Pan Am Games Dressage Format Approved by FEI, to be Tested at Wellington Next Winter

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Palm Beach International Equestrian Center's Stadium complex that hosts the Global Dressage Festival and Winter Equstrian Festival grass derby field events. © 2013 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Palm Beach International Equestrian Center’s Stadium complex that hosts the Global Dressage Festival and Winter Equstrian Festival grass derby field events. © 2013 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

Teams of mixed small and big tour horses will compete in two phases with a half-percentage point added to each competition for up to two Grand Prix combinations per team in the format proposed for the 2015 Pan American Games to be tested at the Nations Cup in Wellington, Florida next winter, under the format approved by the International Equestrian Federation’s (FEI) Dressage Committee.

The proposal was drawn up by Maribel Alonzo de Quinzaños of Mexico, a FEI 5* judge and active in governing the sport, and Thomas Baur of Germany, one of six members of the Dressage Committee and an organizer of major horse shows including the Global Dressage Festival in Wellington and the Stuttgart, Germany World Cup event after two years of discussions with national federations, riders and others in the Americas.

The proposal will be reviewed for final approval by the equestrian group for the Pan American Games, the world’s largest multisport championships after the Olympic Games.

The Wellington CDIO3* Nations Cup is scheduled for Feb. 19-24 in 2014 as part of a newly realigned Florida CDI calendar that centers on the Global Dressage Festival and dovetails with the Winter Equestrian Festival of jumpers and hunters at the same Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.

Under the proposal for the 2015 Pan Ams scheduled for Toronto, the format is:

1. Teams can comprise up to four horse and rider combinations with the top three scores counting toward the final result;

2. The teams can include up to two Grand Prix combinations;

3. The Nations Cup will comprise two phases–Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special for big tour and Prix St. Georges and Intermediaire I for small tour;

4. Grand Prix combinations will receive a half percentage point “bonus” for both the Grand Prix and the Special, so a team with two Grand Prix mounts could earn up to a maximum of an additional two percentage points;

5. The Freesyle at either Intermediaire or Grand Prix will decide individual medals;

6. Only teams with at least one Grand Prix horse will be able to qualify for the Olympics, and

7. Any team whether all small tour or mixed can win Pan American Games medals.

The aim of the changed format is to keep dressage alongside the other two Olympic equestrian sports of jumping and eventing as vital elements of the Pan Ams while raising the standard to meet Olympic demands.

A contingent of South American riders, including three from Colombia and one from Venezuela, are training and competing in Europe in preparation for the implementation of the new Pan Am format.

Under FEI draft proposals, only a single team will be eligible to qualify at the 2015 Pan Ams for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. Two nations could qualify teams from the last Pan Ams, in Guadalajara, Mexico in 2011.

The changes also add a fourth country able to qualify through the World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France next year, up from three for the 2012 London Games.