The first Latin American Vaulting Forum took place in Bogotá, Colombia from the 23rd to the 26th of January 2020. It was a four-days event organized for judges and coaches, vaulters and anyone else interested in the sport. The goal of the Forum was to develop the discipline in Latin American countries. 

Who is behind the Latin American Vaulting Forum?

The Organizing Committee is formed by:

  • Priscila Botton (BRA) – 2 times in the FEI Vaulting Committee & FEI Vaulting Tutor, introduced vaulting in Brazil.
  • Fernanda Shaw (ARG) –  Introduced vaulting in Argentina and 1990 FEI Vaulting Committee member. She used to be a Certified Vaulting Coach in Germany and Argentina and she was National Coach in Argentina from 1991 to 2004. She is currently a Vaulting and Riding Coach in Buenos Aires.
  • Georgina Fernandez Vergano (ARG) – FEI 3* Vaulting Judge (including the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018). Trainer and National Coach since 1991.
  • María Fernanda Posada (COL) – National Coach and NF representative.
  • Jesús Armando Mena (COL) – National Coach since 2005.
  • María Fernanda Rosales (ECU) – Introduced vaulting in Ecuador, National Coach since 1994.
  • Carla Martinez (ECU)- Vaulting Coach, Represented Ecuador at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2010 and FEI World Vaulting Championships 2012.

Priscila Botton told us a bit more about herself and why this event was so exciting for the OC members: 

“I am with vaulting since 1981 and developed vaulting in Brazil. I’ve always been keen on horses, and when I was introduced to vaulting, it became my passion. I just wanted to share with you this bit about me, so you understand how happy we are with the Forum. Our organizing Committee was formed because of the passion of the members, and is totally independent.”

What happened during this Forum?

The Forum was open to everyone and ended with 31 participants (judges, trainers, and some vaulters) from 6 different countries, including Alejandra Orozco, the first Mexican vaulter to compete internationally and now FEI 2* Judge and NF vaulting representative:

  • Colombia
  • Brazil
  • Ecuador
  • Argentina
  • México
  • Panamá
  • Perú had last minute complications but supported the forum and is excited about working with the whole community.

The National Federation of Colombia (FEC) got a major role in the event. The participants also counted on the participation of the military riding school of Colombia, or ESUME (Escuela de Unidades Montadas del Ejército).

The content of the event was mostly about making the sport grow in that area, with workshops to decide about the Vaulting Directives, or specific strategies to increase the development of the discipline. They also took decisions about the national categories in order to facilitate exchange between latin american countries and to help the ones that still don’t have vaulting. 

Jacqueline Braissant, Director of the FEI Solidarity Program was attending the Forum in order to support the initiative and plan the best growth strategy both as a group and for each country. Some countries like Ecuador, Colombia and Argentina already had FEI Solidarity programs either in the past or ongoing, and others like México are starting in 2020 in order to grow the number of officials, coaches and trained horses.

“It was a big plus to have her here also, and she explained a lot about how this program can help us” said a member of the Organizing Committee. 

However, the horses were also at the heart of this Forum, thanks to the participation of the well-known Dr Gerd Heuschmann, an expert who gave a theoretical and practical lecture.

“FANTASTIC presentation, everybody was mesmerized.” according to Diana, a participant. 

What are the goals and conclusions of the Forum?

  1. The vaulting horse: the priority is to educate lungers and coaches in correct horse biomechanics.
  2. Latin American Guidelines for lower levels: they divided into working groups and ended up with 4 levels under 1* in which every country can participate. Each country still has its own Rule Book and “seeding” levels (walk and/or trot). Nevertheless, the idea is to have common levels to all countries. This way, they can exchange vaulters and officials internationally and provide a starting point for the national vaulting programs.
  3. Growth plan: working in conjunction with the FEI Solidarity program for both the group and each country.
Latin American Vaulting Forum

This kind of initiative is definitely a great way to harmonize and develop vaulting around the world:

“This was a huge step towards the development of vaulting in Latin America!! And we are already preparing the 2nd one!” explained a member of the Organizing Committee.

If you want to learn more about Dr Gerd Heuschmann, you can visit his website (only in German).

To learn more about the FEI Solidarity, you can visit their website.