Grand Prix Freestyle Degree of Difficulty Format to be Implemented at Wellington Nations Cup End of March, Tryon World Games Test Event in April

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Laura Graves on Verdades in the Omaha World Cup Final where the Freestyle degree of difficulty format was used as it will be at the Paris Final next month and the World Equestrian Games in Tryon in September. © 2017 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

WELLINGTON, Florida, Mar. 13, 2018–The Grand Prix Freestyle degree of difficulty format to be used at the Word Equestrian Games will be implemented at the Global Dressage Festival Nations Cup at the end of March and the Tryon championship test event in April, the organizers disclosed Tuesday.

Daniel Göhlen, who developed the software in conjunction with German 5* judge Katrina Wüst, intends to be at both the Wellington Nations Cup and the Tryon event to support riders and creators of freestyles, he confirmed to dressage-news.com.

Use of the degree of difficulty format for the World Games in which riders provide the choreography in advance for judges and commentators, similar to popular sports such as ice skating that generates excitement and engages television and streaming video audiences.

The system was applied at the World Cup Final in Omaha in 2017 and will be used at the Paris Final April 10.15

The decision by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) reverses the action it took late last year to not use the system at WEG. The decision was not popular with many riders who supported the format that gives them the opportunity to create freestyles to maximize the potential for scores and for judges to know in advance, and not have to guess, the degrees of difficulty of movements.

The new policy adopted a week ago became known when stakeholder groups were informed, but the FEI, the Lausanne, Switzerland-based governing body of international horse sports, has not yet made an announcement.

Anne Gribbons, former U.S. team coach who will be president of the ground jury at WEG in September, said she had been notified of the latest decision. Anne had questioned the timing of the change.

The change of heart by the FEI came at the end of the World Cup Western European League of nine events where it was mandatory and after the conclusion of the four-event California circuit and near the end of the Global festival of 12 weeks including seven CDIs where it was not used based on assurances by the FEI the system would not to be applied at Tryon.

Thomas Baur, dressage sports director at the Wellington, Florida Global Dressage Festival and at the Tryon International Equestrian Center, said Equestrian Sport Productions that organizes the events decided to implement the change as quickly as possible.

The CDIO3* Nations Cup is scheduled for Wellington Mar. 27-31 and the WEG test event CDI3* in Tryon April 19-22.

Organizers of the Sydney CDI3* in early May, Fritzens, Austria and Aachen, Germany in summer have also announced use of the system.