Happy Holidays? I have come across this greeting a couple of times in the last few days. The FEI uses it, as does the USEF and some other federations. Maybe I am just old-fashioned but these holidays exist because of Christmas and New Year celebrations and the additional public holidays that go with them.
So on behalf of the National Board and our staff in the National Office, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a healthy and successful New Year!
By the way, the National Office is closed from midday Wednesday, 23 December 2009, and reopens Tuesday, 05 January 2010.
RSS Feed of EA National News
You probably don't know that you can get notified of National web news items in your Outlook or other mail system when news is put on our web. You can do this by subscribing to an RSS feed. RSS apparently stands for 'really simple syndication'. All you need is an RSS reader, which is usually supplied as part of your mail system, and subscribe to the National web RSS. This makes sure that you are notified of 'new news' (if there is any) whenever you check your mail. You can even get a free RSS reader app for your iPhone ...
The National Show Horse Committee and the National Carriage Driving Committee met in Melbourne on 03 and 05 December, respectively, and the National Vaulting Committee met on Sunday, 06 December. Our 'new' National Board had its second (short) meeting on the same Sunday in the morning and then sat down with Branch representatives in the afternoon to agree on the Key Result Areas of the 2009-2013 Strategic Plan. The group also discussed other matters such as the Crawford Report and the current debate over the FEI 'Progressive List' (see below). The National Board will meet again on 06 February 2010.
Speaking about the National Board: EA has been trying to fill the position of Athlete Director on the Board and thus complete the process of establishing and Athletes' Commission. We have had to change our Membership & Committee By-Laws to make a nomination process possible. If you are interested in taking on this role - and there are some prerequisites - go to our web and download the documentation that describes what is involved. Nominations close 15 January 2010.
Many of you will have read about the report (Crawford Report) of the Independent Sport Panel set up to advise 'on reforms required to ensure the Australian sporting system remains prepared for future challenges at both the community and elite levels'. Its recommendations caused some rather fervent reactions, particularly from the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC). This did not surprise anyone since the 'Independent Panel' consisted mainly of representatives the various football codes and the report clearly gave the impression that it was written from that perspective.
The National Board discussed the findings and recommendations of the report, first on its own and then with Branch representatives. The conclusions were that the report did not really break much new ground, that most of its recommendations should be supported (although there was uncertainty about whether some of them could realistically be expected to be implemented in our federal system) and that it failed to appreciate the broader value of Olympic ideals and of Australia's Olympic achievements.
Ten days later, I attended a meeting of National Sporting Organisations (NSOs) with the Australian Sports Commission where NSOs voted electronically on each of the 39 recommendations. Most received clear majority support without much change while a small number had substantial implementation concerns registered against them. The meeting felt that some recommendations had not been well thought-through or showed a lack of understanding of sport - the economic impact of sport had simply been ignored - and that there were quite a few areas that had simply been overlooked. These included coaches, officials, administrators, disabled sport, talent identification, digital media, etc.
A special study group set up by the AOC to examine the Crawford report in detail published its repsonse on 18 December. It contained solid - and valid - arguments for stronger funding support for the Olympic sports and corrects a number of misconceptions and factual errors in the report. I recommend that you read this report.
In the 'Movember' e-news, I described what happened at the FEI General Assembly and the storm of dissention caused, particularly in Europe, by the narrow vote for the 'progressive list', which would have permitted the limited use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) on horses. All the good and positive work done by FEI-appointed Clean Sport commissions and the acceptance of their recommendations by the General Assembly was totally overshadowed by the controversy created by the 'progressive list', which had been published just days before the General Assembly.
There have been further developments since. First, on 01 December, the FEI Bureau decided to delay the introduction of the new system until April 2010 (you can read the FEI Press Release). Then, on 04 December, National Federations (NFs) received a letter from FEI President HRH Haya Al Hussein asking them to indicate by return e-mail their agreement to introduce the new regulations in April 2010 together with the original lists (without thresholds for certain substances) and to leave discussion of the use of NSAIDs in competition until the FEI General Assembly in November, when more scientific evidence would also be available.
Last Saturday (19 Dec) the FEI advised that a majority of NFs had supported the proposal, so the new Equine Anti-Doping and Controlled Medication (EADCM) Regulations will come into effect on 05 April 2010, together with the original '20 October 2009' list of prohibited substances.
Australia's position is clear. The National Board has already approved the adaptation of the new FEI Anti-Doping and Controlled Medication system and this will happen by April 2010. Hopefully, some of the language can be simplified. We are still waiting for a plain-English (rather than 'FEI-Franglais') version for sport participants ....
2010 National Squads
High Performance Manager Brett Mace advises that National Squad Selectors are currently finalising the 2010 National Squads for Dressage, Eventing, Jumping and Para-Equestrian.
Riders nominated by the National Selectors for these squads will be sent Athlete & Horse Owner Agreements just prior to Xmas. Once these agreements are signed and returned to the National Office, rider and horses on National Squads will be officially announced on 26 January.
This is the first year that combination-based National Squads for Para-Equestrian will be selected, a significant step for Para-Equestrian sport here in Australia.
Youth Development Squads for Dressage, Eventing and Jumping will also be announced with the senior squads on 26 January. Youth Development Squad members will be sent Athlete Agreements (modified) in early January.
Athletes and horses named on the Elite Squads will form the long list for the World Equestrian Games (WEG) to be held in Lexington, Kentucky from 25 September to 10 October 2010. WEG shorts lists will be announced in mid-August 2010.
Athletes and horses participating in FEI events must be registered with the FEI. There is a new form available for download from the web, so register now before you forget.
From the Education Department
Coach Educator / Skill Specific Trainer and Assessor Course
The EA National NCAS Committee and the E-Qld Branch are joining forces to run a CE / SSTA course in Brisbane from Friday 26 March, to Sunday, 28 March 2010, to qualify new CEs and SSTAs. Equestrian Australia would like to invite coaches, who are appropriately skilled, and also experienced EA NCAS Coaches, who fulfil the criteria to attend the course, which is a mandatory requirement of CE/SSTA qualification.
For further information and to download the expression of interest form; please visit our home page.
FEI Carriage Driving Judges' Course (14 & 15 January 2010)
In conjunction with the FEI Championships qualifying event, EA is hosting a FEI Carriage Driving Officials Course for Judges and Technical Delegates. The course and the Driving event will be held at ‘Witwood’, 8903 Kings Hwy, Braidwood, NSW.
The course director will be Mark Wentein (BEL) - FEI ‘O’ Driving Judge & FEI ‘I’ Driving Technical Delegate, who is also one of the international judges for the event.
The course will provide an opportunity for suitably experienced EA Driving Officials to attend to be considered for promotion on the FEI list. It will also provide an opportunity for a 'refresher' for Australian FEI Driving officials wishing to maintain their current FEI status.
Further information and expression of interest form.
National Vaulting Workshop
The National Equestrian Centre in Canberra will host a National Vaulting Workshop 12 - 18 January 2010. For the fourth year in a row, the workshop will include an Updating clinic, Coach training, Lunger training, Judging and Discussion forums as well as a large practical Vaulting component.
Emma Seely, an international coach from America will be at the workshop assisting athletes, coaches and lungers on improving their skills throughout the six days.
For further information please contact Tristyn Lowe.
New Education, Coaching and Officiating webpage
Over the past few months, the Education department has been busy updating and formatting the web pages within the Education section of the Equestrian Australia website.
The changes will ensure the areas of education, coaching and officiating are available. The first stage has been ‘launched’ and now has links and information in education, coaching and officiating. Over the coming months new pages (how to become and official, updating and how to get started) will be added under the relevant areas. We will be updating these regularly.
Please visit and browse the Education, Coaching and Officiating section and if you have any comments or feedback please send us an email with your thoughts.
And a quick reminder to all clubs and associations to send in your Club Insurance renewals so that your club is covered until 30th September 2010. You can download the club pack or the associations pack.
Supporters and Sponsors
Christmas and the end of the year is always a good time to thank (again) all of those, who have contributed to the sport, the running of events, in coaching and officiating, and all the other jobs that need to get done, on a volunteer or paid basis, on committees and boards, backstage or on the field of play. A special thank-you to our volunteers, who have donated time and effort and often addtional expense to help 'make things happen'. A big thank-you also to all our benefactors, who have helped provide funds - and horses - to help others participate in the sport. Any sport, but equestrian in particular, would not survive without the generosity of so many people at all levels.
Before I close, though, I would like to thank our funding agencies, sponsors and supporters at the National level 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. We are pleased that Kentucky Equine Research and Ridley have renewed their partnership deal with EA.
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).
Make it a good day and enjoy the Christmas/New Year break!
Chief Executive Officer