The FEI annual meeting and convention begins tomorrow and on the schedule is a vote on if Fair Hill International will be granted a CCI4* for 2019. Below is the most recent update on the FHI’s 4* bid as well as a proposal for the FEI to change the “stars” scale of international three-day events. Check back next week for the final decision from the FEI!
first published in the November 2017 Equiery
The countdown to finding out if Fair Hill International will be hosting a CCI4* event starting in the fall of 2019 is almost over, as the FEI makes a final ruling at the end of this month during its annual meeting in Spain. Although the FEI is the governing body that decides the international eventing calendar, improvements to the Fair Hill grounds have already been approved at the local level with construction set to begin right after the spring Fair Hill Races in 2018.
“These renovations will go on as scheduled even if the FEI does not vote in favor of the four-star at Fair Hill,” said Terry Hasseltine of the Maryland Stadium Authority. “Several permits are already being processed for phase one of the Master Plan.” Phase one includes the widening of the turf racetrack, installing an irrigation system under and around the track, construction of competition rings in the infield and construction of the four-star track.
If everything goes as planned, the first FHI 4* would take place Columbus Day weekend in October of 2019. “That is the weekend we have requested as we think holding it on a holiday weekend when people are able to travel will bring in new spectators that might not know much about the sport,” Hasseltine explained. He went on to say that if the FEI suggests a different weekend that works better for the international calendar, they would adjust as needed.
For more information and background on FHI’s quest for a four-star, go to equiery.com.
After months upon months of referring to FHI “four-star” bid, the FEI might be voting this month to change the international “star” levels by creating a five-star classification.
According to the “FEI 2018 Eventing Rules – proposed modifications” document, the current Olympic and World Equestrian Games format will be considered a “CCI5* Long” while a new level will be created for a “CIC 5* Short.” This new level will have a cross-country course that is equivalent to a current CIC3* while the dressage and show jumping will be equivalent to a current CCI4*. There is also a new “CI1* Unified” which will be lower than a current CCI1* or CIC1*. “[It] is what we called ‘Modified’ in the U.S.,” said Rob Burk, chief executive officer of the U.S. Eventing Association.
The FEI stated the proposed changes are to “adapt to the current global level of the sport and better support the implementation of the Olympic strategy.” The document went on to state, “This is part of the continued effort to address risk management and the cost effectiveness of the discipline together with encouraging the development of the number of nations participating in Eventing.”
In addition, the FEI is proposing that the current CCI4* events, such as the Kentucky Three-Day here in the U.S., and Badminton Horse Trials in England, be transferred into a separate “Special Events” category, dubbed “Iron-Horse” which will have maximum technical difficulty but would “not be compulsory for the general progression of the Olympics and WEG.” They propose that a CIC5* Short be the level to support the Nations Cup/World Cup series.
So what does this mean for FHI? Well, not much at the moment. The FEI first has to pass the new star classification system and approve FHI as a CCI4* event.