By Meg Krueger, CEO of Equestrian Canada


On March 24, Horse Sport published an article entitled “Proposed Policy Exposes Equestrian Canada Vulnerabilities: A rule preventing EC officials from working non-sanctioned events punishes those who achieved accreditation at great expense.”

The article contained factual errors and misleading information, which is harmful to Equestrian Canada’s (EC) reputation and to the industry as a whole. Because I believe that it is fundamentally important that the community understands our national federation and its policies, I have prepared the following letter.

As the country’s National Sport Organization, EC plays a vital role in representing, promoting, and advancing equestrian sport both in Canada and abroad. We strive to grow and improve equestrian sports, from the grassroots right up to the podium, and we are the driving force behind a number of initiatives that are designed to attract new participants, assure their safety and wellbeing, and prepare athletes for success on the international stage.

When EC sanctions an event, it ensures the integrity of the sport, the good governance of the competition, and the safety and wellbeing of all participants – human and equine. EC sanctioned events are governed by the Rules of EC, with certified officials and appropriate levels of competition insurance, and they promote and advance the sport nationally and internationally.

It is true that there have been tensions between EC and some of its Provincial/Territorial Sport Organization (PTSO) affiliates surrounding the conditions and deliverables included in the 2018-2020 Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). What is unfortunate is that the reporting about this issue has often been one-sided and misinformed and has not shared the full picture.

It is fundamentally important to EC and our PTSO partners that we have strong, healthy, and vibrant equestrian competition and participation across the country. Through these aligned values and goals, together, EC and PTSO partners have launched several fundamental sport and development programs; for example, the Coach Status Program, ECampus digital learning platform and Rookie Rider FUNdamentals program, designed to further professionalize, modernize, and increase access to the sport for Canadians.

While it would be tedious to go through the entire article and to correct all of the inaccuracies, I do feel it is important to explain a few significant errors, and also share where EC stands and some of the steps we are taking in our mission to achieve equestrian, strategic, and organizational excellence.

  1. The title of the March 24 article contains a mistake that creates misconceptions about EC. Excepting discipline-specific allowances made in the EC Rules, Sections B and F, EC Officials are not permitted – and have never been permitted – to officiate at unsanctioned (“non-sanctioned”) events. EC Officials are permitted to officiate at PTSO sanctioned events where allowed in discipline-specific EC Rulebooks.
  2. The article refers to this Officials rule as a “new” rule. When the MOA with the PTSOs expired in 2020, the special permission it granted to EC Officials to officiate at some PTSO sanctioned events also expired. In other words: an expired permission was removed; a new rule was not created.
  3. The refusal of some PTSOs to pay their fees is not the reason for which EC has decided to not renew the MOA. In December 2020, EC made it clear to all PTSOs that we would not be pursuing the renegotiation of a MOA that has clearly not worked well for either PTSOs or EC in the past. Instead, we informed them that we would be taking six months to complete a strategic redesign of our business and partnership models, with a primary mandate to develop an organization that better services our community, supports sport development, and increases participation and access to the sport. This redesign is well underway, and our PTSO partners will be engaged in this exciting and innovative process through a series of consultations during the design process.

By dedicating the next six months to improving our strategy and structures, EC is acting responsibly, transparently, and in the best interest of equestrian sport and of the equestrian and equine communities.

This is an important and critical opportunity for us to reassess how we exist as a Canadian sport. We are confident that the revitalization of EC will lead to the revitalization of the industry as a whole and create a more inclusive, safe, fun, and competitive environment for the future.

I would very much like to make our community more aware of some of the innovative initiatives we are undertaking so we can work together to unite our sport and industry, as well as attract new participants and partners to enjoy all of the great things that our sport has to offer. These initiatives will be shared in further detail via EC’s various communications channels, and we also welcome the opportunity to spread the word through national equine and equestrian media.

Regards,

Meg Krueger, CEO
mkrueger@equestrian.ca

This letter and an accompanying fact check were sent to Horse Sport with a request to publish the letter on March 29, 2021. Horse Sport declined to respond.

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