Confusion around unsanctioned shows reignited at world class show centre

Confusion around unsanctioned shows reignited at world class show centre

In a U-turn decision, the World Equestrian Center (WEC) in Florida, USA, will not hold hunter/jumper competitions governed by US Equestrian (USEF), leaving the topic of unsanctioned shows up in the air again.

Back in November 2020, there was a dispute between WEC and the USEF over WEC's decision to run National Snaffle Bit Association-approved competitions at the same time as national federation-approved competitions during the 12-week Ocala Winter Spectacular (January 6 to March 28). The USEF revoked the centre's permits for hunter/jumper competitions, stating that WEC's combining of the competitions was "confusing" and "endangered the safety and welfare of horses and people".

The USEF informed the FEI at the time that these events had not been approved, which meant that the FEI could decide whether to apply the unauthorised events rule. This rule states that any FEI official, registered athlete or horse participating in an unauthorised event can be declared unfit to participate in FEI competitions and therefore also national competitions for up to six months.

An agreement was reached between the WEC and the USEF in January 2021 and the organisations said they would "work together in the best interests of the sport" to allow the centre to organise sanctioned competitions. In a joint statement, WEC and USEF said they were "formulating a plan". USEF withdrew its request to the FEI to declare the 2021 Ocala Winter Spectacular unsanctioned. Three months later, the centre made a 180-degree turn and said in a statement on 23 April that "all 2021 competitions" at the Wilmington, Ohio, and Ocala venues will be approved by the National Snaffle Bit Association as of 3 May.

To be continued, no doubt...

Source: Horse & Hound