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CEO News from Darren Gocher - November 2021

It has been a busy time for EA and I’m pleased to be able to share our latest updates. The FEI General Assembly took place last week and a summary of key discussions and decisions can be found here. Of particular note, there are two important changes surrounding updated FEI veterinary regulations for recording horse temperature at events that are important for our EA members competing in FEI events to be aware of.

The EA Strategic Forum took place this week, a key milestone where we had an important group of stakeholders together. The EA Board and staff meet with the Presidents and CEOs of the State and Territory branches, the Chairs of the EA National Discipline Committees, EA Coaching Committee, EA National Health and Safety Committee and the EA High Performance and Para-equestrian panels, who all represent EA members from various perspectives. The purpose was to discuss strategic themes and structural options, and frame the way forward for EA.

Ensuring we get the foundations right, before moving forward, will ensure we achieve the outcomes desired from this process. The objective of the meeting was not to create a finite plan, but to start to develop a nationally aligned plan and process, and define what success looks like for our sport.

We are striving towards:

a strong, sustainable sport
stable financials
structure that enables efficient operations
risk, safety and integrity governance frameworks

The strategy development process is incredibly important, and one that started a while ago. We want to ensure there is genuine consultation of all members in this process. We need to continue to strengthen the foundations and also to grow the sport. We will design a structure that enables us to deliver on the strategy and efficiently and effectively run the sport. This is significant for our sport, as we’re looking for change that will carry us forward for decades. We need to ensure that we have a robust change management system in place. It will take time, but it is essential we get it right.

From here, we are forming a steering group, to help guide the process around structure and development. It will be made up of representatives from NDCs, States, the EA Board and Sport Australia. The next phase will involve feedback from members of the equestrian community. This is vital in shaping the future of our sport. We hope for a high level of engagement to help us refine our strategy and encompass the needs of all stakeholders across the sport.

Finally, the EA team has been working hard in preparation for the inaugural EA Health and Safety Online Conference. This event kicked off on Monday night, with the first of three sessions (the following sessions are being held on Wednesday 1 December 2021 and Monday 6 December 2021). We were delighted to have more than 450 registered attendees from within Australia and overseas. Topics included:

the highs and lows of equestrian sport, with Stuart Tinney
prioritising safety using practical application of equitation science, with Dr Kate Fenner
the four pillars of health and safety, with Joel Gordon.

If you are yet to register, there is still time to join us for the upcoming evenings. We have many excellent presenters sharing their insights with us.

Darren Gocher


Article courtesy of Equestrian Australia

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