Boost for Canada’s high performance dressage program

Riddle Master
© Mike Bain

International dressage judge and coach Dr Volker Moritz has joined a team of experts working together to help Canadian high performance dressage riders.

The group, formed by Desi Dillingham, MBE, Special Advisor to Dressage Canada, brings together a knowledgeable group who are working on programs to give Canada’s dressage athletes the best possible chance of success on the world stage, including the 2014 World Equestrian Games (WEG), to be held next summer in Normandy, France.

Dr Moritz is the latest addition to the team, and brings a wealth of expertise in the areas of training and judging. He rode and trained horses up to the grand prix level for over 45 years, and has been awarded the German equestrian federation’s Golden Riders’ Badge. He was also a judge for almost 40 years, and held FEI ‘O’ level credentials for 20 years before retiring in 2010.

His vast judging resume includes three World Cup Finals, the 1998 and 2002 World Equestrian Games, and the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Additionally, he was part of the ground jury of the prestigious CDIO Aachen competition for more than 30 years. Since retiring from judging, Dr Moritz has stepped up in more of a coaching capacity, including being appointed the Belgian Dressage Team Coach for the 2012 Olympics.

His role on Dillingham’s team of experts will include providing Canadian Dressage Team riders with technical support, advice, and a judge’s interpretation of their scores during CDI-level competition at the 2014 Global Dressage Festival series in Wellington, Florida, USA this winter.

“When I got the call from Desi, asking if I was interested in helping her build up a high performance Canadian Dressage Team, I did not hesitate for a moment to accept,” said Dr. Moritz.

“Being involved in the top international dressage sport as a judge, rider, trainer, and coach for more than 40 years showed that this is a lifetime commitment you never can stop.

“I already knew most of the Canadian grand prix riders and their quality potential,” he continued. “Nevertheless, it is a great new challenge for me, and I promise to do my very best. My first personal objective is that we all accept each other and become members of a happy and successful family as soon as possible. I look forward to beginning my new job in the winter and spring season in Florida.”

Dillingham said the priority for the group was to qualifying riders for WEG in August 2014, with further goals of the Pan American Games in 2015, and the Rio Olympics in 2016.

“I had to put together an experienced team that could hit the ground running,” Dillingham said.

“I know my own strengths and weaknesses, so I knew instantly the skills I had to acquire for the team. So my first port of call was someone at the top of their game in the world, who was respected by all. Dr. Volker Moritz was my first choice and I was delighted when he accepted the role.

“We have to help our riders to perform at their personal best in the next few months, and what better way than to bring to the table la crème de la crème of what the world of dressage has to offer. I am really looking forward to working with Dr. Moritz and cannot wait for our first get together in Florida in January.”


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