Olympic Dressage Future Format Aims For 15 Teams of 3, 15 Individuals

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Proposals for future Olympic dressage would see medals podiums similar to the team awards at the 2012 London Games--three riders from each nation. File photot © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Proposals for future Olympic dressage would see medals podiums similar to the team awards at the 2012 London Games–three riders from each nation. File photot © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, Nov. 10, 2015–An overhaul of Olympic dressage for 15 teams of three horses and riders with no drop score and 15 individuals is being developed by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) designed “to make the sport more understandable and attractive.”

The format under consideration by the FEI Dressage Committee would be similar to the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games with teams allowed to enter a reserve combination to replace a pair unable to start so countries could maintain a full team.

One proposed competition format provides for a Grand Prix Special to music–the music would not be judged but riders would submit their own music to be played while performing the ride, acknowledgement of the popularity of musical freestyles with a broader range of spectators.

Proposed changes would not apply to the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro next summer where dressage participation was expanded to 60 horses and riders from 50 at recent Games, with 10 teams each of four combinations directly qualifying to enable one “drop” score. The other 20 starting slots are allocated for individuals. Nations that qualify at least three pairs can put together a team.

However, dressage along with eventing and jumping is on the schedule for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

Draft formats were to be presented to the FEI General Assembly made up of 132 member nations meeting in San Juan this week.

The Dressage Committee report presented by Frank Kemperman, chairman and director of the World Equestrian Festival CHIO at Aachen, Germany was the latest update following a survey of national federations and input from trainers, riders, officials and organizers. Ideas were also compared with the other Olympic disciplines.

The report identified as “an important change” the number of three riders per team, similar to the system with teams of three riders implemented at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

The concept of 15 teams and 15 individuals with a maximum of one per country means, the report said, that 30 different nations will be able to participate in the Olympics, about 50 per cent more “flags” than at London.

Two competition formats were presented to seek input before finalizing a proposal for the FEI Sports Forum next spring.

Proposal A.

Three tests

Test 1 – Grand Prix – 60 combinations

Day 1

Day 2

Group A

Group B

Group C

Group D

Group E

Group F

10

10

10

10

10

10

2

2

2

2

2

2

+ 6 “lucky losers”= 18 for Ind. final

Test 2 – Grand Prix Freestyle – Individual Competition

18 combinations qualified from the Grand Prix.
Draw in groups in reverse order according to the result of Test 1.

Test 3 – Team Competition – Grand Prix Special to music – 8 Teams of 3 = 24 combinations – Reserve horse possible

Explanation:

Test 1 – Qualification
Grand Prix (two days)
6 groups/heats of 10 horses each, 3 groups on day 1 and 3 groups on day 2;
2 from each heat plus 6 lucky losers (overall best of the rest) qualify for the Grand Prix Fresstyle Individual final, to have 18 Athletes. If a qualified horse drops out before the final, the spot goes to the next lucky loser (number 7). All teams to receive a qualification ranking after the Grand Prix (by adding up 3 best results per team).
Starting order: Draw in ranking groups (of combinations).

Test 2 – Individual competition
Grand Prix Freestyle (1 day)
18 combinations qualified from the Grand Prix, best two from each of the 6 heats, plus 6 lucky losers (overall best results of the rest).

Test 3 – Team competition
Grand Prix Special to music (one day).
Music not judged, to be delivered by athlete.
8 teams with best total result from Grand Prix to ride in 3 groups of 8.
24 starters, no other athletes are allowed to participate (thus competition will be 60 minutes shorter than today).

Starting order: One athlete per country will start in each group. In the 1st and 2nd group team riders will start in reverse order of the Grand Prix Team result; after the 1st and 2nd group have completed the Grand Prix Special an intermediate team standing will be established. A longer break will be foreseen before the start of the 3rd group.

In the 3rd group team riders will start in reverse order of the intermediate Team standing (based on results of team riders after the 2nd group).

A reserve horse could be used (as a strategic tool) for the Grand Prix Special only. The reserve horse needs to pass horse inspection and needs to also be able to do familiarization. The latest day/hour of substitution needs to be defined. No vet/doctor certificate would be required in order to activate the reserve combination for the Grand Prix Special.

The order of the Team and Individual competitions can be either way.

Group A

Group B

Group C

1

9

17

to

to

to

8

16

24

Reverse order of GP Team results

Reverse order of GP Team results

Reverse order of intermediate Team standing after 2nd group

Proposal B.

Two tests

Test 1 – Grand Prix – Team competition and qualifier for Individual final – 15 Teams of 3 combinations, 1 combination per group

Test 2 – Grand Prix Freestyle – Individual final

15-18 best combinations from the Grand Prix

Explanation:

Test 1 – Team competition and qualifier for Individual final (2 days)
Grand Prix
4 groups of 15 combinations; 3 groups on day 1 and one group on day 2
Max. 1 rider per NF/group.
Day 1 – group A (15 Ind. riders), B (15 Team riders) and C (15 Team riders)
Day 2 – group D (15 Team riders, in reverse order of the intermediate standings after day 1)

Test 2 – Individual competition – Grand Prix Freestyle (1 day) 18 best combinations qualified from the Grand Prix.