Dressage Knock-Out Competitions to be Staged at Florida’s Global Festival For 1st Time Outside Europe

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WELLINGTON, Florida, Dec. 19, 2013–Grand Prix Knock-Out competitions will be staged at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival as the first exhibition outside Europe of the latest innovation for the sport.

The Knock-Out competitions, begun as an experiment in Helsinki in October and then held in Mastricht, Netherlands in December, are designed to add excitement to dressage along the lines of the jumping Final Four that is a highlight of World Equestrian Games.

Knock-Out competitions have been included as exhibitions in the schedules of the GDF beginning with the World Cup CDI Jan. 8-12 that kicks off the 2014 Florida winter schedule.

The idea of the competitions is to present dressage as fresh, saleable, easy-to-understand and exciting to a wider audience by staging two-minute head-to-head competitions displaying highlights of Grand Prix movements.

It will be scheduled right before the Grand Prix Freestyle that will be the highlight of each CDI’s competition under lights on Friday nights.

The format provides for four rider and horse combinations divided into two pairs. Wearing a red or blue armband, one pair ride at the same time in the same arena in a mirror image of each other. The test consists of about five of the most spectacular Grand Prix movements, such as canter pirouettes, half-pass, flying changes, extended trot, piaffe and passage.

Three judges sitting together at C score the movements according to normal judging principles.

There are three different programs, each slightly more difficult than the previous test.

For four riders, both pairs ride the first test. The two losers ride off for third and fourth places.

The two winners from the first round then ride against each other for first and second places.

Because it is an exhibition, no memberships or fees are required.

Thomas Baur who will manage the GDF said the knock-out competition will be tweaked as necessary during the circuit.

The Mastricht competition can be seen here: http://www.clipmyhorse.de/en/archive/show/673/17823/0/knock-out-dressagecompetition (commentary is in Dutch).