“Equipment companies should be given the opportunity to challenge equipment objections when they are made and prior to publishing on the FEI website and mobile app, which will help to avoid unnecessary and lengthy appeals. “Equipment companies should also be provided with the names and email addresses of the equipment testing riders and committees on request, so they can be assured they will receive the correct information and supporting documents. “We asked the FEI several times for the names and email addresses of the equipment testing riders, so we could check with them if, in fact, they did approve the STS irons. Our requests were ignored without reason, which is reprehensible and raises suspicions of a cover up. “Further, the FEI secretary or FEI legal department provide the Appeal and Tribunal committees with any appeal applications and evidence. These are the same members who have refused to cooperate, which proves they cannot be trusted, and the system is flawed.”

The rider in this video was using traditional FEI approved stirrup irons when she was hooked up and dragged

“In addition, we gave Mr. de Vos and Ms. Chloe Harty of the Dressage department the opportunity to deny the equipment testing riders did approve the STS stirrup irons in their reports completed prior to 13 June 2018. However, they could not deny the fact. “If new appeal rules and processes were implemented; this would prevent FEI members making false claims and ensure they are accountable to provide information and answer questions, so applicants can decide if an appeal is warranted or necessary. “Moreover, if a complaint is found to be flawed and wrong, the FEI should approve the equipment without delay, which could prevent serious injuries and deaths. New appeal rules will reduce the amount of expensive appeals made, which take up unnecessary resources.”

Media Enquiries:

Steve Reynolds

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