THE FEI has formed an independent commission to develop a practical framework that will allow the International Federation to address current and future concerns related to the use of horses in sport.

“In our industry, Social License to Operate (SLO) is the term given to society’s acceptance of the practice of equestrian sport and all its related activities,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos explained.

“Equestrian sport and the FEI’s activities are more than ever under public scrutiny and through the commission we want to embrace that scrutiny to drive change and shine the spotlight on our number one stakeholder – the horse.

“There are comprehensive systems and mechanisms in place to protect the welfare of the horse, but there is more that can be done, and more that must be done. And in an ever-changing society, where perceptions shift and norms evolve at an increasingly fast pace, the FEI must address these concerns and criticisms from society and within equestrian circles in a clear and transparent manner.

“This is our duty as the governing body responsible for equestrian sport, and this is why we have set up this important and independent commission to allow us to move forward with a course of action that will strengthen equestrian’s place in society,” de Vos added.

The 10-person commission will be chaired by Professor Dr. Natalie Waran (NZL), an internationally respected equine welfare expert who is Professor of One Welfare and Executive Dean at the Eastern Institute of Technology (Te Pukenga) in New Zealand.

Prof. Waran is among the five members of the commission considered as external to the FEI, with their selection based on consultation with equine welfare and veterinary groups, while the remaining five members represent the FEI and have been selected for their experience, specific area of FEI responsibility and to provide the athletes’ and officials’ viewpoint.

The first meetings of the commission, which has yet to be formally named, will take place this month, and will include plans for engagement with various stakeholders and the focus and composition of the working groups.

The commission is expected to work together over an initial period of 18 months, with an interim report to be presented at the FEI General Assembly in November 2022 in Cape Town (RSA), followed by a second report at the FEI Sports Forum in April 2023 and a final report/framework to be submitted for approval at the FEI General Assembly 2023 in Mexico.