Lars Petersen & Mariett Create “Unprecedented” Expense Issue for World Cup Organizers

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Lars Petersen winning the Wellington World Cup on Mariett, their last 2013/14 season qualifier. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Lars Petersen winning the Wellington World Cup on Mariett, their last 2013/14 season qualifier. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Mar. 27, 2014

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

The success of Lars Petersen of Denmark winning the World Cup North American League and a start in the Final in France on the American-owned Mariett has created what the International Equestrian Federation described Thursday as “an unprecedented situation” as to whether he will be paid expenses the same as other riders from the United States.

“This is an unprecedented situation, and the solution will be discussed with the Organizing Committee in Lyon and the Danish Federation,” the FEI said in response to questions from dressage-news.com about the rider being invited as a so-called “extra.”

An Organizing Committee for the Final to be held in Lyon April 17-21 confirmed that a decision was still to be worked out.

The fall by Anna Kasprzak on Donnperignon as the top Danish qualifier for the Final raises the specter of a second rider from Denmark comingg from the North American League. Mikala Gundersen on My Lady finished second in the NAL and could be next in line for the Final if Anna withdraws.

The difference in expenses covered by the organizing committee in the case of Lars, who has lived in Florida for more than a decade and is married to an American, is substantial.

Riders from the North American League receive €1,200 (US$1,650) for rider transporation and €9,000 (US$12,390) for horse tranportation, plus hotel and some meals during the event.

If Lars is determined to be European, as a rider he would be reimbursed at €0.60 US$0.83) per mile up to a maximum of €800 (US$1,100) and Mariett another €0.60 (US$0.83) up to a maximum of €300 (US$413).

The situation created by the success of Lars Petersen who finished at the top of the North American League with Florida-based compatriot Mikala Gundersen on My Lady in second brings new focus on the issue of expense reimbursement extended to North American and Pacific League riders compared with Europeans.

The World Cup event made up of four leagues–Central Europe, Western Europe, North America and Pacific–is owned by the FEI and the schedules for the annual event are approved by the organization based in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Expenses paid to riders from the North American and Pacific leagues invited to compete in World Cup Finals in Europe are a long way short of the out-of-pocket costs.

This year, the two top finishing American combinations–Tina Konyot of Palm City and Calecto V and Cesar Parra of Whitehouse Station, New Jersey and Van the Man–will receive horse transportation donated by the Dutta Corp. and additional funding through the U.S. Equestrian Federation to insure all expenses are covered.

In previous years, American riders have had to cover the difference in expenses personally.

However, when the World Cup Final is staged in North America as it was in Las Vegas in 2005, 2007 and 2009 and will be again next year, the organizers are required to pay full expenses for European riders and horses.

Questions about the fairness of treatment of riders addressed by dressage-news.com to the International Dressage Riders Club of which America’s Catherine Haddad-Staller is a board member were not answered.