Immediate and sustainable action to safeguard the welfare of horses and reinforce the Fédération Equestre Internationale’s (FEI) anti-doping and fair play policies at endurance events globally were the key takeaways from the Endurance Strategic Planning Group (ESPG) session held Nov. 6 at the FEI General Assembly in Montreux, Switzerland.
The FEI Bureay tasked the ESPG to develop a strategic plan for the sport for the next decade and a series of recommendations for a permanent solution to the issues within the sport, particularly those related to the increased levels of positive drug tests and high numbers of injuries and fatalities.
During the two-hour session, the group highlighted a series of far-reaching recommendations designed to tackle the problems the sport is currently facing.
ESPG Chair Andrew Finding, of Great Britain, opened the session with a hard-hitting message: “We are all responsible to find the solutions for the problems we face today. We need a clear vision and a strong strategy for endurance sport, and where better to develop this than from within the equestrian community that cares about the future of this sport so much. By working together we will achieve this. The strategic plan we propose sets out a vision and a set of values we will expect everyone to adhere to if they genuinely want to be an active part of our family. Those who do not should be asked to leave us.”
FEI Veterinary Director Graeme Cooke, MA, VetMB, MRCVS, presented statistics on the trends in positives, which had spiked in FEI Regional Group VII but are now starting to show a decrease. He also provided data on the offic