Shortened Versions of Dressage Grand Prix, Other Levels Tested by FEI Before Riders, Judges, Coaches

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Hans Peter Minderhoud on Glock’s Dream Boy who won the “short” Grand Prix that was performed at the 2018 Olympia London International Horse Show. File photo © 2018 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

WARENDORF, Germany, Sept. 10, 2019–Shortened versions of the Grand Prix and some other dressage levels have been tested by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) at the German equestrian federation.

German Olympic riders Hubertus Schmidt, Isabell Werth and Monica Theodorescu, who is also the German national coach, were on hand along with other riders, coaches, judges, show organizers and FEI representatives.

Marcus Hermes as well as juniors based at the federation facility such as Bianca Nowag and Claire-Louise Averkorn were among those to ride various versions of the Grand Prix, the Intermediaire A and B, the Young Horse Grand Prix and the Under-14 Children’s Challenge.

The patterns of the test competitions were also paced out by those invited to the event.

Frank Kemperman, chairman of the FEI dressage committee, commented: “We had great conditions here, many thanks to everyone involved. It was a very interesting test and we have collected many impressions and insights that we are now advising on the committee.”

Testing of the Grand Prix came nine months after a shortened Grand Prix was performed at the London International Horse Show. Glitzy scoreboard graphics and interviews with each rider after competing the Grand Prix were also employed for the Christmas time audience, made up largely of spectators attracted by holiday season entertainment.

Introduction of the Grand Prix at the World Cup event was sharply criticized by some riders and judges for lack of testing and previewing.

There was no indication when or if new formats for the Grand Prix and other FEI levels will be introduced.

However, some show organizers believe that shorter versions of the Grand Prix and other competition levels are needed to maintain and build support for dressage. The current Grand Prix of 35 movements plus a single collective mark for an estimated ride time of 5 mins. 45 secs.

With provision for 60 dressage rider and horse combinations at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, the Grand Prix will be staged over two days. The Grand Prix will be used to qualify for the Grand Prix Special that will decide the team competition.