Australian Federation Board Dismisses Judy Dierks’ Appeal Over World Equestrian Games Selection, Puts Off Explanation for Week

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Judy Dierks and Diamond Star. © Toni Venhaus

Aug. 7, 2018

An appeal filed by the Australian-based rider Judy Dierks over selection of the team for the World Equestrian Games next month has been dismissed by a panel specially appointed by the national federation that said Wednesday it would not immediately provide an explanation for its decision.

The hearing panel “determined to dismiss the appeal” over the selection procedures and the four-member team announced last month “stands as then made,” according to a statement by Judge Warwick Hunt, chairperson of the appeal board.

The preliminary decision was confusing in that Judy Dierks, 64 years old who had ridden Diamond Star in an unsuccessful campaign for a place on the team, had said in filing her appeal she was not seeking to overturn selection of horses and riders but sought greater transparency and fairness in future procedures to pick teams.

The selection process for the Tryon, North Carolina WEG scheduled to open Sept. 11 was changed significantly at least three times.

The team was announced last month as the Australian-based combinations of Alexis Hellyer and Bluefields Floreno, Brett Parbery and DP Weltmieser and Mary Hanna and Boogie Woogie 6, who also compete extensively in Europe, and the Germany-based Kristy Oatley and Du Soleil.

The statement from Judge Hunt said: “It is usually desirable to publish written reasons at the time of announcing a decision. On this occasion, the Board has determined to announce the decision and provide written reasons for that decision within seven days.

“This approach has been taken for two reasons. First, in our view it is important to provide certainty as soon as practicable for the parties and other persons potentially affected, especially given the very short time until the World Equestrian Games 2018 and the significance of the issues to be resolved by the appeal.

“Second, professional commitments of all the Board members are considerable, yet because the matter is important the reasons deserve careful expression. As such, more time is needed to finalize written reasons.”

“Having considered the evidence, together with written and oral submissions of the parties at a hearing conducted on 5 August 2018, the Equestrian Australia Appeal Board, after deliberating since the hearing, has determined to dismiss the appeal brought by Mrs. Dierks in relation to matters arising from the selection of the Australian Dressage Team for the World Equestrian Games 2018 by the Dressage Selection Panel which was announced 19 July 2018. Accordingly, the selection of that Team stands as then made.”

The appeal by Judy Dierks was the latest in decisions that have bedevilled selection of Australian teams since the 2012 Olympic Games. Then, one rider’s complaints over selection were reported around the world, as was the selection of a combination for the 2016 Olympic team that had been found to be in violation of drug rules that negated the results of their qualifying competition but was not disclosed by the federation until reported by at the start of the Rio Games.