The Spanish Riding School in Vienna, the Cadre Noir in France, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are the most notable performers of the dressage quadrille. Although quadrille has been performed since the Baroque period, only in the last decade has it become a competitive sport in the United States.
The Challenge of the Americas is a Grand Prix team dressage quadrille and musical freestyle competition to be held on March 12, 2005 at the Players Club and Palm Beach Polo in Wellington, Florida to benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Teams from Canada, Latin America and the United States will participate.
Three judges will officiate, representing each of the three participating countries: FEI “O” level judge Linda Zang of Davidsonville, Maryland has accepted the USA position, Marian E. Cunningham of Peru will represent Latin America and Lorraine Stubbs of Toronto, Ontario is the Canadian judge.
Linda Zang, who shares with Axel Steiner the distinction of being one of two “O” level judges in the United States, trained and competed for many years in Europe before coming back to America in the 70's. She has represented the United States as a dressage competitor at the 1978 World Championships, the 1979 Pan-American Games and the 1980 Alternate Olympics at Goodwood, England. She has been an FEI judge since 1985 and represented the United States as a judge at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. She is based at Idlewilde Farm in Davidsonville, MD.
Lorraine Stubbs was twice a member of Canada's Olympic dressage team and finished in the top 10 at the 1976 Olympics. She won two gold medals at the 1991 Pan-American Games and has been an FEI dressage judge since 1981. She is currently chair of the newly organized Dressage Canada. She lives at Rock Eden Farm, her breeding, training and sales facility near Toronto.
Marian Cunningham is an FEI “I” judge and USEF “S” judge from Peru, currently based in Middleburg, VA. She lives on a farm with her horses, dogs and cats where she rides and trains, but her busy judging schedule no longer leaves time for her to compete.
After training and competing in Europe, Cunningham represented Peru in the 1983 Pan-American Games in Venezuela and the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. She has judged in the US, Europe, Latin America, Canada and Australia.
“I have seen a lot of quadrilles in Europe, where they are very popular,” she said. “The clubs do them and perform at the finals in Amsterdam, and they are really good. As judges, we look for the same things as usual, it’s just that there are more horses to look at. These are all really good riders and I know that they have been practicing.”
While the rules will not adhere strictly to FEI regulations, the standard of riding and judging will be high and the competition will be taken seriously by the competitors and judges alike.
According to the USDF website, “In a quadrille competition the main criteria is the team's performance as a cohesive group…In each performance, judges look for the teams to keep even spacing (from horse to horse), move and turn in synchrony and maintain alignment throughout the ride. In the freestyle competition, the team's artistic skill is showcased in the interpretation of the music and the creativity of their choreography.”
Celebrity Judges will also participate, with Athens Olympic rider Debbie McDonald representing the United States. Other US Dressage Team members Stephan Peters, Lisa Wilcox and Robert Dover will also attend the event as celebrity participants. The most recent riding addition to the US team is Leslie Morse, who will perform an individual musical freestyle.