Error of Course in Dressage to Cost 2%, Elimination for 2nd Error–Not Apply to Under-18 Riders

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Charlotte Dujardin on Valegro showing how she felt about going off course as did all three medalists in the 2013 European Championship Grand Prix Special. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Charlotte Dujardin on Valegro showing how she felt about going off course as did all three medalists in the 2013 European Championship Grand Prix Special. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

An error of course in international level dressage competition will now be penalized by two per cent the first time and elimination for a second error as decided by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) General Assembly in San Juan, Puerto Rico Friday.

A harsher penalty of three percentage points was voted down by the annual meeting representing the 132 nations that make up the governing body of the Olympic discipline.

Children, Pony and Junior Riders–up to the age of 18–will not be subject to the same level of penalty but Young Riders and Under-25 as well as Senior riders will.

Errors of course in the Juniors, Pony Riders and Children categories will be penalized in the same way as Young Horses, with a 0.5 per cent deduction for a first error, 1.0 per cent for a second error and elimination for a third error.

Current penalties for all categories for going off course are a deduction of two points from each judge for the first error, four points for a second error and elimination for a third error.

The assembly also voted to approve protective fly hoods with noise reduction for horses at all events and to require Children, Pony, Junior and Young Riders to wear protective head gear at horse inspections as well as when mounted.

The Dressage Committee dropped a proposal to ban display of individual judges’ marks on scoreboards during a ride but restricting the mark to a running total after opposition Thursday.

The format that has been applied and will continue allows “live” individual marks of judges for each movement.

The changes for errors of course proposed by the six-member Dressage Committee went to three votes–one to exclude riders up to age 18, one for making the penalty three percentage points and, when that did not pass, a third vote to drop the penalty to two percentage points.

Germany, the Netherlands, Australia, Italy, Switzerland and the United States as well as judges through the International Dressage Officials Club opposed the three percentage point penalty. The International Dressage Riders Club and the International Dressage Trainers Club were in favor.

Specific tests and a judging system for young horses were created by the World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses, national federations and the FEI. A championship for seven-year old horses will also be introduced in 2016 to add to the five and six-year-old divisions.

Rodrigo Garcia, Rio 2016 Sports Director of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic organizing committee, provided an update on developments of equestrian events at the Deodoro Olympic Park, the second largest Games cluster about an hour outside Rio.

Martin Atock of Peden Bloodstock, official horse shipper for the Games, gave an update on biosecurity measures in Rio.

Delegates were also given the latest information on the 2018 World Equestrian Games to be held in Bromont, an hour east of Montreal.