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The FEI will publish a list of endurance judges next week, which details their newly established star rating system.

In the past, FEI endurance judges were grouped solely on the basis of FEI criteria, which listed judges into three categories — candidate judge, international candidate judge and official judge, and no rule prevented a candidate judge officiating any endurance ride, including three-star events and championships.

Last year, the FEI Endurance Committee re-assessed the judging process as part of its complete review of the sport and decided to assign judges a star rating alongside their FEI listing. They also agreed that, from 2006, an endurance judge’s star rating will have to be equal or higher than the rating of the FEI endurance ride where he will officiate.

“As part of the overall review of the standard of judges, the committee decided to [align] the level of officials to the level of the competition. In other words, at a three-star event, the level of judging will be a three-star level,” explains the FEI Head of Endurance, Ian Williams.

“Now the judges will work their way through the FEI listings, but they will also be assessed with the star rating. Anyone appointed in future will have start at one/two star level. Existing officials have been fast-tracked into two-, three-, or four-star level depending on experience.”

The list of rated judges will be published on the FEI website next week and will show both FEI listing and endurance star rating for each judge. National federations proposed the ratings for their officials by checking the judge’s career against the criteria produced by the FEI. “Many federations have come back to us with the [proposed] star-rating. We have accepted a lot, but not all. Many officials now have a star-rating,” says Williams.

The list will help national federations appoint judges for events throughout 2005, as the FEI Committee are recommending them to match the rating of a ride with the rating of the proposed official wherever possible. “If a schedule comes in with a principal official that doesn’t match the event’s star-rating, we will write back [to the national federation] asking them to review, although the rating is not compulsory until 2006,” says Williams.

A number of national federations have yet to return their assessment of endurance judges to the FEI, but Williams is confident they will do it soon after the World Cup. “We have reminded all the federations and we expect them to come back to us later on. They have to, or they will have no judges at high level come 2006.”

The Endurance Committee is now looking at extending the same rule to endurance vets. “Hopefully, we’ll introduce it in 2007,” says Williams. “In time, every pivotal judge or vet at a competition will have a star rating which matches the star rating of the event.”