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Posted by Kirsty Pasto on 30/11/2020.

Equestrian Australia High Performance Weekly Update – 30th November, 2020

As the weather heats up in Australia so too does the competition for our domestic athletes. With Covid-19 restrictions now easing many organising committees across the country have been able to stage competitions providing our identified athletes with the opportunity to advance their Tokyo 2020 preparations. A growing number of dressage and jumping events continue to be listed on the national calendar and our eventing riders have also taken this fortuity to better prepare their horses, demonstrating their skills across the disciplines. In addition, our High Performance (HP) Eventing Squad riders are eagerly looking ahead to the first full scale Australian three-day-event since Covid-19, which will commence later this week at Wallaby Hill, NSW. The international competition season has now drawn to a close with the approach of winter in Europe and the USA along with the implementation of varying restrictions due to Covid-19. We continue to maintain open communication with all of our overseas-based athletes as we assist with their planning for the 2021 season and ensure they have the necessary support to reach their individual performance goals in the coming months.

The FEI General Assembly was held last week and was conducted online this year due to the complications presented by Covid-19. The entire program took place over eleven days and in addition to the Ordinary General Assembly included Regional Group Meetings, two FEI Board Meetings, an Anti-Doping session and a review of proposed Rule Changes. A summary of all the key discussions and decisions, including rule changes, can be found by visiting https://inside.fei.org/fei/general-assembly/2020

The FEI also provided an update relating to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games stating the Tokyo 2020 organising committee anticipates publishing an interim summary on Covid-19 countermeasures before the end of 2020. The release of further details pertaining to the safety of our athletes and the risk management strategy for Covid-19 is greatly anticipated as we continue to prepare our staff, athletes and support teams for the postponed Games. We are also liaising closely with the FEI to gain further clarity regarding Olympic qualification events and requirements as we navigate these unprecedented circumstances. Our logistical and operational plans continue to advance and we maintain open communication with both the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) and Paralympics Australia (PA) as we confidently look ahead to the arrival of our team in Tokyo next year in the pursuit of podium success.

Last week the HP Eventing Generation NEXT Squad riders took part in the latest HP virtual workshop. The workshop was hosted by Australian Eventing Team Veterinarian Dr. Nathan Anthony and focussed on soundness in the high-performance equine athlete. The workshop explained the observational skills required to identify lameness and provided advice on how the riders can monitor their own horses’ soundness at home to detect subtle changes early and ensure proper diagnosis, treatment and recovery. The presentation utilised video content showing various veterinary examinations requiring the riders to review trot up inspections as part of the interactive session. The material shown to the riders is the same used by Dr Anthony to educate veterinary students and is aimed to equip our riders with the knowledge needed to preserve the health and longevity of our equine athletes.

Unfortunately it was announced over the weekend that the FEI WBFSH Dressage World Breeding Championships For Young Dressage Horses has been cancelled due to Covid-19. Despite the organisational adjustments made to guarantee the event could be held safely it was determined the only option in view of the pandemic was to cancel the event. The annual Championships was due to take place in Verden, Germany from December 9th to 13th 2020 where the best five, six and seven-year-old horses from 23 nations were set to take part. Australia had four talented combinations entered in the event and we share in the disappointment of our riders, owners and their teams and appreciate the tremendous amount of work that has taken place to prepare the horses for the event. However, the health and safety of all concerned must remain the priority and we respect the difficult decision made by the organising committee to avoid the spread of Covid-19. 

Following the latest Paris 2024 Executive Board meeting Château de Versailles has been reconfirmed as the site for equestrian events at the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Organising Committee revealed a new model for its venues in an attempt to allow budget savings in the aftermath of the global pandemic. It was determined that certain venues should be shared, but equestrian events, including modern pentathlon, will remain alone at the Château de Versailles. The proposals are now due to be discussed with each sport’s International Federation, the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee.

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

We thank you all for your understanding and continued support and please feel free to contact the High Performance team directly if you have any questions or queries.

 

 

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