Dressage rider loses winter title

  • Winter elementary dressage champions Vanessa Reimann and Walention II have been stripped of their title due to a mix up over the rider’s restricted status.

    Vanessa, who won the Blue Chip Pro Elementary Restricted in March at the Horse & Hound Winter Championships, had mistakenly classified herself as grade eight when she registered with British Dressage (BD) in 2003.

    The German was studying at Exeter University and should have been classified as grade three – all foreign riders are grade three or above unless they have dispensation. A letter from the German Federation, which would have alerted BD, failed to arrive.

    Chris Dannen, of Coach House EC, Devon, where Vanessa kept her horses, explains: “Vanessa is disappointed, but has accepted the decision.”

    Linda Whetstone, head of rules and fixtures at BD, says: “It was a genuine misunderstanding. We don’t blame Vanessa, but she was more experienced and we had to reward the person who was genuinely qualified at the level.”

    The reserve champions, Kathy Oliver and her 12-year-old gelding River Owl, now take the title.

    Chris adds: “Early in 2004, we had rechecked Vanessa’s classification.”

    Linda Whetstone confirms: “Chris queried the rider group, but the person in the office would have gone by the information on screen – it was up to Vanessa to ensure that we had all the relevant information. We didn’t know that she had ridden at advanced level in Germany. We are considering amending the registration forms.”

  • This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (19 August)

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