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September 2, 2013

Endurance Strategic Planning Group Members Announced

The Fédération Equestre Internationale has announced the composition of an Endurance Strategic Planning Group in response to the recommendations of the round table held on July 24.

Andrew Finding, European Equestrian Federation Board Member and CEO of the British Equestrian Federation, will chair the group. The members of the group are: veterinarian Brian Sheahan of Australia, chair of the FEI Endurance Committee; international endurance rider Joe Mattingley of the United States; Saeed Al Tayer of the United Arab Emirates, vice president of the Dubai Equestrian Club and organizer of FEI World Endurance Championships; and veterinarian Jean-Louis Leclerc of France, an internationally respected and successful chef d’équipe and team manager within the discipline.

“Andrew Finding is one of the most knowledgeable people in equestrian sport worldwide, and all the members bring a wealth of expertise as veterinarians, successful riders, trainers, event organizers and team managers,” said FEI Secretary General Ingmar De Vos. “The group will be fully supported in its work by FEI Director of Endurance Ian Williams and FEI Veterinary Director Graeme Cooke.

“I have no doubt that the group will analyze the discipline thoroughly and professionally and will provide the FEI with sound recommendations for the sport's further successful development,” he continued.

However, the Swiss Equestrian Federation made a statement that they would prefer an independent panel of experts.

“The commission is to consist mainly of representatives who are closely affiliated to the FEI and who have, in some cases, long occupied leading positions in international endurance sport,” read the statement. “The SEF demands a neutral, external and independent chairperson of the commission, together with a representative cross-section of judges, veterinary surgeons, athletes and acknowledged equine experts, including from other disciplines.

“I will undertake the role of Endurance Strategic Planning Group chairman with diligence, and I shall approach this task from a totally independent standpoint,” Finding said. “The group will work with complete integrity, taking advice from those who are familiar with the problems and challenges of endurance sport. If I need to be tough in commenting on behalf of the group then that is what I shall do. It is my intention to have our work followed and verified by the Equestrian Community Integrity Unit.”

He continued by saying that the most important objective for the group is to find solutions and help ensure the sport and everyone connected with it follows the FEI’s Clean Sport policy and the Code of Conduct for the Welfare of the Horse.

The Endurance Strategic Planning Group’s mission statement is to develop a strategic plan for endurance over the decade 2013-2023, which will define a global rate of growth for the sport that is manageable and effectively supervised by the FEI and national federations.

The plan is specifically designed to meet the needs of endurance as a growing sport with the potential to attract more athletes while continuing to promote the FEI’s objectives on the global stage. It should encourage an environment in which riders and horses compete in a spirit of partnership and fair play according to the requirements of the FEI's Clean Sport policies and where the welfare of the equine athlete is paramount.

The Group's first conference call will take place this week and the first in-person meeting will be held in Dubai at the beginning of October.

 
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