Warrick Allan during the NZ Horse of the Year Olympic Cup. Land Rover Horse of the Year – Hawkes Bay 2019. Sunday 17 March. Copyright Photo: Libby Law Photography

Fifteen years is a long time anywhere, but this month ESNZ high performance operations manager Warrick Allan is celebrating the milestone and we take a look back at his career.

He arrived in Wellington as a fresh-faced lad from his home town of Gisborne ready to take on a new challenge in the capital as ESNZ jumping sport manager.

He quickly entrenched himself in the new role and became known for his efficiency, happy nature and willingness to help. None of that has changed over the years and he’s become the go-to man for most, having worked across the organisation in positions including para sport manager, health and safety officer, resident IT manager and the font of all knowledge when it comes to the FEI.

From the jumping sport manager role he moved to projects manager and then into his current high performance operations role. For many of his 15 years he was the only male staff member.

Operations manager Emma Gowan has been at ESNZ for 19 years. “People say we are like the old married couple of the office but I guess that is just what happens when you have worked with someone for so long,” she says. “We have very similar work style, ethics and values, so I think that is why we get on so well. I count him not only as a friend, but family.”

Jacky Green, ESNZ’s UK based high performance administrator figures she has exchanged more emails with Warrick over the past eight years than anyone else. “He is a total legend,” she says, “and always on hand to answer any query that I have. His knowledge of the intricacies of the FEI rules and entry system is incredible. His commitment to ESNZ and the High Performance Programme is second-to-none and there is nothing I love more than when Warrick sends me a message to say he is heading over to the Northern Hemisphere for an event.”

They are sentiments echoed by so many. Sir Mark Todd says Warrick is “a great asset”: to ESNZ and has been for many years. “He is the go-to person for us overseas riders. He’s always jolly and right on the ball.”

Tim and Jonelle Price turned to Warrick when they first headed to the UK. “He was on hand to help us navigate the whole new world of eventing in Europe when we first came over, answering endless questions about how it has to work . . . and he still does.”

ESNZ chief executive Dana Kirkpatrick also complimented his knowledge and experience. “It is simply outstanding,” she said. “He is there for everyone in the organisation and completely invaluable to us. We all love working with him. He’ll be the first to tell you if you are off on the wrong track too!”

ESNZ eventing high performance manager Graeme Thom says Warrick’s assistance had made his integration so much more comfortable. “He can always be relied on to tackle any myriad of tasks with a positive team attitude,” says Graeme. “Organisations across the spectrum of industries count themselves fortunate to have a Warrick in their midst.”

ESNZ high performance director Sarah Dalziell-Clout says his efforts make the big challenges do-able. “He is a real stalwart in the office,” she says. “I think his willingness to go the extra mile shows when we get to championships like the worlds – he works endlessly to ensure everyone else has a great experience. He has such knowledge about the organisation as well as being a really friendly face who is always prepared to help.”

It is Warrick who ensure all the international entries are done, that tickets for both horses, riders and support staff are all booked for the big events. His spreadsheet at championships is something else, tracking the movements of people and horses as they move in and out of stables, accommodation and competition phases.

When he’s not at the office working his magic he’s likely to be on a stage in productions and pantomimes. He’s often on the end of a microphone commentating for shows and events and until recently was president of the Wellington Horowhenua Showjumping Group. He is also a showjumping judge.

He’s always immaculately turned out and all his paid and volunteer work is done with a smile. His efficient, no bull demeanor makes him one of the good guys on the planet – he’s well known across the other international federations and admired for all that he does.

By Diana Dobson

March 29, 2019