The 15th edition of the Global Dressage forum was hosted by the beautiful Academy Bartels. In the charming town of Hooge Mierde, Netherlands, the equestrian centre was superbly set up. You almost didn’t know you were in a stable. The main foyer was perfection: Greeting guests was a welcome station to arrange passes and get your questions answered. Following the welcome station, the hall was lined with tasteful vendors selling educational books, stable accouterments, and of course tack shops. The carpeted floor, warm wood of the interior and sparkelingchandeliers made you feel welcome and excited to be there.
Two arena’s attached from the main hall way. The first arena, adorned with unique and interesting art work converted the already lovely arena to into a reception area with full catering the entire duration of the Forum. An ideal place to network and connect with interesting dressage colleagues from around the world.
The second arena was converted into a type of auditorium with plenty of seating, a stage for the speakers, and a curtain wall, that when pulled aside revealed a well groomed and prepared riding area for presentation.
The Forum began with an introduction from HRH Princess Benedikte who also happens to be the president of the GDF and a dressage supporter! Poised and gracious she opened the 15th edition of the Forum.
Richard Davison the moderator and MC. His tactfulness and keen sense of humour was welcome throughout the forum.
The first order of business was Frank Kemperman and Carina Mayer,
who updated the audience on key FEI Dressage developments. A few notes on these presentations are as follows:
Plans to run FEI Nations Cup Competitions as an official series with Sponsors and Trophys.
Formalization of bidding processes for World Cup Qualifiers and Championships
Looking to run Championships for Under 25. Looking for bidders.
The new youth ranking system is a hit.
World Rankings have been good for media.
Major Rule Changes to be proposed:
Allowing Fly Hoods in indoor and outdoor competition- for noise reduction. Mainly to provide ear protection during awards ceremonies and noise reduction for competitions themselves.
Increasing the penalty of riding off course to 3 Percentage Points.
A very solemn presentation of the directives from the IOC to the FEI. We have no choice but to change and make our sport more attractive to the general public. Dressage has already been demoted to a D sport. If we want to continue to be included in the games we must make the sport more compatible with Media (television etc), score more social media coverage, have more flags but less riders.
As with last year at the GDF, how we keep the sport current and relevant was a hot topic and one of course, of great importance. An emphasis on freestyle in the future seems to be the way to go.
Coming Next from the Global Dressage Forum 2015: A Long Lining Demo from Paul Fielder.