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IJRC General Assembly in Geneva: “We must be united, we must work together”

Friday, 08 December 2017
IJRC Corner

Photo (c) International Jumping Riders Club/Fabio Petroni Newly elected IJRC President Kevin Staut with Eleonora Ottaviani, Christina Liebherr, Henrik von Eckermann, Francois Mathy Jr., Peder Fredricson and Steve Guerdat. Photo (c) International Jumping Riders Club/Fabio Petroni.

The International Jumping Riders Club (IJRC) held its annual General Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland, on Friday morning. This year, the IJRC is celebrating its 40th anniversary – and a lot has changed since the very first General Assembly that was held in Geneva on April 1st 1977. 

“I think it is even more important now (than before),” Franke Sloothaak said about IJRC. “When we see the list of the riders from 1977 when we first started, and all the names we have here in the club today, it shows the ambition to work for our sport. The interest of the riders always, and in the future as well, has to be in taking care of our sport,” he said. “It is very important, that the riders stay united, that they stay together. How is our future looking like? We are taking more care of the animals, because we love the horses and that is why we are riding – not because of prize money. Nobody started riding with only a question of money,” he went on. “We are all in the same boat.” 

“The sport has changed a lot, and the value of a horse has changed in the society,” Christina Liebherr, the new Vice President of the IJRC, said. “In today’s world we are in the spotlight as we are doing a sport with animals. We keep them like pets, they are very important to us – even like family members sometimes,” she continued. “I think it is important, that we are aware of the challenges of the future and if we are one step ahead, we are not so vulnerable.” 

“These last 40 years have taught us something; we must be united, we must work together – not only the office, but also the Board,” Eleonora Ottaviani, who has worked for IJRC for the last 20 years, explained. “Our approval of the 60-20-20 % rule for the five-star event’s invitation system was approved in Montevideo. I really would like to underline, that we are not working against the FEI or the Global Champions Tour and Global Champions League – these events are important for the riders,” she went on. “We are just working in order to achieve our goal; to give equal chances to all the athletes. We believe we are all in the same boat and we are trying to find a reasonable solution and we are working together with the FEI, National Federations and a lot of organizers. There is a ranking working group, that has to find a good solution for all the stakeholders.” 

“I think it is very important to point out, that we have nothing against the GCT or GCL, that is not the problem,” Steve Guerdat, a board member of the IJRC, said. “The problem is, that that we have locked hands of other organizers. I think if you want to organize a five-star event, you stick to the rules and the rule is 60-20-20 – we want equal chances for all organizers, that will bring equal chances to all the riders.” 

The riders present in Geneva voted six board members out of nine nominees and elected a new President and two Vice Presidents. Kevin Staut was elected as the new IJRC President. “At least I could win something this weekend,” he joked afterwards. “We need to be a strong group, the President is nothing without a strong Board. All the riders need to be working together and know what is happening in our sport. I really hope we can work together, try to build a strong Board and as a President I hope we can speak and be aware – it is not the job of only me and the Board members. Our sport is growing really fast and we just have to follow it – thank you if you can all help.” 

Two Vice President were elected: Christina Liebherr and Francois Mathy Jr.. The six Board members that were elected were Ludger Beerbaum, Rodrigo Pessoa, Peder Fredricson, Steve Guerdat, Henrik von Eckermann and Max Kühner. 


Text © World of Showjumping by Nanna Nieminen // Picture © International Jumping Riders Club

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