The FEI has confirmed the shortlisted bidders for the FEI World Championships 2026. The shortlist comprises five Organising Committees who have applied to host events in various disciplines, as follows:
Aachen (GER) – Jumping, Dressage, Para Dressage, Eventing, Driving Four-in-Hand, Vaulting
Boekelo (NED) – Eventing
Burghley (GBR) – Eventing
Al Ula (KSA) – Endurance
Samorin (SVK) – Endurance
The FEI Board will allocate the FEI World Championships 2026 at its in-person Board Meeting on 18 November 2023 in Mexico City (MEX), following a thorough review by the FEI Evaluation Commission and taking into account recommendations by the Technical Committees.
Following three decades of a unique host formula for senior World Championships under the FEI World Equestrian Games™ format, in 2022 the FEI returned to a more flexible approach accepting single and multiple World Championship bids with a focus on catering to the needs and specificities of each discipline. Herning (DEN) hosted hugely successful events in Jumping, Dressage, Para Dressage, and Vaulting whereas Eventing and Driving Four-in-Hand competitions took place at Pratoni Del Vivaro (ITA), venue of the 1960 Olympic equestrian events. The FEI Endurance World Championships 2022 were held at Butheeb (UAE) last February.
“We are very pleased with the variety of bids we have received,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said. “Following the outstanding FEI World Championships 2022 organised in Denmark, Italy and the UAE, we are confident this flexible approach with single and multiple bids serves not only the sport, but also the fans and the development of equestrian around the world, allowing different nations and venues to bid to host a major FEI event.”
The FEI World Championships 2026 in Jumping, Dressage, Para Dressage, and Eventing will be the first qualifying events for the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
A bit of history
The FEI World Championships have a long history.
Dressage is the FEI discipline with the longest tradition of Championships. A Grand Prix de Dressage, organised in Lucerne (SUI) as early as 1927, had hosted 12 riders representing five nations.
Official FEI Dressage Championships were organised on all non-Olympic years between 1930 and 1939 in Switzerland, France, Austria, Hungary, Germany, and Great Britain. The last such event took place in August 1939, only days before the outbreak of World War II.
The FEI tried to revive the event after the war with limited success. Participation gradually improved and European Championships were organised in 1963, which led to the first FEI Dressage World Championship held in Bern (SUI) three years later.
The first Para Dressage Championship, which took place under the leadership of the FEI, was held in July 2007 only a year after Para Equestrian came under the FEI umbrella. The event enjoyed a truly international representation gathering 133 athletes from 35 nations. Since 2010, FEI Dressage and Para Dressage Championships are being held concurrently.
The first FEI Jumping World Championship was organised in June 1953 at the Parc des Princes stadium in the south west of Paris (FRA). The event was drastically different from its modern equivalent as only 19 athletes from 11 countries, including Yugoslavia, Cambodia and the USA, competed. No women took part since female riders would not be able to enter Jumping competitions until 1956.
The first FEI Eventing World Championship was organised in 1966, the same year as the first FEI Dressage World Championship, at the beautiful estate of Lord Burghley in Lincolnshire, Great Britain. The Championship gathered 39 athletes representing five nations: Argentina, Great Britain, Ireland, USA, and USSR.
The previous year the FEI had established the configuration according to which World Championships in the Olympic discipline of Jumping were held every four years in the non-Olympic even years and continental championships were organised in the odd years. This pattern is still in use today for all the FEI Olympic and Paralympic disciplines.
The non-Olympic disciplines
The first edition of the FEI Driving World Championship for Four-in-Hand was held in 1972 in Münster (GER) two years after Driving had become an FEI discipline. Since then, the event continues to be organised every two years.
Endurance became an FEI discipline in 1982, one year before Vaulting. The championship histories of these two non-Olympic disciplines have run in parallel from the start with World Championships organised every other year on even years.
FEI Endurance European Championships had been held in 1984 and 1985 until the first FEI Endurance World Championship was organised in September 1986 at Pratoni del Vivaro (ITA).
In 1983, one year after Driving, Vaulting also joined the FEI. In 1984 the first FEI Vaulting European Championship was organised and was followed by another European edition in 1985. This second European edition was open to the rest of the world. A strong showing from the USA convinced the FEI the time had come for a World Championship. The first FEI Vaulting World Championship took place in in the small Swiss town of Bulle from 18 to 20 July 1986.
FEI World Equestrian Games 1990 – 2018
The inaugural FEI World Equestrian Games™ were held in the Swedish capital Stockholm with the 1912 Olympic stadium as the main venue. On the initiative of the then-FEI President HRH Prince Philip, the World Championships in all the FEI discipline were held in the same city from 14 July to 5 August 1990. Given the smooth organisation and success of these Games, what should have been a one-off event, was extended and seven more editions took place in The Hague (NED) in 1994, Rome (ITA) in 1998, Jerez de la Frontera (ESP) in 2002, Aachen (GER) in 2006, Lexington, KY (USA) in 2010, Normandy (FRA) in 2014, and Tryon, NC (USA) in 2018.