Oops! There was no e-news in June! And what's even worse, hardly anyone noticed ....
Not that there was nothing going on in June and July. I was, however, absent from the office for 8 out of 9 weeks from the middle of May.
Brief study tour
Part of the absence was a brief study tour at the request of the Australian Sports Commission. National Coach Wayne Roycroft, High Performance Manager Brett Mace and I had been invited to meet with Australian Institute of Sport representative Warwick Forbes, who is managing a new base being built in Varese near Milan in Northern Italy. Part of Warwick's work includes the establishment of a sport medicine/sport physiology network across Europe that will help Australian athletes to get support after injuries and for other reasons.
The AIS base in Varese, a joint project with the local area council, will be a great three-storey facility situated right on the shores of Lago Varese. The AIS already has an arrangement with a rowing club located almost next door and uses a part of a hotel complex for its facilities at present. There is also a warehouse, occupied at present mainly by cycling gear. Cycling has leased some apartments in a nearby village to house visiting athletes and provide office facilities. Until the AIS base is completed, teams from other sports like boxing and swimming are accommodated in hotels at bargain rates negotiated by Warwick.
As far as our sport is concerned, we visited a multi-million dollar equestrian centre in Varese, with magnificent stabling and horse management facilities and state-of-art surfaces for Jumping, Dressage and Racing similar to those used in Hong Kong. There is enough space for decent cross-country and hacking areas but surfaces there would require some work. The centre has its own restaurant and a separately located cafe, a historic chapel and quite a few houses with well-appointed flats for rent or lease.
The main issue for us is the location itself, which is certainly far removed from where we normally place our teams in the lead-up to Games and from where Europe-based riders are. Varese is only 30km from the Swiss border but it is a decent drive to Geneva through major tunnels where trucks are assembled over hours to then travel in convoys. More investigation is needed but the remoteness from top-level events remains a major negative factor.
Before going to Italy, Wayne, Brett and I interrupted our journey and spent a couple of days in London to visit Greenwich Park, where the Equestrian events of the London 2012 Games will be held. LOCOG Equestrian Competition Manager Tim Hadaway spent half a day with us to walk the site, which goes from the British Maritime Museum and Queen's House right up to the Greenwich Observatory and beyond. The competition arena will be in front of Queen's House where the 'Olympic Family' will be able to watch the competition from the balcony (binoculars recommended - see photo). The facilities including stabling in two areas, various training and exercise areas, media compound, etc. still require planning approval, but then it will be full speed ahead.
I might prepare a web report with photos on this and the Varese visit when I get around to it (although I sometimes got into trouble taking the pics in certain areas ...).
Joint Session of the National Board with Branch Chairs
Virtually hours before our flight to London, a meeting of the National Board took place at Sydney Airport. The Board had met with the seven Branch Chairs the day before. This Joint Session agreed on a number of matters, which included:
- Agreement on objectives for the EA Strategic Plan, which then should flow through into Branch plans and operations. This and other items will be further discussed at a joint planning meeting in early September.
- Branches will propose further changes to the draft new constitution following recent extensive input from NSW.
- There will be a review of National Office functions together with a review of the staffing structure and succession planning for the CEO.
- A review of the membership structure.
- A national information technology (IT) review.
As a result, there may over time be further changes to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which delineates National and Branch functions.
And just a reminder: Nominations are open until 31 August to fill two vacancies on the EA National Board. More info.
New FEI Statutes, Internal Regulations and Equine Anti-Doping and Medication Control (EADMC) Rules
The FEI is presently consulting with its member federations about a restructure of its governance system, which among other things is likely see a move from the current large 'Bureau" to a much smaller 'Board'. Also, after a review of its anti-doping and medication control system, the FEI is proposing to split these two components into separate sets of rules, streamlining the system in a purposeful manner and making processes and provisions easier to understand and deal with.
Equestrian Australia is likely to adopt the new system of EADMC Rules. It has already changed its governance structure but may add further refinements through the new constitution, based on the experience collected so far with the current system.
Insurance year is coming to a close
Many of you will know that our insurance year for public liability (inc. coach), associations' liability and volunteer workers' personal accident insurance ends 4PM 30 September 2009. While there is not likely to be much change in the premium and charge-out levels, changes to the Insurance Administration Act will make it necessary to review other aspects of our operation. One of these is our Day Membership arrangement, where non-members of EA-insured clubs have been able to participate in unofficial competition by taking out Day Membership with the club organising the event. This arrangement is likely to change. Details are still being worked out but we will advise you as soon as we have an acceptable system.
New National Jumping Rules available for download from the national website and also for purchase from the National Office.
The Jumping Young Rider Selection Series kicks off in Toowoomba this weekend. The series also has a proud sponsor. Saddlery Trading Company and Tekna saddles will be donating a new saddle to the winner of each competition. Full details can be viewed on the national website on the dedicated page for the series.
The Eventing Talent Search assessment days will start up soon with Queensland hosting the first assessment on 13 August. Again full details of the squad and assessments can be viewed on the National website.
A booklet containing the new Dressage tests together with diagrams/patterns is in print and will be available from the National Office $22 (inc. GST). Clubs and others buying larger quantities will get a discount.
Judges for Show Horse Nationals have been selected: Deborah Bell (NSW), Donna Button (WA) and Cheryl Dunstan (Qld).
A National Carriage Driving Committee (NCDC) meeting was held on 05 July. The committee welcomed Andrew Marshall from Victoria as a new member and re-elected Judy Meredith as Chair.
The first Para-Equestrian Squad Clinic was held at SIEC 23 and 24 July 2009. It was attended by NSW squad members and some candidates.
Also, PE has State Representatives now as contacts for riders:
- WA Val Mayger
- SA Rachael Vincent
- NSW Karen Lever
- VIC Sally Francis
- TAS Pauline Perry
- QLD Vacant. We would appreciate expressions of interest.
Unfortunately the 2009 Para-Equestrian National Championships have been relocated from Dubbo to SIEC.
Equestrian Australia will now conduct the 2009 National Championships at the Sydney International Equestrian Centre (SIEC) one week earlier than previously scheduled. The Championships will now be held 23 – 26 September 2009.
Please note that two International Reining Events (CRIs) will be held next Wednesday and Friday as part of the Reining Australia Futurity & Continental Affiliate Championship Show at the wonderful Australian Equine and Live Stock Events Centre (AELEC). Participants hope to get qualifying marks for the 2010 WEG in Kentucky.
Calendar Applications for FEI ('CI') events taking place 2010 will be going out shortly (and will be available for download). Please note that the Calendar fee must be paid up front with the application.
For events taking place this month and later in the year, please consult our web event calendar.
New Sports Commission Consultant
After several years of providing excellent support to our sport at all levels of the Sports Commission, Senior Sports Consultant Debra Waser is moving on. Deb has taken up a position with the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) and will continue to be of great value to us, as we are strengthening our relations with the AIS.
Deb will be difficult to replace, as her successor Wanda Sipa points out, because it is not easy to learn the intricacies of Equestrian sport. Wanda has, however, more than 20 years experience working in sport including roles in an NSO (Volleyball Australia), an AIS/National Team Program and with AIS Management including the Group Sport Manager role. During her time at Volleyball Australia she occupied various positions with a predominant focus in High Performance including Section Manager for the Women’s Olympic Team. In her current role as Sports Consultant in the Sport Relations Unit she has had the opportunity to look after a wide variety of sports such as Golf, Cricket, Rugby League, Lawn Bowls and Table Tennis. Her current portfolio includes Hockey, Netball, Water Polo, Judo and Equestrian.
Please make Wanda welcome when you meet her at events or in meetings.
In this context, I should also mention that that Mr. Matt Miller has been appointed as the new CEO of the Australian Sports Commission. Matt has been meeting with groups of Presidents and CEOs of National Sporting Organisations (NSOs) around the country and has briefed them on his plans.
Read Matt's message on the ASC web.
Supporters and Sponsors
Before I close, though, I would like to thank our funding agencies, sponsors and supporters for their continued assistance. The Australian Sports Commission is our Principal Sponsor and we hope that High Performance funding and other grants will continue beyond the next funding cycle.
Many thanks also to the Australian Olympic Committee, who apart from organising the Australian Delegation to go to the Games is also involved in securing more funding to guarantee Australia's medal success at future Games.
We are also looking forward to a continued good working relationship with the Australian Paralympic Committee in the management of the Para-Equestrian high performance program.
We hope our partnerships with our commercial sponsors can be strengthened further in the next Olympiad.
So in summary, we would like to mention
For more news and other information, please visit our 'new' web www.equestrian.org.au or your 'new' State Branch web (www.[state].equestrian.org.au).
Happy Horse's birthday! Make it a good day!
Chief Executive Officer