How Australia Missed Start at Dressage World Cup Final Under FEI Rules

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Kristy Oatley and Du Soleil. File photo. © Ken Braddick/

April 1, 2019

Australia’s request for European-based Kristy Oatley to go to the World Cup Final this week was turned down by the International Equestrian after two combinations Down Under that qualified but passed on the event because of high cost and travel that would be gruelling for the horses.

The FEI cited rules that prevented Kristy and her Du Soleil from being invited to Gothenburg, Sweden. She and the 15-year-old Hanoverian gelding competed for Australia at the 2016 Olympics and the 2018 World Equestrian Games to qualify the country for a team start at Tokyo Olympics in 2020. The duo also competed at the 2017 World Cup Final in Omaha and currently holds Aussie record scores for the Grand Prix Special and the Freestyle.

Living in Germany, Kristy declared her intention to compete in the Western European League. She and Du Soleil competed in two qualifiers, Salzburg, Austria and Herning, Denmark, placing fourth in both to earn a total of 26 points to rank 21st.

Australia holds a Pacific league final that was won by Rozzie Ryan on Jarrah R with Holly Cutler on Diva Royale runner-up. The round trip cost for a horse is well above A$50,000  (US$45,500/€35,200). The organizer pays 20,000 Swiss francs/A$28,159 for a horse making the two-way journey from Australia to continantal Europe followed by a 12-hour road trip to Gothenburg.

“The FEI confirms Equestrian Australia made the request for one of the extra starting places,” a spokesperson said, “but these are not allocated ‘on demand’ as they are not wild cards.”

Kristy and Do Soleil were ranked 37th in the world as of the end of February cutoff for the World Cup.

Under the FEI rules, a combination that had not declared itself to compete in a league but showed in two Western European qualifiers and ranked 183rd in the world met the requirements to be invited.

The rules as cited by the FEI provide for permanently domiciled athletes who qualify in the league where they live, an athlete from the host nation if none are qualified and if more starting places are available, allocated to the athlete/horse combination(s) with the highest ranking on th February World Dressage Ranking List who have participated in at least two qualifiers.

The FEI said, “There have been initial discussions regarding the World Cup concept, which also includes a review of the rules, but this is an ongoing process that will take place step by step.”