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View Full Version : Since dressage is becoming such a big part of team Eventing...



BetterOffRed
Oct. 5, 2010, 05:58 PM
Did you guys see Michael Jung's dressage? Letter perfect. Nearly invisible aids, lovely flying changes....


I posed the following question on one of the eventing threads and got no response- probably because the forum feels like there are bigger problems at hand.

But all the German riders had great dressage. There is great emphasis on finishing on the dressage.

So my question is could the U.S. Eventing Team use a new dressage coach? No offense to Oded Shimoni, but I would love to see Debbie McDonald or Guenter Seidel be the U.S. Eventing team coach.

Any thoughts?

Gallop~on~Grant
Oct. 5, 2010, 06:39 PM
Crickets....

spirithorse
Oct. 5, 2010, 06:42 PM
YES, because we did not medal due to dressage

ctab
Oct. 5, 2010, 06:48 PM
... the discussion of how much dressage is too much.

To condition for that level of eventing there must be days of jumping, road miles for condition, cc schools etc. Just can't focus on pure dressage every day.

There were lively discussions about multiple flying changes in the tests re. how much submission was fair to ask a horse who is to gallop for miles over 20+ huge natural obstacles the next day. You need a horse who thinks for himself somewhat otherwise when you have a bad distance the horse will not take the initiative to get himself out of it and just stop.

There will be discussion on purpose bred upper level event horses vs. OTTB and how it will become a sport only lots of $$$ can support at the UL. (I think it is heading that way)

There will be discussion on the loss of the long format and how that has led to the pressure on the dressage ramping up to the level of importance it has become. (I personally agree with that.)

My take is that I watched both the GP dressage and the eventing dressage. Comparing the quality of the two is unfair. You should not expect an event horse to go like a pure UL dressage horse. Nevertheless, the aids should be quiet, invisible, the horses should be correct, supple and obedient and the scores should be good. Just don't expect an event horse to score in the high 70's low 80's.

Could eventers do better? Of course they could. The question is really can they afford to in $$$ and time spent on it vs. schooling over fences. Mandiba was in the silver position and had a silly stop at a gate & a second knock down in SJ. Should KOC focus in her dressage or focus in going over more scary obstacles since that seems to be his biggest problem?

If the Germans had one stop or rail down then it would have been different and we wouldn't be having this discussion. I have seen less than perfect rides take down Ingrid Klimke. If anyone should have perfect dressage, it should be her.

There is an opening for a new Chef d'Equipe for Eventing after 2012. That is probably when there will be a new coach for dressage. As do many, I feel that there needs to be a more cohesive way of getting a team. One coach, one vision of getting it done. Not the fragmented way it is done now. It makes it hard to figure out a system of what works and what doesn't. Can you imagine riding one way at home and being told to do another at shows?

Phaxxton
Oct. 6, 2010, 12:47 PM
There is great emphasis on finishing on the dressage.

You can't finish on your dressage score if you can't go double-clear cross-country and stadium. There were many lovely dressage tests at WEG and also many jumping and time penalties in the jumping phases. OVER-emphasizing the importance of the dressage phase is just as dangerous and under-estimating it.

Does the US need a new dressage coach? Maybe. What it needs more than that, though, is a program with more direction, more emphasis on bringing up young horses and young riders, and more cohesion generally. That's no easy task, especially not in a country as (geographically) large as ours, where horse sports don't have the same popularity and funding as they do in many other countries.

Of course, this is just my opinion, so take it for what it's worth (not much) -- I haven't evented past Intermediate (which I only did a handful of times) and haven't done the ULs or even sat on an UL horse since before the death of the long format due to a bad injury, long recovery, and well, life. ;) My last event was >8 years ago - where, BTW, I was coached by a member of the 2010 WEG eventing team. Now I'm struggling with 3' jumpers and 1st level dressage, as I try to get my body to work the way it used to. So maybe my nostalgia has me a bit biased... but I also saw a lot of good from the US team at WEG, along with the ever-present room for improvement, the latter of which is currently at a very frustrating level.

If we want to dominate the sport in international competition, though, we need a program overhaul - not just a new dressage coach.

mickeydoodle
Oct. 6, 2010, 02:27 PM
eventing could definitely find a better dressage coach

poltroon
Oct. 6, 2010, 02:36 PM
I don't know the current coach so I have no opinion there.

What I would say is that the dressage expectations for eventing are a little different, and I'm not sure I'd choose the same coach that I'd choose for the GP squad.

There are some practical considerations as well - I think Debbie McDonald could be lovely but with her base in Idaho she'd have to travel a lot which would take away from her own training and competing. And there are other people, perhaps less well known, who can fit the bill.

I know I'm a heretic, but I actually prefer the eventing dressage to the GP. The horses are lighter and more horse-like IMHO. Also, because it's not such a high level (only about 4th), they are able to perfect the work perhaps a bit better than the GP horses, who are more at the height of what is possible for a horse.

The eventing judges gave away plenty of 8's and several 9's, plus some 10's.

quietann
Oct. 6, 2010, 02:51 PM
Did you guys see Michael Jung's dressage? Letter perfect. Nearly invisible aids, lovely flying changes....


I posed the following question on one of the eventing threads and got no response- probably because the forum feels like there are bigger problems at hand.

But all the German riders had great dressage. There is great emphasis on finishing on the dressage.

So my question is could the U.S. Eventing Team use a new dressage coach? No offense to Oded Shimoni, but I would love to see Debbie McDonald or Guenter Seidel be the U.S. Eventing team coach.

Any thoughts?

Well, for starters the Germans fell apart in the cross-country phase... Jung was great, but there were also two German riders who didn't even finish X/C! Elsewhere, people have commented that the horses who did well on that X/C "flew over the ground" at the gallop, rather than pounding, and the German horses were in general "pounders."

Next, look at the dressage performances of the three medaling teams, Great Britain, Canada, and New Zealand. Except for GB, you won't find superb dressage results -- but Canada and New Zealand made up for it in the jumping phases, especially X/C. The US was in 4th, arguably because of problems in the jumping phases.

To our credit, Becky Holder and her OTTB Courageous Comet were in 5th place after dressage, and third place after X/C, but remember, they were not even on the Team! CC is a horse that a lot of dressage trainers would love to have in their barns, but he would be wasted simply because of how great he is X/C. It was just bad luck that he lost a shoe on X/C and was hurt badly enough that he could not pass the jog before show jumping, but even if that had not happened, he could not have helped the medal standings.

(One of the things I love about Becky is that she's a big woman, and she is very open about how her struggles with her weight affect her riding. But she is not too ashamed to get out there and compete in the toughest competition, just because she is big.)

There's a lot of discussion on the Eventing board of just what went wrong, and dressage is not being mentioned much.

I do think that at the lower levels "finishing on your dressage score" is much more common, and to some degree that's built into the system, because at those levels the really hard questions aren't asked so much on cross-country, and show jumping courses are *relatively* easy -- but I did say relatively! So a lot of times, placings in dressage are good predictors of the ultimate placings. LL riders are also less likely to have good access to X/C schooling, and be more flatwork-focused for that reason.

(Disclaimer: I am a total smurf at both eventing and dressage, and only evented once before I had to stop jumping because of an injury. But I've carried on with the eventing mindset that drilling and drilling in the arena is not the way to go, and bubble-wrapping horses might be good for the pocketbook, but not so fun for the horse. Trail riding is great, trailering to another farm and riding around there is great, big pastures are fun, etc.)

leilatigress
Oct. 6, 2010, 03:46 PM
The junior rider we have doing well in eventing has an OTTB and did horribly in dressage. I made a passing mention she might get to the big name clinics when they came in and improve. She did take my advice and is doing much much better now. Each rider needs to address the strengths of their horses. If you need to work on your jumping then get to it. If its the cross country your horse needs work on then do so. You can't expect the team coach to be able to swoop in with a magic wand and fix your mistakes. (your being the team riders not individuals here.) If you think your horse is solid take it to a schooling event or a clinic and get told he/she sucks on x,y,z. Either way the riding is only as good as the horse/rider wants it to be. (Barring shoe throws and other issues.)

Peggy
Oct. 6, 2010, 08:27 PM
While the gold medalist (Jung) won the dressage and finished on his dressage score, the silver medalist (Fox-Pitt) was 12th after dressage and the bronze medalist (Nicholson) was 14th after dressage.

The Germans were 1st, 3rd, 7th, 9th, 11th and 13th after dressage and 1st, E'd, 53rd, 30th, 4th, and E'd after cross country.

The winning British team was 8th, 12th, 26th, and 42nd after dressage (the GBR riders who were 21st and 24th after dressage were not part of the team)

So it was not exactly a dressage competition, as Jimmy Wofford pointed out both in his blog and during the course walk.

Links to results that include standings after each phase:
Individual: http://www.alltechfeigames.com/ftp-pdf/EVE_R_3.pdf
Team: http://www.alltechfeigames.com/ftp-pdf/EVE_RT_3.pdf

So, if you have a horse that can win the dressage and jump around clean and within the time you will win, but finding and nurturing that horse is what makes it hard.

Not saying that there isn't always room for improvement in any of the three phases.