New, Shorter Grand Prix to be Tested at London Olympia Released –Available Here
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A new Grand Prix test estimated to be shorter by about 45 seconds and designed to make dressage more interesting to a wider audience was released Wednesday ahead of its debut performance at the London Olympia World Cup in December.
The new test has 30 movements plus a collective mark performed over about five minutes compared with the current Grand Prix test of 33 movements plus a collective mark over about 5 mins. 45 seconds. The new test will be ridden to music selected by a professional director that London show organizers said aimed “to reflect each combination’s personality and interests.”
The Grand Prix pilot test will be used at Olympia on Monday, Dec. 17 with the Freestyle on Tuesday, Dec. 18.
The FEI Dressage World Cup Committee agreed to the two-year pilot project, which seeks to actively engage the audience and broaden the discipline’s appeal, particularly during the Grand Prix Test.
A similar effort was implemented for the Grand Prix Special ahead of the Olympics in London in 2012. What was touted as an abbreviated Grand Prix Special with specially chosen musical accompaniment frequently took longer than the original in actual show conditions and the test was abandoned.
“The changes to the existing dressage format include significant alterations to the Grand Prix phase, although the test will still be judged and ridden in the same format as all other FEI technical tests and will continue to demand the highest level of technical ability, accuracy and precision,” Olympia organizing group said in a news release.
–A Grand Prix of five minutes compared with 5:45 for the current test;
–Music to be selected for each rider by a professional musical director to reflect each combination’s personality and interests;
–After each Grand Prix, riders will remain in the arena to watch the judges’ scores, which will provide immediacy and instant reaction;
–Spectator judging will be utilized to compare marking skills against the professional judges, and
–After each Grand Prix, riders will discuss their performance in a short interview before the audience that, the organizers aid, “Collectively, it will give the audience a Masterclass from the rider’s perspective over the entire competition.”
British Olympian Richard Davison, dressage consultant to Olympia who has been working with the FEI on the project said: “The World Cup series is a really important opportunity for us to showcase dressage and widen its appeal. This pilot project is an exciting initiative aimed at adding considerably more spectator appeal, while maintaining traditional dressage values and a highly competitive format.”
Simon Brooks-Ward, show director, said: “This new format is not a gimmick or a theatrical experiment. I have been convinced, for some time, that dressage in the World Cup series has been underperforming against its potential.
“Unashamedly–and I believe quite rightly–we want to make the Grand Prix evening at Olympia as meaningful, relevant and exciting as the Freestyle night. Two cracking nights of elite competition will do a lot to improve dressage’s visibility amongst those who have not been initiated into the complexities of the sport.”