Free Rein With: Robert Dover

Jun 4, 2009 - 10:00 PM

A U.S. dressage legend, Robert Dover has competed in six consecutive Olympic Games, the most ever for a U.S. dressage rider. He also competed in four World Championships and won team bronze and placed fifth individually in The Hague (the Netherlands) in 1994. He made his Olympic debut at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, and he won his first Olympic medal in 1992 in Barcelona with Lectron. He collected four Olympic bronze team medals over the years and finished sixth individually at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games with FBW Kennedy, his highest individual placing.

In 1987, Dover had one of the greatest thrills of his life when he won the prestigious Aachen (Germany) Grand Prix, beating six-time Olympic gold medalist Reiner Klimke of Germany on his home turf.

In addition to these accolades, Dover competed in seven Fédération Equestre Internationale World Cup Finals and was the U.S. National Grand Prix champion five times. A founder of the Equestrian Aid Foundation, he also currently sits on the FEI Dressage Task Force. Although he has retired from competition, Dover remains an active participant in the horse world, training riders, running a website with a popular blog ( and bringing his sport to the public through the reality TV show, “The Search For America’s Next Equestrian Star.”

Name:  Robert Dover                                   
Home Base:  South Miami Beach, Fla.                                              
Age:  52

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
My 21-year relationship with Robert Ross.

What is your greatest regret?

Being less than the best I could be or unkind to anyone.

What characteristic do you value most in a human?


In a horse?

What is your biggest self-indulgence?

Flying first class.

Who is your real life hero?
At the moment, Barack Obama.

What word or phrase do you most often overuse?

What was that?

What is your drink of choice?
Protein shakes.

What do you think is the biggest issue facing the world today?
Lack of honesty. If everyone were totally honest at all times about all things, the entire world would change completely. (Read the novel The Truth Machine by James L. Halperin.)

What was the last book you read?
Three Cups Of Tea by Greg Mortenson.

What three things are most likely to be found in your refrigerator at all times?
Protein shakes, water, ordered-in leftovers.

What do you find to be the most ridiculous part of the horse world?
Prices of the horses.

What equine fad do you perpetuate?
Traditional styles.

If you had to boil down your training philosophy into one word, what would it be?

As a member of the FEI’s Ad Hoc Dressage Committee, what issue would you like to tackle?

The judging system.

Looking back on your career so far, what advice are you glad you never took?

To sell [my 1988 Olympic mount] Federleicht in 1986.

Given the chance, which horse would you like to take a turn on?
 [Anky Van Grunsven’s] Salinero, just to feel it.

What is your idea of perfect happiness

I am lucky enough to be living it.

Category: Interviews

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