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Posted by Kirsty Pasto on 15/02/2021.

Equestrian Australia High Performance Weekly Update – 15th February 2021

As the global pandemic continues to determine how we manage the health and safety of our team we remain diligent in our correspondence surrounding the varying restrictions and regulations that may impact our athletes around the globe. 

Some countries have been fortunate to successfully host FEI competitions under strict safety protocols and guidelines, allowing a number of our identified riders to continue their Tokyo 2020 competition preparation. Not only have these riders seized the opportunity to gain further international competition exposure but they have also produced a number of impressive performances; including multiple podium placings. 

Domestically some national level competition has returned offering our Australian based combinations the chance to step back into the competition arena across multiple disciplines. However, with the recent announcement that Victoria would enter a five-day lockdown events throughout the State scheduled for the weekend were subsequently cancelled. Unfortunately, some of our squad riders were expecting to get their first eventing start for 2021 at the Marcus Oldham Ballarat Summer Horse Trials and were either in transit to the event, or already onsite for the competition, when the lockdown announcement was made.

However, the professional and rational manner in which our riders have reacted to this latest unexpected setback once again demonstrates the resilience and adaptability of our athletes and the high-performance equestrian community. We remain in close communication with our athletes to support them through these uncertain times as we collaborate together to re-structure their competition calendar and individual performance plans ensuring they are best placed ahead of Tokyo 2020.  

Last week Equestrian Australia (EA) confirmed they had successfully exited the Voluntary Administration process, with control of the organisation handed to the new EA Board of Directors. We would like to extend our compliments to the new EA Board for the tremendous effort that has been undertaken to move EA forward and we look forward to working closely with the EA Board in the best interest of our sport and stakeholders.

As we draw closer to the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games our team remain vigilant in updating our operational and logistical plans to ensure the safety of our athletes, horses and support team is not compromised. The first in a series of HP Covid-19 Strategy virtual meetings will take place this week in the form of a two-day workshop that will address the latest information available and look at how our athletes can prepare to the best of their ability for potential team selection, regardless of their geographical location.

We also remain in close contact with the Australian Olympic Committee, Sport Australia, FEI and Paralympics Australia surrounding the latest ‘Playbooks’, selection policies and qualification criteria for both Tokyo 2020 and the upcoming World Equestrian Games in 2022. As further information on these important matters becomes available from the relevant authorities we will endeavour to share these updates with our athletes and stakeholders.

This week the HP Program will be opening applications for the role of ‘HP Dressage Manager’ and expressions of interest for positions on the ‘Equestrian Australia Para-Equestrian Panel’. These newly introduced positions will support the development of our riders and the sustainability and success of the Dressage and Para-Equestrian Programs, respectively. Further information on these positions, including application details and position descriptions, will be widely circulated in the coming days and will also be listed on the EA website.

As always the health and safety of our people and horses remain our priority as we work together as a high-performance community to navigate these unprecedented times.

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