Australia’s Dressage Re-Evaluation. International Rider Views–Kelly Layne

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Editor’s note: Australian dressage is undergoing re-evaluation after teams at the 2012 Olympic Games in London and the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro were mired in controversy. With the World Equestrian Games set for Tryon, North Carolina in 2018, a major issue is selection of teams with prospective riders based on three continents–Australia, Europe and the United States. Dressage-news.com sought the views of four riders, two based in Australia, one in Europe and one in the United States, all with extensive international experience. Part 2

Kelly Layne on Udon P at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Florida. File photo © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KELLY LAYNE, based in Wellington, Florida and married to a former U.S. Air Force pilot, competed for Australia at the 2006 World Equestrian Games. She paid her own way to compete Udon P in the Australian team selection program in Europe in 2016. She was initially selected for the team but then dropped when Equestrian Australia determined the horse “unfit.” She has competed extensively in the U.S., including the 2014 and 2016 Nations Cup events in Wellington, as well as at small tour in Japan where she holds regular clinics.

Australian dressage selection concept proposed by Kelly Layne

My idea is to design a methodology that results in the best possible dressage team for Australia, starting with the World Equestrian Games in 2018.

The concept is as follows:

A Tripartite Competition

Three selection events on three continents–Australia, Europe and the United States.

The nine competitions would be selected by Equestrian Australia at CDI*** or higher with eligibility starting on Jan. 1, 2018;

Australian competitors must nominate their election to participate in the selection for WEG 2018 no later than Jan. 1, 2018.

Australian competitors must compete in at least two of the three competitions. If they compete in all three the low score is dropped.

All test scores in the selection process will have the high and low scores (of the ground jury) dropped.

If a competitor’s final average score is within one percent of any other competitor after dropping the high and low scores, then Equestrian Australia will defer to the Grand Prix Special score, again dropping the high and low scores to determine the final percentage and determine the highest placed rider(s).

Nominated Australian horses will be swabbed by Equestrian Australia after the Grand Prix at each event.

Why this process?

1. Australians traveling long distances to Europe undergo an enormous financial strain and seldom meet or exceed their average performances in Australia.

2. Focus on identifying the top five riders and horses combinations. Challenge the riders selected to find the funds to participate in the WEG knowing they are on the team–this will have a major impact on sponsor interest.

3. Develop a formula based on the above that determines the criteria for selection with full disclosure, especially on swabbing results.

4. Bring back the prestige of having major selection events in Australia.