Venezuela Files Protest Over Pan American Games Individual Dressage Competition

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Alejandro Gomez on Zalvador who has filed a protest for Venezuela over selection of combinations for the Pan American Games individual medals competition scheduled for Tuesday. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Alejandro Gomez on Zalvador who has filed a protest for Venezuela over selection of combinations for the Pan American Games individual medals competition scheduled for Tuesday. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

PALGRAVE, Ontario, July 12, 2015–Venezuela has filed a protest over the Pan American Games individual dressage competition that aims to cut Canada and United States combinations to three instead of four with other nations filling the places as a display of more “flags” contesting the medals.

The protest came after a meeting of the official team managers and the draw for the competition that will be at Intermediate and Grand Prix Freestyle levels and decide the individual medals.

If the protest is accepted, the effect would be to cut the lowest scoring members of the Canadian and American teams that currently have four horses and riders in the individual final and replace them with combinations from the next in line nations, Venezuela one of them.

The protest hinges on whether there are rules enacted by the Pan American Games organization known as PASO or the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) under whose rules the equestrian competition at these hemispheric championships is staged.

The start list for the individual medals has already been published based on a draw Sunday night after two days of the Nations Cup won by the United States with Canada taking silver and Brazil bronze. The individual championship will be based on straight scores whether at Big Tour or Small Tour, unlike the Nations Cup that awarded a “bonus” of 1.5 per cent for each Grand Prix score that counted.

The draw shows that the Canadian combination of Megan Lane and Caravella and Sabine Schut-Kery on Sanceo of the United States would be dropped if the protest succeeds.

Robert Dover, the U.S. chef d’equipe who attended the meeting, opposed changing the format that allows for all four Americans to move on to the individuals.

While there is uncertainty as to the existence of current rules covering this situation, precedents show only three combinations from team competitions have been allowed to advance to the individual finals in previous championships, both at the Pan American Games and other FEI championships such as the Europeans.

The curent controversy has come about partly because of the unique format of mixed Big Tour and Small Tour teams introduced for the first time at these Pan Ams and partly because of rules that were sloppily written or not at all considered in an environment that is increasingly litigious.

While the aim of adding Grand Prix combinations to Pan Am teams–as many as two on a team of four this year–is to raise the level of dressage in the Americas there is also a belief that the powerful nations of Brazil, Canada and the United States should not dominate to the extent of taking the lion’s share of available places in individual competition that it excludes even the appearance of other countries.

Trond Asmye, the FEI director of director, who is attending the Pan Ams, admitted at a news conference Sunday that the standard of dressage at the championship level in the Americas was improving with the addition of Grand Prix to the teams, the FEI was concerned imposing the change throughout the hemisphere too soon “would lose too many nations.”

It was important, he said, to evaluate how the new system has worked.

He said he was “quite convinced” that if too many Grand Prix combinations had been required this year doe the team contest “too many teams would have been lost.”

The start list for the individual Intermediate 1 and Grand Prix Freestyles that came from Sunday night’s draw:

Judges: E: Maribel Alonso MEX, H: Lilo Fore USA, C: Elizabeth McMulen CAN (President), M: Stephen Clarke GBR B: Hans-Christian Matthiesen DEN.
 
Start
Order
Rider Horse nº Horse Name Time
1 153 DONNERSBERG 11:00
2 135 BELLO ORIENTE 11:10
3 128 BECKHAM 11:20
4 146 ADAJIO 11:30
5 141 CHARDONNAY 11:40
6 111 VELEIRO DO TOP 11:50
7 127 FAREWELL IV 12:00
8 110 DI CAPRIO 12:10
9 154 WIZARD BANAMEX 12:20
10 103 BANDURRIA KACERO 13:10
11 124 FINN 13:20
12 112 XAMÃ DOS PINHAIS 13:30
13 116 ALL IN 13:40
14 166 ROSMARIN 13:50
15 119 ZILVERSTAR 14:00
16 168 SANCEO 14:10
17 159 ROYAL AFFAIR 14:20
18 117 CARAVELLA 14:45
19 118 ANTON 14:55
20 167 LEGOLAS 92 15:05
21 165 VERDADES 15:15