Dear Lovers of the Sport,
The World Cup Dressage Final made the news lately and the Jumping Finals in Kuala Lumpur this weekend will follow closely on its heels.  And there is the FEI General Assembly, which will take up five days in a row.  I wonder who will replace H.R.H. The Infanta Doña Pilar de Borbón as the next FEI President.  The Princess was a delight to work with and I have had quite a few encounters with her that showed her easy-going sense of humour.  One of these was at the Athens Games when both she and I got a cigarette off Leopoldo Palacios (who is also a non-smoker) and went outside the FEI Lounge to light them, as smoking was not allowed in any of the buildings.  Doña Pilar did not, however, like to be seen by the passing FEI officials and guests with a cigarette in her hand, so she took us to her office, closed the door and announced: 'I hereby declare this room an official smoking area'.
The FEI General Assembly will discuss and approve the final versions of new Equine Anti-Doping and Medication Control Rules, which the EFA will adopt.  The new policy will put prohibited substances into three categories, re-introduce thresholds for certain substances and in general terms combine all relevant aspects of anti-doping and medication control measures into one document.
(by Siobhan Lapthorne)
WEG Dressage Short List to be named after Sydney CDI***
Under the EFA's WEG Selection Policy, up to three or four Australian-based horses will be required to travel to Europe for a pre-WEG training camp. A further two combinations will continue training and preparations in Australia. These combinations are to be named after the Sydney CDI 3-Star. Riders will be aiming to produce their best performances to impress the selectors who will all be in attendance.
Australian Dressage is improving to the point where the selectors may have a few choices on their hands.
Kristy Oatley and Quando Quando are in good form after their 9th place in the Grand Prix and their win in the Freestyle at Braunschweig CDI*** in Germany in March. Matthew Dowsley and Cinderella turned heads with their 7th place in the Grand Prix and their 3rd place in the Freestyle at Stadl Paura CDI*** in Austria this month. Heath Ryan and Mary Hanna obtained qualifying scores with Greenoaks Dundee and Port Said 10 from French O-Level Judge Isabel Judet at this month's Dressage Festival CDI-W at Werribee. Rachael Sanna and Chatham Pak Jac have exploded onto the International circuit, winning the Grand Prix and the Freestyle at the Dressage Festival in their first ever CDI-W appearance.
Rachael will be hoping to pull off another top performance at the Sydney CDI to fulfil the qualifying criteria and give the selectors something new to think about. The selectors may have more on their minds if Queenslanders Kelly Layne and Paula Price have a good show with Amoucheur and APH True Seville. Back in Germany, Kristy's second horse Don Bolero is another possibility with performances not far behind his stable mate Quando Quando. With horses like these just one show away from qualifying, the already-qualified riders find they are not yet able to rest easy under the Selectors' eyes at Sydney.
Selected riders will be invited to attend the four-week training camp at Ulla Salzgeber's stables, which will be funded by the EFA's High Performance Program. Ulla is also planning another High Performance Clinic in Australia in June.
Don't miss your last chance to see your favourite riders in action at the Sydney CDI 3-Star weekend after next.
Dressage International - New Delhi, India -  4 - 8 April 2006
(by Louise McGregor)
In April four dressage riders went to New Delhi, India, to represent Australia in an invitational International Dressage Competition hosted by the Equestrian Federation of India. The team consisted of Tyana Lawless (WA), Alyssa Webb (QLD) and Shannon Tonkin (NSW). Kylie Woodyatt (ACT) was Chef d’Equipe.
Five teams competed in this event. India (2 teams), Thailand, Australia, and New Zealand rider Nicole Magoffin was kindly placed in a team with two Indian riders.
Overall the team did well and ended up in fourth position in this event, not far out of bronze. In the individual event Alyssa placed fourth, Shannon sixth, and Tyana seventh.
The girls rode very well the whole experience was something they will never forget.  The members of the Equestrian Federation of India were excellent hosts and did a good job staging this dressage competition for the first time.
The team would like to thank the Equestrian Federation of Australia for the opportunity and support given.
(by Siobhan Lapthorne)
All states have now scheduled their qualifying dates for the EFA Showman of the Year series. Only the listed events count as qualifiers for the National Final. Other events such as the Interschool competition are nevertheless an excellent chance to improve. The International organisers will be meeting soon with representatives from Dubai who are very interested in joining the International Final.  More information on the International Final will be available later in the year.
The Australian Show Jumping Championships ran very smoothly in Sale, Victoria, early this month.  Congratulations to the Organisers and, of course, all the Australian Champions, particularly in the State Team competitions.  In a country where we rarely see foreign riders and horses compete, competition between State Teams helps fill this gap. It was great to see the teams line up in the various presentations.  The Junior and Young Rider teams especially appeared to have had a great time.
After the second of two rounds in the newly established Tri-Nations Jumping Cup for New Zealand, South Africa and Australia, our Team won one of three competitions in Johannesburg but finished third overall.  We are still waiting for a report and will publish it when it arrives.  The same applies to Robert Goodwin's participation in the recent Seoul CSIO*, where he apparently did very well.
The Sydney Royal Easter Show is now over and was a great success.  Congratulations to all EFA participants.  Some of the interstate jumpers stayed on to take part in the Copabella Classic Jumping event in the Princess Anne Arena of the Northside Riding Club last weekend.  It is good to see organisers who have the vision and initiative to create new stylish events and make them an entertaining experience.  We need to be able to attract new sponsors and new horse owners to our sport and this is a great way of going about it.
(by Niki Chapman)
Kentucky and Badminton Horse Trials
A number of Australian Eventing rider are preparing for major competitions over the next two weeks.  The Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event in the USA will be staged 27 - 30 April. Australia will be well represented by four of our leading riders: USA-based Phillip Dutton has two horses entered as does Andrew Hoy who will travel from England with his horses to compete.  Both Emily Anker and Boyd Martin have made the long trip from Australia to compete in this CCI**** event.  For more information and results during the competition go to www.rk3de.org .
||Ying Yang Yo|
The famous Badminton Horse Trials will take place in the Great Britain 4-7 May.  Australia has a large contingent of riders that will be vying for the title of Badminton Champion.  Both Phillip Dutton and Andrew Hoy have a busy schedule, which includes competing in both the Rolex Kentucky CCI**** and in the Badminton CCI****, which are just days apart.  Olivia Bunn has travelled from Australia with her Athens Olympic partner GV Top of the Line to compete at Badminton.  Several other GBR-based Australians will compete at this prestigious competition.  For more information and results during the competition go to www.badminton-horse.co.uk .
||GV Top of the Line|
||WP In Limbo|
Both the Rolex Kentucky CCI**** and Badminton CCI**** are major selection events for the World Equestrian Games, which will be held in Germany later this year.  Several of Australia's selectors will attend these competitions to keep an eye on our horses and riders with the view to selecting the strongest team for the World Equestrian Games.
The major selection event for Australian-based riders will be the Melbourne Three-Day Event on the Queen's Birthday long weekend in June.
We wish all of our riders safe and successful competition.
We have received five nominations for the two vacancies to be filled on the National Carriage Driving Committee and are presently assembling an Appointment Panel.  Just a reminder that we are still 'open' for nominations to the Panel of Selectors for WEG and other international competition.  Nominations close 08 May 2006.
2006 WEG Aachen
Planning is continuing for this 'benchmark event' that also offers qualifying opportunities for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
Chef de Mission Geoff Sinclair, the various Chefs d'Equipe and a number of other contributors put together a monthly newsletter edited and produced by Monique Schaefer which will give you a much better update than I could ever produce, so please go the WEG page on our web: Events > 2006 WEG.
Press and Publicity Officer
We are calling for expressions of interest from suitably-experienced members to undertake this role during WEG.  The main requirement will be to draft daily press releases and other material that may include personal interest stories, particularly from our Team members, 'flash quotes' from our own and other participants obtained immediately after competitions, reports on all competitions, etc.  The 'output' is for distribution in the media centre in Aachen, for publication on our web and for distribution to our media list in Australia.
Interested members should send their application to the CEO, Equestrian Federation of Australia, PO Box 673, Sydney Markets, NSW, 2129, outlining their qualifications and experience to do the job, attaching a few samples of previously-published stories and reports and indicating the conditions they have for doing the work.  Applications close Monday, 15 May 2006.
WEG Selection Policy Update - Jumping
Following the completion of the Jumping Selectors' Series, discussions with riders in contention to compete in Aachen and the identification of a suitable selection event in Germany, the Selection Policy for Jumping has been updated to reflect these developments.  The revised document will be on our web in a day or two.
Under current provisions of the policy, the Selectors have decided to name Edwina Alexander and Pialotta and Rod Brown and Mr. Burns for the WEG Team and to provide travel allowances to Rod plus to Peter McMahon, David Robertson and Jamie Kermond.  Congratulations to all!
Supporters and Sponsors
I cannot close without thanking our funding agencies, sponsors and supporters.
In particular, we would like to mention
• the Australian Sports Commission,
• the Australian Olympic Committee,
• Kentucky Equine Research and Ridley Agriproducts,
• Horse Deals magazine, and
• Aon Risk Management Services.
Make it a good day!