The first FEI Regional Dressage Forum in the Balkan Region was held in Novi Sad, Serbia on 26 – 27 September 2012. Prompted by the idea to gather all dressage people from the Region, FEI representatives and respected officials and trainers met each other at the Regional Forum, which ceated new opportunities for exchanging experiences and ideas amongst all parties involved. The focus was on the organization and training of athletes and horses.
Initated and hosted by the Association for Dressage and Para-dressage Equestrian Sport of Serbia, with support of the FEI, more than 40 trainers, riders, FEI and National judges, stewards and organizers from 6 countries from Balkan Region (Croatia, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Hungary, Romania, Serbia and Turkey) gathered at this event.
Forum lectures were presented by Trond Asmyr (FEI Dressage and Para-Equestrian Dressage Director), Wojtek Markowski (FEI Judge 5*, TD, Board Member of IDOC), Ulf Wilken (FEI Judge 5*Para-Equestrian, TD and Chair of FEI Para-Equestrian Dressage Committee )and Irish international Grand Prix rider Anna Merveldt, who is based in Italy.
The Serbian FEI Regional Dressage Forum covered issues and topics such as the FEI Development and Solidarity programme, the tasks of the IDOC, IDTC, IDRC clubs, improving the efficiency and programmes of regional NFs, and discussing the essential responsibilities of Organizers, TDs ,judges and stewards at dressage events as well as the co-operation on different levels. These topics were moderated by Trond Asmyr, Wojtek Markowski and Anna Merveldt.
Anna Merveldt held a seminar with demonstrations on the practical aspects of training. She talked on how to develop the seat and position of the ride to optimize the performance. She also introduced the importance of lateral work in the daily dressage training and expounded on the change in balance and importance of good balance for a horse as stepping stones to the small tour. Merveldt further discussed how rider and horse are best introduced to the flying changes and pirouettes.
Polish O-judge Wojtek Markowski then made a presentation of “Dressage through the eye of the judge,” covering Novice level up to Medium Advanced. Each topic was composed of a short presentation, a practical video showing movements or a group of movements, followed by a discussion during which the opinions of the participants and presenter were shared.
Very important topics such as the founding and development of Para-equestrian dressage in the world and amongst NFs created much debate. “The essentials in training athletes in Para-equestrian dressage and the basic principles in para-equestrian judging with standards for scoring were a good initial step for development of Para-Equestrian not only in Serbia, but among whole Region,” said Milan Djordjevic of the Association for Dressage and Para-dressage Equestrian Sport of Serbia.
This Regional Forum aimed at bringing together all persons involved in the preparation and hosting of dressage competitions to organize such events as perfect as possible. The forum tried to imprint a better understanding of dressage and Para-Equestrian dressage as equestrian disciplines and it discussed the rules for these events so that regional cooperation among all NFs can be improved.