FEI Tutor: Gerry Mullins (IRL)
Supported by: Pan American Sports Organisation (PASO)
The Ecuadorian Equestrian Federation (Federacion Ecuatoriana de Deportes Ecuestres) has taken the lead in organizing the second Level 2 FEI Course for Coaches in South America from 17-22 October 2006 with the much appreciated help of PASO (Pan American Sports Organisation).
The course was held in Quito in the magnificent setting of the Quito Tennis and Golf Club, and was directed by Mr Gerry Mullins from Ireland. The comnprehensive course was spread over 6 days combining theory and practice, as well as different levels of difficulty for dressage flat work and jumping gymnastics, where the participants were asked to use their own knowledge and the lessons learned from the test riders. Gerry Mullins' solid experience and thorough knowledge was very beneficial to the course, making it a real success.
The Federation entered 12 official participants and 6 observers, all of whom benefited from the six demanding days of classes. Various visual supports such as diagrams and videos were used in order to improve understanding and illustrate the practical work that would follow. Naturally, the level of difficulty gradually increased over the six days...
A great deal of concentration was demanded from the participants and at the end of each day the Tutor, Mr Gerry Mullins, gave out the homework for the next day, which included lesson planners, personal evaluations, dressage flatwork designing gymnastics, setting up a jumping course, etc.
Much emphasis was given to working on the flat, and the capability of each individual coach to relate this dressage work to the jumping phase. Control of the horse, suppleness, quality of the gaits and paces, transitions, lateral movements, etc were all basic movements that must be accomplished in order to be successful over fences.
The FEI Development Courses are known to be events for the serious and determined students. Long 12 hours intensive work days plus 3 more hours of homework are very demanding circumstances that all parties involved in the course must face.
Mrs Nancy Pallo of Ecuador NOC has organized more than 65 courses for PASO for all the Olympic disciplines, and she was quoted saying “We have never seen such level of work, quality of instruction and commitment before, the equestrian sport is something else”.
The organization of the course was much more demanding. All the students and observers met at the airport and were transported to the hotel, while regular meals and coffee breaks were arranged by the organizer. Although the most challenging element which the organisers faced, was providing a good group of “guinea pigs” to perform lessons for the 12 candidates and the tutor in both Dressage and Jumping.
This FEI Level 2 Course took three and half months to put in place, and the most delicate matter the NF of Ecuador encountered, was to get PASO and FEI’s requirements to be coherent, acceptable and workable for all the institutions involved.
By the end of the course, the students and observers were asked to fill out evaluations of the course, in different formats, for PASO, FEI, NOC …. From these, we were able to sense a genuine feeling of satisfaction with regards to all aspects of the course. While we are most pleased with the outcome, and there is always room for improvement, we would like to take this opportunity to commend the Ecuador NF for having enabled and ensured a thoroughly enjoyable and fulfilling FEI Coaching System Level 2 Course.