Mark Samuel of Mississauga, ON, was unanimously elected as 2nd vice-president of the FEI at the General Assembly in Montevideo (URU), which runs from November 18-21, 2017.
Previous 1st vice-president John Madden (USA) automatically lost the position when his term as chair of the Jumping Committee ended. The current 2nd VP, H.E. Sheik Khalid Bin Abdullah Al Khalifa (BRN), was promoted to 1st VP with unanimous support of the FEI Bureau and the General Assembly. FEI statutes require that if one VP comes from groups 3, 5, 6, 7, 8 or 9, then the other needs to come from group 1, 2 or 4 (Europe or North America).
“I do not want to disturb this regional balance, so I want to have a second vice-president from the Americas,” explained FEI president Ingmar de Vos, adding that the choice of suitable candidates was between Mark Samuel (CAN), chair of Group 4, and David O’Connor (USA), newly-elected Bureau member as chair of the Eventing Committee. According to de Vos, as O’Connor already has “a lot of work on his plate, especially with the [Eventing] Safety Group,” he opted to select Samuel for the position.
“The FEI is a dynamic, progressive organization and it has been a great honour to serve as Group IV Chair,” said Samuel following the election. “I look forward to working with our visionary President, Ingmar De Vos, and the rest of the Bureau in serving the best interests of this great industry and our noble partner, the horse. I am humbled by the confidence that Ingmar and the national federation have placed in myself.”
Samuel, an entrepreneurial businessman and former high performance jumping athlete, has been a tireless contributor to both the Canadian and international equestrian communities. He has represented Canada in World Equestrian Games and Pan Am competition, and is a member of Equestrian Canada’s Jumping Committee who was named 2017 Jump Canada Volunteer of the Year on Nov. 8.
As chair of FEI Group IV, he helps to direct the development of equestrian sport in Canada, the United States, Antigua, Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Virgin Islands. He is also chair of the Working Group on FEI Officials. Recently he spearheaded the Caribbean Equine Relief Fund – a joint fundraising and equine relief effort launched by EC, US Equestrian, the Pan American Equestrian Confederation, and the Cayman Islands Equestrian Federation to help horses impacted by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The joint campaign has raised over $100,000 in its first weeks of fundraising.
FEI president Ingmar de Vos remarked, “Mark has shown great involvement in our organization and had important responsibilities over the last two years with regards to the officials working group, which is not an easy task. He shows great leadership; he is also a very clever person, a businessman with a good eye also for financials. Our CFO knows that Mark is coming on a regular basis with questions about the financials, which is also important for an organization.”
In 2018, the FEI presidential elections will be held, effectively cancelling all the new positions including vice presidencies and executive board members.
At the same meeting, Canadian lawyer, Ms. Harveen Thauli was elected as the first Canadian member of the FEI Tribunal. The Tribunal decides on all cases related to sport rules, statutes, and general regulations.
A lawyer with over 20 years of experience in many areas of law, Thauli currently practices primarily as a corporate/securities lawyer in Vancouver, BC. She also started My Equine Law as a boutique law practice that provides strategic legal advice for the unique needs of the equine community.
Thauli has always been passionate about horses and though she wanted to ride as a child, she only started later in life. “I always wanted to ride as a child, but the opportunity never arose. I spent almost 10 years in university and then focused on building my law career. I finally decided to take up riding seriously as an adult.”
Now mostly a hunter rider, Thauli is looking forward to competing while she fulfills her role with the FEI. “The FEI Tribunal is a great way for me to marry my legal background with my passion for horses. Furthermore, I feel very strongly about horse welfare and I believe as a Tribunal member I will have the opportunity to protect horses against overuse and abuse.”