Dressage Judges, Stewards From Around World to Meet in Florida

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Janet Foy. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Janet Foy. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

WELLINGTON, Florida, Feb. 3, 2016–Dressage judges, steward and other officials from around the world will get together in Florida next week faced with issues that could have a major impact on the future of the sport.

The annual general assembly of the International Dressage Officials Club of judges and stewards is being held for the third time in the United States while a separate FEI 5* judges’ conference will meet for the first time in America.

About 60 judges will gather at a West Palm Beach hotel next week during the Adequan Global Dressage Festival CDI5*/3*/1* with total prize money of $230,000/€210,000.

A stewards course presided over by International Equestrian Federation (FEI) Steward General Jack van Daele of Belgium and Elisabeth Williams of the United States will be held.

Among issues that have intensified the spotlight on judges and stewards in the past year include a poll by the International Dressage Riders Club that put the quality of judging as the major issue in the sport, judging and veterinary check of Totilas during the European Championships last summer and actions that can be taken by judges and stewards over the treatment of horses on competition show grounds, including schooling and warm-up.

The role of the three-member Judges Supervisory Panel that acts as an instant replay at major championships with the power to make some changes in judge’s marks was broadened but there is no process for a review of scores outside championships. Judges have traditionally resisted reviews similar to methods adopted by some other Olympic jury sports.

The Global circuit this year became the first international event in the world to introduce paperless judging that has the potential to dramatically shorten the time between rides as well as providing scores almost instantly that organizers see as two elements improving the experience of spectators.

Among those scheduled to attend include Frank Kemperman, chairman of the FEI Dressage Committee as well as managing the World Equestrian Festival CHIO in Aachen, Germany and an official of the FEI Dressage Department.

Janet Foy of Colorado Springs, Colorado an FEI 4* judge, has headed up organizing the events as an IDOC board member for North America.

American dressage supporters have put together a full lineup of social events.

Tim and Susan Dutta will host an Indian Bar & Grill Welcome dinner and Sarah and Michael Davis will host a lunch.

The officials will be guests of the Adequan Global Dressage Festival Friday night Freestyle under the lights.

A farewell gala dinner and wine tasting provided by friends of Wellington dressage will be at David and Arlene “Tuny” Page’s home on the Saturday and then go to the jumping Grand Prix at the Winter Equestrian Festival.

“We’re really excited to be hosting the officials and judges’ meetings and for all my friends from around the world, many of whom have never been here, what our circuit is like, the quality of horses and the fabulous venue.

“I’m so grateful that everybody has stepped up to the plate, has been so generous and helpful in providing hospitality.”