Karen Pavicic a Canadian born proffessional Grand Prix rider recently moved to Croatia. It is now that she’s living there that she decided to drop to the amateur CDI classes for now. This has caused quit a discussion in the amateur community in Wellington, Florida where Pavicic is based for the winter while she is competing.
Amateur competitors claim they find it unfair that a professional rider, who was in the world rankinglist and lives from training, selling and showing horses, will now be competing against non pro riders. Pavicic will make her debute in the amateur classes during this weekends Small Tour division in Wellington this weekend.
The Canadian born rider motivated her decision as follows: “This is a great division offered for those riders who meet the FEI criteria (no current world ranking) and who may have a horse that is needing valuable experience as a stepping stone for other International classes. I am so grateful to be able to participate in this division with the support of Fausto’s owner Laura Penikett and my new NF, Croatia, as a developing country in the sport of dressage. This will be a big event for all involved and I am thankful for all of the continued support that I have on this journey. In my specific case I am riding a very green horse (only competed PSG 3 times) for a new and developing country. I do not plan to stay in this division, only as a stepping stone for this horse and country until the horse has more experience.”
The FEI implemented the amateur division into its program in 2015 after American John McGinty took up the cause to promote the division with the FEI. McGinty pushed the idea with Wellington show director Thomas Baur, who took it to the FEI Dressage Committee. Few shows in Europe implement the amateur classes, but in Wellington they are popular amongst a small group of amateur riders who want to be competitive at CDI level in a level field of play.
McGinty replied to Pavicic’s decision as following:
“It is a great division that was established with the intent of encouraging adult Amateurs to improve their riding by striving to enter the FEI levels. I agree, professionals who “meet the criteria” of not being on the FEI World ranking list are eligible to compete but by doing so, they disregard the spirit of the division. My question is why would an international rider with world wide experience choose to show against amateurs when there is the same CDI 1* division available at the same show for professional riders? The test and the standards are exactly the same with the same judging criterion for the inexperienced horse as is required in the Amateur division. The Amateur division is not less difficult than the open division. The only difference is it is a division that allows amateur riders to compete among their peers.
Also, pros have the opportunity to take less experienced horses in classes limited to various age groups and national level competitions.
The point here is that by using the flaw in the rules, entering this division as a seasoned international rider putting their years of experience against a true amateur rider can only be seen as an easy way to get a ribbon.”