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Posted by Kirsty Pasto on 07/06/2021.

Equestrian Australia High Performance Weekly Update – 7th June 2021

With fewer than 50 days until the opening ceremony of the Games of the XXXII Olympiad the countdown to the postponed Olympic and Paralympic Games continues. Our athletes remain focused as they enter the final stages of prospective team selection, and we maintain open communication with all identified riders regarding their planning and preparations ahead of the Games.

Victoria’s ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown was extended last week, and will now remain in effect until 11:59pm on Thursday 10 June. Unfortunately, as a result of these further restrictions, the Melbourne International 3 Day Event organising committee has made the difficult decision to cancel the 2021 event, which was set to commence 10thJune. We recognise the enormous effort and countless hours put in by the organising committee to stage the event, and we thank them for endeavouring to provide a world-class event for our athletes. We also worked closely with the organising committee in the lead up to the event and we share in their disappointment, as well as that of the whole eventing community, that the event will not take place for the second year in a row. The Melbourne International 3 Day Event was also set to be the final Tokyo 2020 Olympic eventing qualification to take place within Australia. We have been in contact with all of our identified combinations that were hoping to contest the event this week to discuss their preparations moving forward in light of this setback, with a focus on potential team selection.  

Last week we welcomed Brett Davey to the EA High Performance (HP) team in the newly created role of High Performance Dressage Manager. This exciting role has been designed to provide the discipline of dressage with a dedicated resource to assist with all aspects of HP Dressage. Brett’s appointment will see him utilise his extensive equestrian management skills and his experience as an equestrian athlete to support Australian riders throughout the HP Pathway. The recruitment process was a close collaboration between HP and the selection panel to ensure that the vision, direction and objectives for dressage in Australia, and the role of the EA High Performance Dressage Manager, remain aligned.  We look forward to working with Brett on the advancement of Australian dressage.

The FEI Sports Forum was held digitally last week, due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The FEI Sports Forum is an annual discussion platform open to all, and utilised by the FEI to address key issues facing equestrian sport worldwide. The FEI Sports Forum opened with a session dedicated to the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games, which provided an opportunity to review the climate mitigation measures currently in place for the Games along with the Clean Sport campaigns for both human and equine athletes. Three FEI disciplines – Jumping, Vaulting, and Driving – also underwent full revisions this year seeing three sessions dedicated to the major changes proposed for each discipline. This year’s FEI development session was devoted to grooms, who not only play a vital role in our sport but who are also crucial members of our team. To date, grooms do not have a dedicated professional association whereby their voice can be heard in relation to FEI governance. Therefore, the FEI is committed to ensuring our grooms gain the recognition they deserve, which led to a specific session being convened on the subject at this year’s forum. An expert discussion panel for the grooms session was assembled, and included our very own EA High Performance Director, Chris Webb. Chris was invited to serve on the panel in acknowledgment of the efforts made by, and the inclusive nature of, the EA High Performance Program in relation to our grooms. Several areas for the advancement of grooms were identified and the forum offered insightful and thought-provoking discussion throughout all the sessions that took place over the two days. Full recordings and documentation from the forum can be found on the FEI 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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