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Final proposals to 2018 FEI Jumping Rules ready

Tuesday, 07 November 2017
FEI General Assembly 2018

The FEI General Assembly in Montevideo, Uruguay, is getting closer and several changes have been proposed to the Jumping Rules. After being send out to different stakeholders for their feedback, some of the proposed rule changes have been adjusted, some remain intact and some have been dropped or put on hold until 2019.

With only two weeks to go to the FEI General Assembly, World of Showjumping looks into some of the most discussed proposals. For those that would like a full overview, all documents can be found on FEI’s website:


The so-called blood-rule:

One of the proposed rule changes to the FEI Jumping Rules that will come up on the FEI General Assembly is the so-called blood-rule, that has caused much controversy and discussion in the past. Despite a wish from some stakeholders to soften up on the rule, and distinguish more serious violations of the rules towards minor ones the majority of the feed-back on the proposal has been that the rule must be kept clear without room for subjective interpretations.

The initial proposal for article 241 section 3.30 concerning eliminations, reads: 

The initial proposal for article 242 section 3.1 concerning disqualifications, reads:

Excerptions from the feedback include:

German NF: “Any decision taken by an Official must be comprehensible and follow precise guidelines, he or she cannot be left alone with it and we cannot vote for a wishy-washy rule. It has to be clear that Athletes must be eliminated whenever there is blood. That way the results of the performance delivered up to then are acknowledged. A disqualification should be made in serious cases of abuse.”

Irish NF: “We do not agree with the proposed modification to Art 241 & Art 242. The IRL NF have considered the proposed changes and consider the changes to be ambiguous and subjective.”

Swiss NF: “As already written by the EEF, any softening of the current rule is for various reasons not recommendable and has some inherent risks. It has to be clearly defined and applied the same way for everybody. There should be no room for interpretation for the official.”

Swedish NF: “We think that it’s too difficult for an Official not to have precise guidelines to follow regarding minor cases of blood.”

From the Jumping Committee: “The Committee agreed that there should be no ambiguity and that the penalty for blood on the flank(s) should be elimination. Art. 241.3.30 has been revised accordingly; relevant modifications were also made to Art. 242.3 to address cases of abuse of the horse.”

Furthermore, the Jumping Committee writes: “Art. 242.3 has been updated further to the decision that all cases of blood on the flank(s) incur elimination (Art. 241.3.30). Reference to blood on the flank(s) has been removed from Art. 242.3 and the original text relating to marks indicating excessive use of the spurs or whip has been reinstated, with a cross-reference to Art. 243 and the mention that additional sanctions may apply. The protocol in the Stewards Manual will be revised in accordance with the updates to Art. 241 & 242 and in consultation with the Veterinary Department.”

Final proposals blood-rule:

The final proposal for article 241 section 3.30 concerning eliminations after feedback from the stakeholders now reads:

“The Ground Jury must enforce Elimination under the following circumstances: (...)

blood on the Horse’s flank(s);”

The final proposal for article 242 section 3.1 concerning disqualifications after feedback from the stakeholders now reads:

“Disqualification is mandatory in the following cases: (...)

3.1 marks indicating excessive use of spurs or of the whip anywhere on the Horse; additional sanctions may also apply (see JRs Art. 243);”

Hind boots:

Another proposed rule change is to phase out the use of hind boots that are not used solely for protective purposes, restricting the use of such boots based on the consensus that certain types of boots affect the performance of the horse. The initial rule proposal will go through to the General Assembly in its current form.

The initial proposal for article 257 concerning saddlery, reads:

Excerptions from the feedback include:

German NF: “We agree to the rationale behind it that aims at improving sporting fairness. We support the proposal to restrict the use of hind boots provided it is clearly defined what is allowed. Please propose the details for the Stewards’ Manual. We also agree to the proposed timeline because we understand it will be too difficult and not practicable to implement the alterations right away.”

Irish NF: “The IRL NF strongly supports the rationale that this proposal is to protect the integrity of the sport. However, the IRL NF suggest that the FEI Jumping Committee take the appropriate time to consider the definition of ‘performance enhancing’ and the type of boot that will be considered as same.”

US NF: “There is some belief, within the U.S., that this rule is premature and that the implementation of the recent rules regarding the boot checks have had a positive impact on the abuse of hind boots and that it may not be necessary to add these new Rules. However, there is strong support for creating a level playing and not rewarding performances that are enhanced by artificial aides and therefore, we support the rules and timelines as proposed.”

From the Jumping Committee: “Although opinions varied on the proposal, the majority of respondents were in favour of introducing restrictions on hind boots but differed on the timeline for implementation. As the Committee’s proposal was to implement restrictions starting in 2019, to allow time to develop a clear and comprehensive description of the type of boots permitted, the Committee did not feel that it could at this late stage impose implementation of the restrictions in 2018. The rationale for proposing implementation of restrictions for the Senior category only as of 2021 was because the Committee did not wish to change the conditions of the sport during the Olympic cycle. The Committee recognises that restricting the type of hind boots allowed will change the sport, and as qualification for the 2020 Games will start in 2018 (WEG), changing conditions during the Olympic cycle would not be consistent with providing a level playing field for all nations trying to earn qualification. The Committee felt that implementation of the restrictions should start in 2019 with the Pony Riders, Children, Amateurs and Veterans categories, for which there are no qualification criteria for the relevant Championships, then follow with Juniors, Young Riders and U25 in 2020, as a number of Children and Pony Riders will have transitioned to the Junior, Young Rider and/or U25 category by that time, and finally for Seniors in 2021, i.e. after the 2020 Olympics, for the reasons stated above.”

Final proposal hind-boots:

The final proposal for article 257 section 2.5 concerning hind boots, still reads:

2.5 For implementation as of 1 January 2019: Only boots used solely for protective purposes, as described in the FEI Jumping

Stewards’ Manual, may be used in FEI Competitions for Pony Riders, Children, Amateur Owners and Veterans.

For implementation as of 1 January 2020: Only boots used solely for protective purposes, as described in the FEI Jumping Stewards’ Manual, may be used in FEI Competitions for Juniors, Young Riders and U-25.

For implementation as of 1 January 2021: Only boots used solely for protective purposes, as described in the FEI Jumping Stewards’ Manual, may be used in FEI Jumping Competitions. 


For riders and grooms, it will be good to know that a proposal on restrictions on the use of head-phones at the show ground is included in article 256 section 1.10 concerning dress, headgear and salute. After the feedback from the stakeholders it now reads:

1.10 Earphones and/or electronic communication devices may never be worn during FEI Jumping Competitions. For the avoidance of any doubt, Athletes, grooms or any other person may wear one earphone at any other time while mounted; 

Water jump and cut-off score:

Proposals that have been dropped ahead of the FEI General Assembly include certain suggested changes to the water jump and the cut-off score.

From the Jumping Committee about the water jump: “As the proposals relating to specifications for the water jump, number of times it can be used, use of camera or Hawk-Eye technology at the water jump and removal of all references to the lath are new proposals they will be considered for the 2019 rules. The initial proposal to submerge the lath has been withdrawn and replaced by the requirement that the entire length of the lath must touch the water at the time of the Ground Jury’s inspection of the course. The related modification to Art. 211.5.1 has therefore also been withdrawn,” writes the Jumping Committee after the various feedback received.

As to the proposed cut-off score, the Jumping Committee writes: “The proposal to introduce a cut-off score of 16 penalties as an optional format under Table A was originally intended as a potential format for the 2020 Olympic Games. The Committee has in the meantime decided not to include it for the Olympics; the proposal has therefore been withdrawn from Art. 236.1.”

CSI Invitation Rules and CSI/CSIO Requirements:

A huge part of the proposed rule changes relates to the CSI invitation system and CSI/CSIO requirements, that was also a part of the discussion at this year’s FEI Sports Forum. To read more about the details of the proposals, the feedbacks from the stakeholders as well as the final suggested rule changes follow the links above, and scroll to page 20 in this document to read the comments to the initial proposals and to page 68 in this document to read the final proposals.


The FEI General Assembly takes place in Montevideo, Uruguay on November 21. The full agenda and annexes can be found via this link.


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