Australian Olympic Dressage Selection Criteria Announced Amidst Continuing Caronavirus Pandemic

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Simone Pearce on Destano. File photo.

SYDNEY, April 14, 2021–Australia’s Olympic dressage team qualifying criteria was announced Wednesday with a score of 69% or better at Grand Prix from at  least two international level competitions required going back to Jan. 1, 2019. There have been no qualifying CDIs in Australia for well over a year because of coronavirus restrictions.

Under the selection criteria announced by Equestrian Australia for a team of three for the Tokyo Games, combinations must achieve an overall score of at least 69% in at least two Grand Prix tests at a CDI3* or above between Jan. 1 2019 and June 21 2021, with at least one FEI 5* judge on the ground jury. At least one of the scores of 69% or higher must have been achieved in 2020 or 2021.

Germany-based Simone Pearce, 29 years old, on Destano is the highest ranked combination to meet the criteria with at least four Grand Prix scores ranging as high as 76.261% in the past 10 months.

Mary Hanna, at 66 years of age seeking to go to her sixth Olympics, has fulfilled the requirements with Calanta and MH Syriana.

Kelly Layne on Samhitas, based in Wellington, Florida, has met the requirements with results of 71.935% in a CDI3* and 71.326% in a CDI4* at the Global Dressage Festival this year. She is entered in the CDI4* at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in two weeks.

The only Australian-based contender in addition to Mary Hanna to have met the criteria so far include Lone Jørgensen and Corinna. Lone is a two-time Olympian and double World Games competitor for Denmark who now rides for Australia. Lone and the 14-year-old Danish Warmblood made scored 70.109% in January 2020 and 69.348% in October 2019.

As with many nations, coronavirus restrictions have played havoc with the Australian competition calendar but requirements for two weeks’ quarantine for almost all foreign visitors Dow Under placed an additional hurdle on signing up international judges.

No international dressage competitions have been staged in Australia since back-to-back CDI4*s in February, 2020.

The only competitions meeting the qualifying requirements to be held before the deadline are two CDI3*s the second half of May.

However, no official schedules for the events have been posted with only a month to go.

Australians can seek to qualify in competitions elsewhere in the world, such as the cousins Kristy and Lyndal Oatley , both Olympians, who live in Germany and have international Grand Prix mounts.