Revised and approved November 2009.

The process of selecting a World Championships team must evolve to keep pace with the level of competition in the United States. When the US sent its first team to the then European Championships, the goal was to have a presence to demonstrate to FEIF that the United States was a full member organization and the competition should be the World Championships. While, the United States is not ready to select a team using the methods employed in Europe, there are steps which can be taken to advance the process to the next level.

Goal

There needs to be a clear understanding of the goal of the tryout process. In the past, the goal has been to send riders to force the event to a global scope. That goal has been met. The next logical step is to send the best qualified horse/rider combinations to be competitive with the European horses and riders.

Tryout Prerequisites

  1. Riders must meet all current FEIF Sport Rule requirements including being US citizens or holders of green cards for at least one year.
  2. Riders must be members in good standing of the United States Icelandic Horse Congress for at least one year before the tryout entry deadline.
  3. Riders must be ranked in either the World Rankings or US National Rankings in all their tests of choice for the World Championships tryouts.
  4. Each horse may only be used by one rider in the tryouts.
  5. The horse must be registered in the United States if the tryout (live or by video) takes place in the United States. If the horse is European, it must have a FEIF ID Number.
  6. Riders must submit proof their horse is microchipped.
  7. Riders must pay the appropriate fees.

The tryout process must enforce the rules presented in the FEIF Sport Rules. Further, in recognition of the World Championships as the pinnacle competitive event in the Icelandic Horse world, the United States must send riders who have demonstrated experience under the FEIF Sport Rules rules in their tests of choice. It would be wholly inappropriate to send a rider who has no competition experience to the World Championships.

Tryout Process

  1. The tryout entry deadline shall be set by the Sport Leader to be no later than the second Saturday of May in each World Championships year.
  2. The in-person tryouts shall be scheduled between the entry deadline and the end of May.
  3. The team members and team leader shall be announced by the Sport Leader by the first Saturday in June.
  4. Riders must qualify by achieving the scores used to compete at the "master" level in Iceland: T1 6.5, V1 6.2, T2 6.2, F1 6.0. Any combination qualifying in F1 may enter any pace event at the Championships.
  5. Riders who make the team are allowed to compete in any event at the World Championships as long as the event was ridden in the tryouts. Riders who qualify in F1 may ride any pace event at the Championships.
  6. Riders must qualify on the horse they will take to the World Championships.
  7. The same FEIF International Judge shall evaluate all domestic video and live tryouts.
  8. Riders may participate in a live tryout event to be scheduled as practical throughout the country. A tryout video may be submitted as an alternative, if a rider is unable to travel to one of the scheduled events. Tryout videos must be made no earlier than 60 days before the tryout submission deadline. Riders trying out on European horses must submit their tryout application prior to competing in and submitting scores from a World Ranking event held in the same calendar year as the tryouts. No international video submissions will be accepted.

The minimum scores must be held at a high standard if we are to meet the goal of sending a team with hopes of making the finals in each test. The judging at the World Championships is, rightly, the most strict judging of any competition in the Icelandic Horse world. Given the logistical limitations of the US tryouts we must keep the bar set high for entry onto the team.

There needs to be an established relationship between horse and rider to compete at this level and under the tremendous stress introduced on the combination at the World Championships. In order to send the best team we must evaluate the combination not just the rider.

The United States is not ready to rely on rankings alone to determine its team. The World Ranking process is designed to minimize human error by excluding high and low scores and taking the average of the three remaining judges. Until 5-judge shows become the norm in the United States, the most practical way to level the playing field for the tryouts is to use the same qualified judge to evaluate all candidates.

Domestic video submissions are not the ideal method of trying out for the team. It is difficult to control and evaluate the tests based on a video tape. However, the United States is too large for it to be practical for all qualified candidates to be able to reach one of the limited tryout venues.

Ideally, the same judge would be used to evaluate the international and domestic candidates. With the requirement that the combination be evaluated, it is not practical for the judge to travel to all the potential European venues. Considering the difficulty in making and evaluating videos, international candidates shall be evaluated based on their performance at a World Ranking Competition. These events are judged by a panel of five judges with at least two required to hold international judging licenses. While this is not the same conditions as the domestic candidate, it is at least as fair as using a video. Without a doubt, this makes the application process much simpler for both an international candidate and the Sport Leader.

Team Selection

Following the in-person tryouts and the evaluation of all video submissions, the team shall be selected by first taking the highest qualifying combination from each test: T1, T2, V1, and F1. The remaining spaces on the team shall be filled by normalizing the scores of qualifying combinations. The combinations are invited to join the team in descending order until a full team is formed or there are no more qualifying combinations.

There are some exceptions to the simple traversal of the ranking: