Oliver Townend: FEI is “changing the goalposts”

By Charles Taylor on |

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Leading British rider Oliver Townend is concerned that world equestrian sport’s governing body are “changing the goalposts” during an ongoing debate about possible changes in eventing.

The future competition format for eventing at Olympic Games and other major championships is currently being discussed, together with possible changes of cross-country penalties, covering areas like frangible pins and first refusal at a fence.

Everybody thinks we need to make the sport safer, but I think they are looking at a lot of wrong directions, in my opinion.

Yorkshireman Townend, who won Badminton and Burghley in 2009 and was Badminton runner-up last year, is keeping a close eye on developments.

The world-ranked number five rider said: “I think the sport is in between things at the moment.

“The FEI (Federation Equestre International) seem to be changing the goalposts.

“Everybody thinks we need to make the sport safer, but I think they are looking at a lot of wrong directions, in my opinion.

“I think the sport is constantly changing, and I don’t think particularly for the better with some of the FEI rules.

“It just seems to be a little bit of a Mickey Mouse situation with a lot of the things they are coming out with, and I think it is taking it away from what the sport is actually meant to be.”

Townend will launch his quest for a second Badminton title on Friday, when he enters the dressage arena aboard Armada.

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