View Full Version : Response from Overseas about our team in Madrid

Sep. 26, 2001, 11:18 AM
This is from my friend Eddie Stuart, who organizes the Burgie Horse Trials in Scotland and also has designed a lot of the online registration for European horse trials and other shows. I passed on MAD's post of Alice's email:

"With these facts in mind, not sending a US team to Madrid, and thus not honoring the organizers and sponsors invitation would have been a

I can't agree more.

To claim that it might have been a 2nd string team in circs like these was ridiculous.

After all, in Eventing the UK lost Rodney Powell with his broken ankle in the Sydney Olympics. Did that really lower the strength of the challenge? Or did the Brits get on with the job with the best that they had taking all other things into consideration?

I think that it is admirable to be able to form a team at such short notice and that everybody concerned deserves much credit for doing so.

I think that being there, flying the flag with respect & dignity whilst wearing a black armband shows *all* that was needed on that front. And,
importantly, showed that at the end of the day we don't like letting the bad guys win. And that a group of mad, bad people don't stop America et al that easily.

Well done to you all,
Eddie Stuart

Sep. 26, 2001, 11:18 AM
This is from my friend Eddie Stuart, who organizes the Burgie Horse Trials in Scotland and also has designed a lot of the online registration for European horse trials and other shows. I passed on MAD's post of Alice's email:

"With these facts in mind, not sending a US team to Madrid, and thus not honoring the organizers and sponsors invitation would have been a

I can't agree more.

To claim that it might have been a 2nd string team in circs like these was ridiculous.

After all, in Eventing the UK lost Rodney Powell with his broken ankle in the Sydney Olympics. Did that really lower the strength of the challenge? Or did the Brits get on with the job with the best that they had taking all other things into consideration?

I think that it is admirable to be able to form a team at such short notice and that everybody concerned deserves much credit for doing so.

I think that being there, flying the flag with respect & dignity whilst wearing a black armband shows *all* that was needed on that front. And,
importantly, showed that at the end of the day we don't like letting the bad guys win. And that a group of mad, bad people don't stop America et al that easily.

Well done to you all,
Eddie Stuart

Sep. 26, 2001, 12:21 PM
As well as the message from Alice Debany-Clero that MAD posted. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

The sympathy and concern shown by our European friends in response to the terrorist attack is very heartwarming.

And once again, I am so proud of the job Richard, Alice and Clare did representing us in Spain!!! I simply don't understand the reasoning of those who felt we should not have a team there. /infopop/emoticons/icon_confused.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_mad.gif

"Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong." - Dennis Miller

Sep. 26, 2001, 12:48 PM
As far as understanding the response of those, ie GM and AL, who didn't think we should have a team there - Louise's totally on her own and probably crackbrained theory - they were afraid that people would find out that these kind of things could be done without them!

Sep. 26, 2001, 12:51 PM
I agree. This team rode admirably under difficult circumstances, to say the least. I'm glad they were willing to represent the U.S.A. at a time when we most needed to be seen. They deserve our respect and admiration, not condescension.

If they were not already in Europe at the time, I can understand the USET being concerned about the safety of sending horses and riders over.

However, they were there. They were qualified and up to the task at hand. And anyone who criticizes their abilities, their performance and their participation is putting their own ego and pride before the good of the Team and the nation.

For us, this wasn't an ordinary Nations Cup. Yes, you always want to ride your best with the objective of winning. But sometimes winning isn't everything. Sometimes you win, but you don't come home with a prize in hand. This team, IMHO, is a real winner! /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

"You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm."

Sep. 26, 2001, 01:46 PM
Oh Louise you wonderfully bold and fearless leader. You noticed and slapped it on the screen.

Sometime i think these "leaders" need a good yank on the curb to rein in their tongues.

I kept cringing as some of their comments. esp during the AHSA vs USET go around earlier this year.

This time I really winced. Hate to admit it was the first thought out there from me too.

Well done team in europe!!!! Perhaps they should come home for the Washington or Garden, will they have Nations Cup this year???

Sep. 26, 2001, 06:13 PM
I've lost a lot of respect for GM and AL, and by association the USET. Their self-serving statements have shown them to be "dogs in the manger" when their elite little world is threatened. I wonder if this "putting foot in mouth" act doesn't expose them to be little more than protectors of the status quo where they have almost complete control over anything and everything in the way of International competition.

I have so enjoyed seeing the overwhelmingly universal and heartfelt support from both their fellow Americans and the International community. And, almost as an afterthought, it's marvelous that they did so well with a 3-rider team. I congratulate them for doing a great job under a terribly stressful situation.

Sep. 26, 2001, 07:44 PM
More Applause!

Thanks for posting that Coreene. We forget that there were 40 countries, who also lost friends, family and loved ones in the WTC. It seems that everyone does understand what these 3 did to make this work, well except a few.....

Sep. 26, 2001, 11:28 PM
I was in Europe (Germany) when the planes hit. It was a terribly nervewrecking feeling being so far from home and yet so close to the countries the very terroists are from and indeed being right there in Hamburg where the rats had nested at one time. Richard was traveling with his horses there also as you guys know.

I find it amazingly awesome that Richard and the other riders representing America on such short notice could keep their composure and compete at all, let alone so successfully. Their scores speak for themselves!!! /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

I find it embarrasing (oops spelling) and a bit humiliating for our country that our "top chefs and coachs" could not have the personal honor and intregity to keep their lips zipped, their opinions to themselves, their hurtful comments in their hats, their pious position in check and mostly..... their lack of support to themselves!!

As scary and confusing as it was for the folks here in America when the planes hit, the Americans traveling in Europe felt terribly shaky, helpless and vulnerable to the unknown also. /infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif

For the riders to rise to the occasion and compete at all they deserve our upmost respect, support and thanks. I am proud to be an American and I am proud that these riders stepped in on a moments notice under such strain and "did us proud". /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Maybe our "older" generation could learn a thing or two about "sport" from these guys and at the same time the older guys could forget a bit about "business" in the name of good old competitive sportsmanship!!!!

We gained a whole big lot of respect and admiration from the European competitors when these three stepped to the plate and hit a home run against the enemy by riding at all!!!!!!!!


And that is what makes America...America.. we don't say we can't, we say lets figure out how to!!!

Congrats and respect to Richard, Alice and Clare.. our First String riders!!! /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Sep. 27, 2001, 12:28 PM
Ah, but hear what God has to say:

from Nancy Jaffer's column: <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> NEW FROM Nancy Jaffer's Column...

CONTROVERSY: USA Equestrian scrambled to get a squad together to wave the flag at last weekend's Samsung Nations' Cup finals in Spain, after the U.S. Equestrian Team scrapped its plans to send a squad because of potential travel problems and out of respect for victims following the terrorist attack on America.Only three riders already in Europe could be rounded up for the task, which meant they had no drop score, but USA Equestrian felt in the wake of the tragedy the Stars and Stripes should fly at the show. The U.S. squad finished last in the Samsung, though from all accounts, it got a great reception from spectators, organizers and fellow competitors.

But some associated with the USET, which is continuously clashing with USAE in its bid to become American horse sports' national governing body, weren't happy about a team being sent. Coming in last "is just what we do not want to do in international competition," said George Morris, who would have been chef d'equipe of the USET squad, picked under standard methods from those highest on the computer list. He said an end of the year championship is no place for "a scratch team," calling it "an absolute disgrace and very, very insulting to the riders who bowed out because of the World Trade Center."




And how many times have his teams stood "last"??? We have proven by looking at the scoreboard that this team CERTAINLY deserved to be there - and had they had one throwaway score in each round, might have been first!!!

And do we have to remind GM that the only reason his team didn't go - despite what they say - was because they couldn't GET THERE!?!


My apoligies for being an immoderate moderator on this. /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Sep. 27, 2001, 12:35 PM
This BB Guide is PO'ed at the attitude of some, to say the least.


Sep. 27, 2001, 12:36 PM
I'm right there immoderating with you Weatherford. I am just so sick of these guys playing politics with everything, even a tragedy such as WTC.

Dementia 13
Sep. 27, 2001, 12:49 PM
I am thoroughly sick of GM's holier-than-thou pontificating.

Isn't it time for a new Chef D'Equipe?

Sep. 27, 2001, 01:06 PM
His comments before the show in Madrid were bad enough, but then GM comes out with this RIDICULOUS statement afterwards?!?!?!?! /infopop/emoticons/icon_mad.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_mad.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif

Open mouth, insert foot....Engage mouth, disengage brain.... /infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif

"Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong." - Dennis Miller

Sep. 27, 2001, 01:15 PM
Again, the pot calling the kettle Black & Decker.

Did no one from USET read Alice's response, posted kindly by MAD here or on Towerheads?

As for being a disgrace, what a complete and utter load of bollocks (apologies to our UK BBers re the language). Boo sucks to USET.

Dry Clean Only
Sep. 27, 2001, 01:23 PM
They are going to lose A LOT of support after this one...

Maybe someone should direct GM's attention to this board to show him that he has finally 'broken the camel's back"... The masses are not going to support him on this one.

And how can he expect to be an effective coach if he ever oversees a team with one of these three riders on it?

Sep. 27, 2001, 01:24 PM
The man just can't stop shooting himself in the foot. His comments, and those of AL, are particularly poor spirited when contrasted with Mr. Balch's statement, hmmm?

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>"I am heartened and impressed with how thoroughly and quickly everyone responded," said Balch. "Clearly, the U.S. riders in Europe wanted to see our flag flying in the Final, and so did the organizers, sponsors, and the FEI. We were doubtful at first that under the difficult circumstances of travel whether this could be arranged, but everyone has come through. We are particularly grateful for the support of the FEI, and of Samsung, the sponsors, who really made this possible. This is the essence of sporting spirit."<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

The "essence of sporting spirit" can occasionally be displayed by even the "scratch team," I suppose. /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Sep. 27, 2001, 02:55 PM
"It is not the winning, but the taking part."

Sep. 27, 2001, 05:18 PM
Not only does it appear he doesn't believe the Olympic ethic, he FORGOT that "HIS" TEAMS WERE NOT QUALIFIED TO GO!! The US was there at the organizer's discretion/invitation. I repeat - we did NOT QUALIFY for the Nations Cup Finals - we were there by invitation.

To me, less than one rail out of 4th, without a scratch score, means our guys did GOOD!!

Sep. 27, 2001, 05:22 PM
By the way, I just heard that Richard Spooner was sitting high (4th I believe) on the ranking for the European Rider Tour, with a very large bonus at stake, and gave up his invitation to a major on that tour (Wiesbaden) in order to ride for the US on a 3-man team in Madrid!


Sep. 27, 2001, 06:14 PM
I'm very impressed with out team's efforts. Sounds like they rode their hearts out and put in a respectable performance.

George really needs someone put a filter in between his brain and his mouth! /infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif

Sep. 27, 2001, 09:34 PM
He is only God to some Weatherford. And we all know what he says, sometimes needs to be ignored!! Example, last year, Florida????? Take it for what it's worth, nada....

Sep. 28, 2001, 09:42 AM
Well, I take the day off and look what happens. /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

I'm right there with the rest of the immoderate moderators. Grrrrrrr, to Mr. Morris and those who would try to use this to criticize USA Eq, never caring that at the same time they criticize those fine riders who stepped up, made the effort, and sacrificed on behalf of our country.

Louise, I haven't wanted to mention it, but I very much agree with you that -- IMHO -- there are some hidden agendas behind the USET comments. As Armand Leone and the USET specifically argued starting with the San Antonio meeting last February and in its challenge pleadings since then, they claim that the USET and only the USET is capable of sending a team to a major international competition. The fact that this time they backed out and USA Eq went forward and got it done under very difficult circumstances severely diminishes the strength of the USET argument in this respect, IMHO.

Also -- and this is just a suspicion solely on my part -- I can understand the travel difficulties in getting the horses from the US to Madrid, but given the USET's well publicized (by themselves) severe money problems, I do have to wonder how much of the USET's decision not to try to put together a team from the riders already in Europe had to do with saving money. Maybe money didn't have anything to do with the decision -- but I hate the fact that the USET's comments and actions over the last year have led me to this kind of cynicism about USET management. /infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

Sep. 28, 2001, 10:40 AM
For the USET to say they pulled out for patriotic reasons is disingenuous at best... the horses were parked in quarantine at Gladstone until the last possible minute when it became clear no flights were to be had. Perhaps they went there for the view??? And no one in Europe was kicking and screaming to be the replacements... in fact the opposite was true. Once Samsung laid down the hard line Alice, Spooner and Clare jumped in to soothe the feelings of the all-important sponsor AFTER initially declining to go. This was all arranged little more than 24 hours before the jog! This is little more than a desperate hail-Mary pass by the USET to smear Alan Balch. Think of the positive press they could have earned by supporting his efforts and proving themselves mature and far-sighted. Instead they are confirming our worst fears.

Sep. 28, 2001, 11:34 AM
You know, when I first read that we weren't sending a team out of respect, and all, I confess, I sat there in my numb, little shell shocked world - along with the vast majority of Americans - and said, "yes, right... shouldn't do this... musn't do this..." and gave it no more thought.

But after someone with more foresight and vision than I (or the USET, apparently) went ahead and MADE IT HAPPEN, I realized that is WAS what we needed. And what the world needed too, really (equestrian world, anyway).

To me, this is the difference between being in charge of something, as opposed to being a true leader. True leaders see what the people they serve and represent need, even when those people are too shell shocked to know it themselves.

I'll leave it to you to determine who are the leaders in our lives, and who are merely in charge.

As for the comments made by GM after all was said and done. That was hurtful to more than just the three competitors who sacrificed so much to be there. That was hurtful to a lot of people.

Sep. 28, 2001, 11:44 AM
It seems that among the many old-fashioned virtues and values GM is always pontificating about, sportsmanship (which in this case includes true horsemanship) is not on his list.

If all he can see is that they were "last", then all I can say is HURRAY FOR BEING LAST!!!

Sep. 28, 2001, 02:42 PM
I started the first two threads purely out of pride for my sister. When I made my first post, I did not know about the negative comments made by GM; in fact, I first heard about them from Alice over the phone.

I have been thrilled with everyone's positive comments about Richard, Clare and Alice's Madrid trip and marveled that no one posted a negative comment. I didn't think that a negative one was necessary, and was thrilled that no one else did, too. But today, some negative comments were made, and to quote Alice, well, they just hurt. (And hurt my family, you hurt me.)

I rarely compete, barely ever get to ride; I lurk on the boards here, love my sister. That is pretty much my relationship with horses at this time in my life. I had no opinion on the NGB, USAE or USET because I am so removed from it.

But, I think that Armand Leone, Jr is a bit of a hypocrite when he stated that it was disrespectful to compete at this time. Or, whom was he speaking for? Why didn't he just honestly come out and say it was about logistics? I think we all would have respected (and believed) that decision.

I have attached links to the results of the Gold Cup, which started TWO DAYS after the attacks at the WTC and the Albany Classic which was held the weekend of the Nation's Cup Final in Madrid.

If someone felt up to it, I think it was the right decision to compete after the attacks. But if someone calls Alice or anyone disrepectful for competing, AND COMPETED THEMSELVES, then are they perhaps full of sour grapes? Why is there so much antipathy?



Furthermore, the NFL and MLB were back in play by the weekend of Madrid...

And I wish this would be the end of it. The team rode in Spain and IMHO did what they were supposed to do, they raised the American Flag.

[This message was edited by MAD on Sep. 28, 2001 at 05:18 PM.]

Sep. 28, 2001, 03:48 PM
This is from www.towerheads.com: (http://www.towerheads.com:)


Hi Kenny, I just got done reading Alice's article. First of all, the only team we should have sent was the team that qualified. But as we all know, the team, the riders, and the owners decided that it was not safe and that it was disrespectful for our country to compete at this time. I don't know all of the facts, but it seems that after the USET had withdrawn, for obvious political reasons, the AHSA took it upon themselves to field a team of their own. It is not a question of whether these riders were capable of competing at that level, but the way I understand it waiver rules were broken. They took riders below number 50 on the computer list and no waivers were given. It's a rule violation. This is not a personal attack on any of the three riders, but the majority of the show jumping riders I have spoken with did not agree with the AHSA's decision to field this team. I realize Samsung wished for a U.S. team to be represented but for Alice to say "Whose to blame, the ones who tried, or the ones who wouldn't dare?" is inappropriate. The qualified team of Margie, Mclain, Allison, and Lauren certainly does not fit this quotation. I for one totally agree with the decision of the riders, the team and the owners involved.

Sincerely, Jimmy Torano


Okay, so on the flipside let's see a list of all of the GP riders who competed this past weekend in the US. What's the difference???

Pot calling the kettle Black & Decker.

Sep. 28, 2001, 03:57 PM
Sounds like enough sour grapes from GM and co. to keep us in vin du table for years /infopop/emoticons/icon_mad.gif Sorry, but I still think the US riders did an awesome job that was anything but disrespectful.

Sep. 28, 2001, 03:59 PM
A really POed USET. Oh, bummer.

Sep. 28, 2001, 04:10 PM
Yes, Coreene, I too noticed that "Margie and McLain," along with Mark Leone and Jimmy Torano himself, all competed in the Gold Cup only two days after the attacks. What do you want to bet that some or all of them justified their participation so soon after the tragedy -- the same weekend when all other major US sports cancelled their competitions -- on some grounds of patriotism (such as, we should do it to show we are still standing and they haven't brought us to our knees)?

I'm not criticizing these individual riders, but neither should they be critcizing those who could go and did compete, and who competed well.

To me, it would be the height of stupidity for the USET to file some kind of formal protest over this. Whether or not any waiver rules were broken -- and I don't know that they were and I doubt very much if Jimmy Torano knows if they were -- this was not a normal situation by any means.

The international governing body, the FEI, begged our NF, USA Equestrian, to put together a team, and it did. From the published reports, USA Eq went down the computer list and asked the riders who were in Europe in order of ranking if they would compete, and took the top riders who were willing to do so.

Just who is it who gives out these waivers anyway? If it is the USET or the riders who were further up on the computer list, what are they going to do? Complain that they had no intention of going themselves, but nobody else should have been allowed to go either despite the wishes of the FEI and the sponsors? Can we say dog in the manger? /infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

[This message was edited by Portia on Sep. 28, 2001 at 06:21 PM.]

Sep. 28, 2001, 04:12 PM
Jimmy Torano is obviously entitled to his opinion, as much as I disagree with it and personally feel that he totally missed the point of Alice, Richard and Clare's participation in Madrid....

Too bad they seem to reflect yet another instance of a USET supporter using a situation to bash the USA Equestrian/AHSA. /infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

The comment that these 3 riders competing on behalf of the United States in Spain was somehow disrespecful really really angers me!! /infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_mad.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif

Sep. 28, 2001, 04:18 PM
Dublin, Portia, Coreene, Everyone...
Thank you for understanding my post!

and Coreene...thanks for posting from Towerheads. I hope it is okay and will be allowed to stay?

Sep. 28, 2001, 04:22 PM
I know a lot of the BBers are also Towerhead subscribers, and we did give the credit, so I do hope Ken will be kind enough to let it stay.

I so look forward to hearing more of the I Was There stories!

Sep. 28, 2001, 04:56 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>For the USET to say they pulled out for patriotic reasons is disingenuous at best... the horses were parked in quarantine at Gladstone until the last possible minute when it became clear no flights were to be had. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

This is the fact and for the USET to think that most of us would not be aware of this fact and to think we would believe that they pulled out for respect is just ridiculous. So many riders showed at the Gold cup. If respect was the case why did they do that.

Obviously, Jimmy Torano doesn't know the facts either

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>. I for one totally agree with the decision of the riders, the team and the owners involved.

Sincerely, Jimmy Torano

<HR></BLOCKQUOTE> Those horses WOULD have gone if they could get a flight the owners, team, and riders didn't make the decision The Airlines made it for them.

I am proud that Alice, Richard and Clare represented us in Spain. They stepped up to the plate to support and represent their country.

[This message was edited by MB Stark on Sep. 28, 2001 at 07:05 PM.]

Sep. 28, 2001, 05:23 PM
Were flights available from Canada?

Sep. 28, 2001, 06:28 PM
Half the instigators on this one are the same people who were not too proud to be on George Lindemann's rent-a-team the year he showed in Europe because he was persona non grata in the US. Suddenly acquired morals, have we?
Just finished watching a news report on the plight of women and children massed at the border of Afghanistan with no food, shelter or hope of escape. And we have the TIME and BALLS to sit around backstabbing amongst ourselves.
One USET person with the cojones to fly could have made the difference for Alice, Richard and Clare. One set of eyes at the in-gate could have lessened the rails (WHICH WEREN"T MANY) and time faults. And don't snow me that the show is SO prestigious that a pick-up team couldn't play. The only A-teams there were Belgium and France. Hence Samsung's drive to make the Americans a focal point... and bless their hearts for doing it.

Sep. 28, 2001, 06:52 PM
A big thank you to their horses and their grooms as well, and to everyone else who made it possible for the US to have a team in Madrid.

Sep. 28, 2001, 06:53 PM
I'd LIKE to believe that patriotism is the only reason for USAE's involvement in sending this team to Madrid--and don't get me wrong, no matter what, this was the right course of action to take--BUT...isn't it convenient that the USET had stepped aside, leaving the way clear for USAE to get into the act on it's own...I do not believe this point was lost on USAE....

Lousy as it is, I don't believe either organization has been motivated by pure, unadulterated patriotism in this instance...

No, the only real patriots I detect are Alice, Richard, and Claire--and their enthusiastic supporters! They did exactly the right thing for exactly the right reasons. However it happened, we can be proud of them.

Sep. 28, 2001, 07:15 PM
Alice's response sent to me and KK (Towerheads).
She mentions the OFF COURSE Board.

<< I would like to respond to Jimmy Torano's response to my letter. My quote, "Who is to blame, the ones who tried or the ones that wouldn't dare?", was a bit cryptic and perhaps not very clear. However, if Jimmy had read the letter more carefully he would have noticed that I said there were some riders that could not come ie, the riders with horses in the US, as opposed to the riders that would not come, ie, the riders that had horses in Europe who were physically able to get there. My comment was actually aimed at one individual, perhaps unfairly, who had a healthy capable horse, and no sponsorship agreement that conflicted with the Final. Just to note, Peter Wylde had a sponsorship agreement to jump in Germany that weekend, and when he did not qualify for the Grand Prix, initially offered to come and ride Richard Spooner's other grand prix horse for the Nation's Cup. After he thought about it for a while, he decided not to come, since riding a strange horse in a championship is rarely or never done, and it was considered to be unsafe. It was a very generous thought, though, and greatly appreciated by our team.

So, to be perfectly clear, my comment was certainly not aimed at those riders that could not get there from the United States.

I will take issue, however, with another point raised in Jimmy's letter. He said, about Americans taking part in Madrid that it was disrespectful for our country to compete at this time. I think Jimmy was half quoting Armand Leone, Jr. when he wrote this but did not really think about what he was saying. His wife, Danielle, was champion in the Amateur Jumpers at the Gold Cup, just a few days after the attack. Jimmy was riding there, too. That was the week before Madrid. Does he mean to say that it was more patriotic and respectful to compete three days after the attack, and less so ten days later? I think he should be more careful about telling other people how they should express their patriotism.

I would also like to say that, prior to leaving for the Final, I had absolutely no idea that the USET had an issue with our presence in Madrid. The trip was organized on Tuesday night by the AHSA and the FEI. It never dawned on me that the USET would disapprove. The first word I heard about any negativity was on Saturday in Spain when I heard that Leslie and George were not happy that we were there. Perhaps if someone from the USET had bothered to call and explain why we shouldn't have gone, I would have listened if they had good reason. But they didn't call. The three of us went, with great effort, hoping that a fourth rider would join us. None of us knew what was to hit us when we returned.

Other than a few negative words, so far, from a few people, response to our representation in Madrid has been overwhelmingly positive. In the Off Course forum in the Chronicle of the Horse website, there are about a hundred letters giving support to our effort. All of them were positive, and some of them downright moving.

I have never been involved in any of the politics involving our federation. I had always thought of the AHSA and the USET as two arms of the same body. As a European-based American, it is painful now to begin to see how ugly this civil war is becoming. Can't they work together as they have always in the past?


Sep. 28, 2001, 07:25 PM
My understanding was that the US Team was NOT qualified to show in Madrid ... so they must have had horses in quarantine waiting to see the results from the final weekend of European shows? (Top 6 Nations qualify, and we were 7th on the list?)

The only reason there was a Team there was because they had a special invitation from the sponsors and the FEI to be the 7th team in a 6 team field.

I am super proud of the job our Team did, and that includes the people at the Federation who pulled it all together.

And I must say it certainly proves that they are fully capable of fielding a Team for a big International competition without help from the USET. (kinda shooting themselves in the foot aren't they?) To claim that not going was the patriotic thing to do while showing here is disingenious at best.

Guess that makes me another immoderate moderator!

Sep. 28, 2001, 07:57 PM
Will the USET and USEA/AHSA just GROW UP?! Come on you guys, I know both of you want to be the MAJOR player of equestrian sports in the US, but bickering and fighting like three year olds is NOT going to get the job DONE!

Sep. 28, 2001, 09:05 PM
Hmm - not only did those riders ride at the Gold Cup, but, I heard a rumor that THEY got a waiver from the NF so they didn't HAVE to be on the showgrounds however long they have to be there to compete in a big money class... Although, perhaps it didn't make any diference because Friday's WC class was canceled (or combined with Sunday's GP)

Defintely pot calling the kettle B&D...

By the way, if Richard Spooner is not "eligible" becuase he is not quite high enough on the USET computer list, how come he is in the TOP 10 of all US riders on the WORLD ranking list?? Most recently 4th!

And what about the other Americans in Europe who were qualified and had sound horses? There was at least one... /infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

[This message was edited by Weatherford on Sep. 29, 2001 at 07:30 AM.]

Sep. 28, 2001, 09:10 PM
Peptalk - I know some people at that USE Eq and some, uh, FORMER (?) Board members of the USET who are asking the exact same question. There seems to be no answer - the USA Eq continues to hold its hand out in compromise, and it continues to be ignored. I remind you - WHO walked out of the SPI last Fall? Who issued the Challenge? Who dismissed (albeit illegally) all its board members who didn't agree with the Challenge and asked for compromise? (Even the one Board member who offered to PAY FOR THE MEDIATION????)

The question is WHY?? I apologize, but there must be some sort of hidden agenda here, I just can't figure it out.

Sep. 28, 2001, 10:20 PM
And really, life is just too damn short not to just apologize when you are wrong.

But I digress. I very much look forward to hearing the official version from AHSA and the official version from USET, and will certainly be scouring the European websites for their spin on this.

But no matter what, I am just so proud to know that we (and by "we" I mean the US) were represented by three such wonderful people in Madrid.

Linda Allen
Sep. 28, 2001, 10:47 PM
just to avoid another rumor -- to my knowledge at least, EVERY horse and rider that rode at the Gold Cup participated under the same conditions. In the immediate aftermath of the events of the 11th, many competitions made changes to their schedules. The Gold Cup's World Cup class (along with another one on the West Coast, both scheduled for that memorable Friday night), that was scheduled to be a qualifier for the GP, was not held. In these twocases the classes were integrated into the other main GPs already scheduled for the weekend.

Waivers might have been requested for some horses, not originally entered, to compete in the GP after this decision was taken and the USET tour had been cancelled, but, to my knowledge at least, no such "waivers" were permitted by the show, nor could any such requests be "given" by the NF over the objection of officials and competition organizers that were actually there to evaluate each situation appropriately.

Also, on behalf of Cindy and Lynn (the full time "Athlete Services Desk" of the NF), I take strong exception to a comment on this board that the fielding of a team might simply have been some sort of 'grandstanding' move by the NF. Those two responded to direct requests by the FEI, Samsung, the OC, and to US riders who had well represented us in other top level competitions - and then they performed miracles to get it done, without violating the spirit of the whole selection process. Should they, or any National Governing Body deserving of the title, just NOT have bothered?

Linda Allen

[This message was edited by Linda Allen on Sep. 29, 2001 at 12:56 AM.]

Sep. 29, 2001, 02:32 AM
I was fortunate enough to be able to watch the second round of the final on British Eurosport. At that time I was aware of the negative comments of some about the team. As I watched, I never once thought of them as a "second string" and neither did the commentators. The commentators praised the U.S. for sending a team.

I personally feel that Alice, Clare and Richard represented the U.S. as well as any team could have without a drop score. All the negative comments flying around did was demean our team right before they were about to walk in the ring. The last thing you need right before you walk in the ring is to hear people are criticizing you.

My fiancee who is non horsey also watched the final with me (I grabbed the remote and hid it /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif. Since then I have shared Alice's posts with him. As I explained the conflict b/t the USAE and USET to a logical person not involved with horses, the look on his face made me realize how truly ridiculous the overall conflict is, especially this particular incident. It is so incredibly petty. And to top it all off, three people who did a selfless and patriotic thing are being dragged through the mud.

To Alice, Clare and Richard - The PEOPLE are behind you!

Sep. 29, 2001, 05:26 AM
Thanks for the clarification, Linda. Will edit my post appropriately.

And I, too think Cindy and Lynn did (DO!!!) a FANTASTIC job!

I just heard about one rider, in Europe, who chose not to join OUR FANTASTIC SCRATCH TEAM with no apparent reason - I do hope it is only a rumour.

Sep. 29, 2001, 07:09 AM
Let the record also show that it's bloody hard to hook a ride to Spain! It's like going from New York to Florida. I'm not THAT pissed with the ex-patriates who couldn't make it because it does involve a lot of travel stress on the horses. Robinson & CEO probably weren't the freshest blossoms on the bouquet. Charlton I believe lucked into a plane. (I could be wrong). But this only emphasizes the fact that the three who made it should be celebrated! If its true that Samsung was going to withdraw their sponsorship from the Nations Cup series for next year if we didn't show (which was the word circulating as of Monday before the event) then every American rider owes them their gratitude and loyalty. Every rider of any nationality, for that matter!

Sep. 29, 2001, 07:19 AM
And by the way, when my facts are wrong PLEASE jump on me about it. I was not at Madrid but at another show in Europe where the discussion was being urgently pursued just before the event. No one wants to think that the USET is being petty, vindictive and hypocritical at such a stressful time in our history. We need to hear a WICKED GOOD argument from them and the sooner the better.

Sep. 29, 2001, 07:47 AM
the account of getting the horses and Richard to Spain (he drove 30 hours!). And as Alice has stated, yes some riders offered to ride available horses, but it is rarely or never done and considered unsafe. And there was still the logistics of flying the riders over to Spain.



Against all the odds and after a week of intense negotiations the United States of America will field a team for the Samsung Nations Cup World Final in Madrid on Sunday (23 September 2001). It took a co-ordinated effort from the Samsung and Madrid organisers and bloodstock agents Pedens along with the co-operation and determination of the riders themselves to make it happen, but the Stars and Stripes are flying over the showgrounds at the Club de Campo Villa de Madrid which lies just 20 minutes outside the centre of Spain's capital city and US riders were already in the ring today (21 September 2001).

Armand Leone Jr, Vice Chairman of the United States Equestrian Team, announced last Friday the decision to withdraw the American team in the wake of the terrorist attacks which have left the world in shock, but the Samsung Nations Cup series is all about GLOBAL PARTICIPATION and support so, although the US-based riders who were originally selected will not be lining out, three others already located in Europe will fly the flag.

It was touch-and-go all week however, the crunch point coming last Tuesday evening with telephones ringing all around the world as things began to take shape.

Alice Debany-Clero, who is based in Paris, was one of the first to agree to travel and when Claire Bronfman, who works from Henk Noorens's yard in Holland, confirmed her availability along with Richard Spooner it was "all systems go".

The logistics were a bit of a nightmare. Getting any flights in the air at the moment takes a great deal of careful planning with security restrictions more rigid than ever before, but Jordan's Princess Haya, who is currently training with Alice, put her not inconsiderable energy into the effort and, contacting Peden's Managing Director Martin Atock directly, she put the wheels in motion. At incredibly late notice Martin somehow managed to find a plane in Sofia, Bulgaria and at 8.30 am on Wednesday morning it took off for Maastricht in Holland where Claire's horse, Charlton, was collected before flying on again to Pisa in Italy.

Alice had been competing in Pinerolo the previous weekend where she scored a double of wins and her horses were transported to Pisa to take the flight on to Madrid where they arrived at 3am on Thursday morning.

"It was difficult to arrange and there were all sorts of complications" Martin explained today. "There was very heavy air traffic from North America so the plane had to fly much lower usual and there were strong headwinds too so it took longer that it would otherwise have done and, when it arrived in Madrid, there was a considerable delay in getting clearance to land" he said.

Richard Spooner had an even tougher time, taking 30 hours to drive his own horses by lorry from Rolf Runge's yard in Germany where he has been staying for the last seven weeks. And Richard, who is lying fourth on the Riders Tour leaderboard, forfeited the chance to compete this weekend in Wiesbaden in order to make the trip. Unlike Alice and Claire he is not permanently based in Europe and was planning to return home to Los Angeles in California after competing at Aach but he jumped at the chance to represent his country and arrived in Madrid at 2am this morning.

"It is really important for us to put on a good show for America" he said today. "We are obviously at a disadvantage with only three riders but we are happy to be here and, now that we have actually managed to put a team together, we will be trying our very best on Sunday. In the end, that's what counts" he added.

"Some riders even offered to fly over for the Final and compete with "catch-rides" Alice explained, "but this event is too big and important to do that so we decided to stick with just the three of us. Princess Haya was wonderful - she offered her own horses if we wanted them but I'm her trainer and I did not want to take the risk of anything happening to them in a championship like this so I had to say no thanks. It was very generous of her and she is one hundred percent behind us being here. It is not a political statement of any kind on her part, it's just pure generosity because that's the kind of person she is" she added.

"It means a lot for me to be here" Alice continued. "I'm a New Yorker and my husband and I know at least three of the people who died last week. But the official week of mourning is over and our flags are not at half-mast any more so we want to show the world that America is right back in there" she said.

They will have a tough battle on their hands on Sunday. Top teams from Belgium, Italy, Holland, the League Champions from Germany and the home side from Spain all mean business and with one team-member less than all the others, the US squad have their backs against the wall. The tragic events of last week however have created a huge groundswell of support for the country which has lent so much to the Samsung Nations Cup series over many years and, no matter what the outcome, emotions will be running high as Alice, Richard and Claire fly their flag with pride in this World Final of the 2000/2001 Samsung Nations Cup series.

[This message was edited by MAD on Sep. 29, 2001 at 09:58 AM.]

Sep. 29, 2001, 07:53 AM
Early on, USET's silence was signalling a problem...not one official word has been uttered about the participation of the Americans in Madrid by those who are in control at Gladstone since they announced their cancellation of the scheduled tour. Though their press office has been quite active issueing releases on other matters.

Linda, I agree with you that USAE acted properly and for the right reasons, and staff members that made it happen deserve the highest praise...but we would be kidding ourselves if we tried to believe that Mr. Balch, et al, has not taken any satisfaction from the way the situation has placed the USET on the far less magnamimous side of the political fence here.

The whole situation is nasty...and is clearly a result of the infighting and political maneuvering that has taken place over the last year or so...there should be no question that sending a team was the right thing to do, and there should be no question that the USET should help "fund and field" the team that participated...but no, we have to descend to petty politics....such discord really doesn't bode well for the future of the world. We can't seem to solve this problem, which is a pretty basic turf war as turf wars go--how on earth will the nations in the world solve the real ones? Will someone with some sense please impose a truce? USET should get behind these riders and do it pronto, before they lose a lot more support. And USAE would do well to get its act together at the top and develop a little humility and gratitude for the mandatory support it requires from those who wish to participate in rated shows that has given them the war chest to prolong this cat fight.

Sep. 29, 2001, 07:59 AM
Somebody posted this question (again). Why can't it be the way it has always been between AHSA and USET?

That is JUST what the AHSA has been asking!

Go to the AHSA website and read all the writings on this. They say JUST THAT again and again and again. It is the USET that won't permit it. It is the USET that filed the challenge. It is the USET which wants to have all the power and all the say over every single thing. It is SO clear when you read all of it.

And if this latest discussion about Madrid is even half correct, and I am relying ONLY on what Alice is saying in her own words, because there is no filtering and spinning there for sure, there is NO QUESTION NOW that the USET is incapable of and NEVER should be permitted to organize and decide all things for this sport. No question at all. They don't even seem to know what the meaning of SPORT really is.

As far as I am concerned, this decison between the two organizations, which the USET itself forced, is now clear cut, and doesn't favor USET one little bit.

Sep. 29, 2001, 08:44 AM
is called "spin."

I repeat: neither side is acting purely in the interest of the sport.

Sep. 29, 2001, 09:10 AM
But, the fact remains - USA Equestrian got the job done, and USET didn't. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Sep. 29, 2001, 09:33 AM
Groundline, you ask "why can't these organizations get along?"

I think we are probably seeing in action the very basic root of the main problem...two different approaches to "riding the same horse" (cute analogy huh!)

First said.....I am absolutely of the mind that USET should be our NGB. I am absolutely of the mind that there is so much else we desparately need AHSA/USAE to do with all the rest of the sport. (I can certainly expound on that but at another time).

That said, I am embarrassed by the actions of some of the USET "big wigs" in this situation. These actions and pious opinions and statements in a time of crisis like this are pompous and humiliating to the riding community and the US. And the sad part is...never an apology or recant.

While I do not believe personally, in an ideal world, that AHSA/USAE should be our NGB, in THIS world with situations like this that are defining just who we are as a nation, as a people and each one of us personally, it is sad that USET itself has not jumped out and yelled from the top of the Empire State Building that their "powers that be" have not only their own feet deep in their mouths but that they are trying to drag this sport there too. /infopop/emoticons/icon_mad.gif

While I agree and think Alan Balch (a friend of mine) has "other motives" I can at least respect and support those "motives" as he goes about the fight over the organizations 'cause at least he jumps in in a situation like this and proves he has a sportsmans heart beating inside his chest. GM and USET others are instead protecting the pompous, ice that flows in their veins. For what!!!! Certainly not for the rest of us or for this sport and certainly not for America. /infopop/emoticons/icon_mad.gif

WOW, I bet their mad at all of us now !!!!!!!!

OOPS!!!!.......Oh well!!!!!!!!! /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Sep. 29, 2001, 03:12 PM
And another one who needs a big THANK YOU is Princess Haya of Jordan. She is SUCH a wonderful PR person for our sport.

And a big "attagirl" to someone who ups sticks and moves from her homeland to Europe to learn and compete.

MAD, I had no idea Alice was based in Paris. What a divine city, but you must really miss not having your sister around. That story from Saddletude is great.

Sep. 29, 2001, 04:30 PM
Okay, Just Jump, let's talk about "spin."

This is NOT spin:

1. The USET challenged the AHSA, not the other way around. The USET started the whole fight. Anybody who asks why things cannot be the way they have always been has to start with this fact. The AHSA has been defending itself, and that means defending how things have been in the past. USET wants to turn them upside down.

2. The AHSA asked for a merger, or consolidation, or something together, to try to prevent the challenge. The USET refused.

3. The AHSA opens its board meetings to everyone, and asks everyone's opinions. The USET does not.

4. The AHSA won the lawsuit in the New Jersey court, and the judge -- no way to spin the judge -- said the things the USET had been doing all year were null and void. That probably includes the challenge, I would think, let alone all the phony bylaws and such.

5. On the Madrid team, I am going on what Alice Debany says, not anything the AHSA says.

So, it seems to me that if anything there is too much to read on the AHSA website, but better to have it ALL there, than nothing. And what I put above I don't think can be spun either way. They are the simple facts.

Ruby G. Weber
Sep. 29, 2001, 06:18 PM
Knobsetter, Justjump...right on !!!

At this point, neither organization is doing anything with "purely the good of the sport" in mind.

Just a thought. Assuming USAE remains NGB, where do you think the majority of the funds are going to go? To the Paso Finos? To the Saddlebreds? To the Grassroots? No, in reality, USAE is going to have to spend a great deal of money to send Teams to the World Championships.

Sep. 29, 2001, 07:17 PM
that I think its is simply tacky of the USETand USAE to bicker openly in this fashion at this time .Whatever the reasons we showed up ok!Did anyone forget the course ? Fall off? Have elimination due to being grossly over the time?If the the answer is no then zip it ok!All of our LEADERS ( a ridiculous label if ever I read one! )look like kindergartener s in a school yard fight!JJJEEEEEEZAren't you all embarrasssed to know them ???

Sep. 29, 2001, 07:53 PM
Emmet -

First, discipline fees collected are dependent upon how much the discipline uses the services of the AHSA.

Second, in the merger proposal, contributions to international activities could/should be ear-marked totally toward that division of the NF -- the proposed structure has 3 divisions: Intern. Sports, National Sports, and Admin. Member Services just so that there won't be "bickering" over the relative importance/needs of each.
They (the USET as teh International division) would be available to fund raise for themselves - as they currently do, and hopefully, with the new NF marketing programs in place, better! Plus, there would be a streamlining of overhead expenses - not eliminating the important people who are there, just the deadwood - and EVERY org has it - serious look at SALARIES - (remember the 3 executives at the USEt who earn well into the six figures annually? Check the Guidestar site or the previous post on the subject.)

All in all, a much more efficient way of doing what the two organizations had done for the 40 years or more before formal op agreements and challenges...

And certainly better than a bunch of lawyers making a LOT of money!!!!

Sep. 29, 2001, 08:27 PM
On Madrid - they aren't bickering - the NF hasn't said ANYTHING! Those involved (Alice, MAD, Linda) have said the NF, at the request of Samsung et al, and with the help of Pincess Haya, got the Team to go. The NF has not made a big deal of it - except to congratulate the TEAM - who deserves ALL OUR PRAISE.

The only one making nasty comments right now is George - as quoted by Nancy Jaffer before and after the competition.

The discussion on this thread has moved from being specific to the NC Team to the generalities of the entire debate of the past year - which may be the confusion. And since I am one who made it general, I apologize, and perhaps the general discussion should go onto yet another thread? /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Sep. 30, 2001, 07:40 AM
On Madrid, (2) - I have been corrected on the bickering.

I was privately email by a poster (who may post herself) who witnessed certain USET bigwigs (with major conflicts of interest) seriously badmouthing the NF for sending a team. They were (are) at a major East coast show "running around trying to whip up the riders into a frenzy to write nasty letters to the AHSA. They recruited.... wihout giving them ANY of the background..."

Now, that to me is reprehensible behavior! /infopop/emoticons/icon_mad.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_mad.gif

[This message was edited by Weatherford on Sep. 30, 2001 at 10:32 AM.]

Ruby G. Weber
Sep. 30, 2001, 09:44 AM
I guess I didn't make myself very clear. My point about funding/USAE assumes there will be no merger, thus no functional USET.

Also, it is my understanding that the USAE board must meet new requirements and be significantly reduced in size. I believe there are stipulations stating number of board members, including active athletes from all international disciplines. I'm led to believe that, in that case, the twenty plus non international disciplines would then have little or no representation on USAE board.

In regard to the original thought of this thread-I salute the three riders who went to great lengths to get to Spain and wave Old Glory, all the while probably knowing they didn't have much of a shot at being competitive. But a NGB that would send a Team which had no chance of being competitive, under any circumstances, current events or otherwise, has to be questioned, IMHO. It is virtually impossible to be competitive in a Nation's Cup without the benefit of a fourth rider. Both from a physical and psycological standpoint.

Getting back to normal, as our President asked all Americans to do, can mean different things for different folks.

Sep. 30, 2001, 01:48 PM
Emmet -

You call being 3 time faults out of fourth place no chance? Or not being competitive? They WERE in 4th after the first round!

Our USET four person teams have done FAR worse than that on MANY occasions (including, if I remember correctly one World Championships) - I don't think this was a non-competitve team AT ALL. (Aside from the fact that Richard Spooner was the #4 rider on the European circuit before the NC!)

Ruby G. Weber
Sep. 30, 2001, 04:08 PM
It is the final result that counts, not what the score is at halftime.

Sep. 30, 2001, 04:47 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Emmet:
It is the final result that counts, not what the score is at halftime.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

OUCH!!! /infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif Sorry you feel that way in this situation, Emmet.

Ruby G. Weber
Sep. 30, 2001, 05:00 PM
To be perfectly clear...as I said, I salute the three riders...I do not agree with the NGB putting those three riders between and rock and a hard place.

Sep. 30, 2001, 05:07 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Emmet:
To be perfectly clear...as I said, I salute the three riders...I _do not agree with the NGB_ putting those three riders between and rock and a hard place.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

So far, we've only heard from Alice...I don't get the feeling that she blames the NGB in any way or that she felt between a rock and a hard place. Maybe MAD can clarify that point.

Thank you for the clarification or repeating that you salute the three riders and I apologize for misunderstanding your previous post. Although, in my book, competing well with good sportsmanship does mean a lot, no matter what the final score. (I know - I'm a total sap!) /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Sep. 30, 2001, 05:20 PM
Leave me out of the politics. I am uninformed about the whole affair. Until the other day, I had stated no opinion and had been only expressing pride.

Alice states her own opinions. I just post them for her.

Sep. 30, 2001, 05:20 PM
Sorry Emmet - I have to disagree with you, and I also feel that the team WAS competitive. I'm sorry you seem to think that only winning counts, but I am with Duffy on this one. I get tired of all the whining by so many of the professionals in modern sports, and have nothing but admiration for the selfless efforts of Alice, Clare and Richard.

Sep. 30, 2001, 05:29 PM
Sorry, MAD - didn't mean to put you in an uncomfortable spot. Many thanks for communicating what you have! /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Sep. 30, 2001, 05:48 PM
Emmet - I took the liberty of posting your questions re the NF to a friend of mine, and this was her reply:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> -- it is the USET that has rejected any consideration of merger or even consolidation . all NF proposals have made it crystal clear that our first choice has always been to have the USET occupy the International Division of the NF, BUT since filing a challenge, by definition, means one organization VERSUS another (win/ lose, not win/win that we believe has been achievable all along) -- unless the NF chooses to relinquish the title (and every function that it has been spending so many years learning how to do better and better, little by little, for more and more members) it has to demonstrate its ability to assure US competitors will be available to compete in competitions the USOC cares about ON ITS OWN should that be necessary if the supporters of the USET prove unwilling to support the competitors that make up future Equestrian Teams of the USA.....

On Board issues, Armand has repeated many times that the USOC "requires" a small Board; but facts show that USOC had no problem with approving large Boards for other sports such as Track and Field that have many 'disciplines' within them. And in fact, their own Board is at least the size of the current NF's.
Other non-international disciplines have no worries about lack of representation on the Board of USA Equestrian, funny that h/j people are worrying about it! Now non-international, including hunters and equitation, could have some real concerns about just where they will land should the USET proposal be adopted..... <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I hope that addresses your concerns. It clarified some issues for me.

Ruby G. Weber
Oct. 1, 2001, 07:31 AM
Bach-Thank you. That is a different slant than I have heard. However, I must say that my source is pretty much in the thick of it also.

On to the next issue. I firmly believe, at the international level, be it Team competition or individual, winning is what it's about. No matter what the circumstances.
Had the NGB been able to field a Team of four riders, I would have no objections, what so ever.

IMO our NGB acted first emotionally, second politically and gave little thought to the prospects of success. It is a very rare occurance that a three rider team can win a Nation' Cup much less a Team with little or no time for preparation.

Oct. 1, 2001, 07:41 AM
From what I heard, Emmett, the FEI and Samsung REALLY wanted us there - regardless. I also heard there was a fourth rider that is high on the ranking list who chose not to come for whatever her own reasons were. (Other riders who could have done it either had sponsor committments or lame horses). Top horses were offered as catch rides, but, it was decided this was not the time or place to do that.

I think pleasing the competition management and sponsors - in this instance - FAR outweighs the petty politics of USET/NF! I would also suggest that in ANY other year, the USET would have done EXACTLY what the NF did! (or maybe any other year prior to the past five? /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif )

And, I repeat what has been pointed out in the already - we WERE only there by INVITATION - we had NOT qualified to be there. To decline this invitation (when we had qualified riders in Europe) would have been an insult to management & sponsors and jeophardized future invitations.

Oct. 1, 2001, 07:48 AM
I SO did not want to post on this again. Bygones, as the estimable Fish would say.
But regarding the lack of a drop score... I think the biggest lack was the lack of a ground person/chef d'equipe (or jefe de equipo as the Madrid website would say). If you have a George, Frank, or Steve Stephens at the ingate (Steverino won the final for us a few years ago) then someone can tell the riders that after fence x you had better be on 45 seconds or you need to make up time. If not for the 3 time faults we would have TIED with Germany, France & Italy. Which is AWESOME with a 3 person team.
And look on the bright side. If the Olympics continue shrinking, you can bet the fourth person in the Nations Cup format will be a goner and there will be no more drop scorage. At least we've got practice!

Oct. 1, 2001, 09:32 AM
I find it very, very hard -- OK, impossible -- to accept that the less than one rail's difference between our 3 person team with no drop score and solo 4th place, or 3 time faults to tie for 4th, makes the team "uncompetitive." I personally think that they were damned competitive, and showed beautifully.

So they ended up 7th of 7 -- So what? It wasn't like they ended up 20 faults behind the rest of the field, or were eliminated on refusals, or fell on their butts. They ended up less than a rail behind three of the top teams in the world -- teams that had drop scores.

We all know how easily a rail can fall, or a horse can put a foot in the water (as Robinson did) and there are no guarantees in any competition. Let's not forget Rodrigo and Baloubet, the world's best, got eliminated in the Olympic final -- a competition where I need hardly point out the USA did not shine, and had far more overall faults from the A-team riders and horses there, with GM, et al, standing at the gate, than did these three riders.

OK, it's corny as hell, but here it is. This situation keeps reminding me of The Dance, by Garth Brooks -- a song that seems to be a love song, but is instead about the importance of trying, regardless of the possible consequences, the essential honor of making the effort and taking the chance.

"And now I'm glad I didn't know
The way it all would end
the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance
I could have missed the pain
But I'd of had to miss the dance"

That's what this was about for the USA and the rest of the world. Personally, I feel sorry for those who think it was all about winning or losing.

Thank you again, Richard, Clare, and Alice. And thank you to the people who were able to make it happen. You all did us proud.

Oct. 1, 2001, 09:49 AM
Go, Portia! Tell it like it should be! /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Oct. 1, 2001, 10:05 AM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Emmet:

On to the next issue. I firmly believe, _at the international level, _be it Team competition or individual, _winning is what it's about._ No matter what the circumstances.
Had the NGB been able to field a Team of _four_ riders, I would have no objections, what so ever.

Oh Emmet - that is so very sad - that given the circumstances as they have been explained to us all that you continue to feel that way

Ruby G. Weber
Oct. 1, 2001, 10:18 AM
This is obviously an extremely emotional issue. Most of you have a strong opinion and have voiced it.

I too have an opinion and have exercised my freedom of speech. You need not feel "sad" for me. The only sad thing about all of this is manner in which both USET and USAE have behaved.

Oct. 1, 2001, 10:28 AM
More and more seems to appear on the other websites, and today I shall do a whizz 'round as many as I can think of. This is Ken's from today at Towerheads (www.towerheads.com): (http://www.towerheads.com):)

Ken's column October 1:

There are still a bunch of people, that in my mind still don't get it, as far as this Nations Cup story goes. I'm going to chat with a few more folks, and hopefully they'll begin to come around. Bottom line, the USET needs a spokesman, out front, real quick, or they are going to get buried by this situation. Again, I reiterate, if rules were violated in sending this team then that needs to be pursued and the offender dealt with, if not, then the overwhelming positive reaction to the appearance by the team in Spain has to be accepted and dealt with. If not, the USET will find themselves actually enhancing an image they're trying to erase. In general, can I just say, that as I see it. Right now, EVERYTHING is different, and we all should try and adapt as quickly as we can. Not only are we in a different world, this new world hasn't really been defined yet, and is very liquid, and subject to immediate upheaval. One thing that has emerged out of this tragedy, is America, as a nation, has united and come together almost as one!!!...NOT US, THOUGH. WHY IS IT, THAT WE IN THIS HUNTER AND JUMPER INDUSTRY SEEM TO BE DRIFTING FURTHER APART? IT'S GOT TO STOP!!! SIT DOWN, AND BEGIN TALKING! TODAY, IF POSSIBLE. IN THE SCHEME OF THINGS, THIS BICKERING AND FIGHTING, TO ME, IS NOW BECOMING VERY ANNOYING. LET'S GET SOMETHING DONE, NOW!


Some interesting "stuff" on a few of the European sites as well, to follow.

Oct. 1, 2001, 10:42 AM
"Again, I reiterate, if rules were violated in sending this team then that needs to be pursued and the offender dealt with, if not, then the overwhelming positive reaction to the appearance by the team in Spain has to be accepted and dealt with"

what rules?? I just don't understand that reference at all - what rules could have been violated? the competition/sponsors/FEI asked our NGB to send a team (or have I missed something?)-our NGB found riders willing/able to represent us and they did a wonderful job dispite difficult circumstances - so again, what rules?

Oct. 1, 2001, 10:44 AM
let me separate my appreciation for Alice, Richard and Clare's efforts from what I am about to say. I AM glad we had representatives there and sincerely appreciate everything they went through to get there. And apparently, they were uaware of the controversy swirling back here.

Now, that said, I do not believe for an instant that the AHSA's efforts (not the folks who actually did the work, but those taking credit for it) were for any reason other than self gain, publicity wise. If anything has become clear in this whole ugly mess, it is that the AHSA's publicity machine is much better and effective than the USET's, which is why the comments coming from the USET regarding such things as their finances, and Armand's personal feelings on some things, were allowed to be published. A good understanding of "spin", or a publicist who is a master, would never have let things like that out. From what I have read of Alan Balch, including his sappy eulogy at Sallie Wheeler's funeral (I admired and respected her enormously), he is about HIM, and uses whatever he can to self-promote. The USET, for whatever reasons, left the door open for him here and he walked through it. This is not an attack, as this behavior is standard operating procedure at the corporate level. Just don't be fooled by it. Both organizations have huge problems facing them if either is awarded the NGB status; they are just mainly different problems. But egos run rampant in both.

And as far as the international level being about winning; learning how to lose and be a gracious loser is what you learn in Pony Club, junior classes, etc. At this level, it IS about winning. Do you think any of the Europeans go for any reason OTHER than to win? I have long thought that our lack of domination in the sport is due to a lack of killer instinct. This NC was an exceptional situation, and just being there was important. But on an overall basis, why go if you can't win? There is too much $$, risk, wear and tear on the horses and people to get there to not want the gold ring. Any other mindset causes you to lose.

Again, I reiterate that our team's participation in this out of the ordinary situation is to be commended without prejudice. But the reasons behind the scenes shouldn't be whitewashed over.


P.S. coreene, I love your contributions, but I think you should be careful about cutting and pasting stuff from Towerheads without Ken's permission. I think COTH said back when the subscription went into effect that that wouldn't be ethical or allowed.

Oct. 1, 2001, 10:54 AM
Very long, yet worth reading because it gives you all the ins and outs - so when you get to the results at the bottom, you can see that combined time was much better than some teams, and it really was just a hair's breath separating a lot of the competition. You know, with our "second rate" team.

from www.hoefnet.nl (http://www.hoefnet.nl)

Dutch Delight in Madrid

Madrid, 24 september 2001
Holland came out on top in a thrilling finish to the 2000/2001 Samsung Nations Cup series which went right down to the wire as the last rider into the ring decided the result.

And it was the hot-favourites from Germany, joint-leaders with the Dutch after the first round, who lost out as only a clear from Heinrich Hermann Engemann would clinch the title for his side but, last to go, he returned with four fences down to drop his side to fourth behind the host team from Spain in third.

Belgium finished a very close with Ludo Philippaerts and Parco, who claimed the Leading Horse and Rider titles in the year-long Samsung Nations Cup league, putting in yet another superb double-clear performance, and the three-strong American squad were last of the seven participating nations having put up a gallant performance against all the odds.

The Dutch and Germans had the advantage after the opening round over a 12-fence track which asked plenty of questions despite not being at maximum height.

The water jump came early on the track, at fence four, following a strong oxer and then led on to a tricky double of uprights while the dog-leg line from fences 7 to 9 asked plenty of questions but Gert Jan Bruggink riding Joel, and Rob Eras with Collezione Cesaro La Perla, both found the answers when coming home clear for Holland who completed their first effort carrying just the four faults collected by Leon Thijssen and Hot Shot as Piet Raymakers 8 faults with Van Schijndels Patrick were discarded.

Germany followed suit with clears from both Toni Hassmann and Mobilcom Goldika and Lutz Gripshover with Warren and the Germans their side was on level pegging with Holland when counting only the 4 faults picked up by Marcus Renzel and Carlos, as Heinrich Hermann Engemann and Iris lowered the upright at seven and then also dropped the final oxer to complete with eight faults this time out.

A single time fault for Stanny Van Paesschen and O De Pomme stopped the Belgians from also sharing the lead at this stage after Gilbert de Roock opened with a single mistake from Nero de la Tourelle and Ludo Philippaerts went clear, with Mark Van Dijck's Verelst Goliath clearly not on form when lowering two poles at his first attempt.

The USA were not far off the pace when joining Spain on a 7-fault tally as round two began.

"We know we are the underdogs" New Yorker Alice Debany-Clero had said during the draw the previous day, "but the terrorists tried to paralyse our country last week and by coming here to compete we want to show them that we will not lie down because of what they did" and, standing in as Chef d'Equipe, she kicked off the American attack with a foot-perfect round from CEO in the first round.

Claire Bronfman looked to be on the way to doing likewise until hitting the last with the big-jumping Charlton who also picked up a single time fault while Richard Spooner steered the handsome grey, Robinson, to a clean jumping round with just 2 time faults showing on the clock.

The French were just a single fault further behind but Italy were already struggling as they began round two with 16 faults on the board.

They rallied brilliantly but all too late with three clears at their second attempt while the French added another 8, but American chances faded when Alice dropped two fences second time out and although Clare, who has clearly built up an excellent partnership with the massive gelding Charlton despite her own diminutive stature, got it absolutely right this time, the US finishing score was 19 to leave them in seventh position when Richard and Robinson put a foot in the water.

The Spanish, who have had little exposure at Nations Cup level this year, put in a truly impressive performance on their home turf to add just another five to their score as Ricardo Jurado and Falcon Internet Gysmo made one mistake, Rutherford Latham and Frimousset added just one more time penalty to the two they picked up first time out, Cristino Torres and Danceur produced a great clear after providing the 7-fault discount score at their first attempt while Fernando Sarasola and Nikita de Laubry added 9 faults to the 5 they had collected in the previous round to leave the host team with a two-round total of 12.

Belgium stood firm with just four more faults to add when Gilbert and Ludo produced clears and both Stanny and Mark had one fence down this time and the pressure was rising fast when 20 year old Gert Jan Bruggink, winner of the European Young Rider Championship at Gijon earlier this summer, produced a second clear from his home-bred 10 year old Joel on his very first Nations Cup outing to keep Holland well in contention. Piet Raymakers made no mistake either this time out and the Dutch added just the four collected by Rob Eras when Leon Thijssen picked up six faults to leave them on a final total of eight.

Germany still looked strong when Toni Hassman returned to also go double-clear but one down for Lutz Gripshover and two on the floor for Marcus Renzel left Heinrich Hermann with the unenviable task of having to home clear and fast to save the day. It was not to be however and as four fences fell it was devastation for Germany but Dutch delight as The Netherlands, winners of the Samsung World Final in Spruce Meadows in 1997, did it again in fine style.

Dutch Chef d'Equipe, Bert Romp, was well-pleased with his squad which consisted of a mixture of great young talent and experienced campaigners and he sent out a warning shot for the 2002 World Equestrian Games - "when Jerez comes, we'll be ready" he said. "Holland always seems to do well in Spain and we showed today that we have many good riders to choose from now. For Gert Jan to jump double-clear in his first Nations Cup is really terrific and Leon showed that he is also ready to compete at top level too - and we saved the best until last. We competed in 15 Nations Cup competitions this year but this is our first victory - good eh?" he added.

As yet there is no venue confirmed for the Samsung Nations Cup World Final in 2002 but the 2000/2001 series has produced some superb sporting moments - none perhaps more touching than the minutes silence and the powerful ripple of applause which rippled around the stadium in Madrid as the United States team paraded before yesterday's competition began.

Results -
1, Holland - 8 faults in 220.31 seconds (Gert Jan Bruggink/Joel 0+0, Rob Eras/Collezione Cesaro la Perla 0+4, Piet Raymakers/Van Schijndels Patrick 8+0, Leon Thijssen/Hot Shot 4+6);
2, Belgium - 9 faults in 226.92 seconds (Gilbert de Roock/Nero de la Tourelle 4+0, Stanny Van Paesschen/O De Pomme 1+4, Marc Van Dijck/Verelst Goliath 8+4, Ludo Philippaerts/Parco 0+0);
3, Spain - 12 faults in 228.91 seconds (Ricardo Jurado/Falcon Internet Gysmo 0+4, Rutherford Latham/Frimousset 2+1, Cristino Torres/Danceur de Laverie 7+0, Fernando Sarasola/Nikita de Laubry 5+9);
4, Germany - 12 faults in 217.71 seconds (Toni Hassmann/mobilcom Goldika 0+0, Lutz Gripshover/Warren NRW 0+4, Marcus Renzel 4+8, Heinrich Hermann Engemann/Iris 8+16);
5, France - 16 faults in 225.11 seconds (Olivier Jouanneteau/Euleme 4+0, Edouard Couperie/Pro Pilot 4+4, Nicolas Delmotte/Discrette IV 12+4, Hubert Bourdy/Helios 0+4);
6, Italy - 16 faults in 226.89 seconds (Roberto Arioldi/Dime de la Cour 8+0, Massimo Grossato/Elkintot 4+0, Enrico Maria Frana/Dohitzun Guernica 13+0, Gianni Govoni/Loro Piana Las Vegas 4+4);
7, USA - 19 faults in 226.12 seconds (Alice Debany-Clero/CEO, Claire Bronfman/Charlton 5+0, Richard Spooner/Robinson 2+4).

Oct. 1, 2001, 10:56 AM
Sgrey, as far as I know there is a protocol to be followed when sending a team to represent the United States. I would guess that the highest ranking available riders need to have right of first refusal. I will also assume that the protocol was followed to the best of the USAE's ability.

Lauriep and Emmett, although I do not share your view on the USET over the USAE in the overall picture, I greatly respect your opinions, as I know you know from where you speak (it's OK - I actually have some republican friends too /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif ). And I agree with you about assuming a state of total altruism on the part of the USAE. But I would add that ANY actions taken by the respective heads of the USAE or the USET have an overlay of WIIFM (what's in it for me). That is just the nature of executives. Their job - be they employed, elected, or appointed is to do the best by their respective organizations. Mostly they tend to get replaced - and quickly - if they fail in that regard.

So, no, I am not assuming there is a glowing light behind Alan Balch, but I doubt there is one behind Armand Leone, either /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Oct. 1, 2001, 11:04 AM
sorry I projected the image that I am partial to either; I'm not at this time. USET has done a great job IN THE PAST; AHSA has done a great job doing what they do for the masses. I do not have a good idea for how to solve the problem, which is why I haven't offered up a solution. And I am apalled at some of the statements that Armand has made, hence my assumption that their "spin" control is less than up to snuff.

My gut feeling is that both organizations continue to embarass themselves with this free-for-all, and that the mudslinging will only intensify. I just believe that AHSA coves its tracks better!


Ruby G. Weber
Oct. 1, 2001, 11:25 AM
Yes! What she (LP) said.

Oct. 1, 2001, 11:46 AM
Laurie - it's OK to take a position, lord knows I have a few! /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

But I know you guys have been a lot closer to exactly what the USET does for international caliber riders than I will EVER be, so I do pay attention when you do offer opinions. Now of course, I might not agree with all of 'em, but I do listen!!

But I guess what I also try to do is to look past the spin - or lack thereof - and try to see the substance, and make my judgements based on that. Can't say that is a particularly easy task on any given day!!

Oct. 1, 2001, 12:24 PM
With all due respect (and I mean that!), exactly what response did you want when the FEI, the event organisers and the sponsors called USA Eq and strongly urged the US to send a team? Something like:

"Oh, no, absolutely not. We think we might be able to field a team, but if we do, a lot of people might agree with us--heck, we might even be praised for making and executing a good decision. Nope, forget it, even though we think it's possible, and right, we just won't do it. Our motives are pure. Let you guys down? Sorry, we can't afford the risk of people approving of us. We will not make any good decisions, just in case they make us look good." /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Seriously, did USA Eq field the team only because, primarily because, or even with consideration, of the generally high approval with which, it turns out, the choice has met? Who knows which it was? I sure don't, but choose not to be entirely cynical about it.

Are they happy that many people support the decision? Probably! Why shouldn't they be? (No, I'm not entirely naive and I'm not missing the point--just pointing out that you can't read anyone's mind.)

As far as it making the USET look bad--I don't see how that necessarily follows. The USET, owners, riders, etc. made what they believed was the best decision for the riders and horses in the US. And no matter what their motives were or were not, you can't fly over there without a plane, can you? /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

I haven't heard anyone say that the event organisers and sponsors called the USET and suggested fielding a team from US riders in Europe and that the USET then declined. If that were the case, then, yes, they might feel they have to defend the latter decision, and perhaps that is where the negative remarks stem from. But we don't know that.

Of course international competitions are about winning. But, I can't help feeling that, under these particular, and it is to be hoped, once in a lifetime circumstances, participation was the essential thing--like that de Coubertin fella said /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Oct. 1, 2001, 01:51 PM
which is very interesting if you wanna go have a look.

Oct. 1, 2001, 03:05 PM
Yes, Coreene, an interesting response but certainly not unexpected. However, I loved your "dude" response. /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Oct. 1, 2001, 03:05 PM
were showing during that period which they are now complaining about?

They were happy to step up and slag off the people who rode in Madrid, and were right there a few days after the tragedy, showing away.

Now I am not under any circumstances complaining about this at all, because it is up to each individual as to what they do. But to trash someone for showing in Madrid because it is "not patriotic" when they themselves were showing at the Gold Cup etc., well ... it's just so shortsighted.

Oct. 1, 2001, 03:13 PM
and we are known to spout the occasional "dude." It's right up there with listening to Guns n Roses in the car still and still thinking David Lee Roth is one of the ultimate rock and roll singers.

Oct. 1, 2001, 03:26 PM
I am in my late forties, but I am still a huge Guns n Roses fan - I used to annoy one of my former bosses by turning the lab radio up full blast every time they came on /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_cool.gif

I may have to subscribe to Towerheads now to read all these additional comments you are referring to.

Oct. 1, 2001, 03:33 PM
Dude! Excellent!

Oct. 1, 2001, 03:59 PM
Hey, Coreene - "dude" is the story of my life. /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

I'm in my early 40's, born in Fresno, but raised in Chula Vista, with a close familiarity with Coronado, OB, PB, and La Jolla -- and vacations at Newport. If it's in California and mentioned in a Beach Boys' song, I've been there. /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Oct. 1, 2001, 04:08 PM
I would certainly be interested in coreen and Mark's exchange of some one would post or be so kind as to e-mail it to me! /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Oct. 1, 2001, 04:10 PM
It's actually on the free (no subscription required) part of the Towerheads site, in one of their discussion forums. Here's the direct link:

TH discussion thread re Madrid Team (http://www.towerheads.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=2&t=000612)

Oct. 1, 2001, 04:19 PM
You can register to post on the discussion forums on Towerheads for free. All you need is a user name and password. So anyone who cares to respond on this issue, feel free to jump on in!

Oct. 1, 2001, 06:05 PM
I responded already. I post under Dolcevita (my horse's name) on that form. His reply got me so mad you will notice I had to edit my post.

Oct. 1, 2001, 06:10 PM
I think we were simultaneously fuming.

Oct. 1, 2001, 07:52 PM
to a certain older brother too much. But you really can't expect him to do less than toe the party line. I love Mark to death, but coreene, you were spot on on your comments.


Oct. 1, 2001, 08:14 PM
Yup, I'm here to say if my sister was to spit out some useless drivel that was so completely missing the point, I'd be right there calling her a genius. Not to her face of course /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif But to others, sure thing!

All the same, great replies one and all!

Oct. 1, 2001, 08:31 PM
Isn't it about time we forget AHSA (or USA Equestrian) vs, USET???

How about a reality check on the tragedy that occurred in New York at the World Trade Center.

Hooray for Americans everywhere who stood up to be counted.

Any other discussion on this issue is petty.

Oct. 1, 2001, 09:22 PM
There was a flight available to go, and in fact it did go not at the time it was slotted for but it did go..I think people need to stop attacking everybody concerned, and accept the USETs and riders choice of not going for safety reasons, an American Team of any sought at that time on a charter could be a target .....

Oct. 2, 2001, 05:34 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Dealer:

Hooray for Americans everywhere who stood up to be counted.

Any other discussion on this issue is petty.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Dealer, yes indeed, hooray for the three American riders in Madrid, you will get no argument about that from most here--and those who disagree are of course welcome to say so.

"Other discussion" began when George Morris, Armand Leone, and some riders strongly criticized both those who participated in the Nation's Cup, and USA Eq for enabling their participation.

Oct. 2, 2001, 05:40 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by KLG:
There was a flight available to go, and in fact it did go not at the time it was slotted for but it did go..I think people need to stop attacking everybody concerned, and accept the USETs and riders choice of not going for safety reasons, an American Team of any sought at that time on a charter could be a target .....<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

That is so, and I believe that the USET, owners and riders made what they felt was the best decision for the team at Gladstone at that time.

I'm not sure that people don't accept that--I think they reacting to the comments made about the team that was assembled in Europe by USA Eq, and, re-examining the stated reasons for the decision in light of remarks by Morris, Leone, etc.

Oct. 2, 2001, 07:46 AM
it would be difficult in the extreme for hijackers to board a chartered equine flight. The only persons allowed on are the shipping company's reps, usually 3-4, including the pilot, and those directly involved with the horses: their grooms, riders, vets. Any "strange" faces would immediately be noticed. There probably aren't 20 people on a chartered USET flight.


Oct. 2, 2001, 08:53 AM
KLG, if the USET had stuck to saying the reasons they didn't send a team were the lack of flights and/or the safety concerns, I doubt anyone would have argued with them.

It was their comments that the decision not to send a team was out of patriotism and respect that got people hot under the saddle (including me). Those comments made it seem that the riders who did participate, and USA Eq for arranging to send them, were being unpatriotic or disrespectful, when the exact opposite was true in most people's opinions (including mine).

Moreover, the fact that some of the riders who had been scheduled to go to Madrid and others making those comments (including Mark Leone and Jimmy Torano) competed only 2 or 3 days after the tragedy in the Gold Cup made the "not competing out of patriotism and respect" comments ring very, very hollow and really hacked off some people (including me).

Dealer, I think I understand your feelings, and since you are new here, you may not have seen them, but if you go back and read the forums beginning on the morning of September 11, I think you will find there has been a great deal of concern, respect, and prayer, shown here for the victims of the attack, the rescue workers, and their loved ones.

Yes, the dispute between the USET and USA Eq is petty in comparison, and I think most people clearly recognize that. Still, it is part of the future of our sport in this country, and -- since we are fortunate and blessed to still have that future -- we shouldn't ignore it, IMHO.

Ruby G. Weber
Oct. 2, 2001, 09:04 AM
How many of you would have put your best horse (or any for that matter) on a plane days after the attack? I would not have, nor would I have put my employees or myself in an airplane.

I do agree this whole fiasco was poorly "spun" by USET. GHM's remarks only added fuel to the fire. USET is lacking in the gift of gab department. However, Mark Leone raises some interesting issues which are being overlooked in the heat of the discussion.

IMHO USAE would have come out of this the "bigger man" had they stood united with USET on their decision to withdraw. Regardless of what the FEI and Samsung wanted. (Were the Americans invited before or after the Irish and the Swedes declined?) Instead, USAE chose to play the emotional/political card, further dividing the factions.

Second, since this is USAE's first "real" foray into the world of fielding International Teams, is this what we should expect from them in the future? Yes, the circumstances were unique but...I'm not impressed with their lack of attention to detail. Should we have sent a Team, under any circumstance without a fourth member and lacking a non-riding chef to an International Championship?

Oct. 2, 2001, 09:31 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Emmet:
How many of you would have put your best horse (or any for that matter) on a plane days after the attack? I would not have, nor would I have put my employees or myself in an airplane.

I do agree this whole fiasco was poorly "spun" by USET. GHM's remarks only added fuel to the fire. USET is lacking in the gift of gab department. However, Mark Leone raises some interesting issues which are being overlooked in the heat of the discussion. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Emmet, I don't think anyone is saying they disagree with the contingency that was here in the U.S. remaining in the U.S. I sure wouldn't have put MY horse on a plane, even continental in nature. However, it appears to me that they were PLANNING on shipping these horses until the last moment, THEN used the excuse of patriotism, etc. for their reason for NOT going. THEN, some who made these "supportive" comments for the USET showed DAYS later on U.S. soil.

I don't think there was any lack of gift of gab or poor spin, as you say, by the USET. What it was was idiotic aspersions on our riders who did compete. It also smacked of toddler-like whining to me. I read Mark's post and I agree that it would have been nice for the USET and USAE to have communicated more (and maybe they DID) during this event (in order to present a "united front"), but even Mark said that the USET dropped the ball on this one!!! I certainly do not blame AB or USAE for answering the call. I also do not think our three-person team was "inferior" in any way to whatever team we would have sent. It's unfortunate that we didn't have a "drop" score, but this team still did better that other USA teams that did in previous competitions.

I also resent some posters saying that this team had no chance and that is the reason why they shouldn't have competed. For heaven's sake! Look at the results!!! How can ANYONE say this team didn't have a chance???? I'm sure THEY thought they had a chance. I'm sure THEY didn't go there to "lose". But, I'm also sure they DID go there to give it their best shot, to compete as best they could, and to honor our United States of America by competing and by being there.

Ok, done ranting for right now...Onward to the another issue brought up: SPONSORS It seems to me that everyone on this board who has spoken on this issue is of the belief that the equestrian sports need to do MORE for sponsors in order to encourage more sponsors. DUH... To say that this should NOT have been a consideration, imo, is not a supportive thought.

Oye, I'd better stop now. I've tried to be as diplomatic as I can here... I have supported the USET over the years and my family have been members of the AHSA (now USAE) for years. I, too, wish they could have worked together for the good of the sport. But, it sure doesn't look like that's going to happen unless the USOC somehow forces it to happen and I'm not sure how that would happen. The whole thing is almost so stupid that it isn't worth the time it's taking me to type this. But, the future of our sport DOES depend on what will be happening later this month in Austin. Here's to hoping that the cooler, caring and intelligent heads prevail, wherever they might be from...

Oct. 2, 2001, 09:48 AM
USA Eq/AHSA has always done all of the international entries for US riders competing abroad, even for those doing so as part of the USET. Selecting the teams may have been done by the USET, pursuant to its charter to aid the AHSA in its role as NGB, but the AHSA/USA Eq did and does all the entries.

The AHSA/USA Eq has also always had an international desk, and has always helped the more than 85% of all US equestrian athletes competing internationally who are not doing so as part of a USET program. Those international tasks are being expanded due to the USET's NGB challenge and its continued refusal to combine forces with USA Eq, but this is hardly USA Eq's "first real foray" into dealing with international competition.

Oct. 2, 2001, 09:50 AM
Thank you for that clarification, Portia. I had thought this was the case, but did not know.

Oct. 2, 2001, 09:56 AM
There are some (GM, et al) who say that we should not have sent a 3 person team because without a drop score they were destined to lose and therefore be an "embarassment" [GM's word] to the USA. Here's a hypthetical:

What if the USET had sent the original 4 person/horse team that was scheduled to go, and one of those riders or horses -- along with a reserve if we had one -- was injured prior to the final and couldn't compete. Would the USET have then withdrawn the other three riders and horses, because they no longer had a drop score and they were therefore destined to lose and be "an embarassment" to our country?

Has the USET ever gone forward with a Nations Cup team with only 3 riders and horses competing?

Oct. 2, 2001, 10:22 AM
We - and I speak for quite a few of us - are merely saddened that Alice, Richard and Clare are on the receiving end of such rude comments from members of USET and other riders.

No one suggested that anyone should have flown over right after the tragedy, but to stand behind this excuse of "How unpatrotic" and is totally uncalled for, especially when some of the biggest loudmouths were quite happy to dash off to the Gold Cup a few days later.

And no one is criticizing those who did ride at the Gold Cup in and of itself, but merely pointing out to the loudmouths that you can't have it both ways.

So, Karen G etc, we are not "attacking" people for not going, we are merely taken aback at the hypocricy and saddened that these comments come at the expense of the riders who did go.

Oct. 2, 2001, 10:44 AM
Look at the headline on the Samsung web page -- It's not about winning or losing, it was about being there.

Stars and Stripes at Samsung Nations Cup Final (http://samsungelectronics.com/sports/nations_cup/index.html)

Oct. 2, 2001, 11:08 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Emmet:

IMHO USAE would have come out of this the "bigger man" had they stood united with USET on their decision to withdraw. Regardless of what the FEI and Samsung wanted. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I dunno, Emmet, I have tried to see this view, and all I can think of is why - after all was said and done - didn't the USET just unite with the USAE on this issue? Or at least disavow any hurtful remarks against those 3 riders made by various people who could be considered to be speaking on their behalf? An after the fact statement to the effect that while they would have preferred to field the highest qualified team for the Nation's Cup, but in light of the special request by the FEI/Samsung, and the unique circumstances, fielding this team was a valuable statement about how the American Spirit endures.

If they wanted to think about it as being gracious, or being clever after they were out-maneuvered by Slick Spin Artists, it would have really not mattered to the great many people in this world, but it would have been a good gesture on their part (face saving or noble, pick your description).

On a separate note, I have seen some references to derogatory comments to the original team. While I have not seen any remarks directed against the original team (only references), I honestly hope that no one has done such. Those 4 riders deserve our support and committment as much as the 3 riders who ended up in Spain, and it was through no fault of their own that they were not there.

Oct. 2, 2001, 11:36 AM
We are equally as proud of the chosen team as we are of those who went. It's the riders who have chosen to trash the three in Madrid that make the entire thing so unfortunate.

But at the end of the day we DID field a team and our flag did wave. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Oct. 2, 2001, 01:49 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by DMK:
Quote: "Originally posted by Emmet:

IMHO USAE would have come out of this the "bigger man" had they stood united with USET on their decision to withdraw. Regardless of what the FEI and Samsung wanted. "

I dunno, Emmet, I have tried to see this view, and all I can think of is why - after all was said and done - didn't the USET just unite with the USAE on this issue? Or at least disavow any hurtful remarks against those 3 riders made by various people who could be considered to be speaking on their behalf? An after the fact statement to the effect that while they would have preferred to field the highest qualified team for the Nation's Cup, but in light of the special request by the FEI/Samsung, and the unique circumstances, fielding this team was a valuable statement about how the American Spirit endures.

If they wanted to think about it as being gracious, or being clever after they were out-maneuvered by Slick Spin Artists, it would have really not mattered to the great many people in this world, but it would have been a good gesture on their part (face saving or noble, pick your description).

On a separate note, I have seen some references to derogatory comments to the original team. While I have not seen any remarks directed against the original team (only references), I honestly hope that no one has done such. Those 4 riders deserve our support and committment as much as the 3 riders who ended up in Spain, and it was through no fault of their own that they were not there.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Bingo yet again, DMK (you must have won something by now /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif ).

In addition, I think the remarks criticizing the riders in Spain and USA Eq could have been expressed in a much more constructive form, therefore eliminating the need for tricky disavowals or tempering of meanings. /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Emmet, as I've hinted before (and as many others have as well) you bet I'd be worried, despite lauriep's reassuring remarks!

But I do think that in these EXTREMELY EXCEPTIONAL circumstances, it was the right thing to send a three man team without a chef d'equipe(just MVHumbleO, FWIW). And I don't think one can extrapolate anything dire about USA Eq's competence in fielding and sending future teams--if it ends up being the case that they do based on the USOC decision--from this instance.

Again, I'd like to think that both organizations' decisions were made, at least in part /infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif , because they believed they were doing what was best.

Ruby G. Weber
Oct. 2, 2001, 06:20 PM
Do we think that all of the NFL owners and players, all the major league owners and players and all involved with NASCAR agreed not to compete? I can't imagine they did but what they did do was put on a united front.

Too bad our sport couldn't have done the same. Either way.

Oct. 2, 2001, 06:34 PM
for three hours on 9/15 to get on a commercial flight from Philly to Los Angeles.

I was not alone. A charter flight that only a few people mostly known to each other could get near was gonna be a much safer entity.

Oct. 2, 2001, 07:28 PM
<<Consider this

Do we think that all of the NFL owners and players, all the major league owners and players and all involved with NASCAR agreed not to compete? I can't imagine they did but what they did do was put on a united front. >>


Weren't they all back on their respective fields by Nations Cup weekend? But they didn't play the weekend following the attacks...

As for the "united front" thing you are after: it wouldn't be too late even now for the USET to issue some sort of statement in support of the Madrid team...they haven't stopped sending out press releases the whole time; but since the cancellation of their trip, they have said not official word number one on this--all the "talk" has been by riders (who showed at the Gold Cup), and one particularly disgruntled chef....

Oct. 3, 2001, 10:00 AM
Yeah, and some of them really have to learn to spell, or we'll have "drooped" rails everywhere.

Oct. 3, 2001, 05:43 PM
In reply to the comment that a stranger couldn't have made it on the flight with the horses. The horses don't always go by chartered planes or strickly cargo, there are also combination flights that are loaded with passangers who have no idea the horses are in cargo in the back of the plane. (I have been on such a flight with horses representing the U.S.) And besides wasn't there a plane a while ago that went down because a crew member (I don't remember the details) took control and intentionally crashed the plane?! Anything can happen as we now know.

Oct. 3, 2001, 11:20 PM
So does that mean we never take a shower?

OK! the risk was there, no one said it wasn't, no one I've read called the Team that was supposed to go cowards. BUT...that doesn't excuse them condemning the guys who show to save face in Europe.

How does it look if the world lines up to help us, and we can't even show up? Don't forget over in Europe horses are more than a hobby.

Frankly, I'm more upset about the USOC not supporting New York at a time like this. That's all New York is asking. Just for us to all come there, stay at hotels eat food and enjoy. I was offended by the USOC deciding to move the meeting to Texas whenit could have been rescheduled in New York.