Amateur Riders Can Use Newly Created FEI Division to Qualify for Pan American Games

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Virginia Yarur of Chile, an amateur rider seeking to qualify for the Pan American Games. © SusanJStickle.com
Virginia Yarur of Chile, an amateur rider seeking to qualify for the Pan American Games. © SusanJStickle.com

WELLINGTON, Florida, Mar. 4, 2015–Amateur dressage riders can use the newly created international division to seek to qualify for the Pan American Games, the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) has advised.

The decision by the FEI was disclosed in letters to some riders but there was no public announcement by the Lausanne, Switzerland-based governing body of international horse sports.

To accommodate riders, organizers of the Global Dressage Festival in Wellington allowed riders to switch to Prix St. Georges and Intermediate 1 for amateurs out of the regular senior ccompetitions.

It was not known whether the results that could count toward qualification would be retroactive to Jan. 1 this year when the amateur division was recognized by the FEI.

However, the decision to count results from amateur classes was seen as a boost for the new division that was approved after strong support from the United States and has been in existence just on two months.

The letters from the FEI were presented by some riders to the Global show office Wednesday right before the veterinary inspection for the fifth of seven CDIs at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.

The Pan Ams are unusual in that the championships can include teams of mixed Big Tour and Small Tour combinations for the first time this year. The Pan Ams are held once every four years and previously were at Prix St. Georges/Intermediate 1.

However, in an effort to raise the level closer to some other continental championships, such as the Europeans, the format of mixed teams was introduced for the Games in Toronto in July with a single team able to qualify for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro next year. The Olympic qualifying team must include a Grand Prix combination.

Some Central and South American nations have only a handful of riders with horses able to compete internationally even at Small Tour, and many of those riders are amateurs.

Each national federation draws up its own qualification procedures in line with minimum eligibility scores set by the FEI.

The Pan Am Games are among the world’s largest sporting events and the equestrian disciplines of dressage, eeventing and jumping draw wide support from throughout the Americas–12 teams at the 2011 Pan Ams in Gudalajara, Mexico.