International Amateur Division for Dressage to be Launched in 2015

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John McGinty, the American amateur who successfully campaigned for an international division to be launched in 2015. © SusanJStickle.com
John McGinty, the American amateur who successfully campaigned for an international division to be launched in 2015. © SusanJStickle.com

July 20, 2014

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

An internatiomal dressage division for amateurs will be introduced around the world on Jan. 1, 2015 to provide global competitions for the biggest group of riders.

The Internatiomal Equestrian Federation (FEI) Dressage Committee approved the new international division to be labeled CDIAm at small tour Prix St. Georges/Intermediate and the medium tour Inter A and B levels that were introduced this year.

Approval came after U.S. Equestrian Federation President Chrystine Tauber expressed support for the idea following a five-year campaign by American amateur rider John P. McGinty of New Hope, Pennsylvania.

To avoid conflicts with a patchwork of rules around the world governing amateurs, the new international division will be open to riders who are not on the FEI world ranking list.

The Global Dressage Festival of 12 weeks of shows in Wellington, Florida from January through the end of March will be among the first in the world to offer the new international amateur classes.

The format for existing small and medium tour classes will be applied, including panels of FEI-approved judges identical to current CDIs.

An international amateur division already exists for jumpers and has been included as part of major events, inclduing the Global Champions Tour which organizes top tier shows around the world.

John McGinty, an avid amateur dressage rider and hunter-jumper judge, said of his campaign for an international amateur division: “The reason I pursued this idea so passionately was because  I wanted to be challenged to improve my riding skills and be compared to my peers for any accomplishments I would achieve.

“I wanted a division that would challenge all amateur riders  to compete on an international and fair level against other riders who are raising families, working 40-plus hours per week, building careers, while, at the same time, making riding a strong priority.  I wanted the amateurs to be brought into the main rings of the shows throughout the world and recognized for the skills they have and the devotion they bring to the sport.

“Adult amateurs are the backbone of the equestrian sport. We are the ones who pay all the bills for most of the international horses we read about but whose professional riders receive all the accolades. We are the ones who pay the majority of the farrier bills, the vet bills, buy the saddles and bridles, pay boarding fees and training fees for the horses that others have the privilege of riding or to support our own personal horses–indeed, without the support of the Amateurs, our sport, I think, would be vastly different in so many ways.”