Aust dressage rider wins appeal for WEG selection

Briana Burgess and La Scala.
Briana Burgess and La Scala. ©

An Australian dressage rider has won an appeal to be confirmed on the country’s team for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

Dressage rider Briana Burgess had lodged an appeal after failing to be nominated to Australia’s dressage team for the upcoming games.

Burgess had contested only the first of two events, because of soundness issues with her horse. At the end of the two-round nomination series the top four combinations on the dressage ranking list were to comprise the Australian team for the Games.

Those not selected had three days to log an appeal against the nominated team.

Burgess applied to Australia’s Dressage Selection Panel (DSP) requesting the panel give discretionary weight to extraordinary factors and permit her to count the single score obtained at the first nomination event in the final ranking list.

The DSP granted this request, but removed La Scala from the team after considering the veterinary advice that was available to them at the time.

The appeals board has directed the Dressage Selection Panel (DSP) to reverse its decision to remove the combination from the team on the basis of it not being able to perform to a required standard.

An Equestrian Australia appeals board met in Sydney on August 6, and upheld Burgess’ appeal. The appeals board has directed the Dressage Selection Panel (DSP) to confirm Burgess and her horse, La Scala, as the third ranked combination in Australia’s dressage ranking list.

In accordance with the appeals board’s ruling, La Scala will be required to undergo a veterinary assessment by an Australian team vet on August 11. If La Scala is able to perform at a required standard then Burgess and La Scala will retain their position as part of the Australian team.

The Australian Dressage Team is:

  • Mary Hanna and Sancette
  • Lyndal Oatley and Sandro Boy
  • Briana Burgess and La Scala
  • Kristy Oatley and Ronan 2

Should La Scala not pass the veterinary assessment the team will remain as it was selected on 29 July 2014.

Equestrian Australia Chairman Dr Warwick Vale applauded all parties for maintaining a high level of professionalism throughout the process.

“Given the uncertainty surrounding the soundness of Briana Burgess’ horse at the time of team nominations this was always going to be difficult situation for dressage selectors. The manner in which they have conducted themselves throughout this process is commendable and we applaud their integrity and professionalism.

“I would also like to acknowledge the riders who have also remained professional and courteous throughout the process.

“To see this appeal promptly heard and resolved within a week from when it was lodged speaks volumes of the effectiveness of Equestrian Australia’s processes,” Vale said.

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