FEI Dressage Task Force Recommendations

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Aachen chief Frank Kemperman. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Aachen chief Frank Kemperman. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

LAUSANNE, Switzerland, Oct. 21–The long-awaited report by the FEI Dressage Task Force (DTF) charged with overhauling the sport has been made public with significant changes to judging and the selection of teams for the Olympic Games among the major changes.

The report by Frank Kemperman, chairman, The Netherlands and representing organizers; Richard Davision of Great Britain representing riders, Robert Dover of the USA representing trainers, Alain Francqueville of France representing chefs d’equipe, Elisabeth Max-Theurer representing owners and Katrina Wüst of Germany representing judges was first disclosed by Eurodressage.com.

The DTF was created by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) in November, 2008 after controversies over judging at the 2008 Olympic Games and the dissolution of the Dressage Committee that oversaw the sport and made key decisions.

The DTF said that it was “unanimous in highlighting the need to increase transparency and attractiveness for spectators, media and sponsors” of dressage.

In the 50-page report, judging was described as “the most emotional issue in dressage.”

The highlights of the DTF report that will be considered by the FEI Bureau at its November, 2009 meeting. are:

– Good education is the basis of good judging. The education system will be renewed and globally improved by regular training, assessment and re-examination of FEI judges on all levels.

– Evaluation of judges is of great importance and the system has be improved. A Judges Supervisory Panel (JSP) should be installed and start to function for each Games and Continental Championships at Grand Prix level and the World Cup Final. The JSP is responsible for the evaluation of the judges during the event. The JSP will report to and advise the FEI about the quality of the judges. This proposal should be implemented as quickly as possible and as a high priority.

– Assessment and evaluation of judges will be the task of the JSP. A core panel will advise the Dressage Commmittee (DC) and FEI Headquarters (FEI) about the status of the judges. The judges’ status will be for a period of three years only. It is possible to change the status at any time. A logbook with all relevant information will be created,

– The best judges should officiate at Championships and Olympic Games. Only the JSP should advise the DC and the FEI regarding the names for the judges for the highlight events, based on the judges’ record and objective criteria.

– It is recommended to use seven judges at Olympic Games and Continental Championships on Grand Prix level, with all seven judges counting to objectively reduce the influence of each single judge’s marks.

– It is recommended to implement half marks for all levels of shows and classes. No change will be made in the Young Horse classes where 0.1 decimals are already in use.

– It is recommended to divide the tasks between technical execution and artistic performance in Musical Freestyles. It is also recommended to change the Collective Marks for all tests.

– The DTF recommends establishing guidelines for judges’ positions. In the case that there are two additional judges they will normally sit at either side of A in situations where there are reasons to change placings from the normal, the FEI can make exceptions within the limits of these guidelines. All possible variations should secure a good total view of the arena for the judges’ panel.

– Participation in Olympic Games. The Dressage Task Force feels that the former reserve athlete/horse should participate as individuals. Reserve riders should not be required to travel long distances without being able to compete. For the National Federations (NFs) qualified with a team it must be possible to bring a team of three riders and one individual rider. The fourth rider should start as an individual and at the same time act as a substitute for the team. Under the Task Force proposals NFs would choose their team at the latest one hour after the horse inspection. Composite teams should be able to have a fourth athlete competing individually as long as they are qualified from the Olympic ranking list.

– Under the new proposals the following NFs would have qualified teams for Hong Kong (2008 Beijing Olympic Games): GER, NED, USA, SWE, SUI, GBR, AUS, CAN, all with four members (BRA and JPN would have lost the team qualification). The changes:
Dressage Team – Qualification System
1. The three best placed teams from the 2010 World Equestrian Games, Kentucky (USA) – 3
2. The three best placed teams from the 2011 European Championships, excluding teams qualified above – 3
3. The one best placed team from the Olympic Group F/G from a FEI approved 2011 Asian Pacific Dressage Championship, excluding the teams qualified above – 1 (previously 2)
4. The one best team from the Olympic Group D/E of the 2011 Pan American Games, excluding the teams qualified above – 1 (previously 2)
Total 8 teams (32 riders)

– “Composite” qualified teams: 3 or 4 individuals qualified from the same nation from the Olympic rankings to make up a team. Note in Hong Kong the 9th and 10th teams were composite – Denmark and Spain however under the existing system and under the proposed system they would remain Teams of 3.

Dressage Individual – Qualification System
The following qualification places for individuals may only be allocated to NOCs which have NOT qualified teams “directly.” Each qualification place will be for one athlete and one horse.

1. The host nation (GBR) will be qualified with 1 individual – 1
2. Each NOC of the competitor placed first in the FEI Olympic Riders Ranking – Dressage, May 1, 2012, in each of the following regions or regional groupings will be qualified to enter 1 indvidual – 7:
A. North West Europe
B. South West Europe
C. Central & Eastern Europe, Central Asia
D. North America
E. Central and South America
F. Africa & Middle East
G. South East Asia, Oceania
3. The completion of quota, either to fill up the spaces available or following cancellation of team or individual entries by a nation will be achieved by taking the athletes in their order of classication in the FEI Olympic Rider Rankings – Dressage, of May 1, 2012 to reach a total of 50 riders. – 10

Total of above – 18 riders

– The DTF believes that the best combinations should compete at the Olympic Games. The former reserve rider should be activated as an individual rider and at the same time function as substitution rider.
The qualified teams could bring three athletes and one individual athlete.

– A second competition should be the Final for the Team Ranking and the format should be changes in the way that the last 12 competitiors decide the Team medals. As currently is the case, only one individual medal should be awarded and be decided in the Freestyle to Music test.

– The 64 per cent criterion (to qualify for the Olympics) has to be obtained BOTH by a 5* judge AND as an average from all judges in the competition.

– Keep the qualification system for championships as it is today, only adding that the 64 per cent criterion has to be obtained BOTH by a 5* judge AND as an average from all judges in the competition. The same criterion is used for the Olympic Games and Championships.

– The DTF proposed the following levels of events:

Level 1 – Olympic Games & Continental Championships
Level 2 – FEI World Cup, Outdoor Series and CDI 5*
Level 3 – Challenger Shows, CDI 1-4*