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Posted by Samantha Napier on 10/12/2017.
L-R: Suzan McDermott, Jenny Hodder, Michael Eilberg, Bernadette and Peter Gibson
Mary Smith

Suzan McDermott reports from the Michael Eilberg Clinic 2017!

On behalf of the board of the SDA, I would like to congratulate the organisers of the Michael Eilberg Clinic and Masterclass and a big thanks must go to previous SDA Chair, Maryann Smink for having the courage to commit to this event.

The event would not have happened without the work put in by Judy Peel, who through her connections was able to secure Michael. Judy has recently returned to the state and brings with her a lifetime of competing and coaching at the highest level. Judy is also an A level judge and Judge Educator.

To Bernadette and Peter Gibson, thank you for your generosity and commitment to the sport and its members. Bert and Peter donated the use of their world class facilities at Woodend Equestrian Centre for the event and that is 3 days where their business has totally committed to the SDA and members. This is of course not to mention the preparation and tidy up afterwards!

To the riders who offered themselves for the masterclass, we thank you! To put yourselves out there in front of a large audience is no small thing and we all who were spectating appreciate your courage.

We also thank Miriam who played a vital role as MC on the day of the Masterclass, keeping us all informed and through her questions letting Michael know his audience were a combination of riders, coaches, judges, administrators of our sport as well as providing information about the Masterclass participants, the riders, their horses and their aspirations.

What could we take from the Masterclass by way of education? For me, I was very pleased that he referenced judging outcomes and judge expectations on several occasions when training with the riders. The overall message was adherence to the training scale both as a vehicle for training and as a toolbox for addressing any problems. Michael’s approach to training was very classical and very respectful of the horse both in expectations and reward. This message has been repeated in the recent judges seminars and workshops we have had after the clinic, including the seminar in the North with Sue Chandler and the workshop in the South with Kerrie Swan-Bates and Lesley Sullivan. Perhaps that collaboration between judges, coaches and riders is something we need to explore more for the future. In essence, the event was a huge success and I know we would all like to see Michael return! Thank you again to all those who made this event possible.

Sue Mcdermott
SDA Chair

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