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Posted by Sylvia Roberts on 06/07/2016.
The Seminar participants and facilitators

INSIGHT - Bromont FEI Officials Seminar in Canada

Sylvia Roberts (QLD) has recently returned from Bromont, Canada, hosting city of the next World Equestrian Games. She had the opportunity to attend an FEI Refresher Seminar to maintain her 3/4* Course Designer Accreditation. Here she tells us her story...

"I recently was fortunate to have the opportunity to attend an FEI Seminar in Bromont Canada. As I needed to attend a refresher seminar to maintain my 3/4* Course designer accreditation I strived to go to Canada. The venue in Bromont is the original site of the 1976 Montreal Olympics and the proposed site for the next World Equestrian Games in 2018.

This venue is a course designer’s dream site with beautiful going and a variety of undulated ground to design and build a challenging course which the Course Designer for the event Derek Di Grazia and Course Builder Jay Hambly used brilliantly to produce beautifully designed, built and presented courses for all grades. It is also interesting to note that Derek is the Course Designer for 2018 WEG and 2020 Olympics. This was one of the reasons I desperately wanted to attend this seminar in Canada with the other reason being that the Course Design specialist presenter for the Seminar was Eric Winter who is now the current CD for Badminton. I realised that the knowledge I could gain at this seminar could be very valuable to me as a 3/4* CD and future experience. 


The TD / CD's on course


In the class room


Walking the showjumping course

To date this has been the best FEI Seminar I have attended. Our Facilitators were excellent knowledgeable Officials with our overall facilitator and Ground Jury specialist being Nick Burton from UK and as previously stated Eric Winter was our CD specialist - also from the UK with our very own Aussie grown Geoff Sinclair as the TD specialist. We had a vastly global group of participants with a large number being from South America and representation from USA, Canada, Ireland, Sweden and Australia.

The FEI has taken all the feedback from previous seminars throughout the world and has changed the format to give all Officials a more hands on and practical approach. We still had our fair share of theory and a hectic schedule to adhere to though. This however did not always go to Plan much to the frustration of our "keep to the schedule" Nick Burton. As the TD and CD's were out on course in a more practical approach for the majority of the time we tended to go over time and thus resulting in being the 'naughty children' of the seminar who were led astray by our leaders which became an ongoing humorous challenge to be back to the classroom on time.

We covered all the usual topics during the seminar with emphasis on the future of our sport in safety and the overall standard required by the FEI. As our sport is becoming more professional it brings home the need to present our sport to the public in a very professional and well organised manner. The same issues we face in Australia with budget constraints, adequate personnel and volunteers to run events along with obtaining experience as Officials is a problem throughout the world. Within our National Federations we have recognised this and work closely with the FEI to work towards a global standard and through these Seminars we can address some of these issues and report back to the FEI on ongoing Officials education and how we can gain more experience globally.

These seminars not only give us the opportunity to maintain our status and strive for promotion but provide us with a valuable networking opportunity to gain further experience and contacts throughout the world. Through the people you meet you can discuss issues which influence our sport in different countries, make valuable contacts, get possible future officiating roles but most of all make beautiful everlasting friendships which you treasure forever. 

The organising committee in Bromont led by the very efficient Sue Ockendon and her team made us feel very welcome and I even got the opportunity to be given the role of being on The Investigation and Arbitration panel.

The whole experience was fantastic and to cap it all off I reunited with some of our overseas based Australian riders. Not only did they all perform well they manage to do us proud by winning every class. Well we do still call Boyd Martin an Aussie even though he now rides for the States. Ryan Wood is doing exceptionally well and won both the CCI & CIC 3*, Dominic Schramm won the CCI 1* with Boyd winning the CCI 2*. Kate Chadderton also rode exceptionally well and placed in the CIC 3*. It was a very proud moment to be an Aussie with the "Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi" chanting out amongst the crowd. An Aussie flag even appeared on the hill held proudly by Dominc & Kate and all the Aussies including Clayton Fredericks (and even a Kiwi - Glorified Aussie - Helen Christie) singing our national Anthem at the presentations much to the disappointment of the Canadians. 


Ryan Wood winner of CCI3*


Glory to our Aussies

I have been lucky enough to have been given the opportunity to attend two Global Education Program CD workshops in the past and after being given the opportunity to attend a seminar abroad would recommend to every Official to try and get the opportunity to attend an overseas Seminar or apply to the GEP as the experience you gain from making the effort is invaluable. It can become a very costly exercise but one that is well worth while and I would do it again in a heartbeat."


The Seminar participants and facilitators


Sylvia Roberts

To Read all the other INSIGHT stories Click HERE

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