The July 24 round table session on the sport of endurance, held at Fédération Equestre Internationale Headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, ended with unanimous approval by attendees and full support for the strategy mapped out for the discipline by the FEI.
The 22 delegates—including representatives from Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, the European Equestrian Federation, the FEI Endurance Committee and FEI Headquarters—agreed that, globally, all efforts will be made to reduce the numbers of horses testing positive for prohibited substances and suffering injuries.
Following open discussion involving all parties and agreement that the current rules—when fully implemented—already serve the sport well, the group recommended a plan of action for the FEI Bureau to consider, which includes:
1. The support of all rule changes already proposed for consideration by National Federations and approval at the FEI General Assembly.
2. A series of short-term proposals for immediate consideration by the FEI Bureau, which are:
- A Global Endurance Injuries Project to be started as soon as possible;
- Reinforcement of the duties and obligations of FEI Officials;
- Building on the success of the Clean Sport Campaign, increased levels of testing for prohibited substances across the discipline in all regions.
3. The establishment of a strategic planning group tasked with developing a plan for the future of endurance over the next decade, a plan that will have global reach. It will include elements concerning the future growth and development of endurance, the action necessary to ensure the discipline achieves the highest standards as a “clean sport” and fulfils all of the requirements of the FEI’s Code of Conduct for the welfare of the horse.
The FEI Bureau will be asked to approve the proposal, its mission, terms of reference and its constitution at its teleconference meeting on Aug. 12. If approved by the Bureau, the strategic planning group will present its “plan in outline” at the General Assembly.
It is recommended that the group will include an independent facilitator and representation from the FEI’s Integrity Unit, led by Lord Stevens.
Andrew Finding, European Equestrian Federation board member, who chaired the round table session, said: “Today we have had a full and frank discussion about the challenges for endurance. The outcome of today’s meeting is that we have unanimous agreement over the tasks to be completed. I have been impressed by the courage, commitment and determination of all delegates to move forward positively throughout today’s meeting.”
FEI Secretary General Ingmar De Vos added: “We are very satisfied that this round table was able to come up with a unanimous conclusion, which shows the engagement and understanding of all involved in the sport of endurance. We were very happy with the way that Andrew Finding conducted this round table session, where all parties involved had the opportunity to express their views and concerns, and where the FEI was also given a platform to update the delegates on the work in progress, and for the support to continue the efforts that have already been undertaken.”
Charles F. Trolliet, president of the Swiss Equestrian Federation SVPS, added: ““We would like to thank the FEI for convening and holding the round table and are satisfied that the debate surrounding international endurance sport has thus reached a new level. Following today’s meeting, we expect the discussions on animal welfare, doping and equal treatment of athletes to be continued, as well as immediately effective measures implemented.”