24 May 2019
To our valued members,
Re: Coronial Inquest Update
Firstly, I want to extend my sincere condolences to the families of Olivia Inglis and Caitlyn Fischer.
Over the past two weeks, a Coronial Inquest has been held into their tragic deaths in 2016.
The first two weeks of the Inquest concluded today, and is now adjourned until the week commencing 22 July.
At the Inquest I was given the opportunity to convey our sincere condolences on behalf of our Equestrian Australia community to the families of Olivia and Caitlyn.
Out of respect for the Coronial process, we have not commented on the proceedings, but it’s important I update you on the Inquest’s progress and Equestrian Australia’s continued commitment to strengthening the safety of our sport.
Olivia and Caitlyn are greatly missed by all of us. We miss seeing them on the course, riding their horses and doing what they loved every single day.
This Coronial process has been a challenging, confronting and emotional time for many in our equestrian community. We are co-operating with the Coroner to ensure we build on the work already done in risk mitigation and improved safety for our participants.
We share the determination of the Inglis and Carr/Fischer families to reduce the risk of a future serious incident or tragedy in our sport.
Making sure our sport is the safest it can be for the thousands of people who participate in equestrian sports every week around Australia is my priority.
I am pleased to inform you we have now secured funding in addition to the Terry Snow ‘Making Eventing Safer Fund’, from our major stakeholder Sport Australia. This funding will allow us to employ the National Safety Officer from a part-time basis to a full-time role. For the first time, EA will have a dedicated safety specialist who will be available across the eight equestrian disciplines.
Since the 2016 tragedies Equestrian Australia has taken some constructive steps forward and is committed to taking further proactive measures. Some key changes include:
Frangible devices are now mandated in 2 star and above cross-country competitions;
Employment of a part-time National Safety Officer was made possible due to a generous donation from Terry Snow’s ‘Making Eventing Safer Fund’;
Mandating the minimum standards of event medical services and equipment;
Upgrading event briefings with emphasis on safety and risk mitigation;
Improving training and preparation of our event volunteers;
Purchasing and implementing the EquiRatings eventing safety rating system to ensure that we have information on horse performance; and
Making the EquiRatings system information accessible online via the myEA site.
This weekend, there are many equestrian events taking place. I will be attending the Gundagai Horse Trials on Saturday and Sunday, and I encourage riders, coaches, officials, volunteers and families to talk with me about any questions or concerns you may have about our sport.
I assure you I will welcome your feedback, comments and concerns.
Both personally, and with the Board of Equestrian Australia, we are committed to continue to serve the best interests of our community.
Lucy Warhurst Chief Executive Officer Equestrian Australia