The International Federation of Equestrian Tourism (FITE) held its General assembly on September 1st, 2019, in Brachfeld (Germany). Encounter with Frédéric Bouix, 42-year-old, re-elected as FITE president for a second 4 year-long mandate.
The International Federation of Equestrian Tourism (FITE) was founded in 1975. France, together with Belgium, Switzerland, and Italy made this collaborative effort. Its purpose is to gather national equestrian tourism organisms (NETOs) throughout the world. Its will is to represent them and supervise their actions in order to develop touristic activities envolving equids. The FITE also manages on an international scale TREC and Working Equitation competitions.
Frédéric Bouix, could you specify France's position and its commitment in relation to international equestrian tourism?
FB : Pioneer nation for equestrian tourism, France has a leading role in the development of outdoor riding practices on an international scale. France is the first country that structured equestrian tourism. Since the '60s, France is operating for routes meshing, training of trainers and riders, as well as the development of events such as TREC enlightenment or the Equirando.
France is involved in international bodies for years, perhaps decades. Together with a few European bodies of FITE's implementation in 1975 and spearheads the FITE since 2003, after several years of Italian presidency.
I assumed a first mandate as FITE's president, from 2015 to 2019, replacing Hervé Delambre, willing to carrying out the work my predecessors had begun. However, I also was willing to offer a new dynamism that would suit what society is expecting from our activities. International relations require to establish trustful relationships with all of the actors involved which is a long-term process. It is the reason why I applied for another mandate that will have the objective to lengthen the implementation of concrete actions that have started
four years ago and also to start new projects.
What the main actions conducted during these past 4 years are?
FB : As soon as I've taken office, I wished to reinforce FITE's participation in equestrian bodies. In 2017, the signing of an agreement with the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) was the formal acknowledgment of a relation.
Which priorities this new mandate is focusing on ?
FB : In cooperation with the Board of directors and the nineteen National Equestrian Tourism Organisms (NETO) that attended the General assembly on September 1st, 2019, topics about equestrian routes and the training were identified as requiring a priority action from our federation. Two workgroups will be established in the next weeks.
Even if the framing of physical and sportives activities is sparsely settled by regulated profession within the European Union, all members expressed the need for a standardized framework for international training that would prepare professionals to work as equestrian tourism accompanists or guides.
About equestrian routes, a special workshop focusing on equestrian tourism welcoming infrastructures will be carried out, for both equestrian tourism centers and accommodations for horses and riders. Firstly, a technical specification will be suggested in order to ensure a minimum quality level for routes, accommodations, and equestrian tourism centers.
This expertise is specifically what FITE' new members are looking for. China, Madagascar, and Roumania are illustrating this statement.
You are best known as the General delegate of the French Equestrian Federation (FFE). You have been involved for a while in several national and international bodies linked to the horse, could you tell us more about it?
FB : At an early stage, while I was a young rider, I quickly figured out the value of being actively engaged in associative life and in our sport's bodies. This conviction I had back then, to help to develop my sport and to carry out an expansion project for the horse and its sector, kept on rising and then I became accompanist and later equestrian tourism teacher, in 1998.
This is how, after being involved in my region of origin, I became administrator at the French Equestrian Federation (FFE) and at the National Equestrian Tourism Committee (CNTE). This first experience as part of national bodies of our federation made appreciate joint action and the equestrian issues. Thus, after being part of the FITE without being a Board member but working with its former administrators, this involvement naturally expended itself to an international scale.
The acquired experience in national bodies enabled me to grasp this international mandate, renewed for another 4 years. I will keep on working for the development of equitation - globally - and more specifically for equestrian tourism, ensuring as much as possible the international influence for French expertise.