USA’s Jessica Ransehousen Proposes Dressage Judging Watchdog Group

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Jessica Ransehousen congratulating Steffen Peters after sweeping the Grand Prix CDIO classes at Aachen, Germany. © 2009 Ken Braddick/
Jessica Ransehousen congratulating Steffen Peters after sweeping the Grand Prix CDIO classes at Aachen, Germany. © 2009 Ken Braddick/


AACHEN, Germany, July 6–U.S. acting dressage Chef d’Equipe and three-time Olympian and FEI “I” judge Jessica Ransehousen has proposed a watchdog group of top judges to oversee judging panels and and conduct individual educational progams to counter “political pressures” and insure “correctness and honesty” in the process.

Ransehousen was in Germany with the U.S. squad which saw Steffen Peters and Ravel of the United States sweep the CDIO classes at the CHIO Aachen.

She told that for the good of the sport and to insure the “honesty and moral integrity of judges under stress at a major championship” it was important to maintain the quality of judging evident at the FEI World Cup Finals in Las Vegas in Las Vegas in mid-April and at Aachen through the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Kentucky in 2010.

“It is very important that we have the confidence of the riders, the spectators and the press that the judges judge what they see on any given day,” she said.

“It may mean that we need a small group of top class judges who can oversee and promote the confidence in judging and, where necessary, conduct individual educational programs so as not to lose to political pressure the correctness and honesty that we need in our sport,” she said.

Meantime, Aachen will be the venue for experimenting new judging formats in test events in early September,Frank Kemperman 9T5U0383 web

The judging experiments are being arranged by Frank Kemperman, head of the management team that organizes and operates Aachen and chairman of the FEI Dressage Task Force that is examining ways of overhauling the sport.

The Aachen CHIO is the premier horse show in the world that drew 360,000 spectators for five disciplines–dressage, jumping, eventing, driving and vaulting–over 10 days from late June to early July this year. Dressage has its own 5,000-seat permanent stadium with three warmup arenas.

The task force includes German judge Katrina Wüst, who was president of the ground jury at Aachen, and six-time Olympian Robert Dover of the United States.

The task force has already reviewed the Olympic team format to propose returning to allowing up to four horse/rider combinations with one discard score–the same as jumping. The four horse/rider combination was used at this year’s CHIO. The FEI Dressage Committee had changed the format for the 2007 Pan American Games (an event under the auspices of the International Olympic Committee) and the 2008 Beijing Games to allow only three combinations with no discard score. The three combination format was widely unpopular.

Kemperman said that the dressage task force has looked at jury systems used in other sports such as gymnastics and will test various formats at Aachen the first week of September.