Maribel Alonso de Quinzaños Appointed to FEI Dressage Committee

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 Maribel Alonso de Quinzaños. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Maribel Alonso de Quinzaños. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Maribel Alonso de Quinzaños of Mexico was appointed to the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) Dressage Committee on Monday for a four-year term, succeeding Anne Gribbons of the United States.

Maribel, an FEI 5* judge, the highest ranking, was appointed through 2017 to the six-member Dressage Committee by the FEI Bureau meeting on the eve of the General Assembly of the 130 nations that make up the international horse sports organizaton.

The bureau also approved a second pilot year of the dressage Nations Cup series which will include for the first time the Wellington, Florida event of mixed big and small tour combinations that Maribel was instrumental in creating as an effort to upgrade the level of competition at the Pan American Games.

The 2016 World Cup Finals of Dressage and Jumping were awarded to Gothenburg, Sweden Mar. 23-28.

The 2014 European Championship for Ponies (Dressage, Eventing and Jumping) went to Millstreet, Ireland July 16-20. Bidding for the 2015 championship was re-opened.

The Dressage Committee is chaired by Frank Kemperman of the Netherlands and other members are Thomas Baur of Germany as vice chairman; David Hunt of Great Britain; Hans-Christian Matthiesen of Denmark and Kyra Kyrklund of Finland.

Maribel is leaving as vice chair of FEI Group V which includes Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Puetto Rico and Venezuela.

Anne Gribbons, the outgoing member also is a FEI 5* judge and was coach of the United States dressage team for three years. She was among the first group of six members appointed to the committee which underwent a major revamping after the 2008 Olympics.

Maribel’s appointment was recommended by the Dressage Committee and then the Nominations Committee before going to the FEI Bureau for a final decision.

In addition to judging and technical delegate at top shows around the world including Olympics and other major championships, Maribel has actively promoted development of dressage throughout the Americas including spearheading Pan Am Games efforts to raise the level of competition to qualify teams for the Olympics.

Maribel Alonso on the London Olympic dressage judging panel of (l to r) Jean-Michel Roudier of France, Evi Eisenhardt of Germany, Gary Rockwell of USA, Leif Tornblad of Denmark, Maribel Alonso of Mexico, Stephen Clarke and Wim Ernes of the Netherlands. © 2012 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Maribel Alonso on the London Olympic dressage judging panel of (l to r) Jean-Michel Roudier of France, Evi Eisenhardt of Germany, Gary Rockwell of USA, Leif Tornblad of Denmark, Maribel Alonso of Mexico, Stephen Clarke and Wim Ernes of the Netherlands. © 2012 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Maribel was a dressage rider but a virus during her second pregnancy destroyed the cartilage in her left hip and kept her off the back of a horse. At the urging of then Dressage Committee chair Mariette Withages of Belgium, she developed an interest in judging by scribing for judges at shows in Europe.

She is well known to audiences from the 2009 World Cup in Las Vegas when she became a last-minute replacement for a judge who could not get to the event in time when the pilot of his aircraft suffered a heart attack and had to make an emergency landing.

The always fashionably attired Maribel, who was Assistant Technical Delegate and wearing a white jacket, was enlisted to fill in as the judge at “C.” When she stood up to take the salute of riders, at least one horse was startled by the stark white against a background of a black drape.

Australia's Heath Ryan and Regardez Moi competing before Maribel Alonso at Las Vegas. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Australia’s Heath Ryan and Regardez Moi competing before Maribel Alonso at Las Vegas. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Approval for a second year of the global series of dressage Nations Cups will see the number of events expanded to at least six countries in 2014, five in Europe and the pioneering Wellington, Florida event upgraded to full status in the second year of what will still be a pilot program.

The Nations Cup series is a major effort by the FEI to generate excitement by tapping into national pride and build spectator support similar to success in show jumping.

Four nations that were part of the first year’s program–Vidauban, France; Rotterdam, Netherlands; Aachen, Germany and Hickstead, England–will be joined by Kristiansand, Norway and Wellington.

Devon, Pennsylvania, has also applied to stage a Nations Cup as part of the series, but has not yet decided on a format and whether it is feasible as the show falls within a month of the World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France.

Aachen and Rotterdam are designated CDIO5* events while Wellington, Vidauban, Hickstead, Kistiansand and Devon are rated as CDIO3* competitions.

To further broaden global interest in the series, Nations Cups can be designated as CDIO2* that allow only three judges instead of a minimum of five at 3* and above and fewer restrictions so costs could be cut significantly. Only three nations would have to be invited instead of six for 3* and above.

A sponsor for the series has not yet been found but individual competitions award prize money.

The Nations Cup schedule as listed on the FEI calendar for 2014 is:

* Wellington, USA CDIO3* – Feb. 18-23
* Vidauban, France CDIO3* – Mar. 5-9
* Rotterdam, Netherlands CDIO5* – June 18-22
* Kristiansand, Norway CDIO3* – June 25-29
* Aachen, Germany CDIO5* – July 15-20
* Hickstead, England CDIO3* – Aug. 1-3
* Devon, USA CDIO3* – Sept. 25-28