Five New Top Rated FEI 5* Judges Appointed, All Europeans & 1st from Luxembourg

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Christof Umbach of Luxembourg.

June 13, 2018

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

Five new top rated 5* judges have been appointed by the International Equestrian Federation, all from Western Europe and the first from Luxembourg.

The new 5* judges, for both CDIs and young horses, are Clive Halsall of Great Britain, Henning Lerhmann of Germany, Elisabeth “Sissy” Max-Theurer of Austria, Magnus Ringmark of Sweden and Christof Umbach of Luxembourg.

The appointment of the 5*s or what used to be Olympic level judges for the top level of the sport as well as 5* for young horses is effective July 1 and were posted on the official FEI database Tuesday.

The newly promoted judges are:

Clive Halsall, 47, of Great Britain who was appointed a 3* judge in 2012
and 4* in 2015 adding 4* status for young horses in 2017.
Clive was appointed the official British Dressage Pony Team Trainer earlier this year.

 

Henning Lehrmann, 50, of Germany who became a 3* in 2013 and two years later promoted to 4* for both CDIs and young horses.

Elisabeth “Sissy” Max-Theurer, 61 of Austria, who won individual gold on Mon Cheri at the 1980 Moscow Olympics, and competed at the 1984 Los Angeles and 1992 Barcelona Olympics as well as the 1986 world championships. Sissy is president of the Austrian equestrian federation. She hosts annual CDIs at the family estates in Achleiten, Austria and Cappeln, Germany. She was appointed a 4* judge for both CDIs and young horses in 2009. She is the mother of Victoria Max-Theurer who, at the age of 32, has competed in the past four Olympics, the 2006 and 2014 World Equestrian Games and seven European Championships from 2003 to 2015.

Magnus Ringmark, 54, of Sweden, appointed 3* in 2012 and 4*in  2014 adding 4* for young horses in 2016.

Christof Umbach, 53, of Luxembourg,the first 5* from that nation. He was appointed 3* in 2008, 4* in 2011 and 4* for young horses a year later. He is a principal of the Grand Ducal dressage center team along with Grand Prix rider Sascha Schulz and French sponsor Patrice Mourruau. The team organizes the CDI at Leudelange.

Appointment of the five new judges by a procedure that involves the 5* judges as a group and the FEI through the closed door meetings of the Dressage Committee brings the total of 5*s to 40 from 16 nations. This number will, however, drop at the end of the year.

Two of the four 5* judges from the United States, one of three Australians, one of four from the Netherlands and the sole 5* from Italy will retire at the end of 2018 having reached the mandatory retirement age of 70 plus extensions for two years.

Germany will now have six 5* judges, the most of any nation, though two, Dietrich Plewa and Gotthilf Riexinger, retire at the end of 2019. The Netherlands has four with one, Ghislain Fouarge, retiring at the end of this year.

There are four in France and four in the United States, though Americans Gary Rockwell and Anne Gribbons retire at the end of this year and Linda Zang in 2019.

Great Britain will have four 5*s with the addition of Clive Halsall. Denmark has three top ranked judges as does Australia though one Aussie, Mary Seefried, retires at the end of this year.

Vincenzo Truppa, the sole 5* judge from Italy, retires this year while Canada’s Elizabeth McMullen reaches the retirement limit in 2019. Unless replacements are appointed, both nations would no longer have any top rated judges.

National federations have been polled about lifting the mandatory retirement age and a task force is studying dressage judging but there has been no public indication retirement will be changed or that there will be any significant increase in the number of judges rated high enough for Olympics, world and continental championships.