The 69th Annual General Assembly was held on Tuesday, September 29th at the West Plaza Hotel, Wellington with the following key outcomes:


  • Patron – Mrs Jennifer Millar, CNZM
  • President – Mrs Sue Hobson
  • Vice-President – Mrs Lynda Clark

A big thank you to all those members who got engaged in this year’s election and behind the candidates and voted.  The voting statistics were as follows

Voting document issued and votes received.

Voting document issued by post


Voting documents issued by email


Total voting documents issued


Total votes received





Candidate Name

Votes Received


GLYNN, Vicki
















Honorary Life Membership is granted in recognition and appreciation to outstanding service by a person for the benefit of ESNZ and or equestrian sport in New Zealand.  The recipients of Honorary Life Membership for 2020 were:

Marcia Bayley

Marcia Bayley is currently an A List Judge, Technical Delegate, FEI List 2 steward, and national steward. Her ongoing dedication and love of dressage is very evident by the long hours she works in these roles. At Horse of the Year Show, the first light is not daybreak, but the light going on in the modest caravan Marc calls home for a week. It’s a strong Jed’s coffee as she prepares for a twelve-hour stint as the Dressage technical delegate.

But for many of you who haven’t been in the sport as long as Marc, you may not be aware where her wealth of experience originates. She was one of the true forerunners of dressage in New Zealand. She competed internationally for New Zealand on numerous occasions and forged a pathway for many riders to follow.

In 1986 the first ever Grand Prix test was held in New Zealand, Marc and Kentucky were the illustrious winners. 

She went on to win the Burkner Medal at the national Championships no less than six times, four years on the trot from 1986 to 1989 on Kentucky, then again on Rubicon in 1997 and 1999, a record only surpassed by Tiny White who clocked up eight titles.

She qualified Kentucky to represent New Zealand at the inaugural World Equestrian Games in Stockholm in 1990, but due to the prohibitive cost of transporting horses to Europe, she was unable to attend. She was a key figure in a NZ victory over Australia in the first ever official Trans-Tasman test in 1987. With Kentucky she placed third in the Grand Prix class at the Australian Champs.

In the early days of the FEI Dressage World Challenge, it was sponsored by and affectionately called “The Haig” Marc and Rubicon were regular entrants in the Prix St Georges. 

Since those times not only has she become a well-qualified official spanning several decades, she has served time on the judges sub-committee, been an active member of Dressage Waikato, donated trophies, mentored riders, held clinics and has become one of the most familiar and formidable faces around the Dressage arenas. Deservedly in 2012 Dressage NZ granted her their premier award, the Fissenden Trophy for outstanding contribution to Dressage.

Blyth Tait

Blyth Tait needs no introduction. A name that is synonymous with Equestrian sport even though it is almost 30 years since he was first crowned Eventing world champion.

As a member of the Eventing dream team he represented NZ at world championships and Olympic games winning two individual world championship titles, Olympic Gold, team silver and two Olympic bronze medals on top of many other notable international wins.

After winning the 1990 World Championship in Stockholm Blyth dominated the 1990’s Land Rover World Rider Rankings, winning the prestigious Burghley Horse Trials in 1998 on Chesterfield and finishing second on Aspyring. He won Burghley again in 2001 on Ready Teddy.

The Eventing Board felt that it would be appropriate to award Blyth an honorary life membership in the year of his official retirement from competition. Blyth continues to be a great ambassador for our sport and is working to become a top-level course designer.

Susan O’Brien

The Eventing Board were unanimous in their decision to nominate Susan who has held several different official roles within ESNZ over the years as an Eventing Board Member, Technical Committee Member – for ESNZ and ESNZ Eventing, Chief Steward for Eventing and Steward General for ESNZ.

In addition to these Susan is currently a;

  • Level 3 FEI Eventing Steward (one of only two in NZ)
  • FEI Level 3 Technical Delegate
  • Eventing List 1 Cross Country Judge

Susan has served on numerous event organising committees and has been recognised through volunteer of the year and dedication to the sport awards. Together with her husband Kevin, they continue to make an enormous contribution to ESNZ. Susan continues to work at a local level, in addition to her officiating duties, and is often seen at working bees, lending a hand on any range of tasks. It felt appropriate to acknowledge Susan’s past and continued contribution to ESNZ through an honorary life membership.

Richard Sunderland

Richard Sunderland has been involved for over 50 years and back in his hayday once competed at top level Showjumping and even did the odd Dressage test!!!

He has held many roles and responsibilities throughout the years, including:

  • Various Chairman, Selector and Manager roles for local areas and jumping national body from 1975 – 2000.
  • Show Jumping Judge and Candidate International Course Designer – NZ, / Australia / South Africa from 1976 – 2000.
  • 1999 – 2004 – FEI Foreign Official appointment to oversee the Australian Certificate of Capability event for the Sydney Olympics, Athens Olympic Squad High Performance Leader and planned and managed Olympic campaign with SPARC / ESNZ.
  • Jumping High Performance Leader from 2009 – 2013
  • Chef d’Equipe Trans-Tasman Jumping Tests from 2011-2013
  • Chef d’Equipe for the World Equestrian Games – Kentucky in 2010

More recent positions include:

  • Chair of Jumping New Zealand from 2015 – 2018
  • Director, Horse of the Year Hawke’s Bay Ltd from 2018 – present
  • ESNZ Board Member
  • And finally, and the most important, ESNZ President from 2015 until today.

Richard’s, unfailing practical common sense and historical knowledge of the sport will be missed around the Board table. We have enjoyed working with Richard and thank him for his dedication and commitment to the sport over a great number of years.

ESNZ hopes that we will continue to see Richard at events where he will enjoy all the spoils of being the head of various Ground Juries. And we wish him very well as he goes off to reacquaint himself with his golf clubs.


  • Sue Hobson– President
  • Lynda Clark – Vice-President
  • Scott McKenna – Dressage
  • Sue Reid – Endurance
  • Maree Burnett – Eventing
  • Jenny Booth – Jumping
  • Don Robertson – Appointed
  • Ana Sever – Appointed
  • Hannah Walton – Appointed


  • Don Robertson – Convenor
  • Soo Wells – Dressage
  • Sue Billigheimer – Endurance
  • Tony Roberts – Appointed
  • Gus Taylor – Jumping
  • Andrew Bruce – Appointed
  • Nick Pyke – Eventing


  • Wallie Niederer – Convenor
  • John Williamson – Dressage
  • John Stevenson – Endurance
  • Jenny Draper – Eventing
  • Jenny & Craig Booth – Jumping
  • Mark King – Appointed
  • Jennifer Millar – Co-opted
  • Peter & Debbie Barke – Co-Opted
  • Paul Croucher – Appointed
  • Vicki Lawson – Appointed


The Chris Hodson Scholarship was established in 2015 in recognition of Chris Hodson’s outstanding service to ESNZ as an ESNZ Board Member from 1998 to 2015 and President from 2011 to 2015.  The Scholarship was for $10,000 ($2,000 over 5 years) to be awarded to an aspiring New Zealand FEI Official. The first scholarship was awarded in 2016.

The majority of FEI Officials and Veterinarians’ courses, to date, have been cancelled or postponed due to Covid-19 and with many borders currently closed Officials are unable to attend off-shore courses.  Therefore, due to the lack of overseas travel available for officials to upskill, the scholarship’s final year will be pushed out to 2021.


The following Constitutional amendment was put forward to the AGA’s consideration:

The current ESNZ Constitution dated 1st June 2007 (Updated 1st August 2014) is due to be updated to recognise the everchanging environment and circumstances in which the organisation operates. ESNZ is currently undertaking a Constitution Review as a result. This process naturally takes time, involving extensive consultation, and will not be able to be proposed, debated, and voted on until at least the 2021 AGA (Article 31 “Alteration to Constitution”)                                                                                                         

There is currently a clause which means ESNZ is operating outside of the letter of the law in the constitution and as such limits the way the organisation operates. The Board, in discussion with the Chief Executive Officer, needs the flexibility to determine how the organisation should be structured, and where  talent , with  relevant skills and experience are best deployed to meet the needs of the environment in which it operates at any given time.

Clause 15.5 Chief Executive Officer states (inter alia): For the purpose of liaising with the FEI or other national federations affiliated with the FEI the Chief Executive Officer will also hold the position of Secretary General”.

In accordance with Article 21.2(e) of the ESNZ Constitution I wish to propose that the sentence “For the purpose of liaising  with the FEI or other national federations affiliated with the FEI the Chief Executive Officer will also hold the position of Secretary General” be amended in the Constitution at the AGA 2020 until the Constitution Review is completed and the panel can determine if this provision should be maintained.

The proposed amendment is to change “will” to “may”. This will allow the Board flexibility to determine and deploy executive and or appropriate contractor skills where they can add most value to the organisation and will legitimize the very successful situation which has been operating for several years where the roles are currently split.

I therefore request that the AGA considers and votes to change the word “will” to “may” in Point 15.5 of the ESNZ Constitution dated 1 June 2007.

Vicki Glynn
14 August 2020

The proposed constitutional amendment did not pass.  ESNZ is currently underway with reviewing its Constitution and therefore the information would be passed onto the Constitution Working Party for consideration.


The full ESNZ annual report and presentation for the AGA are available at the following links.


This year’s AGA was live-streamed and can be watched at the following link:


The draft minutes of 68th Annual General Assembly will be available in due course under the Board Summaries section of the website.