The FEI and the AEF have signed a Memorandum of Understanding ©FEI

The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Asian Equestrian Federation (AEF) to help develop the sport across the continent, it has been announced.

The deal was penned at a signing ceremony at the AEF’s headquarters in Seoul.

It was attended by a number of officials from both organisations, including FEI President Ingmar De Vos and secretary general Sabrina Ibáñez.

AEF President Sang Jin Park, who is also the Korea National Federation President and President of Samsung Electronics, and his secretary general Sunny Hwang were also in attendance.

De Vos, who has led the sport’s worldwide governing body since 2014, hopes the agreement with the AEF can help address their biggest challenge of “facilitating transportation of horses across borders”.

Horse welfare concerns have also arisen in the region, which prompted the FEI to strip the United Arab Emirates of this year's World Endurance Championships.

“Equestrian sport has developed tremendously in Asia over the last decade, but this is just the beginning,” De Vos said.

“The Asian continent represents a huge opportunity for equestrian sport to broaden its footprint, and the FEI is working hand in hand with the AEF and its National Federation members to make this happen.

“The biggest challenge is facilitating transportation of horses across borders.

“It is therefore important that we continue our efforts with the World Organisation for Animal Health [OIE] to make our High Health High Performance [HHP] horse concept operational."

The FEI and the AEF signed the agreement at a special ceremony in Seoul ©FEI
The FEI and the AEF signed the agreement at a special ceremony in Seoul ©FEI

De Vos added: “Over the next five years, major sporting events including a number of 5* competitions, and of course the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, will be hosted in Asia.

“The FEI is looking forward to further developing our sport as part of this new and closer cooperation with the AEF, creating more opportunities for high profile equestrian events to be staged across the Asian continent and having more Asian athletes competing in our top competitions.”

Equestrian will have a strong presence in Asia over the coming years as the sport is part of the programme at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang, before the Olympic and Paralympic Games come to Tokyo two years later.

“We are delighted to sign an MoU with the FEI, reinforcing our vital bilateral collaboration,” AEF President Sang said.

“We have today discussed practical methods to promote and develop equestrian sports in Asia, and have reaffirmed the need to strengthen the role of the AEF as a representative of its 34 National Federation members.

 “We look forward to attracting further high profile international equestrian events to Korea and the Asian continent working closely with the FEI.”