The first in-person FEI Board Meeting of the year opened today at the FEI Headquarters in Lausanne (SUI). Over the two-day meeting, the Board, which is composed of the Chairs of the FEI Committees and Regional Groups, is expected to take key decisions regarding allocation of FEI flagship events, Rules and Regulations, and various governance matters, such as elections and appointments.
Among the first crucial decisions taken by the Board were the updates to the sanction system for non-fulfilment of the Horse Health Requirements introduced in response to the severe EHV-1 outbreak in mainland Europe last year. The system has been in place since 1 November 2021.
According to the modifications approved by the Board, three further levels will be added prior to imposing a horse suspension therefore giving every Person Responsible (PR) ample opportunity to fully understand the importance of the Horse Health Requirements and comply. Another important update is the possibility of missing more than one temperature recording during an FEI Event, prior to a sanction being issued. Suspensions will be enforced only after a horse has finished competing at an event at which the relevant sanction has been received. When a horse is blocked or suspended, 10-day temperature recordings will no longer be required.
“Another useful development is the improved functionality of the FEI HorseApp which is the essential management tool for the Horse Health Requirements,” Gaspard Dufour, FEI Director Information and Sports Technology said. “A new home page in the form of a dashboard for use by PRs will be added. It will allow the athletes and grooms to see the status of every single horse entered for each upcoming show providing greater clarity.”
“The severity of the EHV-1 outbreak on mainland Europe had devastating consequences for the entire equine industry,” FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez commented. “The FEI had to act diligently and impose strict requirements in order to preserve the sport as well as the entire industry and prevent further harm.”
“Since the Horse Health Requirements came into force over six months ago, 78% of the horses competing on mainland Europe have fulfilled them correctly. Out of the remaining 22%, 18% received warnings and 4% were sanctioned. We are well aware of the criticism but also of the useful feedback some of these actions have generated. We have taken onboard the valuable suggestions the community has sent us and have made every effort to improve the system so it is better aligned with the biosecurity risk posed at the various events. Our objective, as always, is to serve the community in the best possible way.
“We are continuously adding new and improved features in order to assist everyone involved in horse management to comply with the requirements and help the entire community protect our sport.”
The modified Horse Health Requirements will come into effect on 4 July 2022 and will replace the existing sanctions system in mainland Europe which have been in place since 1 November 2021. Meanwhile, for the rest of the world, where the sanctions system had not been imposed yet, the modified Horse Health Requirements will come into effect on 1 September 2022.
The modified sanctions system will be reflected in Annex VI of the FEI Veterinary Regulations and will be updated and published here shortly.
For more information on this topic, please visit the Horse Health Requirements hub.
The in-person FEI Board meeting will continue on 22 June. A wrap-up report summarising the main decisions taken on 21-22 June will be sent at the end of the meetings and published on the dedicated FEI Board Meeting hub on Inside.fei.org.