The BSJA extraordinary general meeting approved the changes to the association’s Articles of Association last week, which will result in a major shake up of how show jumping is run in Britain.

The BSJA executive board proposed sweeping constitutional changes last October, which led to the resignation of four board members. The original proposal was to create a BSJA council, which would be elected in the same was as the old executive board used to be, and reduce the new executive board to eight members which would be appointed by the council.

The plans caused a heated debate at the time and were slightly amended at a later stage. In the new proposal, the executive board would remain unchanged and it would appoint a new eight-member management board, which would be responsible for carrying out the board strategy. This reform was sanctioned yesterday by the EGM.

As a result, the BSJA will have a lean management board where seven chairmen will each lead a committee responsible for a specific task, such as Performance Development, Finance and Treasury or Development of Show Jumping in the UK. The executive board Chairman, Michael Mac, will oversee the chairmen’s work and join the management board as their eighth member.

“All of these new committees will work together to provide a positive direction for the future of show jumping. This formula will enable each group to focus on the specific function of the committee and therefore be more efficient and effective. We are looking for more international success, further development of UK show jumping, growth in the membership and an even more effective administration in head office,” says Mac.

The BSJA executive board will set the top-line strategy for the association, and the committees will work on the specifics. “All the committees will be responsible for implementing the policy direction set out by the board and for the budget allocated to them,” explains spokeswoman Jacky Knightley. “Their work will be reviewed by the board.” The executive board will be able to remove committee chairmen “if they are not fulfilling what they set out to do.”

Chairmen will each form their committee by drawing members from the BSJA executive board and co-opting people from outside the board who have a specific expertise. The eight chairmen appointed after last week’s EGM are now in the process of appointing the members of their committees, which will be announced in the next couple of weeks.

The BSJA executive board believes this reform will introduce more transparency and greater effectiveness to the association. “This is hugely revolutionary,” says Knightley. “ What it means in effect is that, if the membership have a concern about marketing, or finance or training, they know who the chairman responsible is and they can go directly to him. Unlike before, they now have someone they can express their approval or concern to.”

Reaching a policy decision should also be quicker and easier, according to Knightley. “In the past, each committee had to go to the executive board for ratification and [the board] only met about four times a year. Now you have got finite committees with specific instructions from the board and they will be able to make decisions, implement them and get on with it.”

Committee chairmen will have to devote plenty of time to their work, which is voluntary. And this is a potential drawback for people like Tim Stockdale — the new chairman of the marketing committee — who are busy competing at top level.

“We will try to accommodate people like Tim,” says Knightley. “If it were easier to go to his place for a meeting and everyone could do it, then we would. We will be flexible and we’ll probably do more electronic meetings.”

The constitutional reform approved at the EGM seems to have quelled the strong controversy that the original proposal had stirred among members. “Two of the members who resigned [over the planned constitutional changes] didn’t get re-elected to the board or weren’t up for election,” says Knightley. “The other two have accepted the changes and are actually leading two committees.”

The new BSJA Chairmen for 2005 are:

Tim Forrest – Finance and Treasury
David Broome – Performance Development including International
Peter Gillespie – UK Show Jumping Development
Jane Twemlow – Membership Development
Tim Stockdale – Marketing and Commercial
Katrina Moore – Training and Breeding
John Jacks – Operations Management

New BSJA president elected

The BSJA has also elected a new president. John Hales, owner of Nick Skelton’s top horse Arko III, is taking over the role from retiring president Douglas Bunn.

BSJA chairman Michael Mac says: “The association welcomes the vast company knowledge and experience that John Hales can lend to the sport along with his great passion for show jumping. He is well respected within the membership and will help advise us along these new management roads that we are travelling.”