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Remembering Neylan Etiman (1963-2017)

Sunday, 02 April 2017
In Memoriam

Neylan Etiman. Photo (c) Alessandra Ceselli. Neylan Etiman. Photo (c) Alessandra Ceselli.

Neylan Etiman, an active member of the International Jumping Officials Club, a well-known FEI Official and a very keen amateur rider, passed away due to complications following surgery in the beginning of March. The 53-year-old lived outside Istanbul and was last seen on the international showjumping scene at the CSI5* event in Doha, just days before her passing.

Neylan lived and breathed horses; she was an active member of IJOC for over a decade and was also the Deputy Secretary General for a period. She ran many show offices both in Turkey and abroad. She worked at three Olympic Games – in Athens she co-managed the stewards’ office, in London she was a stewarding team member, while in Rio she assisted in the Mixed Zone. She also worked at three World Equestrian Games – Jerez, Kentucky and Caen – as a ring crew member in Jerez, for all disciplines in Kentucky and for dressage and jumping in Caen. A Level 3 steward, she was also a Level 3 Jumping Judge and Level 2 Course Designer, officiating at many of the top Jumping events across the world. Her all-round experience made her a valid member of any team, and her approachability and generosity meant that she was also a popular figure amongst grooms, riders and trainers.

Alessandra Ceselli, a FEI Official herself, knew Neylan well. “I knew her for more than ten years. The first big event I did with her was the London Olympics in 2012. She was more a friend than a colleague for me. She was a really special person – she was very smart, had a university degree, she could speak many languages, she was always kind,” Ceselli says. “I think that if there was something she would want us to know now, it would be that the show must go on – but only with a big smile on our faces, just like she always had on hers.”

Leila Chew – long-time groom of Michael Whitaker – says Neylan had an impact on her career as a show groom. ”I met her when I started working as a show groom. She was so helpful - at the start I had so many things she helped me with,” Leila says. “Neylan was always in the stables, she recognised all the horses and knew everything about them. She would always be the buffer in the middle if there ever was a conflict – and she always had a huge smile on her face,” Leila tells. “I think it is simple to say what she would have wished to see in our sport; that we all do the right thing for the horses. She loved horses.”

Marlen Schannwell, Bertram Allen’s groom, knew Neylan for a long time. “I think I met her over ten years ago. She was always very kind, helpful – she wanted to be our friend, not a police – and to make everyone’s life easy. She was always around and made lovely group pictures of all the grooms at the Top 10 Final and at the WEG in Caen. Making life easy for everybody with a big smile on her face – that was Neylan,” Marlen says. “She would want to see fair, clean sport – she would not keep quiet if there was something that was not correct.”

Henrik von Eckermann thinks that Neylan set a great example. “Every time you saw her, she always had a big smile on her face. She was simply a nice person – you could not help but feel a bit happier yourself, seeing someone smile like that. I think that is something we can all try and imitate.” 

Source: The International Jumping Officials Club 

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