ESA Newsletter 

May 2020


Covid-19 Update & Return to Activity

On Friday 1 May, the Minister for Sport and Recreation, Corey Wingard announced to the State Sporting Organisations the national principles for the resumption of sport and recreation activities.
The Australian Institute of Sport has drafted a framework for rebooting sport in the COVID19 environment. Within this framework there is an emphasis on a staged return to sport and recreational activities without compromising the health of individuals and the community.
Decisions regarding a return to sport and recreation activities will be made by the state government, and will be dependent on various factors including local epidemiology, risk mitigation strategies and public health capabilities.
Prior to any ESA training and other activities recommencing, state sporting organisations are required to not only demonstrate an ability to meet current standards (i.e. no more than 10 people at a gathering (including riders, officials, coaches & spectators etc), adhering to strict distancing and hygiene measures, before moving to a subsequent phase of larger group activities, including full competition.
“Under the current Emergency Management (Non-Essential Business and Other Activities No 4) (COVID-19) Direction 2020 all indoor activities and venues are still captured as being “closed”, therefore any movement towards reintroducing activity is relevant for outdoor venues only.
ESA will be putting together a proposal to the Office of Recreation and Sport, and the Department of Health in the coming weeks, which will provide a pathway towards the recommencement of equestrian sports. Once the pathways are known, committees and members will be advised.
To reiterate, no return to activities or gatherings outside of the current state restrictions and responsibilities is allowed at this time.

Discipline Committee Review

On 1 April, the ESA Board announced a Discipline Committee Review as part of recommendations from the 2019 Governance review. As part of that announcement, the Review Working Group also put a call out to past and present members to provide submissions in relation to the Review Terms of Reference. The submissions were open for two weeks, with a further one week extension by request.
The working group received 38 confidential submissions in total. The nature and content of these submissions will remain confidential and will not be shared to the Board or the wider membership. The submissions will be referenced to some degree in the final report presented to the Board for each Discipline, upon completion of their review. However, under no circumstance will any names or specific details from the submissions be shared.
Each of the seven SA Disciplines will be reviewed, starting with Show Horse, which is already well underway. The Working Group aims to have the final Show Horse Discipline Committee Review report and actions submitted to the Board for review by 22 June 2020.
As part of the reviews and further to the submissions received, the working group are having discussions with committee members and other stakeholders to help provide a balanced and informed view of the effectiveness of the committee and its operations.
It is our intention that at the end of the review process, each Discipline Committee will have tangible guidance and feedback to continue growing and improving the sport in which they love and are passionate about, for the betterment of all members involved.

Did you know that horses can have asthma too?

As an honours student at The University of Adelaide, I am currently working to determine how common equine asthma is in Australian horses and to identify the factors that increase the risk of developing this disease.
Equine asthma ranges in severity but commonly results in poor performance, chronic intermittent coughing and/or nasal discharge.
Your company/association plays a pivotal role in the equine industry. We are inviting you to share our short 10-15 minute survey with your members.. It is with your help that we hope to engage with the greater Australian horse owning population to ultimately obtain information that represents the majority of horses in Australia. This survey will help to provide critical information to help improve the health and welfare of horses in Australia. Through the identification of common risk factors we anticipate that guidelines will be developed to help reduce the impact of this important disease.
Participants have the option to remain anonymous, answers will be treated with the utmost confidentiality and all data and results will be deidentified. Participants will also have the option of being entered into a prize draw, sponsored by Kentucky Equine Research and Barastoc Horse Feeds.
Please see the participant information and prize draw terms and conditions sheet attached for more information.

Information provided by Jewel Azaria Tan


I would like to invite you to get involved with the Equine Behavior Assessment and Research Questionnaire (E-BARQ)  as we feel the project is of great benefit to all horse owners and riders.
E-BARQ is the study of how horse training and management interact with behaviour and by taking the questionnaire, you can learn more about your horse.
The Equine Behavior Assessment and Research Questionnaire (E-BARQ)
Since ancient times, horse behaviour and the bond between horses and humans, have been a source of intrigue and fascination.
The horse-lore that has accumulated over the centuries is a rich mix of both useful practice (approaching horses from their left side, making them slightly less reactive) and unsubstantiated myth, such as the one that chestnut horses are especially difficult to deal with.
This is why the University of Sydney has launched the Equine Behavior Assessment and Research Questionnaire (E-BARQ), an ongoing global database of horse behaviour. The study that explores how horse training and management interact with behaviour. It will reveal invaluable information on how our training and management affect behaviour and how, in turn, behaviour affects horse welfare. Beyond the immediate and direct research outcomes, E-BARQ also has great benefits to horse owners, riders and trainers.
On completion of the questionnaire, contributors receive a graph that compares their horse with 1000’s of other horses across various different categories. They also receive a private dashboard where they can log each of their horses and view their E-BARQ results. This innovative tool is completely free of charge.

Horse owners can upload photographs to a custom-built online dashboard, recording their horse’s progress in training over time. For the first time, they’ll also be able to compare their horse’s behaviour with that of other horses. The “share-&-compare” graphs will reveal attributes such as trainability, rideability, handling, compliance, boldness, and human social confidence.
E-BARQ’s main benefits are:
  1. E-BARQ is open to all owners/handlers, regardless of their horse or pony’s breed, height or age and provides users with a free dashboard to store their horses’ results and track their progress.
  2. Owners can compare their horses’ behaviour to others around the world, giving them a useful benchmark.
  3. Riders and handlers can monitor their horse’s progress over time as they can return to their E-BARQ dashboard every 6 months and re-take the questionnaire, updating their scores.
  4. Owners and riders will get a new insight into which areas their horses are performing well in and where they may require help.
  5. As E-BARQ can monitor the longitudinal consequences of different training methods, it can be a powerful tool for advancing horse welfare. It will also inform evidence-based judgements on the ethics and sustainability of horse sports.
  6. E-BARQ will reveal the true impact of ancient traditions and modern trends. This can use used by everyone, from the general riding public to equine scientists and veterinarians.
This project builds on a similar project for dogs (C-BARQ), which has collected information on over 85,000 dogs and been used in more than 70 research studies that have revealed behavioural differences, for example, that relate to head and body shape and the astonishing effect of de-sexing on behaviour. Without doubt, C-BARQ has revolutionised our understanding of dog behaviour.
After 8 years of planning, we are very excited about E-BARQ, It is a not-for-profit project that allows the global horse-folk community to offer their observational data to the University of Sydney and gain useful benefits in return.
You can access E-BARQ here:
You can access an E-BARQ how-to video here:
The questionnaire and app will expose how training and management influences horse behaviour, and vice versa. They will reveal how breeds differ in responses and illuminate breed-typical personality types, how male and female horses differ, how horses used in different disciplines (such as show-jumping versus dressage) differ in their behaviour and how horse behaviour changes with maturation and training.
A horse’s behaviour has a direct impact on its usefulness and that, in turn, affects its value and – sadly – the care it receives. There is evidence from Europe that over 65% of horses outside the racing industry are slaughtered before the age of seven, very often for behavioural reasons.
Information provided by E-BARQ could potentially help buyers identify warning signs of dangerous behaviours and make more informed choices when purchasing. E-BARQ also holds great promise in tracking, welfare monitoring, promoting early intervention and the education of new owners in the area of horse rescue and re-homing.
By providing researchers with an unprecedented wealth of information, E-BARQ has the potential to revolutionise the way we train and manage our horses and, as a result, make real and lasting positive changes in horse welfare and the sustainability of horse sports.
For further information, please do not hesitate to contact the E-BARQ research team at and be sure to complete an E-BARQ for your horse at

Information provided by Kate Fenner


ESA Jumping Committee would like to advise that the following positions were filled at the recent April meeting.

Chair: Diana Gibbs Ludbrook
Vice Chair: Jackie Seiboth
Vice Chair: Brenton Ames
Secretary: Carla Cerchi
Co-opted Position:  Ashleigh Rigney
Riders Representative: Darcy Watkins
View the current leader board from the limited Jumping Competitions from 2020, CLICK HERE 

Image: Bush Pony Photography,  Rider: Michelle Clark

For up to date information about Jumping, please follow and like the SA Jumping Facebook page.


Unfortunately there is nothing to report on the Interschool front due to Covid -19.
To view the current  leader board from the limited outings from 2020, CLICK HERE

For up to date information, please like and follow the Interschool Facebook page.

Show Horse

Wood Park Show Horses have hosted two virtual show's during April and May, due to Covid ceasing competitions for now.  Fantastic idea in these restrictive times.
Head over to Wood Park's Facebook Page to view the results and see all the beautiful ponies/galloways/horses that have entered these fun online competitions. Well done and Congrats to all that participated. 

For up to date information about Show Horse, please follow and like the Equestrian SA Show Horse Facebook page. 


Virtual Eventing was the brainchild of Rachel Wakefield of Uptown Eventing. After watching a video on Facebook of a nurse from the North of England who was helping to fight the Coronavirus, Rachel decided to use the power of the Eventing community to create an International Virtual 5* Event to raise as much money as possible to help those on the front line around the world. We have an all-star global line up with over 50 world-class riders from a dozen countries including; William Fox-Pitt GB, Boyd Martin USA, Gemma Tattersall GB, Laura Collett GB, Megan Jones AUS, Joe Meyer NZL, Joseph Murphy IRL and Carlos Paro BRA

The format itself will include a trot up as you’ve never seen before, a single mounted phase, riders will participate in the 5* B dressage test, which has already been recorded by our riders to ensure we abide by current Covid-19 lockdown procedures in place from the Government and the BEF guidelines. This footage will not be shown until the livestream when our star-studded judges’ line-up will be judging the competition live. We will be including a series of unmounted cross-country and jumping challenges during the weekend plus much, much more which will remain a surprise for our viewers.

The virtual trade stand village is set to offer a range of customer discounts and great deals as well as many of our vendors supporting the NHS by donating a percentage of sales funds. Here you’ll be able to find a range of products from animal healthcare to luxury clothing and accessories, there will be something for everyone. Our dedicated team will be bringing you five days of action-packed livestream entertainment to your household from 6th – 10th May 2020. There will also be a livestream rider draw listed from Wednesday 29th April at 6pm.

Make sure you’re following Virtual Eventing to keep updated and check out all the riders from every nation. 

Team Australia is represented by four amazing riders -  Sam Griffiths ,Warren Lamperd, Megan Jones & Sarah Clark.

For SA Eventing updates and latest information, please like and follow the Eventing Facebook page.


Recommendations from the EADC for clubs and groups holding Virtual Dressage activities during the current COVID-19 pandemic

The EADC fully appreciates the current COVID-19 restrictions are impacting on the training and competition routines of all sports right now. With equestrian of course, it’s our horses we need to keep in training mode as well as ourselves! 

Virtual Dressage activities provide an informal format that is an enjoyable, social outlet giving an incentive to maintain routine and keep challenging ourselves. Virtual Dressage activities will help enhance communication and connectivity in our Dressage world.

Although these are informal activities with no Official status,  we would like to promote the following recommendations with the aim of keeping Horse Welfare paramount and maintaining a level playing field in the current circumstances: 

  • Riders should, at all times, be familiar with and act in accordance with the FEI Code of Conduct for the Welfare of the Horse and the EA Code of Conduct 
  • To enhance your training and preparation for future competitions, spurs and whips and equipment eg saddles, bridles, and bits (for example, no double-bridles in elementary tests) should be within the EA Dressage Sport Rule requirements, including equipment.
  • Your aim should be to produce the best quality filming that you can manage with what you have to hand. Judges want to give a fair assessment, which they can't do if there’s poor quality or where movements are blurred or the whole horse is not in the frame.
  • As the only judging position available will be from C we suggest including a minimum of 2 judges and for these activities, it would be good to have at least 2 different Judging levels - it’s an opportunity for judges to also benefit and gain experience in an unofficial environment.
  • Riders might like to indicate on entry if their entries are to be retained or if they wish them to be deleted once the judging has been completed. We recommend they should only be visible to the judges as wider social media could bring issues - it is the judges’ feedback and review that is relevant. 

These are difficult times for all our members - we are an equestrian family, that is uppermost in our minds. 

The Federal Government’s directive is very clear at this time – stay at home. With restrictions being implemented almost weekly to combat this pandemic EA advises all members and our equestrian community to follow public health and state regulatory procedures. Links to the various State and Federal government websites and the Coronavirus Health information Line can be found on the EA website at

No matter at what level we compete, if we’re Major Event contenders or our territory is our local Club, we are all making the same commitment in order to maintain some normality and stay in our sport.

Prue Spurrett
Equestrian Australia Dressage Committee



Get ready for another fabulous online dressage show!
*** Enter on Nominate soon***

You will receive expert critiques from an A level judge, and gain some great training experience for you and your equine buddy in this break.

Please go to our web site for all the rules and details and message us if you have any questions. Happy riding!


CONGRATULATIONS to Mary Nitschke and Lizzy Sobecki. Mary is also currenty the highest ranking AUS rider in the under 25yo at 16th.…

For all the latest in Dressage, please like and follow our Facebook page.


Love this NEW image for Vaulting by Alix Bell. Beautiful technique displayed by dedicated and talented vaulters. 

Images by Bush Pony Photography.

Looking forward in hope that Competitions will be able to recommence in the near future, the 24th Australian Vaulting Championships are schedulted to be held on the 1st - 4th October at Danson Dressage, South Australia.
If allowed, it will be an exciting and fun weekend of athleticism, grace and of course horses.
Schedule to be released soon.

NOTE: Unfortunately due to Covid-19 the May Competition has been cancelled.
For all the latest on Vaulting, follow and like the Vaulting Facebook page.

Carriage Driving


This ANZAC day, Horse SA invited horse owners and their steeds to stand at the end of their driveway, perhaps mounted, led, or in a carriage. Equids including donkeys and mules also are recognised for their services in war.
The idea of standing at the end of driveways has been shared widely in the media as one way to recognise ANZAC day, along with watching services online and lighting candles.

COVID-19 has resulted in the cancellation of ANZAC day commemoration events around the country, including the memorial service for horses, traditionally held each year in Adelaide. The ceremony, at the horse trough memorial, on the corner of North and East Terraces, Adelaide, is believed to be the only one of its type in the world.

The service, traditionally attended by The Barossa Light Horse Historical Association, is followed by the horses attending the traditional ANZAC day parade.

Martin Hilton, Barossa Light Horse Secretary, said: "While this year we will not be able to ride together as a troop, individually we will be on parade at our driveways to keep the memory of the Light Horse alive through this difficult time”.

“We are inviting people to take a photo as a tribute to the ANZACS’ said Horse SA Chair, Dr Lisa McDonald, "to share this on social media and to tag Horse SA on Facebook.  It's one way we can all recognise the services that animals, including horses, gave to our nation, and will provide horse owners and riders with an opportunity to pay their respects and feel connected to one another during this time of social restriction."

Horse SA’s  Facebook page Horse SA 
To view all the uploaded images click the Horse SA Facebook page above and scroll down to the 25th April.

Images: Photos of the Barossa Light Horse Historical Society by J. Fiedler



Jane rode at many shows for many years and was born and bred in South Australia. She travelled interstate to Royal shows, but most people who competed at Adelaide Royal Show would never forget this talented, happy, friendly, welcoming human being.
Her best show jumper, without doubt was Fair Play (Happy), a beautiful grey horse that always gave his best.

In Jane's later years she easily transitioned from show Jumping to dressage where she had great success also. She was always there to help anyone that needed a hand and was a wonderful coach and judge. 

Photo Credit: Peter Gower collection, Rider Magazine, Hoofs & Horns.


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