Considerations for the future EA Board

Proposing party: EA Directors


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  1. Option A
    I believe this puts the cart before the horse. I agree that an interim arrangement is needed to allow the new Governance, Structural and Management of the peak equestrian body in Australia to be implemented in a careful and considered way. However the first question to be posed is What is needed from the peak body?
    What should be it’s brief and following that what is the appropriate structure to deliver that? Talking structure before role is just nonsense.
    Regardless of the structure selected we need the Members ‘voice’ to be clearly present. This models fails that test at several levels with only 3 Directors elected. In a membership based organisation this is not appropriate. Particularly in a sport such as equestrian where we are fortunate that the members are comprised of many different professions who could nominate for the skills based positions and be voted in by the membership. I also feel an independent Chair with a track record in the sports not for profit sector would help navigate EA to more professional and less nepotistic style of governance.
    I also respectfully suggest that the interim Board should be ineligible to stand for the new Board ensuring that the governance structure truly serves the members and not individual’s career aspirations.

  2. I agree with Sandra McClelland’s comments and would add the I don’t support the removal of the state branches. Disciplines in each State have a slightly different operational model that serves members well and ensures State Governments have one key industry body to deal with for equestrian matters, separating this into each discipline will make it difficult for the States and I believe will compromise outcomes particularly for grass roots riders.

    It is not clear to me if riders would need to be members of each discipline at a national level to be able to compete in multiple disciplines and given the differences in structure across the states (application of levies for example in eventing) how would equity be achieved.

  3. Despite complications which arise from Option 6 regarding developing administration as a national structure, it also reduces conflict and improves co-ordination of the sport in a more holistic manner through more cohesive national alignment.

    The strawman structure would comprehensively develop the multiple aspects necessary.

    Difficulties may arise with limited numbers or diversity of sport representations on the board of directors, however as a camel is a horse designed by a committee, it is as difficult to have too many representation as too few.

  4. I would like to make a comment on a membership fee structure going forward. I agree that membership should sit at the national level to eliminate disparities between states. However, I would suggest that a variable membership fee structure would be appropriate, based on individual members access to EA affiliated activities and resources. For example something along the lines of –
    • Urban/suburban and semi-rural membership. This category would be the highest cost as members have the greatest access to EA affiliated competitions, training clinics etc.
    • Rural – this category would cater for members in country areas around the capital cities and larger regional centres. A medium cost would apply as members will have only moderate access competitions, clinics etc, or will need to regularly travel moderate distances to participate.
    • Regional and remote – This category will be the lowest cost and cater for members who reside in regional and remote areas, and who therefore have limited access to competitions and clinics, even with a significant effort to travel.

    Another way to recognise members varying access to events etc would be to cost membership around the number of events participated in each year. Many AFL clubs have such a membership fee structure which recognises varying access to attend matches. For example – a lower membership priced for 5 events or less, a medium membership for 4-10 events, and a maximum membership for 10+ events. However, a membership structure like this would require significantly more administration.

    The insurance component of membership fees would be the same regardless of location. Any part of membership fees provided to state branches, as is the current system, would be the same regardless of the makeup of their membership base.

    As a member located in a remote area I am aware that under the current state-based membership cost structure, for many riders the limited opportunities to train and compete does not warrant the cost of a competitive membership that is no doubt well worth the value in more densely populated equestrian regions. I believe that a better alignment between cost and benefits would assist in growing EA membership in areas away from the main competitive hubs.

  5. Option 6 provides an excellent outcome. The sport and membership of EA does not support 5 state offices and all the staff required to man them. We pay over 50% of our fees towards administration costs. We need a single office running administration, marketing, governance, coaching, discipline liaison and so on. I’ve been a member of 4 different states and I am confident that a single office can still permit expression of state based geographic requirements.

  6. I like this one, but love many aspects of Options D,E and I that I would love to see incorporated into this.

  7. Need streamlining of the administration structure – as at the moment the reality is that no money goes to the committees to “actually” run the sports. It is left to volunteers to try to raise funds from competitors to instigate all of the things required to run the sport ie safety measures, awards within sports etc this places great stresses on volunteers when not a cent comes from either state or national to help (excluding generous donations from things like Terry Snow Fund)

  8. I don’t feel this is the best option for the members at all with limited representation. I’m all for the down playing of the state branch but am pro individual discipline approach so for me, Option 4 was the only viable and preferred option and the cons listed are not accurate and could be remedied. British equestrian works really well.
    The Board members must come from within Horse Sports and should have balanced, outside interestes as well.
    Centralised membership at the national level with some other administrative functions however is a good idea.

  9. I am pleased to see that the remaining board members have presented a proposal. I don’t support the current board members having a role in the interim board. Apart from year 1 when it would be reasonable for approx 50% of the board to be replaced I don’t support a one-year term, this is far too short to allow for continuity of knowledge or projects.

  10. I would like to see the role of the National body spelt out very clearly, so that there is no possibility of overstepping or overstated responsibility. Given we live in a federation, I do believe that states, while delivering some duplication are necessary for providing services. There could be a consolidation of ‘back office ‘ functions at national level, and that would provide some cost savings.
    Until there is very clear role definition with EA and State Bodies or Discipline Bodies under others models, the concept of one member one vote will be papering over the cracks.
    The inability of states to work effectively with national and vice versa is a result of structural deficits…overlapping responsibilities and a lack of effective processes, especially avenues for disciplinary hearings, appeals and distribution of outcomes.
    What I would have liked to see is a very comprehensive review of what works and what doesn’t, rather than jumping to proposals. KM. Provided a high level overview and the options presented jump to solutions without really examining what has worked and what hasn’t, where the states operate on differences, that may be necessary but may not, and wherever there is agreement that one model of providing product/services then that may well be appropriate to be managed nationally.
    Some of the options presented while very well prepared do not seem to really understand why we are where we are, and while all are in agreement that change is required, the exact nature of the change hasn’t been articulated beyond the members vote, lack of churn at board level, and some ‘motherhood ‘ statements about openness and transparency.
    Given the states are responsible for current and past board appointments there is something going on that is way beyond who is chosen to participate at national level.

    I’m sorry I can’t offer a positive contribution but even with all the money spent, and all the words that have been generated the actual causes of the problems and the problems themselves have not yet been articulated well enough for me to feel confident in nominating any option.
    All will have positive and negatives attached, and at this stage without really looking at core issues, we (in my view) will need to wait until a new board is on deck, and we have a temporary workable solution and incrementally attack causes one by one.
    It will take time and patience and sadly could have been achieved without such awful divisions. But we are where we are, so we go forward hopefully with a will to all work together, and prepared to allow the right amount of time pass to do the job properly.

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