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Posted by Shelley Tilbrook on 31/01/2023.

Q&A with Darryn Fedrick

Darryn Fedrick served as the EA Vaulting Committee Chair, volunteering his time for seven years to the sport he loves. In this interview we asked him to reflect on his time in the role and the sport.

Read his interview here.

What attracted you to the equestrian sport of Vaulting?

I became involved in the sport of vaulting when back in 1992 I was asked by Bert and Marion Hartog (Dalson Park Riding Centre) if I could fill in some lessons on a weekend for them. As I had worked there is the past it was no big issue. It just so happened that on this weekend there was also an Austrian Vaulting coach Frank Spadinger giving a vaulting clinic. After my lessons I got to chat with Frank about Vaulting, and he invited me to come down to Sydney to help out with the next vaulting clinic. Growing up I had been involved with Gymnastics and riding which is a great help when it comes to vaulting. After going down to Sydney with Frank and having such a great time I was hooked on the sport. Frank and I are still great mates and I have stayed with him in Vienna many times. The rest is history so to say. 

How did you get involved as a volunteer on the committee?

When I first became involved in the sport of vaulting it was in its infancy. The States got together and approached the then EFA recognize our sport and about forming committees. I have since served several terms on State and National sport committees for our sport. This time around I volunteered as I felt that our sport was struggling to provide the coaching pathways for vaulting coaches. Without more coaches we could not move forward with our sport.

What changes have you seen in your sport during your tenure of the committee?

7 years ago, when I started this term on the committee the role of the national committee was very different and was no clear direction. This was for many reasons including the issues within the EA and the fact that the committee had moved to skills based with no one really knowing what they should do to help our sport move forward. Over the years with member changes and many ups and downs our committee have bit by bit learned how to work within the structure that the EA have given us to try to continue to support and grow the sport. Sometimes we are more successful than other times.

What improvements are you most proud of?

One of the improvements that I am proud of is the fact that the EAVC from being this national committee that seemed to have no connection to the vaulting members to a committee that is now seen to offer direction and support to the states and our members. The EAVC is very well respected by all our vaulting members who now look to us to come up with solutions and strategies to move our sport forward.

What was the biggest challenge your sport faced? and how did you manage it?

The biggest challenge has been showing the EA and the other disciplines that vaulting like all other equestrian sports uses the same horse management and training of horses as any other equestrian sports the schooling of the horses correctly is just as important to us. Yes, we may train our human athletes differently, but we want the end result to be the same. With a vaulter that has knowledge, understanding of the way the horse moves. With an understanding of biomechanics of the horse and athlete to be able to work with feeling and harmony with our equine partner to get the bast performance possible. This is also the goal of all the other disciplines. So we are not just a novelty or circus sport, that we are no more different to other disciplines than say Dressage is to Jumping. We hold the same core values and beliefs as all FEI disciplines who have the same professionalism, and welfare of the horse at their heart.

The way that I have approached this challenge is many folds. Firstly, working with and talking to the other National discipline chairs who are an amazing group of people. We all understand that working together and supporting each other will strengthen all our sports. Also ensuring that vaulting like the other sports has a voice at the table with the EA. Education is a huge part of this challenge. Educating the EA, other sports and our own vaulting members about our sport. Therefore, one of the main focuses as the Chair of the EAVC is working to develop a clear coaching pathway with the EA. There have been many steps some forward, sidewards, and even backwards over the years, but I truly feel that we are slowly getting there.

What initiatives would you like to see take place in the future?

I would like to see the EA, honor its commitment to the restructuring of the EA. Ensuring that as promised that the disciplines have more say and control of their sports. After all it is the sports committees that understand their sports and what is needed for them to grow and thrive. Yes, there are many challenges and hurdles, but if EA truly work with the sports committees and not just dictate to them. The EA and the sports will become stronger and even more successful.

What advise do you have for the next chair?

Come to the job with goals that you want to achieve, talk and work with your committee members about these goals to adjust them to make them the whole committee’s goals.

Continue to work with and support the other disciplines, working with the other National chairs to achieve common goals.

Never give up on your committee’s goals, keep working with EA and all to achieve them even if they seem almost impossible to achieve at times. “Dream Big, work your butt off, achieve your Dreams”

How do you plan to stay involved with the sport?

I am an EA Coach Educator and FEI judge, so I will continue in these roles. I am looking forward to just enjoy vaulting at my local club “Fassifern” in Boonah.


We'd like to thank Darryn for his service, and many others like him who passionately dedicate their time to improving the sport they love. Without their support, the sport would not run.