Committee to Create Roadmap for the Future of FEI Endurance

POSTED ON  |  25-10-2018

Istock Endurance
The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) Bureau has set up a temporary committee with a remit to urgently assess the issues currently affecting endurance. The committee will also carry out an in-depth rule review to identify the most effective way of bringing the discipline back to its roots of endurance riding (as opposed to endurance racing), with horse welfare and horsemanship at its core while still maintaining the sport’s competitive aspect.

The temporary committee, which has been established under Article 36.1 of the FEI Statutes1, will be chaired by Sarah Coombs, BVetMed, MSc, MRCVS (GBR), a top FEI endurance veterinarian who has many years’ experience of officiating at FEI endurance events. Coombs was formerly the British Endurance team vet and is a trustee of the global equine charity World Horse Welfare and chair of its Veterinary Advisory Committee.

Other committee members include:
  • 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’équipe of the Dutch endurance team, a police commissioner, and former head of the mounted police in the Netherlands;
  • Meg Sleeper, VMD, Dipl. ACVIM (USA), who has competed in FEI endurance since 2005 and is also a trainer, official veterinarian, and veterinary cardiologist; and
  • Tim Parkin, BVSc, PhD, Dipl. ECVPH, MRCVS (GBR), who heads up the scientific research conducted at the University of Glasgow as part of the FEI’s Global endurance injuries Study and is a candidate for election as a member of the FEI Veterinary Committee.
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 committee’s work. “We need to bring the discipline back to the principles of the FEI where welfare of the horse and horsemanship prevail,” said FEI President Ingmar De Vos. “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,” De Vos continued. “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,” he added. “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.”


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