I have new found respect for anyone that volunteers any of their time that brings them in close proximity to the politics of this wonderful sport of eventing. I read a document titled Eventing Future from the FEI, tweeted by Paul Tapner earlier today. There are some frankly crazy proposals being put forward for discussion. You have to wonder if they’re making up jobs and tasks to keep people employed or busy. Here’s my favourite bizarre proposal:
Introduction of a penalty system related to knocking obstacle flags: e.g. 5 penalty for knocking flags on skinny, narrow, corners fences. Clearly a completely different approach from Course Designers (allowing more space between flags) must allow the possibility, for a straight horse when jumping correctly, to jump without touching flags.
It’s like local government finding new places to impose parking fines. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should! The last thing the sport needs is further complexities to an already ridiculously complex scoring mechanism. As far as I can see this 5pt. flag proposal adds no value, has no safety benefit, and is in no way in keeping with the spirit of the sport.
The same document talks of “examining ways of widening the appeal of the sport both from a spectator and participant point of view and to enhance the spectator engagement with the sport both from an attendee and TV audience.” How’s that for an oxymoron?
The FEI should have some simple QA and common sense criteria before allowing ideas like this to even reach a discussion document let alone a forum.
You can read the full document here, I gave up trying to understand any of the reasoning contained within it, after reading about this particular proposal:
(oh, and it’s dated March 22nd, not April 1st)