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Dressage World Challenge

SHARE   |   Monday, 22 July 2019   |   By Sarah Ward
Tamara Hasselberg on Frequens Tamara Hasselberg on Frequens

The FEI Dressage World Challenge and 7 Nations Challenge took place recently at Penndragon Equestrian Centre. 

Over 50 countries throughout the world registered to compete in the Dressage World Challenge this year.  The 2019 is the 20th that Botswana has competed in the Challenge. The Competition runs throughout a calendar year and the competing countries are divided into “Zones”. 


The results from the various zones are recorded throughout the year so that a final result can be reached by the end of the year. Zone 7 is comprised of Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe and Mauritius will be included from 2020.

The FEI 4* International Judge was Thomas Kessler from Germany. 


He is scheduled to judge at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, in August of this year. He has competed to Grand Prix level in Germany and currently rides three horses each day near his home in Kaiserslautern when he is not travelling the world to judge for the FEI. He sat at “C” and his Scribe was Camilla Joyner.

The National Judge was Caroline Potts from South Africa.  Caroline is an FEI International 3* Para Judge. Caroline has been judging and teaching dressage for over thirty years all over Africa. Caroline’s Scribe was Eileen Peinke from Maun and Eileen’s return air fare was sponsored by the Horse Society of Botswana.


The Chief Recorder was Felicity Bird from South Africa. The Assistant Recorder was Dalene Maree.  The Show Secretary was Camilla Joyner.  The Paddock Marshall was Angela Tilney.  The Runners to take the completed dressage tests to the Recorder were Angela Tilney, Melinda Alvarez, Charmaine Henriksen and Elmien Pretorius.  

The Steward was Teresa Fitt and the Assistant Steward was Henry Maree.  The Official Veterinarian was Dr Laetitia Gaudex.  The Announcer for the Dressage World Challenge was Seamus O’Neill.  The organising committee was comprised of Angela Tilney, Camilla Joyner, Debra Freeman, Dalene Maree  and Teresa Fitt.  The videographer for the Dressage World Challenge was Katryanna Maekopo.


The arenas were beautifully prepared, watered and raked by Mostaf Mharadza and Ludi Scheffer.  The competition arena was meticulously measured and built by Tatenda Vumba and Prince Sibanda.

The Competition Arena was open for practice on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and on Friday afternoon. 


On Thursday morning at 11.00am, Felicity Bird, the Chief Recorder and FEI Level 2 Steward,  very kindly delivered a Presentation on Stewarding and all that is involved in setting up and preparing for a Dressage World Challenge. Felicity lives in South Africa. 

She has been the Recorder at CDI 2* competitions for the last two years. She has recently returned from Hartpury, Gloucestershire, England, where she was recording the results which included Para riders. Felicity has endless experience in dealing with innumerable different situations during her ten years of stewarding and this highly informative and interesting presentation was open to everyone.  


On Thursday afternoon at 3.30pm the Compulsory “Trot Up” and Veterinary Inspection took place . The purpose of the Trot Up is to ensure that all the horses taking part in the FEI Dressage World Challenge and the 7 Nations Challenge  competitions are fit and sound enough to compete. All the riders were required to wear helmets and gloves for the Trot Up as a matter of safety. All horses were allocated a number for the Trot Up and this was clearly shown on the bridle and the same number was used for the Challenge.  Each horse’s passport was checked to ensure that all vaccinations were up to date and the identification of each horse was correct.   

Dr Laetitia Gaudex, who was the official Veterinarian and Thomas Kessler, the President of the Ground Jury, watched each horse walk and trot away from and walk and trot towards them on a loose rein with the rider leading the horse.  A selection of criteria was recorded and marks given by the judges to decide on the Best Presented Horses in both Challenges. A Draw followed where allocated times were given to all the riders. The Botswana team of four members was declared and included Debra Freeman on Callaho Guiseppe riding Inter 1 Test; Maya Bergh on Calabash Real Murphy riding Senior 11 Test; Siobhan O’Neill on Havenspride Renaissance riding Senior 1 Test and Bridget O’Neill on Havenspride Terzarima riding Senior 1 Test.


The FEI Dressage World Challenge started on Friday morning at 9.00am and the FEI Senior 1, FEI Senior 11, and Intermediate 1 classes were ridden. Mounted prize-giving took place after each class.        

This was followed by an outstanding Demonstration given by Tamara Hasselberg on Rita Brink’s gelding Frequens, imported from Sweden, riding a Medium Tour (Inter A, Inter B) Freestyle to music. This is one level below Grand Prix and includes the start of Piaffe and Passage work. This was an absolutely stunning and awe-inspiring “poetry in motion” performance for all the spectators and set demanding aspirations for all our riders of all ages.


A video session and feedback to the riders in the FEI Dressage World Challenge took place inside the stable block. The tests had been patiently videoed by Katryanna Maekopo. Invaluable feedback on the individual tests was given by Thomas Kessler and Caroline Potts.  

The FEI 7 Nations Competition started on Saturday 13th July at 8.30am with seven classes – the Youth Rider (under 12 years of age) Preliminary Test, Youth Rider (12 to 16 years of age) Preliminary Test, Youth Rider (12 to 16 years of age) Elementary Test, Young Rider (16 to 21 years of age) Preliminary Test, Young Rider ( 16 to 21 years of age)  Elementary Test,  Senior  ( over 21 years of age) Preliminary Test, and  Senior (over 21 years of age) Elementary Tests were ridden. 


Starting at 9.00am on Sunday 14th July  Thomas Kessler gave 30 minute private lessons in the competition arena.

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