From now on, riders will have a unique voice in front of the International Federation for Equestrian Sports and in the world. As of the 14th of May, the two not-for-profit associations, the International Jumping Riders Club (IJRC) and the North American Riders Group, (NARG), have signed an historic letter of intent in which the former is recognized by the latter as the primary riders’ jumping representative in international equestrian sport to Lausanne’s headquarters eyes. On the other hand, the “European” IJRC Club sees in the NARG the primary Jumping riders’ association in North America.

By its statute, the IJRC, formed in 1977, has always striven to represent riders from around the world, working on global issues, North American included. Since 2008 however, the NARG, exclusively focused on the show jumping industry in North America, has been the main and only voice for its riders. Over time, NARG developed concerns about the IJRC’s ability to adequately represent the North American regional and continental concerns, given its distance and the fact that the majority of IJRC’s members were based in Europe. For this reason, the IJRC agreed that it has a challenging opportunity to show how its Board can fully represent all riders’ voices.

Representatives of the two associations finally met last December at the Club General Assembly and again early this year, with the mutual desire to find a positive working arrangement for the future. The result was an understanding, built on the effort to foster the sport’s growth in full respect of the two athletes, both equine and human. The resulting collaboration between the IJRC and the NARG is based on trust and transparency.

The mutual desire is to promote the influence and the direct participation of the riders at the governance table, where lately their rights seem to slide in a secondary position. The IJRC’s and the NARG’s goal is, in fact, to ensure the sport’s fairness and to protect it, checking the FEI rules to be appropriate, enforceable and respectful of the horse’s welfare.

The cooperation will be realized by naming two or three representatives of the North American association to be part of the IJRC Board. In case one of the representatives could not attend a specific meeting, the NARG will appoint a substitute among its members to be welcomed to the Board. In this way, the IJRC is enabled to represent the views of North American riders to the FEI as the primary riders group.

The document has immediate effect and the IJRC statutes will be accordingly modified during the next IJRC General Assembly by the end of 2014. In the meanwhile, a letter has been sent by the NARG President, Chris Kappler, to the FEI to communicate the new agreement between the two associations.

The two organizations both believe that the IJRC has earned the right to be regarded by the FEI as the primary global show jumping riders’ organization and they ask jointly that the MOU with the FEI will take consideration of the Club as the primary voice of international riders.

The NARG and IJRC are proud of their achievement. By working together they have crafted a solution that allows NARG to work within the IJRC to strengthen its ability to represent the global voice of show jumping riders, in a moment when they strongly need it.