Erik heads stateside

Erik with Sir Mark Todd and Tim Price at Aachen in 2015 (Image: Libby Law)

The United States Equestrian Federation announced today that they have appointed Erik Duvander as their new Performance Director for Eventing, effective from Monday!

Of course Erik is well known to us here in New Zealand, having been coach of the NZ Eventing team for so many years – from 2005 until October 2016. Erik was actually born in the USA (Chicago) but moved to Sweden with his family at the age of five. To further his eventing career, he then moved to the UK aged 22 and spent more than two years working for Mark Todd. He rode at the Barcelona Olympics, finishing 57th individually, and at the World Equestrian Games at The Hague, finishing 15th. His career highlight was being part of the gold-medal-winning Swedish team at the 1993 European Championships.

Under his coaching, New Zealand’s eventing record at championship level includes team bronze and individual bronze (Andrew Nicholson on Nereo) at the 2010 Kentucky World Equestrian Games and team bronze at the 2012 London Olympics. At the Rio Olympics, the team finished fourth.

Philip Dutton won a bronze medal in the individual eventing competition for the USA and the team finished 12th out of the 13 teams competing.

2016 Rio Olympic eventing individuals: Astier Nicolas (silver), Michael Jung (gold) and Phillip Dutton (bronze) (Image: Jane Thompson)

“It is a great privilege and responsibility to be chosen as the U.S. Eventing Performance Director, a role that I believe holds the highest regard within our sport,” said Erik, when his appointment was announced. “Having spent the last six months in the United States, I have seen a lot of quality athletes and horses. I have met some truly dedicated horse owners. I also know that US Equestrian has an excellent group of people, and most importantly, all are working towards a common goal. I am looking forward to working within this community and taking on the challenge of putting together the best-prepared combinations for the WEG at Tryon in September 2018 and also with a longer view to the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020.”

Erik and the New Zealand eventing team at WEG 2012 (Image: Libby Law)

“US Equestrian and our US Eventing Team are gaining an experienced leader in Erik Duvander,” says US Equestrian President Murray Kessler. “His work with both teams and individual athletes is an important asset that will aid in the continued development of our event riders as they set their sights on the WEG and work towards their goals. We are excited for this sport and what is to come.”

David O’Connor was the previous USA Eventing Coach, including at the Rio Olympics. As part of the post-Rio review, it was announced that his position would change to Eventing Technical Adviser, adjusted to focus more on management of the programmes and the athlete’s personal programmes and goals rather than hands-on coaching. However, in May this year, David stepped down from that position to focus on advancing safety and global risk-management in eventing, leaving the vacancy and the door open for Erik.

David O’Connor and Alec Lochore discussing the course at the Olympics in Rio in 2016

Our own NZ eventing High Performance Manager is currently Graeme Thom. You can read about both times he has been appointed to this role on this link. He will hold the position for next year’s World Equestrian Games.

ESNZ HP Eventing Manager: Graeme Thom at Barbury earlier this year (Image: Libby Law Photography)