Mariette Withages’ International Judging Career Ends

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Mariette Withages at her rtirement eremony from international judging. © 2013 gallop.be
Mariette Withages at her retirement ceremony from international judging. © 2013 gallop.be

MECHELEN, Belgium, Dec. 28–Mariette Withages of Belgium, the controversial former chair of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) Dressage Committee, on Saturday judged her last international competition before retiring.

Jumping Mechelen organizers honored Mariette in a ceremony during the World Dressage Masters CDI5* in which she was president of the ground jury. She was a FEI 5*, formerly “O,” judge, the highest ranking.

The entire Dressage Committee headed up by Mariette was fired by FEI President Princess Haya after the 2008 Olympic Games because of rules violations. Mariette at first refused to quit but did so a week later, ending eight years at the helm of the small group of officials that controlled the sport.

Frank Kemperman, who heads up the World Equestrian Festival at Aachen, Germany was appointed to lead a task force to overhaul the sport.

The Dressge Committee was reconstituted to include representatives of the sport’s different stakeholder groups and major changes undertaken in championship judging as well as other innovations. Frank last month was reappointed to a second four-year term as chairman.