FEI Dressage Task Force Meets

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland, Apr. 24–The FEI Dressage Task Force that was set up to propose an overhaul of the sport met this week. Among the issues discussed, according to an FEI news release:

* Olympic Games: competition formula and qualification process. A proposal will be included in the Task Force’s final report to be presented to the FEI Bureau in November.

* Dressage Committee: future composition. A proposal in line with the FEI Statutes is currently being prepared in cooperation with the FEI Nominations Committee. The Secretary General briefed the Task Force on the evolving governance framework and the roles of Technical Committees, the Nominations Committee, the Bureau and Headquarters in the democratic process that leads to election and appointment of committee members.

* Dressage Judges Education. An education system is currently being put together with the objective to have it in place for 2010. Dr David Stickland gave a presentation concerning tools to improve judge training and education using statistical analysis. It was felt that this would be an excellent tool to combine with the work of the Task Force. [Editor’s note: Dr. Stickland has made an extensive analysis of dressage scores and scoring by judges and is working with dressage stakeholders including Exquis World Dressage Masters on methods to improve training and education.]

Rules: Some amendments to the FEI World Cup Dressage Rules, based on feedback from National Federations, will be sent to the FEI Bureau for approval. Only changes to the FEI Rules for Dressage Events made for urgent operational reasons will be allowed this year as these Rules underwent a major revision last year.

The Task Force heard presentations from the International Skating Union (ISU) and the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) regarding the judging systems used in ice skating and gymnastics, both of which determine results by appointed, similar to dressage. These models were found very educational.

The FEI Dressage Task Force will continue its work and keep stakeholders informed of their progress.

FEI Dressage Task Force Chairman Frank Kemperman
FEI Dressage Task Force Chairman Frank Kemperman

The task force consists of Frank Kemperman, chairman and, as chairman of the managing board of the CHIO Aachen, Germany, represents organizers; Richard Davison, riders; Robert Dover, trainers; Alain Franqueville, chefs d’equipe; Elisabeth Max-Theurer, owners and, Katrina Wuest, judges. Dover participated by teleconference.

After the release of the statement, Kemperman was quoted by DressageDirect: “We do not always have the same opinion. However, we have the same goal to bring dressage forward and while listening, discussing and benchmarking I think there will come some good ideas out of it.

“As long as we lay down our blinkers and keep our ears wide open as well, we will come up with something good for the sake of dressage, I’m sure.”