The focus of my position is to support our high performance goals and initiatives, in addition to our domestic sport system. The key focus of the position is on the three Olympic disciplines – dressage, eventing and jumping – and the Paralympic discipline of para-dressage. This does not mean that I am not interested in or won’t be connected to breed sports or the FEI sports of driving, endurance, reining and vaulting, but that my primary focus will be on the Olympic/Paralympic sports.

I have had the opportunity to meet with the chairs of EC’s Olympic/Paralympic discipline committees, as well as the lead for endurance, and have attended committee meetings whenever possible since I started. I am also slowly working my way through meeting the Provincial/Territorial Sport Organizations as well as the athletes involved in our National Team Programs.

We are now less than 140 days from the start of the 32nd Olympic Games and 170 days from the 16th Paralympic Games in Japan. This will be the second time that Tokyo has hosted an Olympics.

These events are arguably the preeminent global sport assembly and highest visibility programming in a quadrennial. Canada will be represented by a team of three plus a reserve in dressage, two individuals in eventing and a para-dressage team of four, with a final decision to come for jumping. EC staff, our riders and horses, technical advisors and coaches, veterinarians, high performance committees, selectors and support staff are all working hard to be ready for both team selection for and performances at the Games.

Our goal is always to medal, but we also have to look at where athletes are in terms of their development. We will work to improve performance each step of the way, from the selection period to the Tokyo 2020 Games and beyond, growing towards the Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028 Games. It is all about attention to detail: whether through your horse maintenance, daily training environment or competition plans, each step requires deliberate intent as you move forward.

My goal over the next period is to clearly define what high performance looks like in each of the Olympic/Paralympic disciplines and then use that definition to work on how our systems and programs align with and support the development of horses and riders. Each of the Olympic/Paralympic sports will refine and complete their Gold Medal Profiles: the collection of skills, traits and attributes that underpin the performances of athletes capable of stepping onto the podium at Olympic/Paralympic Games and the metrics needed to track those over time. This will support our systems development by identifying the pathways that riders and horses use to move through our sport and achieve the level of success they seek, whether that is high performance, competitive participation or recreation. Having these pieces allows for the identification of the core competencies, skills and aptitudes needed at each level. Then, EC can be sure that our programs support the acquisition of those competencies at all levels for competition, officials development, coach development and horse welfare.

I look forward to working with our participants, coaches, owners, officials, veterinarians, support staff and provincial organizations in partnership with the FEI, Canadian Olympic Committee, Canadian Paralympic Committee, International Olympic Committee, International Paralympic Committee, Sport Canada, Own The Podium and the Government of Canada as we plan and compete on the world stage.

Go Canada Go!

Sincerely,

James Hood
Director of High Performance & FEI Relationships

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