Day four of the FEI General Assembly in Taipei was dominated by the much-anticipated Meet the Candidates session, which saw all three candidates for the FEI Presidency make their final presentations to National Federations.

The session, which was moderated by former BBC presenter Sandy Chalmers, was opened by incumbent HRH Princess Haya Al Hussein (JOR), followed by Henk Rottinghuis (NED) and Sven Holmberg (SWE). Each candidate was given 15 minutes to deliver their final campaign speeches to the record number of National Federations.

Questions were then put to the candidates from the gathered delegates, none of which had been previously sighted. It resulted in a lively session which lasted almost two hours.  

To view the candidates’ presentations please go to the following links:

·       HRH Princess Haya Al Hussein

·       Henk Rottinghuis

·       Sven Holmberg

Friday’s Presidential election will be conducted by secret ballot using the electronic voting system that has been used at the FEI General Assembly for the past five years.

Development Task Force
Whilst the Meet the Candidates session dominated the fourth day, it was a report from the FEI Development Task Force which took centre stage when proceedings began.

The Task Force unveiled a list of recommendations aimed at ensuring the further global development and growth of equestrian sport.

The establishment of a solid financing and operation structure was one of the recommendations of the report, which has been produced by the Task Force over the past four months.

The Task Force, which was established in May 2010, set out to investigate ways in which the FEI could assist National Federations to grow their sport from grassroots to elitelevel by providing them with the necessary tools and expertise.

Key Considerations
The Task Force identified five areas that need to be considered when assessing the best approach to the sport’s development. These were Equine Welfare, Transport & Quarantine; Education & Skills Development; FEI Competition Structure; Infrastructure & Accessibility; and Reach, Visibility & Youth.

The report also recommended that FEI Development initiatives should have a statutory position, including voting rights, on the FEI Bureau and that a dedicated body be established specifically for sport development.

The group, headed by FEI President, HRH Princess Haya, called for immediate additional staffing, including Regional Technical Field Officers, which it said must be provided in order to ensure the implementation and overall coordination of the development initiative.

The report was accepted by the FEI Bureau on 1 November and will be put to the FEI General Assembly tomorrow, Friday 5 November for ratification.

Rule Changes
Thursday’s timetable at the FEI General Assembly also included a presentation on rule changes. The FEI’s General Counsel Lisa Lazarus presented the rule changes which will be put to the General Assembly for approval tomorrow, including recent modifications to the Jumping Rules. Dressage Director Trond Asmyr presented the key changes to the Dressage Rules, following the recommendations of the Dressage Task Force. The FEI Sports Directors were all on hand to answer questions from the floor.

London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics
Tim Hadaway, Equestrian Manager of the 2012 London Olympics Organising Committee (LOCOG), presented a progress report on the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, focusing on the equestrian venue at Greenwich. He also announced that Jeremy Edwards, who is now at the end of his contract as Equestrian Manager for the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore, has been appointed as Equestrian Venue Manager for London 2012.

The session wound up with some interactive discussion generated by moderator Andrew Finding, Chief Executive of the British Equestrian Federation.

Youth Olympic Games
A report on the inaugural Summer Youth Olympic Games (YOG), which took place in August, was presented by Jeremy Edwards, Equestrian Venue Manager in Singapore for the YOG. In his presentation, Edwards highlighted the success of the YOG and how the many lessons learnt on staging a borrowed-horse competition would be valuable for the 2014 host city, Nanjing (CHN).

FEI World Equestrian Games
Jamie Link, the Chief Executive of the World Equestrian Games Foundation gave an overview of this year’s Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Kentucky, showing a poignant video reminding the National Federations of the wonderful sporting moments of the Games. Link spoke of the legacy value of the first-ever World Equestrian Games to be held outside Europe and how the WEG Foundation would be passing on their experiences to Normandy 2014 and beyond.

Christian Paillot, Vice President of the French Equestrian Federation, gave an update on progress for the 2014 FEI World Equestrian Games™ and his video, Today Kentucky, Tomorrow Normandy, proved popular with delegates.

Committee Appointment
The FEI has also confirmed the appointment of Anne D’Ieteren (BEL) as a member of the Para-Dressage Committee. The confirmation follows Monday’s Bureau meeting.