New para test names could be on the cards in rules overhaul

  • THE FEI para dressage tests could be renamed, to avoid confusion and bring the discipline into line with others.

    The second day of the 2022 FEI sports forum (25-16 April) included sessions on the veterinary and general rules as well as those in eventing, dressage and para dressage.

    Amanda Bond, chair of the para equestrian technical committee, led the para dressage rules revision session. She explained how much para dressage has progressed but issued a “call to action” to national federations that do not participate, citing the US, which has “gone from very low levels to [Paralympic medal] success in a fairly short time”.

    Many of the proposed rule changes are aimed at growing the sport and ensuring its sustainability. These include a “more progressive structure of events”, to encourage national federations to hold competitions at every level. Each level would have different sets of tests with progressive difficulty and a qualification system.

    FEI dressage, para dressage and vaulting director Bettina de Rham added that a review of tests has been launched and that renaming the “team” and “individual” tests – to para grand prix and para grand prix special, for example – would remove confusion.

    “We’re living with test names that relate to medal events and with higher-level tests, if we want to introduce a World Cup or something, we’re stuck with the names and they don’t mean anything,” she said.

    Para rider Rodolpho Riskalla said: “We’re a complete discipline and you can’t say to a para dressage rider what he’s doing is not good or high-quality enough because he’s not doing piaffe-passage. I think ‘grand prix’ is the terminology every sport uses, and sometimes sponsors and people not from the sport don’t understand why we’re the highest level of our sport and it’s not a grand prix.”

    There will be further discussion of the proposals and a first draft of new rules will be sent to national federations and stakeholders for feedback, before final proposed rule changes will be voted on at the FEI general assembly in November.

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