NEWS > Dressage
Posted by Equestrian South Australia on 29/07/2015.


On Tuesday, 14 July 2015, Equestrian South Australia (ESA) held a forum on behalf of Dressage South Australia (DSA).  The forum was facilitated by Lorraine Wohling as Chair and Julia Weir as Vice Chair.  Di Norris (Chair) and Julie Payne (Vice Chair) attended on behalf of ESA with Jen Gilligan, Mary Hovers and Kirsty van Loon attending as representatives of the DSA Committee.  The forum was attended by over 90 ESA members.

The forum covered three key topics:  The current status of the DSA Committee; proposed operating guidelines for future DSA committees; and draft job descriptions for DSA Committee positions. 

The focus of the Forum was to reflect upon recent events leading to various resignations from the committee and to look at rebuilding the DSA committee. 

It was noted that there are a number of other items requiring discussion, such as how DSA can function more effectively and become more inclusive of all dressage participants.  Once a DSA committee is in place, all Clubs and dressage enthusiasts were encouraged to approach the committee to host an open forum where these discussions can take place and be given the time and attention required. 

For clarity a written statement from out-going Co-Chair, Liz Duncan, was presented concerning Liz’s reasons for resignation:

My reasons for resigning were personal and from my own reflection. The three reasons were:

  1. My sense that I had lost the confidence of the DSA committee in the decision-making process required by the committee;
  2. My continual heavy workload on the committee, and
  3. Increased family and work commitments causing a stress on my time available to attend to committee business effectively.

Unfortunately my resignation has been followed by the resignations of a number of other DSA

Committee members. Clearly there now needs to be a re-build of the DSA Committee.

I want to state that during my time on the DSA Committee, and more recently as Co-Chair, I have worked with a satisfactory and effective relationship with the current ESA Office staff and the Manager. I thank them for their help and support to assist me to carry out committee work over a number of years.

Julie Payne addressed the forum on behalf of ESA.  An explanation was given regarding the timeline surrounding recent events, in particular the downgrading of an imported horse.  It was acknowledged that the process leading to the final downgrading decision for the horse could have been handled better.  There has since been a review of the process resulting in administrative changes within the ESA office.  In future the office staff will refer owners to the EA Rules for Dressage and the matter to the DSA Committee. The DSA Committee will be encouraged to introduce a policy to assist both the applicant and the DSA committee with clear guidelines.   No performance card will be issued without grading approval from the DSA Committee reflective of the EA Rules for Dressage.

Di Norris on behalf of the ESA Board thanked the outgoing DSA Committee members and unreservedly apologised to them and the DSA Committee for any contributory actions of the ESA Board in their resignations.

There was acknowledgement that there is room for improvement in communication between Discipline Committees and the ESA Board.  Having already assigned ESA Board members a Discipline portfolio, the Board will review this process to ensure a more effective line of communication is achieved between the ESA Board and Discipline Committees.

The ESA Board is keen to work with the DSA Committee to resolve any outstanding issues.  Di Norris on behalf of the ESA Board invited those members who had recently tendered their resignations to consider renominating for the Committee. 

Draft Policy and Guidelines, including brief job descriptions for all roles on the Committee were presented at the Forum.  They were drafted as a guide for future Committee members.  It was noted that a document like this may be intimidating for some people considering becoming committee members.  However, it was also acknowledged that the guide is a useful document and could be beneficial to all ESA Discipline Committees. 

Brief general discussions included the:

  • The current ESA strategic plan.  This is currently under review with the Office of Recreation and Sport.  Interested members with suggestions were encouraged to liaise with ESA Board members or ESA office staff.
  • DSA’s strategic plan.  It will be up to the new DSA Committee to work with the ESA Board to draft a plan that can dovetail into the ESA plan and the overall Equestrian Australia Plan.
  • ESA’s Social Media Policy.  In particular questions were raised as to how it can be enforced and address some of the recent inappropriate social media postings.

Nominations for the DSA Committee were invited from the floor at which time Tyson Zoontjens’ nomination was received. 

Past DSA Committee members, Lorraine Wohling and Julia Weir both offered to provide mentoring to any new members who would like it.

No further nominations were received during the meeting.

All attendees were thanked for their attendance.  It was clear the dressage community is keen to have the DSA Committee back up and functioning effectively. 

Persons interested in nominating for the DSA Committee were encouraged to come forward after the meeting.  At this time, two further nominations were received from Carly Boon and Brigitte Drinkwater.


At the time of printing MF, ESA and DSA were in discussions.  The three nominations received will be reviewed in accordance with the ESA Constitution and Discipline Committee By-Laws at the July meeting of the ESA Board.

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