Considerations for the future EA Board

Proposing party: State Boards’ proposed DOCA


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  1. I support the model proposed by the Australian Equestrian Joint Working Group for the following reasons:

    On the face of it, “One member, one vote” sounds appealing and attractive but is simply a majority rules approach and I have genuine concern that the the smaller states and disciplines will constantly be overrun by dominant member states, disciplines and personalities.

    It is not realistic to think that every single member will have the ability to participate in change or that their ‘one vote’ would be any more than a ‘Yay’ or ‘Nay’ to proposals. Members need a system whereby they can engage with their chosen discipline within their state. Those disciplines need to be engaged and approachable, providing a platform whereby ordinary members can legitimately be involved in an outcome. One member, One vote is simply a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to options; it is not an engaged participation.

    I also have reservations about any proposal that does not realise the importance of the involvement of state branches and state representation from a purely ‘membership’ perspective.

    The states are different: they cannot be served by a centralised organisation – that is what we, in a sense, have now, with EA in the commanding position. EA has gotten itself into this situation and for too long been too far removed from the ‘ordinary’ member. Most of the other models look to providing even more power to an ‘EA clone’ – an organisation still focussed on the elite athletes. I am also very much against handing over hard earned and raised funds of the existing member states to a national body to be distributed.

    As a true grass roots rider and owner, I want to engage with ‘experts’ within my chosen discipline and be represented by them AND my state branch so that I get the best for my membership $$$. Selfishly, I want my interests, locally served, and not impacted by what may be appropriate for someone somewhere else within the country who may have totally different aspirations. When I volunteer my time, effort and money I want to know exactly where that is going and that it is going into MY STATE – not be distributed by a national organisation or discipline.

    It is why a grass roots organisation such as the HRCAV is such a strong member focussed organisation and has been for many years. It is concerned with THEIR members, THEIR state and THEIR objectives and goals. Fundraising efforts, volunteering etc are all shared BACK TO THE LOCAL RIDING COMMUNITY.

    Certainly we need an ‘EA’ to administer, govern and provide for the elite athletes who will represent US in international competition. The model proposed by Australian Equestrian Joint Working Group recognises the importance of High Performance by providing representation at National level for each discipline, but they are not put above the needs of the other groups. It allows an equal voice for the grass roots members (many of who are invisible) to have a seat at the table.

    I do not support any other model that reduces the local rider voice.

    I also do not support any model that doesn’t have a realistic time frame. Implementing a model quickly with the objective of getting a team up and running for the Olympics is NOT the answer for the majority of members. That should not be our focus here. We are about reforming our sport FOR ALL.

    Catering to the limited number of HP, elite and other highly competitive members is what has got us in to this situation. For too long the needs of the grass roots members, who never ever will get to HP level, have been pushed aside. It is the ordinary members that keep the sport going by membership, volunteering, officiating and generally supporting. It is the ordinary rider who contributes so much money to ownership of horses, supporting equine industries and services, membership funds, entry money etc etc.

    Therefore, I support Option D proposed by the Australian Equestrian Joint Working Group.

    • Thank you Corinne for your commentary on this option, you have perfectly articulated my views on this. I also support Option D as proposed.

  2. It is my opinion that one of the main problems is the hierarchy of the states which has led to the current problems. Riders align with a discipline not a state. NSW is financially successful and in good hands but yearly finds it difficult to get a quorum to elect their Board:such is the member interest. Of course the administrators and board members of each state have a vested interest in maintaining as much as they can of the status quo.

    • I agree with Penny that there is too much hierarchy in the States and too many vested interests – this has led to various problems and a drain on the equestrian community purse strings.
      Members are supportive of the discipline(s), not the State. This model does not support that model or the members interests to the degree required for transformation. I can’t see this model meeting the requirements moving forward for members.

  3. This sounds promising. I like the format which makes each state have an equal vote despite the variation in state membership numbers. I don’t feel NSW should hold the majority vote as I would like to think that we would want equal opportunity for members no matter their state and increase member numbers by offering equal opportunities.

  4. I agree that the states need to have a say and it should not be majority rules – I agree with paragraph 2 & 3.

    We need to centralise all the doubling up of things as mentioned in numerous options as funds to actually run sports is non-existent as it goes in wages, sports are left to fend for themselves. We need state councils (branches) to be there to help the disciplines improve and move forward with the sports in there state.

  5. I support the Australian Equestrian Joint Working Group proposal for consultation, review & establishment of a new structure for EA. I believe however the timeframe suggested must be shortened. We should be able to get a new structure and constitution in place within 6 months (with review after this time), otherwise we will still be arguing about it for the next 6 years.
    From my own experiences on national and state discipline committees and other volunteer roles from club level up to International participation I feel that many members don’t understand the roles of the national vs state boards, the administration of the sport and how inquiries, issues and requests are often best addressed by the state branch – or its discipline council/committee if they can’t be addressed at club level first.
    There is a hierarchy in place to help get action/resolution at a local level first but there will always be people who think they will get the “best” result if they “go straight to the top”; I’m sure it has led to frustration at times but in my opinion, when members comment that they get nothing for grass roots members from EA at a national (rather than local) level their expectations may be misguided.
    This of course needs better public relations and clearer direction to members; there also needs to be a clear, published process for escalation to a national review of decisions where resolutions can’t be achieved at local then state level (with acceptance by any member that choses that route that a decision is then final).

    A one member, one vote system sounds great but what does that mean in practice? A representative structure is needed for policy creation and implementation and the related decision making, all members have the right to lobby their representatives to put their views forward but this is a democratic process, decisions do have to be made with expedience as well as fairness. Most state branches and even local club level committees struggle to get members to participate in their AGM because most members aren’t that interested in the decision making, they just want to ride/drive/vault. Only approx 1000 members out of 18,000 (including proxies) participated in the first meeting, less than 10%, this I believe reflects the usual involvement of members in the day-to-day operations of the sport (I’m not being critical here I just believe this is reality). If one member one vote applies it is likely that many decisions are biased towards NSW since they have the largest number of members- is that fair? I don’t think so – and I’m from NSW!
    There is an overload of administration for the number of members and it would seem any restructure should be able to streamline this and reduce costs but with the models proposed by the other groups there will still be a need for state management as part of a national structure.
    I’m looking forward to participating in positive change.

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