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Posted by Equestrian South Australia on 26/10/2015.

Letter to Equestrian SA Members

Dear Members,

As you are aware, a number of rumours and allegations have recently been circulated about ESA and some of its processes and practices.  The ESA and the Board would not usually engage in these types of exchanges, especially where they are often a result of gossip and unreliable information. However, the Board has decided to take the unusual step of responding to some of those allegations because by their nature they are serious and therefore cannot be allowed to go unanswered.

Some of the allegations which have been made include the suggestion that:

(i)      ESA has misappropriated monies or is otherwise responsible for financial mismanagement;

(ii)    The Office for Recreation and Sport (‘ORS’) intervened in the ESA Election process; and

(iii)   ESA or some other entity has appointed an independent chairperson to preside over the ESA AGM.

These allegations are false and untrue.

Further, and to ensure that the record is corrected, we thought it important for members to be informed about the true state of affairs.

  1. After allegations of financial mismanagement were made, ESA engaged its auditors to conduct an independent review of its books and records and, as expected, they have confirmed that there is absolutely no basis whatever for the suggestion of any financial mismanagement.  We refer members to the media release we published on 12 October 2015 and which is available on our website.
  2. It is true that ESA received advice from Sport SA on our most recent Board election processes and ORS also became involved.  Stories circulating about the reasons for our doing so are untrue.  The Board sought advice of its own accord to ensure a constitutionally correct process.  However, after certain members threatened legal action, the matter then escalated beyond Sports SA and ORS and the Board was obliged to retain solicitors to protect ESA and address any allegations made against it.  We are assured, as a result of their advice, that the steps we have taken by appointing an independent returning officer and an independent scrutineer to oversee the election processes are responsible and appropriate steps in the circumstances.  These appointments were made as a result of our own Board decisions and principally we decided to go down this path so that we could ensure you, our members, that the Board and ESA welcome scrutiny and independent oversight of these decisions. 
  3. It is also important for members to know that one of the reasons we did this is because we thought it was important to avoid getting the ESA caught up in complex legal actions which some members had threatened.  In our view, it would have been an irresponsible use of members’ resources for us to engage in unnecessary Supreme Court actions when they could easily be avoided.
  4. It has been suggested that there must be an independent chair appointed to preside over the AGM.  Based on our legal advice, it would not be open to us to do so given the terms of the ESA Constitution.  However, again, to ensure transparency and openness, ESA intends to make an audio recording of the AGM and it will have an independent observer attend that meeting.


  1. ESA advises its members that the AGM will be conducted in accordance with its Constitution and that only motions which have been properly placed on the agenda will be voted on at the AGM.

Equestrian sport in South Australia has always been underpinned on the goodwill and hard work of thousands of riders, their families, coaches, judges, volunteers and other stakeholders.  Any action that denigrates the sport, or undermines the community goodwill that has been hard won over many decades, will not be tolerated.

It is imperative that ESA members now come together to focus on strengthening equestrian sport in this State and rebuilding its reputation as one of Australia’s most successful and respected competitive sporting communities.

ESA will continue to act in the best interest of its members and in accordance with its Constitution.

We trust that this letter assists members with clarifying the various rumours which have been circulating. 

Signed for and on behalf of the Board of Equestrian SA


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