FEI veterinary director Graeme Cooke is to step down after more than five years in the role, citing “personal reasons” for the decision.
Since taking up the role in 2009, Graeme’s main aim has been to improve the international movement of horses.
The organisation says he has been instrumental in not only creating the High-Health High-Performance horse (HHP) concept, but also getting it accepted by the World Organisation for Animal Health, the OIE.
“Graeme was brought in to the FEI with the key objective of opening up borders for competition horses and his tireless lobbying of the OIE has resulted in huge improvements,” said FEI president Princess Haya.
“It’s a very difficult balancing act between promoting the free movement of horses while assuring governments that sanitary barriers are still in place.
“As our sport becomes more global, the movement of horses across continents takes on even greater significance, so the work that Graeme has undertaken and what he has achieved are extremely important and we are indebted to him for it. We are of course sad to see him go, but we have to respect his decision and wish him well for the future.”
Graeme said that he will “miss the FEI enormously” and that he is leaving to spend more time with his ageing parents.
“I feel we’ve really made a big breakthrough in international horse movements and I’m proud that the FEI has led the way on that. It’s an important chapter in equestrian sport history and I’m happy to have played a role in it,” said Graeme.
Before joining the FEI, Graeme worked for six years as a senior policy advisor to Defra as well as serving as a vet at international eventing competitions and as an escorting vet for horses during air travel.
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