The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) has unveiled the eight ambassadors of its global sport development programme, FEI Solidarity, in a specially commissioned composite portrait.
The FEI Solidarity Ambassadors, who include Olympic, Paralympic, world champions and national heroes, have formed a unique partnership to promote and develop the global equestrian disciplines governed by the FEI.
The athletes are:
• Charlotte Dujardin OBE, British double Olympic Dressage gold medallist
• Laurentia Tan, Singapore’s top medal winning Paralympian
• Ingrid Klimke, German Olympic Eventing gold medallist
• Jessica Springsteen, the 22-year-old American Jumping star
• Maria Alvarez Ponton, the Spanish rider who in 2010 became the first rider to hold concurrent World and European Endurance titles
• Tomas Eriksson, Sweden’s three-time winner of the FEI Top Driver Award
• Lior Raz, the Israeli who has been competing in Reining since the age of 14
• Bongani Mvumvu, the South African Vaulter who also won the FEI World Dressage Challenge Final for Children in Hagen (GER) in 2003
The FEI Solidarity Ambassadors will help to raise awareness of the FEI Solidarity programme by attending media events and visiting equestrian development initiatives around the world.
FEI Solidarity, launched in 2011 and inspired by the Olympic Solidarity model, is focused on providing opportunities for the next generation of athletes, as well as all those working in equestrian communities so that they can establish their own national structures for developing their sport.
The FEI Solidarity programme has so far supported 18 projects with funds as well as technical and consultancy services. These include horse-assisted therapy for seriously disadvantaged teenagers in South Africa, sports classes for multiple sclerosis sufferers in Sardinia, training of coaches to improve national sport development, and farrier and harness-making training in Cambodia with international charity World Horse Welfare. A further 15 initiatives will receive support from FEI Solidarity in 2013.
“FEI Solidarity is an exciting journey towards creating a more equal equestrian community, and is about us pulling together to develop exciting new projects that will develop the sport we all cherish, so that it is truly universal,” explained FEI President HRH Princess Haya.
“This is the first time that equestrians from across our disciplines have come together for one cause, and the calibre of our FEI Solidarity Ambassadors is exceptional, highlighting the true global reach of our development programme.
“FEI Solidarity is changing lives, and this united front of extraordinary equestrian ambassadors will help us to build and nurture the future of equestrian sport, making it possible for many more development initiatives around the world to become a reality.
“Our FEI Solidarity Ambassadors, and everyone working alongside us on this initiative, has a shared commitment and goal to amplify the voice of equestrian sport, guarantee its future worldwide, and to create future champions.”