Dressage Freestyle Degree of Difficulty to be Used at All 2019 Florida Winter Circuit Grand Prix As FEI Proposes Implementation for Championships, Western Europe World Cups

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Adrienne Lyle. USA Olympic and World Games rider, working with Marie Kersig of Black Horse One on the degree of difficulty freestyle program at the Global Dressage Festival Nations Cup in Wellington, Florida. © 2018 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Oct. 24, 2018

The Florida winter dressage circuit will use the “degree of difficulty” program for all Grand Prix freestyles in 2019 while the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) completes a proposal to make the system mandatory for championships, games, finals and the World Cup Western European League series.

Organizer of the Global Dressage Festival of four World Cup events, top rated CDI4* and CDI5* competitions and a CDIO5* Nations Cup in Wellington, Florida will use the degree of difficulty program. It will also be implemented for accompanying CDI3* Grand Prix freestyles.

The West Coast Dressage Festival of four World Cup events at Temecula, California this coming winter and two next fall will not use the program at this stage.

Riders have overwhelmingly endorsed use of the computerized degree of difficulty program by which they create a floor plan of their freestyles and make it available to judges ahead of time to determine marks for the performance of movements.

Another goal is to engage fans by commentators also having advance copies of the program and able to build excitement in anticipation of difficult movements, much like similar programs used for ice skating that have helped make the names of the most difficult movements in that sport well known to television audiences.

The program was created by German FEI5* judge Katrina Wüst and Black Horse One, a Munich-based software developer of spectator judging, paperless scoring and most recently eSports for dressage.

The proposal to make the freestyle degree of difficulty program mandatory for Grand Prix freestyles at championships and the Western European qualifying competitions leading to the annual World Cup final decided by the musical performance will be submitted to the FEI General Assembly for approval in Bahrain in four weeks.

CORRECTION: An earlier version stated the West Coast Dressage Festival will use the degree of difficulty program. The program will NOT be used at the Temecula, California competitions.