Category Archives: FEI

FEI Sports Forum 2019 Live and On-Demand

Lausanne (SUI), 14 April 2019 — The eighth edition of the FEI Sports Forum 2019, which will be held at the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) in Lausanne (SUI) on 15 and 16 April, will be live-streamed on fei.org.

Day 1 will begin with a session dedicated to gender equality, particularly in governance positions in equestrian sport. This will be followed by a session on preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games with a focus on climate mitigation plans and the optimisation of equine and human performance in a challenging climate. The first session of the afternoon will be dedicated to a review of the FEI legal system, including a proposed way forward regarding pony measurement, as well as sanctions and measures related to Eventing Risk Management. The closing session of the day will look at the future of Reining.

Day 2 will focus on Endurance with the whole day dedicated to the questions, challenges and reshaping of this discipline.

Timetable of sessions (all times CET):

15 April – Day 1

Morning

  • Opening – FEI President and IMD representative – 09:00-09:30
  • Session 1 – Gender Equality – 09:30-10:30
  • Session 2 – Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games – 11:00-12:30

Afternoon

  • Session 3 – Review of Legal System – 14:00-16:30
  • Session 4 – Future of Reining – 17:00-18:30

16 April – Day 2 – Reshaping Endurance

Morning

  • Session 5 – Qualification of Horses and Athletes: reducing welfare risks – 09:00-11:00
  • Session 6 – Educating Officials and correct application of the rules – 11:30-13:00

Afternoon

  • Session 7 – Improvements and innovations to shape Endurance – 14:00-15:30
  • Session 8 – Wrap-up by the Secretary General and open Q&A

FEI Media Contacts:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Vanessa Martin Randin
Senior Manager, Media Relations & Communications
Vanessa.Randin@fei.org
+ 41 78 750 61 73

Strong Interest in Hosting FEI World Championships 2022

A total of 20 countries on four different continents – Europe, North and South America, and Asia – have submitted expressions of interest to host the FEI World Championships 2022, with representatives from over 30 different venues attending a workshop for potential host cities in Lausanne (SUI).

Participants at the interactive workshop, which is a first for the FEI, were briefed on the benefits of hosting FEI world championships, including the economic impact on the host city and country, operational requirements, commercial opportunities, broadcast media rights and event promotion, support from the FEI’s team of experts across key functional areas, and the bidding process itself.

“It is extremely encouraging to have received so many expressions of interest to host the FEI world championships 2022 and to have had the opportunity to welcome potential bidders to Lausanne for today’s workshop,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said. “We hope that this new collaborative approach, in line with the IOC’s New Norm and based on transparency, cost-effectiveness and sustainability, will result in solid formal bids, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating!

“Our sport has grown so much that an all-discipline FEI World Equestrian Games has become too big for many venues to host. By opening up the bidding process for 2022 to single and multi-discipline bids, and not excluding a full Games, we believe that we have created a more enticing formula and the high level of expressions of interest suggests that we are on the right track.”

Following the workshop, which was attended by more than 70 delegates, the process now enters the Candidate Phase, with a 7 June 2019 deadline for the submission of formal bids. A shortlist of candidates will then be drawn up by the end of June, with a draft host agreement provided to each of the shortlisted candidates.

Deadline for receipt of host agreements signed by both the candidate and relevant National Federation is mid-September, with candidates potentially being asked to present their bids to the FEI Evaluation Commission over the following month. Final evaluation of all shortlisted bids will be completed by the end of October, with recommendations provided to the FEI Board prior to allocation at the in-person Board meeting in Moscow (RUS) in mid-November 2019.

History of FEI World Championships

The FEI World Championships have a long heritage, dating back to 1953 when the first Jumping Championships were held in Paris (FRA). The inaugural World Championships in Dressage and Eventing were both staged in 1966, with Dressage in Bern (SUI) and Eventing at Burghley (GBR). Other FEI-governed disciplines followed, with the first Driving World Championships held in Münster (GER) in 1972, Vaulting in Bulle (SUI) in 1986, and Endurance at Pratoni del Vivaro (ITA) in 1986. Reining crowned its first world champions as part of the 2002 edition of the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2002 in Jerez de la Frontera (ESP). Four years later, Para Driving world championships were hosted in Hellendoorn (NED), with Hartpury (GBR) staging the first Para Dressage world championships in 2007.

In 1990, world championships in each of the FEI disciplines were combined and the FEI World Equestrian Games™ were born in Stockholm (SWE) in 1990. Since then the Games have been staged in The Hague (NED) in 1994, Rome (ITA) in 1998, Jerez (ESP) in 2002, Aachen (GER) in 2006, Kentucky (USA) in 2010, Normandy (FRA) in 2014, and in Tryon, North Carolina (USA) last year.

Despite having two previous bidding rounds for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2022, no realistic bids were received and, as a result, the FEI Board last November unanimously approved the opening of a bidding process for individual world championships in all disciplines for 2022, with preference being given to multi-discipline bids. It was agreed that world championships for Dressage and Para Dressage should ideally be combined, and bids to host the full seven-discipline FEI World Equestrian Games™ will also be considered. The world championships 2022 in the Olympic and Paralympic disciplines will serve as qualifiers for the Paris 2024 Games.

FEI contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Communications
grania.willis@fei.org
+ 41 78 750 61 41

Vanessa Martin Randin
Senior Manager, Media Relations & Communications
Vanessa.Randin@fei.org
+ 41 78 750 61 73

Endurance Temporary Committee Holds Third In-Person Meeting

Lausanne (SUI), 22 February 2019 – The Endurance Temporary Committee held its third in-person meeting at FEI Headquarters following previous meetings with stakeholders. Stéphane Chazel (FRA), member of the elected FEI Endurance Technical Committee, currently unable to function as a full committee, and Dr Martha Misheff (USA), member of the FEI Veterinary Committee, were invited to attend the meeting in an advisory role and share their expertise and insights on the future and sustainability of the sport.

The Committee summarised the conclusions of previous meetings, which touched on a wide range of topics, with the aim of bringing the discipline back to its roots while maintaining its competitive status.

“The input from the Groups and the ability to dialogue with our stakeholders has been an invaluable contribution to the Committee’s deliberations,” said FEI Vice President Mark Samuel (CAN), who attends each of the Temporary Committee meetings to facilitate direct communications with the FEI Board. “We noted a great deal of alignment in thinking on most subjects and a notable spirit of engagement and optimism. The priority now is to distill our work into proposals and topics of interest for consideration at the FEI Sports Forum in April.”

The Committee also discussed rule changes still to be addressed, such as mandatory rest periods, CEI1* distances, tack and equipment, and optimising the performance of FEI Officials, including education, appointments, rotation, and evaluation.

The FEI Sports Forum 2019 (15-16 April) will have a prominent focus on the sport of Endurance, with Day Two sessions dedicated to the ongoing discussions of the “Future of Endurance”. Delegates will be provided with an update by the Temporary Committee as part of the full consultation process prior to voting on proposed Rules amendments at the FEI General Assembly in November.

FEI Media Contacts:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager, Media Relations and Media Operations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Olga Nikolaou
Media Relations Officer
olga.nikolaou@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 56

Endurance Temporary Committee Meets with Stakeholders at FEI HQ

Lausanne (SUI), 21 February 2019 – The Endurance Temporary Committee, set up by the FEI Board in October 2018 to review the discipline with the remit of bringing the sport back to its original roots of Endurance riding rather than Endurance racing, has met with a total of 26 stakeholders representing each of the FEI Regional Groups, World Horse Welfare, and the Alliance of Endurance Organisers.

The purpose of the meetings was to allow stakeholders to provide the Temporary Committee with feedback on a series of topics, including the qualification system, mandatory rest periods, track design covering natural features, number of loops, access to water and proximity of cars, elimination codes, heart rates and presentation times, weight of athletes, officials, increased sanctions for anti-doping violations, limits on number of starters, and continuous crewing.

The European Equestrian Federation (former FEI Groups I and II), together with FEI Group III, was represented in the first of five sessions.

“It was a very positive meeting and it was very important for those who participated, that they were being asked for their contributions,” said Quentin Simonet (FRA), Chair of the EEF Endurance Working Group. “Our position is that we have to tackle the real problems which concern a fairly limited number of people. There are plenty of places where the sport of endurance is going very well.”

Also at FEI HQ for meetings with the Temporary Committee were representatives from Groups IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, and IX.

World Horse Welfare also met the Committee, together with representatives of the Alliance of Endurance Organisers, an affiliate of the International Equestrian Organisers Alliance.

“We are heartened that the FEI is taking the strong initiative to “take back,” in the FEI President’s words, the sport of endurance, placing far greater emphasis on equine welfare in what has been a rapidly growing, but all too often, controversial discipline,” said Roly Owers, Chief Executive Officer of World Horse Welfare. “We hope the committee will come up with substantive, and in places radical, changes to better protect equine welfare and so secure the future of endurance.”

FEI Media Contacts:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager, Media Relations and Media Operations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Olga Nikolaou
Media Relations Officer
olga.nikolaou@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 56

Swiss Olympic Champion Guerdat Back to World Number One in Longines Rankings

Lausanne (SUI), 2 January 2019 – Steve Guerdat, the Swiss star who took individual Jumping gold at the London 2012 Olympic Games, has reclaimed the world number one slot in the Longines Rankings.

The 36-year-old, who was previously 140 points off the lead in second place behind Harrie Smolders, has now jumped ahead of the Dutch athlete with a 55-point advantage in the rankings published today by the FEI.

The four-time Olympian last topped the world rankings in November 2012 and his return to the number one slot, on 3,050 points, follows a series of impressive results last month, most notably an emotional victory in the IJRC Top 10 Final on home turf at Geneva.

Individual bronze medallist at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 last September, Guerdat also leads the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Western European League standings and will be aiming for a third victory in the seasonal Final at Gothenburg (SWE) in April after back-to-back wins in 2015 and 2016.

Germany’s Marcus Ehning, fourth in the rankings published at the beginning of December, has now switched places with McLain Ward (USA) to sit third on 2,936 points, 59 adrift of Smolders and just 16 clear of Ward. European champion Peder Fredricson (SWE) remains fifth on 2,815.

Daniel Deusser (GER), Ben Maher (GBR), Henrick von Eckermann (SWE), Beezie Madden (USA) and Guerdat’s compatriot Martin Fuchs (SUI) complete the top 10.

View the complete Longines Rankings here.

Grania Willis
Director Communications
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 42

Endurance Temporary Committee Holds First In-Person Meeting at FEI HQ

Lausanne (SUI), 12 December 2018 – The Temporary Committee, established by the FEI Board in October to urgently review the Endurance rules in order to address the issues currently affecting the discipline, held its first in-person meeting at FEI Headquarters in Lausanne (SUI).

Dr Sarah Coombs (GBR), who chairs the Temporary Committee, said after the meeting: “Today’s meeting generated really strong and productive debate and, together with input from a broad spectrum of stakeholders, we have already drawn up a list of our key focus areas. Your voices are being heard. We are under no illusions about the challenges of the task ahead, but the future of the discipline is under the spotlight and we will do whatever is necessary to rebuild the trust of our community and restore the image of a discipline that has every right to remain a part of the FEI, provided the rules are adhered to and enforced to ensure that our horses are protected and cheating is stamped out.”

The Temporary Committee has already received a huge amount of feedback from the Endurance Community on a number of key areas, including:

  • Increased testing of horses for prohibited substances;
  • Increased sanctions for horse abuse;
  • Review of speeds;
  • Reassessment of rules on mandatory rest periods;
  • Redefinition of elimination codes (particularly Catastrophic Injury);
  • Elite athlete status and “jockey riders”;
  • Qualifications, including qualification as a combination;
  • Increased completion percentage before allowing upgrade to next level;
  • Reinstate and redefine two-hour invasive treatment rule;
  • Hyposensitivity screening (the use of the FEI Hyposensitivity Control System (HCS) was voted in at last month’s FEI General Assembly for implementation in 2019);
  • Heart rates and presentation times at Vet Gate;
  • Definition of and registration of trainers;
  • Over-training/over-competing;
  • Mandatory medication logbook and out of competition testing;
  • Extended provisional suspension for horses testing positive to Banned Substances
  • Course design
  • Tack and equipment
  • Crewing numbers

This first meeting also provided the Temporary Committee with the opportunity to establish the methodology it will use to fulfil its remit to carry out an in-depth review of the rules that will bring the discipline back to its original roots of Endurance riding as opposed to Endurance racing, with horse welfare and horsemanship at its core, while still maintaining the competitive aspect of the sport. The Temporary Committee also agreed a consultation process that will involve further liaison with stakeholders to avail of their expertise and in-depth knowledge of the discipline.

In addition to the chair Dr Coombs, the other members of the Temporary Committee are Endurance athlete and member of the FEI Athletes’ Committee Tarek Taher (KSA), chef d’équipe of the Dutch Endurance team Pieter Wiersinga (NED), FEI Veterinary Committee member Dr Tim Parkin (GBR), who heads up the scientific research conducted at the University of Glasgow as part of the FEI’s Global Endurance Injuries Study (GEIS), and Valerie Kanavy, a former member of the FEI Athletes’ Committee and the Athletes’ Representative on the Endurance Committee (2014-2018).

FEI Vice President Mark Samuel (CAN) joined the meeting and will facilitate communications between the Temporary Committee and the FEI Board. The FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez, FEI Endurance Director Manuel Bandeira De Mello, FEI Veterinary Director Göran Akerström, and other FEI staff members also attended the meeting.

The Temporary Committee will hold its next in-person meeting on 15 January 2019 and there will be a dedicated Endurance session at the FEI Sports Forum 2019 (15-16 April) during which the Temporary Committee will provide an update to delegates.

Media contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Communications
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 42

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Isabell Werth and Weihegold Old Back to Top FEI Dressage World Rankings

Isabell Werth (GER) and Weihegold Old. (FEI/ Leanjo de Koster)

Olympic silver individual and gold team medallist duo, Isabell Werth and Weihegold Old, have topped the FEI Dressage World Rankings once again (2742 points), following their win in the Grand Prix and the Grand Prix Freestyle to Music at the Sweden International Horse Show (“Saab Top Ten Dressage 2018”) in Stockholm (SWE). The famous combination, who were number one for almost two years, from November 2016, only sat in second place for a couple of months behind Laura Graves and Verdades (USA). The American duo now drop back to second place again with 2714 points.

Dressage Queen Isabell Werth can be found three times in the top four of the ranking list, as she holds the third place with Bella Rose 2 (2690 points) and the fourth place with Emilio 107 (2658 points).

A number of other combinations moved up in the rankings, thanks to the Saab Top Ten Dressage 2018 and the FEI Dressage World Cup™ qualifier in Madrid (ESP) on 23-25 November 2018. Patrik Kittel with Delaunay Old (SWE) moved from the 97th to the 11th place (2280 points), whilst Daniel Bachmann Andersen and Blue Hors Zepter (DEN) jumped from the 175th to the 33rd place (2030 points). Claudio Castilla Ruiz and Alcaide (ESP) also made an enormous leap from the 118th to the 43rd place (1923 points).

With the FEI Dressage World Cup™ season continuing over the next few months there will certainly be more impressive changes in the ranking list.

FEI Media Contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager, Media Relations and Media Operations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Olga Nikolaou
Media Relations Officer
olga.nikolaou@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 56

World Jumping Champion Simone Blum Takes Fosun Best Athlete at FEI Awards 2018

FEI Awards winners (L to R): Philip Wong (CHN), Lee McKeever (USA), Simone Blum (GER), Alex Hua Tian (CHN), FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibanez (SUI), Victor Levecque (FRA), FEI President Ingmar De Vos (BEL), Leila Malki (PLE), Juan Carlos Capelli Vice President of Longines and Head of International Marketing, Natasha Baker (GBR), Juan Matute Guimon (ESP). (FEI/Liz Gregg)

Manama (BRN), 20 November 2018 — Germany’s golden girl Simone Blum (29) has undoubtedly had the best year of her career to date, and she added another accolade to the list, taking home the Fosun Best Athlete Award at the FEI Awards 2018 presented by Longines in Manama (BRN).

Crowned individual world champion and winner of a team bronze medal at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 (USA) in September, she became the first woman in the 28-year history of the Games and only the second female athlete in 65 years of the World Jumping championship to win individual gold.

“I am very proud to be the Fosun best athlete. I think it’s a dream of every rider,” Simone Blum said. “A lot of really good riders got it before and to the people I want to say thank you a lot; it was a pleasure for me and I have the best fans and supporters. Thank you.”

Hosts for the gala evening were five-time Paralympic gold medallist and multi world and European title holder, Natasha Baker (GBR), and Spain’s rising star, Juan Matute Guimon, FEI Dressage European Junior champion in 2015 and at 20, one of the youngest Dressage athletes at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018.

Presenting the winners of the five categories, in front of more than 300 distinguished guests, including top sporting legends, equestrian fans, National Federations, FEI partners and stakeholders, these awards celebrate outstanding achievements within the equestrian community, tapping into the sporting excellence and celebrating the champions, the unsung heroes and the incredible individuals and organisations backstage making it all happen.

Groom to four-time Olympian McLain Ward, the USA’s Lee McKeever, took the award for FEI Best Groom. After 30 years working with McLain, he is still as dedicated about his work as when he started, going above and beyond to ensure the best possible care for his horses, and always willing to help others in the sport working tirelessly behind the scenes. McLain and Lee’s shared victories include the recent FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 team gold medal with Clinta, the 2017 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ title with HH Azur in Omaha (USA), individual gold medal with Rothchild at the 2015 Pan-American Games in Toronto (CAN), and team gold medals at the Beijing 2008 and Athens 2004 Olympic Games with Sapphire.

French Eventing athlete Victor Levecque was presented with the Longines Rising Star Award by Vice President of Longines and Head of International Marketing, Juan-Carlos Capelli. This award highlights the achievements of athletes between the ages of 14 and 21 who demonstrate outstanding equestrian sporting talent. At the age of 20, Victor is already multiple winner, with 10 European medals, including two gold medals and five French national champion titles to his name.

“For a second consecutive year the online public vote has become very popular and a peer to peer recognition is one of the most powerful,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said. “The influence of one’s peers and the recognition of talent and hard work is a testament to the strengths and development of the growth of the sport.

“Development, like youth, is key to our future and has been a strong focus throughout 2018 as we can see here tonight in the results of the youth of our sport shining through. With our top partner Longines, and their ever-increasing support, their commitment to these awards and equestrian sport globally, and for the first time to celebrate the Fosun Best Athlete award, we are delighted to be here in Bahrain to reward these fantastic achievements.”

Alex Hua Tian and Philip Wong of China accepted the FEI Solidarity award for the Horsemanship charity programme in China. Ten years ago, Alex won the Rising Star Award and he was here as part of the team working to communicate the core value of “Equestrianism as Horsemanship” to the world’s fastest growing equestrian market.

Leila Malki from Palestine was presented with the Against All Odds award. Her dedication to equestrian sport and her passion have made her a role model for young women in Palestine through her encouragement of girls and women to become involved in equestrian sport in her country.

“As FEI’s Top Partner, Longines is very proud to take part in the 2018 FEI Awards Ceremony in Manama,” Juan-Carlos Capelli, Vice President of Longines and Head of International Marketing, said.

“Our connection with the equestrian world dates back 150 years, and we attach great importance to supporting events that are aligned with our core values of tradition, elegance and performance. We are particularly delighted to present the Longines Rising Star award, acknowledging our commitment in supporting new generations of athletes in each sport that we are involved in.”

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

FEI’s Adoption of Global Reporting Initiative Pushes Sustainability to the Fore

Proud to Jump Green at the Helsinki International Horse Show where Gudrun Patteet (BEL) and Sea Coast Pebbles Z won their first ever Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2018/2019 Western European League qualifier in October. (FEI/Satu Pirinen)

Lausanne (SUI), 7 November 2018 – From supporting the use of horse manure to generate electricity to implementing equestrian-specific reporting indexes and creating a comprehensive guide book for event organisers across the world, the FEI is leading the way in ensuring sustainability is at the heart of its sport.

On the day the International Federation (IF) Sustainability Forum was held in Lausanne (SUI), the FEI was already working behind the scenes on sustainability initiatives, including its adoption earlier this year of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), and is now well on the way to adapting each of the GRI indicators to fit the unique world of equestrian sport.

Crucially, this will allow equestrian event organisers across the globe to effectively implement and measure the impact of their sustainability initiatives. And sustainability has been a part of the equestrian sport’s landscape for some time.

The organising committee for last month’s Helsinki International Horse Show (HIHS) has already put in place a wide range of sustainability initiatives. Feedback from the show is currently being incorporated into an updated version of the FEI’s flagship Sustainability Handbook.

This 36-page guide, originally published in 2014 and now being updated in line with the GRI, serves to aid and encourage event organisers to implement sustainability initiatives that will create positive social and economic legacies while reducing negative environmental impacts.

The HIHS itself is a great example of the innovation and application being displayed by organisers of equestrian events across the world.

The 2018 edition of the show didn’t just generate enough sustainable energy to power its own event, it managed to produce a surplus of 36 MWh – enough energy to propel an electric car 288,000km or heat 36 Finnish apartments for a month.

And it all came from horse manure!

Finnish company Fortum HorsePower – partner of the HIHS since 2015 – provided almost 600 bales of shavings to ensure comfy bedding for all 235 horses competing at this year’s show. In return, the animals produced 112 tons of manure, which was gleefully transformed into 168MWh of energy at local plant, Fortum Jarvenpaa.

While it’s a clear win-win for all concerned, energy production was far from the whole story at the HIHS in 2018. In fact, everywhere you looked, green initiatives were taking hold.

As part of the event-wide ‘HIHS Jumps Green’ project, the organising committee reduced overall paper usage by an impressive 64%, employed electric and bicycle-powered transport wherever possible, significantly increased recycling and reuse efforts across the venue and massively reduced food waste and single-use plastics.

Equestrian sport fans – and there were more than 50,000 of them across the five-day event – got involved too, posting their best environmentally-friendly initiatives on the event’s social media platforms. One lucky participant even received free tickets for the 2019 show in return.

And visitors to the show in 2019 will be greeted by even more green initiatives, with the organising committee having already revealed its intention to introduce a Green Partner project with Fortum.

These are just the kind of efforts the FEI happily promotes but, like all good leaders, the governing body knows the hard work must start at home. So the FEI’s headquarters in the Olympic Capital of Lausanne (SUI) have become the centre of a Green Office project.

Although the HQ of horse sport is already a Minergie certified building – a Swiss standard indicating low energy use – the FEI is asking more of itself. Following an external audit, employees from top to bottom are reducing the organisation and building’s environmental impact still further by such actions as eliminating disposable cutlery and cups, improving recycling efforts through increased segregation and avoiding waste types by eliminating their sources.

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

FEI Bureau Sets Up Temporary Committee to Create Roadmap for Future of Endurance

Lausanne (SUI), 22 October 2018 — The FEI Bureau has set up a Temporary Committee with a remit to urgently assess the issues currently affecting the sport of Endurance and carry out an in-depth review of the rules in order to identify the most effective way of bringing the discipline back to its original roots of Endurance riding as opposed to Endurance racing, with horse welfare and horsemanship at its core, while still maintaining the competitive aspect of the sport.

The Temporary Committee, which has been established under Article 36.1 of the FEI Statutes*, will be chaired by Dr Sarah Coombs (GBR), a top FEI Endurance veterinarian who has many years’ experience of officiating at FEI Endurance events. Dr Coombs was formerly the British Endurance team vet, is a Trustee of the global equine charity World Horse Welfare and is also chair of its Veterinary Advisory Committee.

The members are Tarek Taher (KSA), an international Endurance athlete and recently-elected by his peers as a member of the FEI Athletes’ Committee; Pieter Wiersinga (NED), Chef d’Equipe of the Dutch Endurance team, a Police Commissioner and former Head of the Mounted Police in the Netherlands; Dr Margaret (Meg) Sleeper (USA), who has competed in FEI Endurance since 2005 and is also a trainer, official veterinarian and veterinary cardiologist; and Dr Tim Parkin (GBR), who heads up the scientific research conducted at the University of Glasgow as part of the FEI’s Global Endurance injuries Study (GEIS) and is a candidate for election as a member of the FEI Veterinary Committee.

In order to underline the importance of this discipline review and to facilitate communication between the Temporary Committee and the FEI Bureau, FEI 2nd Vice President Mark Samuel (CAN) will also be involved in the work of the Temporary Committee.

“We need to bring the discipline back to the principles of the FEI where welfare of the horse and horsemanship prevail,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said. “The Temporary Committee will conduct a thorough review of the discipline with the aim of getting back to real Endurance riding with the focus on horsemanship and the partnership between horse and human.

“The sport has evolved and there needs to be a recognition of that, but the essence of the sport must remain the same. What we need are rules that place greater emphasis on completion of the event, rather than the ‘win at all costs’ mentality that is more and more threatening our sport.

“We have a strong Chair in Dr Sarah Coombs, who has a long-standing and in-depth understanding of the sport, particularly the horse welfare and veterinary aspects. With this new role she will be helping steer this crucial next step by leading a committee of extremely knowledgeable members that is focused on regulatory change driven by science with horse welfare at its heart.”

Prior to the creation of the new Temporary Committee, the FEI Bureau had received and accepted the resignation of Dr Brian Sheahan (AUS) as Chair of the Endurance Technical Committee due to ill health. His eight-year term in office was due to expire in 2020. The President has thanked Dr Sheahan for his dedication and passion for the sport and wished him a speedy recovery.

In a further development, the Bureau has provisionally relieved Ignasi Casas Vaque (ESP) of his rights and duties as Deputy Chair and Member of the Endurance Committee due to pending legal proceedings for alleged incorrect behaviour at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018.

The FEI Legal Department last week initiated a disciplinary action against Dr Casas Vaque, based on evidence provided to the independent Equestrian Community Integrity Unit during its investigation into the cancelled Endurance event in Tryon (USA) on 12 September 2018. Any additional disciplinary actions against other individuals involved in events at Tryon last month will be announced in due course.

Due to the resignation of the Chair and the pending legal proceedings involving the Deputy Chair, the Endurance Committee is currently unable to function as a full committee. However, the remaining members of the Endurance Committee – Shanie Bosch-Fourie (NAM) (2014-2018), Rocio Echeverri (CRC) (2015-2019) and Stéphane Chazel (FRA) (2016-2020) – will remain as members for their terms and until further notice. The Temporary Committee will be asked to consult with them to ensure their expertise is not lost during the review process.

The Temporary Committee will start work as soon as possible, with the plan to hold a session dedicated on Endurance at the FEI Sports Forum 2019 allowing the Temporary Committee to provide an update to delegates.

*FEI Statutes, Article 36. Other Committees and Sub-Committees

36.1 The Bureau may establish Temporary Committees for particular purposes. The Bureau shall appoint the Chair and members, define the terms of reference and decide the date when any such Committee shall make its report. Any such Committee shall consist of not more than five (5) and not less than three (3) members, including the Chair. A Bureau member who is appointed to any such Committee shall automatically become the Chair of such Committee.

Media contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Communications
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 42

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46