Briana Burgess Appeals Against Not Being Considered for Aussie World Games Team

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Briana Burgess and La Scala competing. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Briana Burgess and La Scala competing. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

SYDNEY, Aug. 3, 2014–Briana Burgess, who with her La Scala was not named to Australia’s World Equestrian Games team although ranked third in the selection standings, has appealed the decision, Equestrian Australia announced Sunday.

The national dressage selectors approved the request by the 26-year-old rider to be excused from the second of two European selection trials because the horse was unfit.

Then, the selectors left the combination off the four-member team citing the lack of veterinary clearance although the world championships were four weeks away.

“In accordance with Australia’s WEG selection policy for dressage, non-selected athletes have three working days from the nominations made for the WEG team to lodge an appeal against the nominated team,” the federation said in a statement.

“Equestrian Australia can confirm that during this period, Briana Burgess has lodged an appeal and this will be heard by an independent tribunal in due course. During this time Equestrian Australia is unable to make further comment.”

This is the second straight global championships that Australia’s dressage selection procedures have been challenged.

The Germany-based Hayley Beresford complained about the way procedures were implemented for selection of the team for the 2012 Olympics in London. That led to the firing of officials and selectors and an overhaul of the process.

This year, Hayley was excused from the first European selection trial because Jaybee Alabaster was unfit and eventually dropped out of the running when the horse was not conisdered fit enough for the second trial.

The selectors named the team of the only four combinations to complete both trials:

1. Mary Hanna, 59, based in Australia and Sancette, 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Sandro Hit x Contender) – 70.420 / 71.280 = 70.850
2. Lyndal Oatley, 34, based in Germany and Sandro Boy, 13-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Sandro Hit x Argentinus) – 68.420 / 72.680 = 70.550
3. Kristy Oatley, 36, based in Germany and Ronan, 14-year-old Oldenburg stallion (Riccione x Contender) – 69.300 / 68.220 = 68.760
4. Maree Tomkinson, 45, based in Australia and Diamantina 4, 12-year-old Oldenburg mare (Diamond Hit x Campari M) – 67.400 / 67.320 = 67.360.

Briana, based in Germany, was the youngest rider on Australia’s WEG long list. La Scala is a 16-year-old Rhinelander gelding (Lancer II x Rembrandt) that was ranked third on 68.820 per cent heading into the second trial in Deauville, France.

In five CDI Grand Prix in Europe this year, including the first selection trial at Fritzens, Austria, the pair have scored 68-plus per cent in each for an average of 68.448 per cent.

The federation said that Australian selection procedures required announcement of the team July 29 and as La Scala was not given a clean bill of health by team veterinarians by the deadline was not included on the team.

Reserves will be announced on or before Aug. 14, the date for final entries for the World Games in Normandy, France. Dressage is scheduled to start Aug. 25 in Caen.