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FEI Board meeting: Focus on Equine Ethics & Wellbeing Commission, FEI Athlete Representative election, as well as Medical and Maternity Leave Rules

Friday, 11 November 2022

The FEI Hybrid General Assembly 2022 in Cape Town, South Africa, got underway on Thursday with the first FEI Board meeting, where several topics were on the agenda. Below are some of the main discussions and decisions. 

Equine Ethics & Wellbeing Commission

The Chair of the Equine Ethics & Wellbeing Commission Professor Dr. Natalie Waran introduced the work of the Commission – that was created by the FEI in June 2022 – to the Board Members. In her remarks, Professor Waran said: “What we’re trying to do is to make the case about why an understanding of both ethics and welfare science is important when making decisions about the approach taken to maintain Social License to Operate. As Equestrian stakeholders, we’ve all come from a background of traditions, many of which we hold dear. But to address issues related to Social License, we need to be prepared to adapt, and to embrace what we can learn from new research. As fellow equestrians, we are your critical friends, and we want to support you in not only protecting horse welfare but also ensuring the future use of the horse in sport, leisure and recreation. We will provide advice and recommendations to the Board for consideration, but it is up to the Board to decide to accept these and put them into practice.” 

Limited participation in FEI Athlete Representatives election

Following the end of the voting period, which took place from 1 July to 31 October 2022, the FEI Director of Governance & Institutional Affairs presented the athletes that have been elected as FEI Athlete Representative in each FEI discipline, for a non-renewable four-year term from 2022-2026. The Board noted the limited participation from the athletes community in terms of candidatures received, with only three disciplines receiving multiple candidates, as well the limited participation in the voting process in spite of targeted communications to national federations, official stakeholders and eligible athletes.

Rodrigo Pessoa was announced as the new FEI Athlete Representative for the jumping riders, taking over for Pedro Veniss. 

Medical and maternity leave

The FEI Legal Department informed the Board of a review currently underway regarding the Medical and Maternity Leave Ranking Rules for FEI disciplines, including consultation with relevant riders’ clubs and the wider equestrian stakeholder groups. The Legal Department indicated a first proposal could be put forward to the FEI Board for consideration at its teleconference in December 2022. 

FEI Technical Committees

The Board approved appointments to the FEI Technical Committees, among them were:

Michael Stone (USA) was appointed as a member of the FEI Jumping Committee for the four-year term 2022-2026, replacing outgoing member Daniela Garcia Nigaglioni (MEX), while Lars Roepstorff (SWE) and Mark Sinnott (GBR) were appointed as members of the FEI Veterinary Committee for the four-year term 2022-2026, replacing outgoing members Tim Parkin (GBR) and Yves Rossier (CAN).

Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ 

The FEI President provided a short overview of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Task Force Meeting that was held on 25 October 2022 in Lausanne where stakeholders from the jumping community were brought together to consider the future of the series. The FEI President confirmed that based on the constructive feedback from the meeting, an internal debrief would follow to establish future actions including drafting some concrete proposals which will be put forward to the community for further discussion. 

FEI HorseApp

The Director of Technology and Sports Services provided the Board with an overview of recent developments of the Horse Health Requirements via the FEI HorseApp. Since the Horse Health Requirements came into effect worldwide on 1 January 2022, the FEI HorseApp has recorded more than four million horse temperatures, which board member and FEI Veterinary Committee Chair Jenny Hall described a “game changer” for the sport. A key development for the App has been the dashboard which gives Persons Responsible an overview of the status of their temperature recordings, self-certifications, examinations on arrival and horse check-outs for events in which their horses are entered. 

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