Eventing Committee Responds to Canadian Eventing Community's Open Letter
Equestrian Canada's Eventing Committee has issued the following open letter in response to the January 30th Open Letter plea penned by a significant portion of Eventing's high performance community (including Olympians, and World Equestrian Games & Pan Am medalists, owners and support team members).
The letter failed to address many of the serious concerns detailed, including the absence of transparency and unprofessional behaviour on the part of Equestrian Canada's Senior leadership.
Dear Canadian Eventers,
The Equestrian Canada – Eventing Committee has prepared the following response to the open letter that a group of Canadian High Performance riders, owners and supporters have recently sent to the media. We appreciate the effort that this group went to in order to put their thoughts and opinions on public display as well as being constantly reminded that there are 2,374 individuals that are Eventing members, all with voices of importance. Your words have stirred emotion across this great country which is undoubtedly what you intended, expected and undeniably evoked.
The Eventing Committee is made up of a dedicated and passionate group of volunteers of diverse geography and expertise. These members donate their time, expertise and often their own money to the cause of developing sport in Canada – including often travelling to meetings and events and hosting events at their own personal expense in order to keep funds focussed on programming.
The committee is extremely grateful to Wentworth Farm for hosting the reception in Ocala for Canadian athletes on January 31st and to HP Advisory Group Chair Rob Stevenson for travelling to Ocala at his own expense to meet with the athletes.
A volunteer-based sport, by definition, would not exist if perceived and even real conflicts-of-interest were not tolerated. If the governance of the sport that we love was awarded to people not invested in our community, then we could never dream of winning… we all need some skin in the game in order to passionately put ourselves on the line. Peter Gray is part of an FEI Solidarity Initiative to assist developing Countries with their education and was assigned to work with Colombia. It would be the hope of this committee that all of our riders, coaches and owners give back some day in order to make the sport stronger as a whole. Conflicts of interest are not uncommon in sport, and those associated with EC are not prevented from carrying on their activities because of their roles; they do however have to disclose any potential for conflict and withdraw where the conflict may impact a decision.
In November 2016, the Eventing Committee met with representatives from across the country in order to hear their voices. The collaboration and positivity was overwhelming and that important dialogue and communication continues. We share the same frostbite, sunburns, joys and frustrations as the rest of you and we get it. The feeling of putting it all on the line and being left out of the loop is our greatest challenge to overcome and we will do that by communicating positively and through the proper channels.
No matter what we call our NSO… the Canadian Equestrian Federation, Equine Canada or Equestrian Canada… we are Eventers first and we need to work together in order to advance.
The Long Term Athlete Development structure and competition alignment for our sport are under review and need a great deal of consideration in order to ensure the longevity of the sport moving forward. Not to overshadow of course the needs of our High Performance riders and our needs of them. We need to help provide them the tools to do this great sport to the best of their ability and we need them to continue to be the cheerleaders and heroes for the sport. With Rob Stevenson stepping in as Chair of the Eventing High Performance advisory group for Canada we are looking to build a solid foundation for our athletes to stand on. Ensuring that our riders have the voice they need, this advisory group will have up to two representatives with high performance sport experience nominated by the Eventing High Performance Squad.
With governance changes in place in Eventing we are now finally gaining some traction and are able to act on the outcomes of meetings that have been held with our High Performance Riders. We have the right committee of advocates for our sport and we assure you that we are listening. We are standing in the ring beside you, we live the highs and lows as deeply as you do and we are cheering on everyone that calls themselves an Eventer whether you hopped over your first ditch yesterday or you have represented our country.
In working with our NSO, this committee is devoted to uphold the framework comprised of the 3 pillars of accountability, transparency, and communication.
Equestrian Canada – Eventing Committee