Experienced names join British Equestrian showjumping team support staff

Sunday, 03 April 2022

British Equestrian and British Showjumping are delighted to announce three appointments in the key roles of Technical Expert and Nations Cup Chef d’Equipe, both new roles, and Team Veterinarian. The new roles have been developed following a full programme review and feedback from stakeholders to enhance the support team headed by Performance Manager Di Lampard to take showjumping through to Paris in 2024 and beyond.

Stanny Van Paesschen, who represented Belgium at Olympic level and has managed medal-winning showjumping teams internationally, will take on the Technical Expert role. Stanny brings a wealth of experience and knowledge as a leading contributor to showjumping for over five decades. This new role will see him provide support for the Performance Manager around selection and preparation, as well as helping riders work toward key performances. The Nations Cup Chef d’Equipe, whose primary responsibility will be for teams contesting the European Equestrian Federation Nations Cup series with Di Lampard overseeing the FEI Nations Cup teams, has been named as Tony Newbery, an Olympic rider who has worked with Britain’s prolific youth championship teams. The Team Veterinarian position was made vacant when Robrecht Cnockaert stepped down after 19 years and it’s his assistant of six years, Dr Simon Woods BVSc CertAVP(ESO) MRCVS, who takes over.

Performance Director Richard Waygood explained; “The spectacular individual gold medal-winning performance of Ben Maher riding Charlotte Rossetter and Pamela Wright’s Explosion W captivated many at Tokyo last year and kept Britain amongst the world’s leading showjumping nations. However, our showjumping teams haven’t featured on the top of the podium in recent championships, and we want to redress this. Within the World Class Programme, we took time to reflect on the Tokyo cycle, considering input from a wide range of stakeholders. These new appointments reflect our philosophy of continuous improvement, always seeking to evolve.

“We have a great deal of talent in our showjumping ranks and are committed to developing a support network and structure which nurtures and develops those combinations. Di Lampard has done a sterling job managing a complex showjumping programme and calendar, and now with the support of Stanny as Technical Expert and Tony’s role as Nations Cup Chef d’Equipe, alongside Simon’s expertise, she can lead the teams much more effectively.

“For our showjumping team, this year is about securing Olympic qualification at the World Championships in August, earning a place at the FEI Nations Cup Final in Barcelona and keeping our place in Europe Division 1 of the FEI Nations Cup. I firmly believe that this new structure, with these key appointments in place, gives us a real chance of achieving those aims to put us on a positive pathway to Paris.”

More about our new showjumping support team members

Stanny Van Paesschen is based near Brussels at Hof ten Bos, which he’s called home with his wife Béatrice for over twenty years and where they run a successful training and breeding establishment. His son Constant is the fifth generation of the Van Paesschen dynasty to ride at the top level as a regular rider in the Global Champions League. Stanny’s CV as a rider is remarkable, having ridden at the top level from 1975 before retiring in 2005, having amassed 300 international victories and represented Belgium in three Olympics, including a bronze medal in Montreal.

His attention then turned to training and he has had medal success with teams at Olympic Games, World and European Championships, Asian Games and South American Games. He helped the Belgian senior squad to eight championship medals, before then supporting the Saudi Arabian teams, including a historic team bronze at London 2012. More recently, he’s worked with the riders from Mexico to claim two team gold medals and a number Nations Cup victories.

Stanny’s initial focus will be around building relationships with the riders and team support staff, while being introduced to their owners and grooms. May will be his first opportunity to be at competitions, and he’ll attend Windsor CSI5* and be on duty in Rome CSIO5*.

As a rider, Tony Newbery was competing in the elite ranks from the age of 19, going on to be a member of many victorious Nations Cup teams and earning a place on the Olympic squad for Montreal in 1976.He was also non-travelling reserve for Los Angeles in 1984. Through the mid-1980s, Tony’s focus turned to training and he has made a name as an internationally renowned coach and manager. Time in the Middle East and Asia saw him help a number of riders develop to compete on the world stage, before focusing closer to home in his current role of Chef d’Equipe for the British Showjumping Junior and Young Rider squads, which he’ll continue with alongside this new role, as well as coaching the riders on the  World Class Programme Showjumping Performance Pathway.

Tony’s role focuses mainly on the European Equestrian Federation Nations Cup series (previously the FEI Europe Division 2) while Performance Manager Di Lampard will continue to have oversight of the teams in the FEI Nations Cup series. The EEF Series is an ideal opportunity for combinations to gain the experience needed to bridge the gap from the youth ranks into senior competition at three- and four-star level, then to five-star and championship teams. He’ll oversee the teams at Lisbon in May, then on to Madrid.

Having supported Robrecht Cnockaert for six years, Simon Woods is ideally placed to be his successor. In his professional life, Simon owns a five-vet equine practice with his wife in Llanymynech in Shropshire and holds an Advanced Veterinary Practice certificate in Equine Surgery (Orthopaedics). He’s an Official FEI Veterinarian, FEI Permitted Treating Veterinarian and an Official Veterinarian on behalf of the Animal & Plant Health Agency, which helps with his detailed knowledge of FEI rules. Simon has previously worked with many of the riders and horses on the World Class Programme and will build on these relationships in conjunction with the riders’ home teams in preparation for the season’s main fixtures in the build-up to the World Championships in Herning, Denmark.

Leadership comment

Showjumping Performance Manager Di Lampard is looking forward to the prospects the appointments bring; “I’m absolutely delighted to have secured the trio for our support team to take us through the Paris cycle. I’ve known Stanny for years and he brings a wealth of experience and credibility in the sport, while operating with high moral standards. I’ve always had lots of admiration for him – as a fellow competitor and latterly as a team manager in producing results and getting the best performances out of the talent he had. He’s a true gentleman who sticks by his word and I’m grateful he accepted the role.

“We’ll miss Robrecht greatly and Simon has big shoes to fill, but he’s certainly the right person for the role. He has demonstrated his ability to handle difficult situations in the team already whilst supporting Robrecht. I’m sure Simon will build on these relationships he has made in the team and wider group of riders. There’s few as dedicated – he’s usually the first one on the showground and last to leave with the grooms. He keeps up to date with the latest developments, which means our horses will have the greatest care.

“I’m certainly reassured our riders and owners are in safe hands with Tony as Chef d’Equipe for those key Nations Cup teams – he gives me peace of mind. He’s one of the sport’s great characters and brings so much expertise, trustworthiness and support for these riders at a vital time in their career development. He’s perfectly placed to contribute to building the overall squad, which will give the strength in depth for our discipline.

“I’m looking forward to working with the enhanced new team – they’ll bring motivation and inspiration backed up with the expertise to make it happen. I’m truly excited by what the next few months will bring and to see the impact on our talented combinations as we build toward Herning and then Paris.”

British Showjumping Chief Executive Iain Graham shares Di’s optimism for the future; “The review process which got us to this point has been very productive and I’m grateful to those who took part for their openness and vision. With these three leading names and their wealth of experience now appointed, we have a strong support network in place to facilitate riders, owners and grooms to maximise their potential and give them the leadership and inspiration they need to prosper. I’m sure many are looking forward to working with Stanny, Tony and Simon and we’re fortunate to have them join the British team effort at this key time in the Paris cycle.”