RANKINGS POINTS FOR JUMPER RIDERS ON MATERNITY LEAVE TO BE FROZEN

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Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, Markus and Brianne Victoria
Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, Markus and Brianne Victoria

LAUSANNE, Switzerland, Apr. 9–Rolex Rankings points for jumper riders on maternity leave will have their points frozen starting with the April rankings, the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) announced Friday.

Under the new system, female riders will now lose only 50 per cent of their Rolex Rankings points during their absence from competition while on maternity leave.

Dressage-news.com has asked the FEI whether the same system will be applied to FEI World Individual Dressage Rankings. Two of the top five in the dressage rankings, Anky van Grunsven and Isabell Werth, are mothers.

The new ruling for jumper riders means that former world number one Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum moves up from 31st on the March Rolex Rankings to 20th following the reinstatement of 50 per cent of her points. The German rider, who gave birth to her first child Brianne Victoria Beerbaum on Feb. 27, has announced that she will not defend her Rolex FEI World Cup title in Geneva next week.

“This is great news for all female Jumping riders”, Meredith said today. “It means that we can take time out from competition to have a baby and not lose all our Rolex Rankings points while we’re off the circuit. It’s a really proactive move by the FEI and as far as I know they are the first international governing body to do something like this.”

Meredith, who is a Rolex Testimonee, had her last international outing at the CSIO Spruce Meadows Masters in Calgary, Canada, in September 2009. She is planning a return to international competition at Hagen, Germany at the end of this month.

The Rolex green and gold armband, which is worn by the leading rider in the Rolex Rankings, remains with Switzerland’s Pius Schwizer, who retains his world number one spot for the third consecutive month.