IGEQ Conference 2016
This year, I got chosen to represent the Malaysian Equine Council (MEC) at the International Group of Equestrian Qualifications Conference in Ermelo, Netherlands, 9 – 11 November 2016.
“The International Group for Equestrian Qualifications (IGEQ) is an independent voluntary organisation of national equestrian federations (NFs) worldwide, which has compared and harmonised equestrian instructor qualifications, producing an agreed matrix of minimum requirements at 3 international levels for 6 disciplines.”
MEC started Malaysia’s coaching qualification system in 1994, modeled around Australia’s system. We have an agreement with Australia where we use their system and syllabus, and at that time, this was most practical due to our longstanding ties with the Aussies in racing, the proximity of countries and the costs involved.
IGEQ have their yearly conference in a different member country each time. Malaysia played host in 2013. This year, the Netherlands hosted the conference at the National Equestrian Centre in Ermelo, which is also the home of their federation, KNHS. It was an impressive facility with amazing facilities for horses.
Yien and I arrived on Monday morning and we spent two days catching up with a friend and having a look at the countryside. We were taken to an amazing Christmas market, the Christmas equivalent of Ikea and to see the Het Loo Royal Palace.
The conference started on Wednesday. By then Siraj (the other MEC representative) and Mad (his travelling sidekick) had also flown in. We were taken by bus from the hotel to the venue. We spent the day going through the agenda and having discussions about where the next conferences were being held, finances, and also the handover of the chairman position from Ulf Wilken to Christoph Hess.
Each country had to do a presentation of the system in their country and what challenges they faced. Xander Noe, from KNHS gave a detailed presentation on the Dutch Coach Qualification system which was very impressive. Harald Muller, Education and Systems Manager gave a really interesting and informative talk about the education systems currently available at FEI and what would be implemented in the near future.
On day 2 and 3, we actually got to go outside (which was very cold, 4 degrees maximum) and watch the Friesian stallion testing, as well as watch numerous Dutch exams – riding exam (jumping 1.25m on their own horse, and swapping horses to jump 1m), coaching at 1.20m, coaching at Advanced level dressage, coaching at “amateur”/riding school level – jumping approximately 80cm, and also an exam on assessment on horses for their conformation and riding suitability.
Their exam candidates and riders were generally very young – teenagers/ 18 year olds. Their confidence and poise were very impressive. From the coaches, there was a clear understanding of their subject and they could relate what they were seeing to how they would help their student fix it.
There were always discussions to ensure that the exam standards are correct and equivalent to the IGEQ matrix standards. With a group of almost 50 delegates, there was definitely no lack of experience and knowledge in all equestrian disciplines. There were interesting conversations and lively debates at times!
The Dutch were amazing hosts and their hospitality is second to none. I am honoured to have represented Malaysia this year and I would like to thank MEC for the opportunity. I hope to be able to do it again in years to come.