Canada Drops Search for Dressage Technical Advisor/Chef d’Equipe, Desi Dillingham to Lead “Team of Experts”

9 years ago StraightArrow Comments Off on Canada Drops Search for Dressage Technical Advisor/Chef d’Equipe, Desi Dillingham to Lead “Team of Experts”

Desi Dillingham. © British Dressage
Desi Dillingham. © British Dressage

Canada has dropped a search for a Technical Advisor/Chef d’Equipe for dressage, announcing Friday it has appointed Special Advisor Desi Dillingham to “spearhead building a leading a team of experts” to design and implement programs for Canada’s international dressage riders.

Equine Canada said that after an in-depth review it decided “the best course of action for the future of dressage, is to draw upon Canada’s own immense pool of expertise and diverse resources” instead of filling the role of Technical Advisor/Chef d’Equipe. That post had been held by Markus Gribbe of Germany through the 2012 Olympics and before that by Robert Dover who now performs the same role for the United States.

Desi Dillingham was born in Canada but moved to Britain in her 20s became active in horse sports capped by becoming president of the British Horse Society from 2007 to 2011.

The federation said, “The goal is to create a team that will work collectively to design and implement world-class programs supporting the efforts put forth by Canadian athletes in their quest to represent their country at the highest levels of competition.

“We are grateful to those candidates who put forward their applications for consideration for the role of Technical Advisor/Chef d’Equipe and wish to express our thanks for their commitment to our athletes and the development of the sport in Canada.”

Christine Peters, Equine Caada’s Manager of Dressage, said: “The next 11 months leading up to the World Equestrian Games will be extremely busy and having Desi and her vast experience to draw on will help Canada continue to raise the bar and once again be competitive on the world stage.

“Realizing these goals will take extraordinary effort and commitment from everyone involved. By building on the current momentum in collaboration with our athletes, owners and industry experts we can pull together a strong team to design programs which will identify, support and develop not only our current stars but also next generation athletes.”

Desi will collaborate with the Dressage Canada High Performance Committee, Youth High Performance Committee and fundraising groups to identify individual experts to assume specific roles for the new team.

“Her depth of knowledge and experience in the sport, and her expansive connections with the international equestrian industry will be of immense benefit and instrumental in forming an innovative team,” the federation said.

“I am very excited by this opportunity,” Desi said.

“As we head into this challenge, we do so knowing that everything we do moving forward must be with an eye to excelling at the international level, and especially so, as we head toward next year’s WEG. We are very fortunate that Canada has an incredible wealth of gifted experts in this sport and it is our goal to tap into that to create a highly skilled and effective team.

“The past few months I have truly enjoyed working with everyone I’ve met and have been impressed by their encouragement and support, and their firm belief that Canada has the raw talent necessary to make an impact on the world stage. We have a big job ahead of us but I’m confident with the right team of experts all pulling together, we can make a difference.”

Desi Dillingham was born in Montreal and the first 20-plus years were filled with competing, eventing and hunting. Her family was deepy involved in the Canadian horse world–her mother being Pam Dillingham and her aunt, Barbara Kemp, was the first woman to design and build an Olympic cross country course, for the Montreal Games in 1976.

She was transferred to England with a Canadian Recruitment company for one-year term in 1973, but that turned into 40 years. Desi was lured to dressage by Jennie Loriston-Clarke whom she sponsored for 18 years. In the early 1980s she began fundraising for the British Equestrian Olympic Team and started helping out with marketing and sponsorship within dressage while running her own recruitment business.

In the mid-1990s the structure of the British Equestrian Federation changed with implemntaton of Lottery Funding/World Class. In 1997, she took over the voluntary role of turning British Dressage into a viable company, a six-month assignment which turned into 10 years.

Desi was president of the British Horse Society from 2007 to 2011. In 2009 she was awarded a Member of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth for services to the equestrian sport.