Maribel Alonso de Quinzaños of Mexico Elected Chair of International Equestrian Federation Dressage Committee

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Maribel Alonso de Quinzaños of Mexico. File photo. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Nov. 17, 2021

Maribel Alonso de Quinzaños of Mexico on Wednesday was elected chair of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) Dressage Committee and the Executive Board of the governing body of several global horse sports including the Olympic disciplines of dressage, eventing and jumping.

Maribel, 64, was elected to a four-year term with an overwhelming majority of 67 votes out of a total of 102 cast at the FEI general assembly in Antwerp, Belgium. She was the choice of the FEI to succeed Frank Kemperman who had been chair for 13 years of the six-member committee that decides the future direction of dressage.

Maribel a FEI 5* judge and former member of the committee, beat back challenges from Martin Richenhagen, a German-American equestrian and businessman who lives in the Atlanta community of Alpharetta, Georgia who received 23 votes, and Ulf Helgstrand, president of the Danish federation, with eight votes.

Great Britain’s Peter Storr was selected by the Executive Board to succeed fellow Briton Andrew Gardner for a term of four years. The board bypassed the United States’ Gary Rockwell, a top ranked international 5* judge who officiated at Olympics and World Cup Finals and was on the U.S. team that took bronze at the 1994 world championships, and Dutch 4* judge Maarten van der Heijden.

Maribel breaks the European dominance of the dressage committee, but extends influence by judges that now make up half the membership–Maribel, Peter Storr and Irina Maknami of Russia. Organizers are without a representative as Frank Kemperman, now retired as chair, also headed up the World Equestrian Festival in Aachen, Germany, the most prestigious equestrian event in the world.

The other three members of the committee are Beatriz Ferrer-Salat of Spain as the athletes’ representative; Patrik Kittel of Sweden, primarily a competitor and trainer, and Monica Theodorescu, three-time Olympic team gold medalist and coach of the German dressage team.

Maribel has been involved in horse sports from childhood. She gave up active competition when a hip infection required surgery when she was raising her two daughters. Instead, she became involved in judging. She still rides and teaches regularly and maintains a heavy schedule of involvement in equestrian governing activities both regionally and internationally.

The Americas embraces at least 30 national federations, about one-fourth of the total membership of the FEI. Olympics have been staged in Brazil, Mexico and the United States.

She has been involved in seeking to upgrade the level of competition at the Pan American Games that are currently a mix of Small and Big Tour horse and rider combinations.

She has expressed a desire for more international events throughout Central and South America.

In 2019, 31 international events were scheduled in 12 nations in Central and South America and the equestrian facility in Lima, Peru for the Pan Am Games received rave reviews from all participants.

However, onset of the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020 that not only curtailed competitions but kept most foreign judges required for the sport were unable to travel. For 2022, only eight international events in three nations are on the calendar.

Over the years, she has judged in more than two dozen countries on five continents including the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky in 2010 and the Olympics in London in 2012.