Extensions to the NEGS Equestrian Centre are nearing completion. The Centre has been financed through the Federal Government’s Trade Training Centre Program, in partnership with Duval and Armidale High, O’Connor Catholic College and Uralla Central. We speak with Andrew and Gina Haddad about the Centre’s bright future.
Gina, you’ve both been instructors at the Equestrian Centre for some time. What qualifications and industry accreditation did you bring to the Centre?
I have been a full-time coach here for just over three years now and Andrew became involved on a part-time basis initially and has become progressively more involved as demand for his services grew. We are both accredited Equestrian Australia (EA) coaches, with a background as elite level Three Day Event riders. I am a triple accredited Level 2 EA Coach, with Level 2 coaching qualifications in Eventing, Dressage and General. I am also a Coach Educator and am currently completing a Masters in Education (Elite Sports Coaching) at Sydney University. Andrew is an accredited Level 1 EA General Coach with a business management background and extensive experience in training and producing competition horses.
Andrew, what is your role as Centre Manager?
I see my role as primarily one of entrepreneurial leadership. I am in the fortunate position of working with a small team of talented and dedicated coaches who share an exciting vision for the future of the NEGS Equestrian Centre. The aim is to broaden the scope of the Centre’s activities, establishing it as a centre of excellence and the hub of equestrian training in the region. Through the high profile competitions and clinics that are planned, we are looking to increase community involvement and promote the Armidale region to a wider audience. We are currently working with local businesses to develop sponsorship partnerships for these competitions.
Andrew, the new extensions to the Equestrian Centre are almost complete. Tell us a bit about the work?
It has been some twelve months in the making, from when the initial earthworks commenced and we have been continually hampered by wet weather, but NEGS can now boast an international standard, 40 m x 80 m indoor arena (that is approximately 12 tennis courts) in addition to the existing 25 m x 65 m indoor arena. The new arena is equipped with overhead lighting and an automated sprinkler system to ensure an optimal training environment. The recently completed livestock precinct also includes an 18 stable complex with dual hot water wash bays, tack rooms, vet area and amenities block. These new facilities are truly world class.
When will they open?
As we are in possession of the Occupancy Certificate, we have been able to commence training in the new arena, much to the delight of our students and external clients. There is still landscaping and fencing to be completed to put the finishing touches to the new Livestock Precinct. When this is completed, we are planning to conduct an official opening to showcase these wonderful new facilities to the community.
What’s the next stage include?
In January, world renowned cross country course designer, Mr Wayne Copping from South Australia, will commence the rebuilding of the NEGS cross country course. This development is part of an overall plan to see NEGS hosting International Level Eventing competitions before the end of 2012 and an extensive interschool equestrian competition programme in the longer term. Early projections indicate that each of these events will attract in excess of 1,000 visitors to the Armidale area, providing a significant boost to the local economy and showcasing the region to potential ‘tree-changers’.
Gina, the NEGS equestrian centre isn’t just for NEGS students, is it?
No, it is definitely a community facility. We have a significant number of clients from the broader community that utilise the centre already, for lessons, agistment and training. The centre caters for riders of all ages and levels. Lessons are available on your own horse or on one of our carefully selected school horses. We are also expanding our external instruction programme, offering clinics with expert equestrian coaches from a variety of disciplines. For example, this term we have been able to secure two of Australia’s leading coaches, Sam Lyle and Ben Netterfield, Assistant Australian Olympic and World Championship coaches, to conduct clinics at NEGS. Both of these clinics will be open to the public, and we encourage members of the community to attend as either riders or spectators.
What is the most satisfying part of the job for the two of you?
It is very rewarding to see your riders and their horses improve and ultimately reach their competition goals. But, to be honest, the most satisfying part of what we do is the special relationships that you develop with your students. It is a privilege to be involved in their growth and development, not only as an athlete, but as a person and to play a part in helping them achieve their dreams.
Thanks Andrew and Gina.