Australia Names Briana Burgess & La Scala to WEG Team, Drops Maree Tomkinson & Diamantina

8 years ago StraightArrow Comments Off on Australia Names Briana Burgess & La Scala to WEG Team, Drops Maree Tomkinson & Diamantina
Briana Burgess and La Scala competing at Fritzens, Austria. © 2014 Ken Braddick/
Briana Burgess and La Scala competing at Fritzens, Austria. © 2014 Ken Braddick/

SYDNEY, Aug. 6, 2014–Briana Burgess on Wednesday won her appeal to ride La Scala on the Australian team at the World Equestrian Games while Maree Tomkinson and Diamantina were dropped from the squad.

Equestrian Australia announced the federation’s appeals board directed selectors to confirm the 26-year-old rider and her 16-year-old Rhinelander gelding (Lancer II x Rembrandt) as the third member of the team.

Briana, based in Germany, had been excused from the second of two European trials to select the Australian when La Scala became unfit. The pair had finished third in the first trial and with approval to count that placing should, she argued, have been appointed to the team. It now is:

1. Mary Hanna, 59, based in Australia and Sancette, 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Sandro Hit x Contender)
2. Lyndal Oatley, 34, based in Germany and Sandro Boy, 13-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Sandro Hit x Argentinus)
3. Briana Burgess, 26, based in Germany, and La Scala, 16-yearold Rhinelander gelding (Lancer x Rembrandt)
4. Kristy Oatley, 36, based in Germany and Ronan, 14-year-old Oldenburg stallion (Riccione x Contender) – 69.300 / 68.220 = 68.760

Maree Tomkinson, 45, and Diamantina 4, 12-year-old Oldenburg mare (Diamond Hit x Campari M) finished fifth in the trials. She was appointed to the team the first time around and now has been dropped. She may, however, be named a reserve.

Maree issued a statement saying: “As disappointing as this is right now, heartbreaking really, it is not the end of the world. I have a beautiful , healthy horse and we get to come home now. I am very grateful to EA and the way they handled this whole situation. They followed the policy to the letter, as per their policy the team was to be named on the 29th July and at that time they named the only team possible. The appeals board are independant arbitrators not privy to the intricacies and complications of preparing international dressage horses.

“At the end of the day it is probably for the best, Team Patrick and the Oatleys are a very united front and will present a united supportive team at WEG for Australia.”

She thanked everyone for their support and asked that nothing negative be posted on her Facebook page.

“There is a lot to be positive about, just a little sad for today,” she said, and quoted the movie character Rocky Balboa “It’s not about how hard you can hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.”

Equestrian Australia Chairman Warwick Vale said: “Given the uncertainty surrounding the soundness of Briana Burgess’ horse at the time of team nominations this was always going to be difficult situation for dressage selectors. The manner in which they have conducted themselves throughout this process is commendable and we applaud their integrity and professionalism. I would also like to acknowledge the riders who have also remained professional and courteous throughout the process.

“To see this appeal promptly heard and resolved within a week from when it was lodged speaks volumes of the effectiveness of Equestrian Australia’s processes.”

Australia’s WEG selection policy at the end of the two-round nomination series was for the top four combinations on the dressage ranking list to comprise the Australian team for the Games. Briana applied to the selection panel to give discretionary weight to extraordinary factors and permit her to count the single score obtained at the first nomination event in the final ranking list which was granted.

The selectors, however, then removed La Scala from the team citing veterinary advice available to them at the time.

The appeals board directed the selection panel to reverse its decision.

The appeals board ruled that La Scala will be required to undergo veterinary assessment by an Australian team vet on Aug. 11–next Monday.

If La Scala is found able to perform at a required standard then Briana and La Scala will retain their place on the Australian team.

If not, Maree Tomkinson and Diamantina will be restored to the team.