FEI Striving Towards Fairness, Transparency and Globality

Sat, 12/04/2004 - 00:00
2004 Global Dressage Forum

The 2004 Global Dressage Forum, organized and hosted by the Academy (Hooge Mierde, Netherlands) and the International Dressage Trainers Club, was for the first time joined by the FEI as official patron.

The first day's events centered on the development of the sport. FEI Sport Director Michael Stone's presentation enlightened on the scope of the FEI's remit as one of the largest - after soccer and tennis - international sport federations. He stressed the importance of dressage as the fundamental equestrian discipline and of the development programs that stimulate interest in smaller countries and, therefore, create a larger audience for the top sport. The development of an internationally recognized structure for coaching, and the value the World Dressage and Jumping challenges - a flagship development project - were among the programs explained.

Mariette Withages, chairwoman of the FEI Dressage Commission, stated that the FEI Committee was striving towards three principles: fairness, transparency in judging and globality.

The concept of "fairness" referred to the fair treatment of the horse and applied directly to the FEI Rule 401 which says that, "the object of dressage is the development of the horse into a happy athlete through harmonious education..." This 2004 Global Dressage Forum centered its discussions on the interpretation of this new rule, which was changed in June 2003 to read a "happy" athlete.

Referring to transparency, Withages discussed the option to make running scores available at every major dressage competition in order to clarify the judges' scoring system. The FEI is also working on a judging handbook which is being prepared by the O-judges and is now into its 8th draft version.

At the CDIO Aachen, the running scoreboard was used, much to the appreciation of the spectators. However, when the most important competitors were riding their test (Anky van Grunsven - Ulla Salzgeber) the scoreboard ceased to produce scores and the audience just received the final score at the end of the test. The scoring system definitely still needs major fine tuning.

Mariette Withages also discussed globality, which meant that riders and officials in countries world wide needed more instruction in order to improve their skills so that the sport will grow. The FEI wants to endorse more national and regional forums in which expert seminars can educate the audience. In 2005, there will be an FEI Freestyle Forum in Ankum, Germany (February 1-2) and one in Australia.

Text by Eurodressage (partly FEI press release) - Images copyrighted: Dirk Caremans

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