The FEI has launched a thought-provoking campaign – Think Outside The Box – aimed at raising awareness and educating stakeholders around and the potential consequences from a rule’s violation perspective as well as the general threat to the health and wellbeing of their horses emanating from other avoidable hazards.
What began as a brainstorm between the legal and education departments at the FEI as to how they could best inform and educate stakeholders and in particular FEI Athletes, Grooms, Owners and support personnel around the potential for contamination and subsequent doping cases (violation of the Equine Anti-Doping and Medication Controlled Regulations EADMCR), soon expanded to include general best practice recommendations for the wider equestrian community in a bid to promote safety and wellbeing for horses, regardless of their competition status.
Featuring a campaign video which will astonish viewers, and challenge conventional expectations associated with the FEI, Legal Director Mikael Rentsch explains the rationale behind such a bold move.
“We wanted to create a buzz and get people’s attention. “For some time, we have seen that there is a real lack of awareness in the community when it comes to the risks for contamination in the stables, and there are a lot of common practices which are contributing to inadvertent positive doping cases. And for all the emailers and official information campaigns we have attempted, we realised we were not getting through to our target audience – the riders, the grooms, the owners and the support personnel.
“And this is a really unfortunate, because athletes are having to learn the hard way, only if they had been aware of a few simple principles to avoid contamination, they might not have had a positive case.
“This is why we set out to do the campaign in this way, and we decided to use this opportunity and expand the scope to look at the general health risks contamination could pose for horses, as well as other avoidable threats to a horse’s safety and wellbeing in and around the stables which can often be addressed with proper planning and organisation, and is relevant to all equestrians, not just the FEI community.”
The campaign is centred around four core themes – Behave, Organise, Maintain and Secure – with each theme broken down into specific actionable points and the risks emanating from these points should they not be addressed. The risk for contamination and consequences for EADCMR violations such as disqualification and suspension, being the core driver of the campaign, feature prominently as does safety messaging in relation to intoxication, injury and potential fire hazards.
The campaign portal www.fei.org/think is available in three languages – English, French and Spanish – in order to reach non-English speaking audiences, and includes downloadable assets for the public to promote and endorse the campaign natively on their own platforms as well as dedicated sections for ambassadors and supporters, including the International Grooms Association and Equestrian Organisers Association among others.
For more information on the campaign, the supporters, ambassadors and to download digital assets visit www.fei.org/think