FEI president: Equestrianism is not a sport for the rich, it is an industry

By Jose Miguel Pascual

Barcelona, Oct 3 (EFE).- The president of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI), Ingmar De Vos, said he was against the popular belief that equestrian sports are designed for the wealthy, as he considered that they sustain “an industry for all” capable of generating employment in many countries.

The Belgian, who has held his current post since 2014, explained in an interview with Agencia EFE, Spain’s international news agency, that in looking at the careers of riders, “many of them start as employees in the industry, they start as stablehands and trainers and then find the opportunity to ride.”

The horse industry, according to a report by the Equine Business Association (EBA), has an economic impact of $300 billion annually and generates more than 1.5 million full-time jobs worldwide.

In Spain, the Royal Spanish Equestrian Federation is conducting a new study on the subject to update the latest figures available to them from 2012, when the horse industry contributed 5.3 billion euros (some $6.4 billion) to the national economy, creating 61,000 direct jobs and generating 0.51 percent of the country’s GDP.

In addition to elite competitions, horse breeding, stable maintenance, equipment and animal feed production, iron work, veterinarians and medication are among the other economic benefits derived from this sport.

De Vos talked with EFE at the final of the FEI Jumping Nations Cup, which was held this weekend at the Real Club de Polo in Barcelona, and he confirmed that the city would host the tournament for at least one more year.

“I think it’s a great event with a lot of excitement. Because of the pandemic, we had to postpone the tournament for a year and extend the current agreement for another year, so we will also return next year to Barcelona,” De Vos said.

Barcelona has hosted the finals of the most prestigious equestrian team jumping tournament for the past eight years.

The FEI is still analyzing possible format changes to improve the series and hopes to reach a conclusion before the end of the year, although it says it is satisfied with the current set-up and the public’s response.

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