A new junior level has been proposed for the sport of vaulting, designed to raise the standard for youngsters looking ahead to senior competition.
The popularity of the sport, particularly on digital media, and the revision of competition formats and introduction of new tests was the topic of the final session of the FEI’s 2014 Sports Forum in Lausanne, Switzerland, yesterday.
The welfare of Vaulting horses was also discussed in the context of increasingly sophisticated tests being performed by athletes. The Vaulting Committee opened a discussion on a more specific rule descriptor relating to the back pad used (currently described in Article 719.2.9) to ensure equipment with the latest back and muscle protection is used on Vaulting horses.
“The Vaulting Committee will be closely monitoring the evolution of back pads, surcingles and handles being used in vaulting, and assessing whether new and improved technology could actually encourage vaulters to increase the difficulty of their exercises,” explained Bettina de Rham, FEI Director Driving, Reining & Vaulting.
“It is essential that new technology used in back pads and vaulting grips evolves positively for the horse.”
The new Junior level – CVIJ3* – proposed by the Technical Committee would test Junior vaulters with three technical exercises to be performed in front of the surcingle.
“The proposed introduction of a CVIJ3*, which will be presented to our National Federations for further feedback, would help our Junior athletes to progress more easily to Senior level,” explained Emma Seeley (USA), Chair of the Vaulting Committee and round table panellist.
“The level of our Junior athletes has progressed to such a high standard that we have very gifted athletes around the world, who are ready for this challenge.”
At Senior level, the introduction of a new CVIO4* format was proposed in which the team competition would take place at the end of the event as a grand finale, ensuring an exciting build-up for spectators. Chef d’Equipes would declare their teams only after the performances of their individual, squad and pas-de-deux athletes, adding to the excitement of the final competition.
The panelists for the Vaulting Round Table also included Erich Breiter, Vice-Chair Vaulting Technical Committee (AUT); and Vaulting Committee members Gaby Benz (ITA); Ulla Ramge (GER), and John Eccles (GBR).
An online discussion platform to continue the debate on all topics discussed at the FEI Sports Forum 2014 is available here.