Lars Petersen, Danish Rider in USA, Will Be Paid Expenses for World Cup As If Living in Denmark–FEI

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Lars Petersen and Mariett. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Lars Petersen and Mariett competing in Florida. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

April 3, 2014

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) said Thursday that Lars Petersen, a Danish citizen who is a permanent resident of the United States and qualified in the World Cup North American League, will be provided expenses to go to the Final in France only as if he lived in Denmark.

Lars, who has lived in Wellington, Florida for more than a decade and is married to an American, finished at the top of the North American League with the American-owned mare Mariett. The situation presented the FEI with what it said was an “unprecedented” issue–a non-North American citizen qualified in the NAL as an “extra” rider. Another American-based Danish rider, Mikala Gundersen, placed second on the American-owned My Lady.

“The FEI has been in contact with the Danish National Federation about this and, as Lars Petersen has chosen to represent Denmark, he will be treated as Danish,” the FEI said in response to questions from dressage-news.com about expenses for the Final to be held in Lyon, France April 17-21.

Lars told dressage-news.com, “I will still go” to the Final.

“And rules are rules so I am fine with it.”

He and Marcia Pepper with whom he shares ownership of Mariett had anticipated covering most of their own costs.

Asked what would be the case if the reverse occurred such as an American qualifying in the Western European League in2015 when the World Cup Final is in Las Vegas, an FEI spokesperson said:

“In the event of such a scenario arising in 2015 it would be evaluated on a case-by-case basis at the time.”

The FEI interpretation of the rules that expenses apply to riders depending on their national federation and not the league–there are four leagues: Western Europe, Central Europe, Pacific and North American–makes a substantial difference.

As a Danish citizen, Lars will be reimbursed up to €0.60 US$0.83) per mile up to a maximum of €800 (US$1,100) and Mariett another €0.60 (US$0.83) up to a maximum of €300 (US$413).

Citizens of the North American League made up of Canada, Mexico and the United Stats receive €1,200 (US$1,650) for rider transporation and €9,000 (US$12,390) for horse tranportation.

Expense reimbursement for the dressage World Cup Final has long been an issue for North American riders and horse owners.

In recent years, combinations in North America have had to personally cover the difference in costs between what the organizers of Finals in Europe pay compared with organizers of Finals in the United States–the only nation to host a dressage World Cup championship outside Europe–that are required to cover full costs of Europeans.

This year, Tina Konyot and Calecto V and Cesar Parra and Van the Man, both United States citizens, will have expenses paid by the Dutta Corp. for the transatlantic horse transportation.

Wayne Channon, secretary general of the International Dressage Riders Club, was asked by dressage-news.com about the disparity in expense reimbursement.

“As you rightly point out,” he said, “for WC (World Cup) Las Vegas the OC (Organizing Committee) has to pay for the plane to fly the horses from Europe  and the entry fees for all competitors. It is up to the rider to get his/her horse to the airport from where the horses will be transported with a contribution to the cost of mileage.

“If the WC Final is in Europe, there is a similar allowance for travel for riders coming from other continents.

“I don’t see any discrimination, it is more about the economics of the situation.”

As for Lars Petersen, he said, he is Danish but qualified in the U.S.

“From a technical perspective, as a European he is only entitled to reimbursement of mileage, but whilst this interpretation would be sticking to the letter of the rule it would not reflect the spirit behind the rule,” he said.

“I would have thought that it would be reasonable and fair if the OC offered to treat him in expense terms as a NA (North American) rider.”