Wednesday, Jun. 5, 2024

FEI Invests $1.1M In Equine Welfare Fund And Action Plan

PUBLISHED

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The Fédération Equestre Internationale Board of Directors unanimously approved an Equine Welfare Strategy Action Plan and established a dedicated Equine Welfare Fund of $1,119,000 to launch the plan at its in-person meeting, held Tuesday and Wednesday at FEI Headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The action plan is based on the recommendations outlined in the Final Report of the Equine Ethics and Wellbeing Commission (EEWC) and comprises six priority areas of focus:

  • Preventing abusive or rough training and riding techniques, and addressing harsh or misused tack and equipment;
  • Recognizing and addressing physical and emotional stress in horses;
  • Accountability amongst officials to reward best performances and enforce best practices using scientific, evidence-based knowledge;
  • The “Other 23 Hours,” or the quality of a horse’s life outside the time it is being ridden;
  • Human competitive drive that leads the horse to being seen as a number or object;
  • The use of medication and other practice to mask health problems in horses not fit to compete.

The focus areas were divided into action points and entered into a matrix linking each point to the recommendations made by the EEWC, persons or groups in charge of delivery, finances and deadlines. A series of other actions not linked to the six focus areas but addressing the EEWC recommendations have also been incorporated into the action plan.

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“This is an important day for horse welfare and the FEI,” said FEI President Ingmar De Vos. “The board took its responsibility and devoted time to discuss the detailed action plan with keen interest. Significant actions have been outlined, which will benefit horse welfare and will have a powerful impact on the sport as a whole. I want to take this opportunity to thank our [national federations], stakeholders and equestrian community members for their feedback during and after the dedicated Sports Forum session, which has greatly assisted the FEI in producing a tangible action plan.”

The plan will be finalized to incorporate suggestions made by the board and will be published shortly. Implementation will begin immediately with the objective to propose initial rule changes that safeguard horse welfare at the FEI General Assembly 2024. The plan, which includes scientific research projects, offers an ongoing perspective that will continue to deliver in the coming years.

Other key decisions taken by the board during its meeting are available here. Those actions included the FEI approving proposals from the U.S. Equestrian Federation to launch two new competition series in dressage and eventing in 2025. The dressage series would be at the Grand Prix level and include CDI3* and above competitions, with a December final. The eventing competition would include all CCI4*-S competitions in the country and conclude with a CCI4*-L final, meant to promote the CCI4*-L level and championship format.

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