An important decision marked the end of the International Jumping Riders Club general assembly, which took place Tuesday in Madrid: Cayetano Martinez de Irujo from Spain has been named the new President of the Association. He replaces Brazil's Rodrigo Pessoa, who completed a four year term. Pessoa will not be leaving the club, however, but will be staying on as Vice President: a role he will share with German legend Ludger Beerbaum. Young rider Steve Guerdat has also entered into the Executive Board, along with Brit Ben Maher, Germany's Max Kuhner and French rider Kevin Staut. Along with these young guns, a few veterans, such as current World Champion, Belgian rider Philippe Le Jeune and Norway's Geir Gulliksen.
Cayetano Martinez de Irujo was elected to the cheers of all riders present, and he already laid out his plan for the next four years: “People need to understand that we are a free and independent body. Together with the FEI and the show organizers we are the protagonists of this sport, and decisions are taken by active riders, with the goal of making show jumping better and better".
The new President then underlined the importance of Kevin Staut's presence on the Executive Board of the FEI, "Since the founding of the Club more than 40 years ago we have wanted a rider on the Board of the International Federation, where the major decisions are made. Today we have this chance to make not only our voice, but our vote heard. Rodrigo has gotten a lot of good work done in the last four years, and today's meeting was an excellent way to start my term. In the short term, I want riders to start discussing the pay card, the evolution of an important circuit like the Global Tour and also about horse welfare and vet rules".
Ludger Beerbaum asked all riders to voice their opinion when he stated, "We need clear, shared and correctly applied rules to safeguard the welfare of our horses and our sport. The controls must be rigorous and well done. We need professional stewards present at all big international competitions, who know horses and who establish a standard. This can happen at all shows, involving national federations, but it can begin right away at the bigger events, Championships, CSIO and CSI5*".
These proposals caught the attention of FEI staff present at the meeting, in particular John Roche, head of showjumping for the International Federation and John Madden Chairman of the FEI Jumping Committee. They showed full support and both said that they will be behind the club one hundred percent to get the project started.
Rodrigo Pessoa thanked all the Club members for the work done in the last four years, but added that there was much more to be done, "We have really only begun working on things like the conversion rate in the last year. The same goes for entry fees of new categorization, CSI requirements, pay cards, certificates of capability for CSI5*, veterinary issues and the new ranking points formula. Not only that, but we need to understand how improve contact and communication with our members and with overseas riders and rider’s associations, particularly in the United States.” In closing, Club Director Eleonora Ottaviani reminded the group of the work done with FEI Director Harald Muller on awareness raising and information for riders, which led to the publication of “Awareness and ride Fair” and to meetings and clinics which fostered dialogue between riders, owners and show organizers.
Source: Press release from IJRC
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