The 2015 Pan American Games Dressage Format

Written by Betsy LaBelle - In Dressage - Monday, June 8, 2015

The Pan American Equestrian Counsel (PAEC), in its plan to create a more even playing field with Europeans, established new dressage standards for the 2015 Pan American Games concerning the Americas (North America, Central America and South America) having to qualify for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. The new format consists of teams of four, with Small Tour (Prix St. Georges, Intermediate I and Intermediate Freestyle) and now a maximum of two Large Tour (Grand Prix, Grand Prix Freestyle, Grand Prix Special). This new plan includes the many Central and South American countries that have riders still developing horses for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, which is all Large Tour.

The 2015 Pan American Games for dressage will be held in Toronto, Canada July 10th - July 14th at the Caledon Equestrian Park. The Pan American Games, structured by the Organization Deportiva Panamericana (ODEPA), is an Olympic-style competition for athletes from all nations of the Americas and are conducted every four years (always one year before the Olympic Games). The Pan American Sport Organization (PASO), which governs the Pan American Games, is recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). In order to participate in the Olympics where forty-two countries are invited to compete, all athletes must be entered by their country’s national Olympic committee. Equestrian sports, under the technical control of the FEI, first appeared at the Pan American Games in 1951.

Federation for Equestrian Sport (FEI) Dressage Committee members Thomas Baur and Maribel Alonso drew up the FEI proposal for the new format at the Wellington Nations Cup CDIO in February of last year (2014) to great success. The Nations Cup format in Wellington went very well and proved that the Americas are ready for such a change.

Baur explained, “The reason to have Small Tour still in the Pan American Games is to have all of Central and South America on board. It’s too big of a jump for all the countries to go straight into Grand Prix.” Baur continued, “We do not want to lose a flag that has worked really hard for many years. But we want to show all the Americas that it’s time to move to Grand Prix. All the countries have to progress in the future. It’s better for the Americas and better for the horse and rider combinations to progress to the same level as the Europeans.”

Baur went on, “The decision of the FEI General Assembly has been made. We [at the assembly] came to the conclusion that the best team from the Pan American Games with Grand Prix horses will get the Olympic slot. Brazil will get an automatic team slot because the host nation is pre-qualified. The other countries have the possibility to send individuals.”

Baur is also the Vice President of the International Equestrian Organizers Alliance and Pappas Amadeus Horse Indoors (Austria) shows. His affiliation with the Stuttgart German Masters, as well as his membership on the FEI Dressage Committee, increases the international exposure of the Americas to the FEI Dressage Committee. Baur has also worked for Equestrian Sports Productions in Wellington, Florida and as one of the organizers of the 2015 Adequan Global Dressage Festival. 

Only one team can qualify a team for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro through the Pan American Games. That team must include at least one Grand Prix combination.

The United States and Canada, as well as other Pan Am nations, will be seeking to win the single Olympic team slot.

Pan American Games Qualification Requirements:

CLICK HERE to read the exact FEI Requirements

Format for Pan American Team possibilities:


MIXED TEAMS (Small Tour/Big Tour): 

A team of 4 can be composing of the following combinations:
a) 4 Small Tour combinations (not eligible for Olympic Qualification Slot)
b) 2 Small Tour / 2 Big Tour
c) 3 Small Tour / 1 Big Tour combinations

A team of 3 can be composed of the following combinations:
a) 3 Small Tour combinations
b) 2 Small Tour / 1 Big Tour
c) 1 Small Tour / 2 Big TourEligibility

The qualifying scores required to participate in the Pan American Games: 
• Small tour: 62% in a CDN or CDI with two FEI judges; different nationality than the athlete
• Big tour: 58% in a CDN or CDI 2* in Grand Prix; different nationality than the athlete

The TESTS During the Pan American Games:
Small Tour: Prix St. Georg/Intermediate I/Intermediate I Freestyle
Big Tour: Grand Prix de Dressage/Grand Prix Special/Grand Prix Freestyle
1. Day/Team competition: all
2. Day/Final Team competition: all except those under 58 % in Big Tour
3. Day/Individual Final competition: The highest ranked 50 % of Small Tour and
the highest ranked 50 % of Big Tour
except those under 58 % in the Big Tour.


The USA:
The Chef d’Equipe in consultation with the Selectors will determine by the Final Entry (June 10, 2015) if the Team is made up of two (2) Small Tour combinations and two (2) Big Tour combinations or three (3) Small Tour combinations and one (1) Big Tour Combination.


USA Qualifications:


Canadian Qualifications:
For Canadian procedures CLICK HERE:


To read about the Pan American Games CLICK HERE: 

Caledon Equestrian Park: