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Posted by Equestrian Australia on 09/06/2015.
Mathias Otto-Erley (GER), Virginia Creed and Eric Winter (GBR)

INSIGHT - FEI Eventing Officials Course

Equestrian Australia conducted an FEI Eventing Officials Course and an FEI Stewards Course in conjunction with the Melbourne International Horse Trials from 5-8th June 2015. The Eventing Officials course was open for Eventing Course Designers, Technical Delegates, Dressage Judges and ground jury members that were looking for promotion or upgrading from 1* and 2* to 3* and 4*. The Eventing Stewards Course was open to National Eventing Stewards seeking promotion to FEI level 1 Eventing Steward, level 1 stewards seeking transfer to level 2, and for FEI level 2 Eventing Steward for continuing their education.

Coming from England, Eric Winter was appointed as the overall Course Director. The FEI Dressage Specialist was Virginia Creed, one of Australia's top Dressage officials and the Technical Specialist was Mathias Otto-Erley from Germany. We had the chance to meet the 3 officials who provided us with an insight into their time at this clinic...

Eric Winter explained: "We have been here for four days. I really focused on the Eventing Course Designers, Technical Delegates, Dressage Judges and ground jury members on the first morning, how they judge, how the design the fences. We took some pieces of timber into the field and just dotted some stuff around so they could show us what they wanted to do in particular. The TD group went to the stables and they looked for what was good and what was not so good about security, vet checks ... Just really going over the organisation of the event and Virginia covered the Dressage marking and the way people went through tests. After that we did a joint course walk with everybody that is involved on the course of the 3*. Much of it is being focused on how they execute their duties, a funny sort of mix between education and examination. All the time we are talking to them, also looking for their feedback, what they put in and if their level of knowledge is high enough to be officials for the FEI. It has gone very well. The standard of candidates has been very strong. We had 3 people we thought should needed to gain more experience, because a lot is to do on the amount you actually see of different situations and a lot is experience based. But the rest of the 21 we had on the course have been exceptional, some have been really good positive role models I think that will go forward in the sport to become 3* or 4* TDs and work at big events."

Mathias Otto-Erley added: “It was been a learning process for me as well as for the candidates because in this part of the world, some things are different to what we have in our country and it is very interesting to know how the things work here and to learn from that as well as me can give some knowledge to them.”

Virginia Creed shared her love of working with the dressage-eventing in this instance: “I have done a few courses both here in Melbourne and also in New-Zealand. It is fabulous working alongside experts in the field from the other side of the world and find that we actually all speak the same language and have the same expectations for the sport. It is also great to see the number of people attending the course from so many different countries as well and make the effort to come from the other side of the world, it is not an insignificant expense and obviously a huge time commitment. It is very encouraging to see the number and quality of people who are coming through. The more experienced 3* and 4* officials assisting with mentoring the level 1* and 2* and the new ones into the sport. I think that the level of mentoring and coaching as well is terrific. Also the principles of dressage that are common from straight dressage into eventing dressage, making sure we follow through with that, developing people's confidence in giving marks. With more confidence they become more competent and better judges in the long run.”

Thank you to our 3 FEI officials for their time down-under!

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