John Roche will retire as FEI jumping director at the end of February, it has been announced ©FEI

International Equestrian Federation (FEI) have announced long-serving jumping director John Roche will retire at the end of the month.

The governing body have hailed Roche as having played a key role within the sport since joining the FEI back in 1987.

Roche initially competed for Ireland on the international jumping circuit, after serving in the Irish Army Equitation School.

He began his administrative career when he joined the FEI sport department in 1987.

Princess Anne had become the FEI President the previous year, taking over from her father Prince Phillip.

The FEI claimed Prince Phillip placed carriage driving on the international map during his Presidency, which ran from 1964 to 1986.

The driving discipline was included among Roche’s initial responsibility within the FEI sport department, along with jumping and the FEI calendar.

Roche also served as secretary of the FEI Jumping and Driving Committee.

John Roche has served as the director of the FEI Jumping World Cup ©Getty Images
John Roche has served as the director of the FEI Jumping World Cup ©Getty Images

He was promoted to the position of FEI jumping director when the role was created in 2007.

The official also served as director of both the FEI Jumping World Cup and Jumping Nations Cup, as well as director of general stewarding.

Under Roche’s leadership of the discipline, the number of international events has grown from 340 to 1,800.

While Roche will retire at the end of February, he will be present at this year's Olympic Games in Tokyo as a guest of the FEI.

A special presentation is also scheduled to be made to Roche at the FEI awards gala in Johannesburg in November to recognise his contribution.

The awards gala will take place during the FEI General Assembly in the South African capital.