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Leading riders and judges have cautiously welcomed the new set of 2015 FEI eventing dressage tests from one- to three-star level, but have expressed concerns about some of the movements due to be included in the revised four-star test for next year.

International judge Jennie Loriston-Clarke called the requirement for four-star riders to perform a flying change from medium canter, “a recipe for disaster”.

“The movement used to feature in the old grand prix tests and not many people could ride it then,” she said.

Last season, riders and judges criticised the existing tests at the higher levels, which had been in use since 2009, saying that they lacked flow and did not allow riders to show off their horses’ paces.

German FEI judge Christoph Hess, who was among a panel of experts to have input into the new tests designed by Christopher Bartle, explained the rationale behind them.

“They were devised with the horse’s welfare in mind. They reward the well-trained horse and there is emphasis on the horse’s way of going and the rider’s ability to lengthen and shorten, which is important in both jumping phases,” he said.

Sam Griffiths, who rode through some of the new movements at the International Eventing Forum in February, said: “Overall I think the changes are positive. There is definitely a lot more flow to the tests, but there are several movements that have got the riders talking: the flying change from a medium canter in the four-star test is a step into the unknown, and I don’t like the flying change at the end of the extended canter.”

Ref: Horse & Hound; 9 April 2015