WEG drama leads to new endurance structure

April 9, 2011

Lessons learned from the issues arising over last year's World Equestrian Games have led to a new structure for the sport of endurance in New Zealand.

Sue Reid and Makahiwi Achilles. Reid was one of the two riders to pull out of the New Zealand endurance team to last year's World Equestrian Games.
Two WEG-selected riders objected to the fact that grooms were assigned to them for the games, rather than being allowed to choose their own. The pair, Sue Reid and Jenny Champion, pulled of the team. It left New Zealand with just three endurance riders.

In a message to endurance riders this week, Equestrian Sports NZ CEO Jim Ellis said it had taken time to move the Endurance High Performance issue forward, "but I hope members will understand that the topic has seen lengthy and detailed debate 'behind the scenes'."

Leadership of the HP Programme will now rest with a small group, rather than a single HP Leader as is the case with ESNZ's other disciplines. "It is believed that this will offer a HP environment more suited to the particular nature of Endurance and the skills, expertise and horsepower needed to compete with the best in the world," Ellis said.

"It will also enable officials to be appointed for the World Championships at an earlier stage and allow them to be fully engaged in the HP programme from the middle of 2011."

The changes follow a review of last year's WEG campaign, coupled with a second Endurance specific review, involving both ESNZ and the Endurance Board. The new structure would take the sport through to the end of 2014, which would include the 2012 World Championships, and the 2014 World Equestrian Games in France.

Sarah Harris, ESNZ HP Director, will drive the initial stages of a new Endurance plan for the period to end 2014.

In order to finalise the plan Harris will engage with senior Endurance officials and riders. As part of this consultation, she will attend the National Championships on Good Friday.

"Significant learning has been taken from the WEG campaign - as well as some significant positives there were also disappointments and failures in process," Ellis said.

"The lessons learnt have been incorporated into the planning of the new structure, noting in particular, the need for the new HP leadership group to bond together the elite Endurance community around the achievement of higher targets in both 2012 and 2014."

Applications for the new positions would be called for next week. The would include that of HP Director, Vet, Coaching Advisor, Selectors (one from the North Island and one from the South Island), and Chef d'Equipe for the 2012 World Championships. A decision would be made on this role no later than July 2011.