Report from the EA Chair March 2016

The vital work for your EA Board for 2016 is to celebrate and support our riders on the Road to Rio.  In addition EA will support our volunteer committees in building bigger and better competitions.

We hope to create a dynamic communication path between our National Office and our State Branches and by so doing, serve our members, whether they are Olympic hopefuls, weekend competitors, or children enjoying their first competition.

Our new CEO Paula Ward has been spending time meeting our State Branches and their staff and getting a feel for their aspirations as well as their frustrations. Paula has also taken every opportunity to attend our National Discipline Committee (NDCs) meetings to get a feel for the guidance they are able to offer in looking to the future.  Individual EA Board members now regularly attend meetings to communicate to the whole EA Board directly.

Your Board is committed to increasing the support the National Office offers to the NDC’s because they are not just the scrutineers of our rules, they are where we look for the inspiration for the development of the sport. 

The challenge facing Equestrian Australia in 2016 is to plan and consult. We are not waiting until after the Olympic Games at Rio to begin planning for the World Equestrian Games 2018 and Tokyo 2020.  We need excellent competitions in Australia. We need them, because our riders want to qualify in Australia.  Challenge number one, is to present a National Calendar for major events which involve two or more sports competing at the same competition. At the Australian International Three Day Event (Aus3DE) in November last year, spectators could see the top riders in the country battling it out for Australia’s largest prize in Eventing.  Alongside them leading Jumpers took part in the Aus3DE’s inaugural World Cup Jumping round. Also, spectators could wander the Adelaide Parklands and see the Driving competition as well as small children having their first experience on a horse.  In the evening, party goers could watch Freestyle Dressage.  The public came in droves, the sponsors celebrated and the trade stands flourished.

One event of this diversity is not enough; we need at least three every year culminating in a final event which inclusively celebrates our sport.  The dream can only become a reality if we share in finding solutions to planning our calendar in a way which allows for qualifying events of top quality to be available for our riders.  Could we consider starting with a clean slate and planning the perfect calendar for 2019 in the lead up to Tokyo?  Perhaps we could even work backwards and give our Aussie based competitors a chance to plan their campaign for selection in Australia. To compete overseas is a necessary rite of passage, but our sport can offer outstanding competitions here, we have, after all, run an Olympic Games!  


State Branches are reporting a good response from members utilising EA Online to renew membership and work continues to improve the functionality with horse registrations and competition results.  These are being addressed by continued testing carried out by diligent workers in our State Branches whose reports inform and improve our service.  We believe it will offer an invaluable service.   I would particularly like to applaud a steering committee led by EA Board Member Mark Arthur and assisted by office staff from the States for their contribution in working together with provider Nominate to provide the best possible IT system for Equestrian Australia.  As you will know Mark is on the Board as the Riders Representative and in addition to his considerable efforts in that direction he also devotes significant hours to our IT development.


Equestrian Australia has a committed, united and active Board.  We wish to progress improvements to the governance of Equestrian. EA is involved in ongoing discussions with the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) in regard to its expectations in this matter.  We operate under a Federated system alongside the majority of other sports under the umbrella of the ASC.  We are on an ASC ‘watch list’ which means there are clauses in our present constitution which the ASC has advised us to amend.  The necessary amendments are being addressed and discussed by the Board.  Recommendations will be made to the members (our State Branches) before June this year. The amendments will be fully discussed with all State Branches.

State Branches are also considering the alignment of their constitutions.  Each State in Australia operates under a slightly different structure.   State Constitutions and that of EA can be aligned in a manner which will facilitate the on-going effective and independent operations of both EA and State Branches.

Hendra and the management of the disease at EA events will continue to be under review. EA has no policy on Hendra vaccination. Following the Hendra Review Panel’s report to the EA Board feedback was requested from members.  This was given to the Hendra Panel which is working to provide final advice to the Board. 

Although the competition year is young, we are proud of the success of the competition at Boneo Park and most particularly the significantly improved results of our Para-Equestrian athletes.  Congratulations to all and particularly the Para-Equestrian Team and EA High Performance Staff.

Selectors will be hard at work in the coming months ensuring that we have the best possible teams for Rio.  Qualifying events will be covered in full on the EA website and staff in the EA Office will be looking to provide our volunteers, members, officials and coaches with every support.

Let us make every post a winner as we strive to make our wonderful sport a huge success.

The Road to Rio is the top priority of the High Performance program, plans are unfolding and our riders are now on the front foot facing their own ultimate goal.      

Very best wishes for a very successful 2016 to all who support EA.

Judy Fasher

Chair, Equestrian Australia