ESNZ has held the first of its chef d’equipe training sessions. Applicants from across the disciplines attended the sessions, held in October and November, for those keen to put their names forward to be chefs of the future.

The first session was led in Hamilton during Equidays by Rob Ehrens, the Dutch showjumping chef d’equipe for 13 years, who shared his wealth of knowledge.

This was followed by a full day of presentations, round-table discussions and learnings, including a presentation from former top triathlete Hamish Carter at ESNZ HQ in Wellington.

Ehrens told participants how he moved from a successful riding career to take up the roles of chef, sole selector and manager of the jumping programme, drawing on his own experiences to bring others on board.

Key in his mind were:

  • clear communication with athletes, with rider-chef meetings critical to success
  • team harmony
  • attendance and punctuality by riders at planned team meetings is a must

Ehrens continues his learning, working alongside personal coaches to glean what he can from them and replicate that in the team environment.

The day in Wellington was particularly valuable for the cross discipline discussions, insights and learnings that came from the wealth of experience in the room ranging from past and current high performance riders and athletes, to past and current chefs, coaches, team managers and officials.

ESNZ high performance director Sarah Dalziell-Clout said the gathering had been hugely positive for the future of all of the organisation’s disciplines.

“It was great to have such a mixture of enthusiastic and experienced people keen to take up chef and management positions,” she said.  Dalziell-Clout is hopeful this will be the start of an ongoing programme to continue to upskill and assist chefs of the future.

The training aims to build knowledge of the participants to give them a better understanding the chef d’equipe requirements, including ESNZ and FEI rules and regulations, as well as processes that need to be followed, an appreciation of being part of a team, and an understanding of environments that allow best performance from athletes.

ESNZ hopes to grow its pool of potential chefs d’equipe for future campaigns, tours and programmes. “Every two years we have a championship and we need to ensure we have quality and experienced people to fill the roles,” says Dalziell-Clout.


By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison