Some interesting news came through yesterday…

 

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Yikes.

Is this out of the blue?

Well, probably not so much…

The Board of EA has been going through a tumultuous… err… number of years. People are constantly stepping up and then resigning. Claims of misspent funding, blockades to progress and denied requests for transparency are rife.

In April 2019, Ricky MacMillan (a previous Olympian and WEG rider for dressage) was appointed to the board and it seemed like member prayers had been answered. Ricky had been a dedicated and involved member of horse sports for so long and had shown true commitment to getting the organisation running in support of the members it so willingly takes money from. By November 2019 she had been appointed to Chair of the EA Board.

Well…

 

1

 

That lasted.

She was the third chair in 18 months to resign from the board.

It took 6 months for them to squeeze her out.

What is going on up there?

Well I guess this sentence probably gives it away…

 


“This follows the withdrawal of funding by Sports Australia, which had formed a view that, until the organisation is both representative of the membership and stable in governance and operation, they could not in good faith continue to contribute public funds”


 

BIG YIKES.

I have to say, though… they’re spot on.

Equestrian Australia doesn’t seem to be serving much purpose to anyone at this point in time.

Grass roots riders are frustrated at the ever escalating cost of events but are not being afforded the transparency as to why these costs are escalating. If you then compare this to the average cost of HRCAV run events (which are both numerous and well supported in numbers) it is safe to say people are getting pissed.

The assumption was long held that the bulk of the funding was being committed to elite riders until the elite riders have then stepped forward to say they also aren’t receiving funding unless they are considered to be in medal contention. Yet Equestrian Australia was apparently supposed to receive $3.2M in taxpayer money to support the High Performance program.

 

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So, where is this money going?

And then, next thing you know, the state branches are getting involved and saying this doesn’t effect them as they are separate entities.

 

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What the dickens is happening here?

 

So, apparently we have an overarching governing Board which is facing solvency issues and yet our state bodies are stable? A similar statement from Equestrian Victoria has also been issued to members.

Our high performance riders are now being overseen by the AIS, so hopefully this won’t effect what is happening in the pursuit of Tokyo 2021 but I honestly don’t know what is going to happen from here.

Members rely on insurance to ride, coaches rely on insurance to teach and apparently this is going to be handled and yet our National Body may be going under or heavily reconstructed for… who knows how long?

I thought I had a relatively solid understanding of the relationship between the overarching body and the state branches but guys.

I am CONFUSED.

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7 Comments

  1. Yeah this whole EA thing is a mess and has been for years. I never understood why and never bothered to find out, because apart from needing to be a member to get insurance for comps and clubs, the EA didn’t seem to have anything to do with me!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes it does feel that way at times.

      I’ve wanted to get involved with EA for a while now, but there doesn’t seem to be an obvious way in for people who are wanting to contribute, so it seems to be a bit of a vicious cycle.

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  2. The WA branch has said a similar thing to the other by the sounds of it. I hope that EA gets the changes that it needs for us to progress as an effective equestrian body and not as things have been happening recently. It’s a shambles as it stands!

    Hopefully this doesn’t impact the sport long term though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well that’s good to hear!

      Unfortunately I get the impression that EA has been getting in the way of our sport for a while now and this has been alluded to several times by previous Chairs and other stakeholders.

      What I am having some trouble wrapping my head around is how the state branches can apparently have no solvency issues when the overarching body can be described as nothing other than heavily mismanaged.

      Let’s hope whatever comes next pays more attention the needs, wants and hopes of the membership base – both HP and grassroots.

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  3. WOW! There is some serious “proverbial S…T” going down here. I have to say that if I read this and put in Equestrian Canada for many of the paragraphs it would fit. Resignations, dismissals, fiscal mismanagement etc etc etc. However recently EC does seem to be stepping up to the plate. Oddly enough they have been doing some good things during the Pandemic. They have reduced the work week of the people in the EC office and reduced pay as well to remain solvent. They have started a good program called “Am I Ready?” where you video a test ( in a 20 by 60 arena with letters visible and good quality video) send it to them via You Tube ( not public viewing) and they will get a judge appropriate to the level to judge it. No scores just comments. Your membership fees cover this no extra cost. Also they have been doing one or two webinars a month which have been very interesting. I hope you will get things sorted out in Australia

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Canadian magazine Horse Sport had something about Australia in their online issue. Seems if Australia cannot send teams to the Olympics then there will be a scramble for the jumpers and dressage to fill those slots. Also , I had not realized this, Australia cannot compete in FEI competitions! So all the Aussies who are based in Europe are not able to get qualifying scores for Tokyo. However I suspect Tokyo may not happen. But when they will decide to announce that remains to be seen. I would say that an effective vaccine that is readily available will have to be the criteria for Tokyo going ahead.

        Like

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