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EA High Performance Program Update and Looking Towards a Postponed Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games – 18th May, 2020

We hope you have all been keeping safe, well and healthy.

As we continue to adjust to the new approach in which we navigate closer to a postponed Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, a renewed sense of optimism has emerged around the globe with many countries continuing to ease confinement restrictions and some equestrian activities being resumed. Whilst this does not include equestrian competition here in Australia many of our domestic athletes have welcomed the changes in regulations which now allow lessons and off property training to take place in some States. This positive step forward is reassuring in that further training can now occur while we continue to abide by social distancing and health regulations in order to minimise the spread of COVID-19.

In addition, the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) remains committed to ensuring that the recently released framework for rebooting sport in a COVID-19 environment carefully guides the reactivation of high performance sport in Australia. These guidelines are currently focussed on Level B activity and full details can be found here:

Recently we learned that Ricky MacMillan tendered her resignation as Chair of the Equestrian Australia (EA) Board, as did fellow Director Gillian Canapini. EA High Performance (HP) would like to thank both Ricky and Gillian for their dedication and hard work during their time on the EA Board and for their contributions to Equestrian Australia. Moving forward the HP Program will continue to deliver world class leadership, management and support to our athletes and will await further information from Equestrian Australia on future Board appointments.

Last week our NEXT Gen Eventing Squad members were given the opportunity to participate in the first of our online workshops, hosted by HP and Chris Burton. The innovative new platform allowed our athletes to spend time with Chris to discuss training and performance matters. This rare and unprecedented access was met with overwhelming enthusiasm by the riders who took advantage of the interactive session to learn from Chris’ incredible wealth of experience as a top-level competitor. We would like to extend a special thank you to Chris Burton who generously gave up his time to be a part of the workshop and for so eagerly jumping at the opportunity to be involved in the development of our upcoming riders.

While we continue to look forward to the return of equestrian sport at the highest level we would like to acknowledge the retirement of the wonderful mare Paulank Brockagh, stable name Brocks, from the competition arena. Brocks and Sam Griffiths accumulated numerous wins representing Australia in Eventing and were part of the Bronze medal winning team at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, where they also finished in fourth place individually. We wish Brocks a very happy retirement, which she enters into sound and happy, and we feel privileged to have been a part of the journey.

As yet we have no further developments to report following our ongoing discussions with the FEI surrounding Tokyo qualifications, and the obtaining of Minimum Eligibility Requirements. We remain dedicated to ensuring a feasible and fair outcome is reached in the best interest of our sport and that it can be delivered in a timely manner. The EA High Performance Panel and the Chairs of the National Selection Panels also continue to review the impact of COVID-19 on our Olympic and Paralympic preparations and selection policies. As there are so many variables still at this stage, we will continue to work hard in adapting these plans and policies and to remain available to our stakeholders during this time.

The health and safety of our people and horses remain our priority as we work together as a broader community in order to navigate through these unprecedented times.

We thank you all for your understanding and continued support and please feel free to contact the High Performance team directly if you have any questions or queries.

Article courtesy of Equestrian Australia

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