We had the horses...last year. The Olympics is this year. It happens. We had a top 4 dressage team and and maybe as good a jumping team if the Olympics would have been last year. From top 4 you can sneak into the medals. To hope last years horses hold together for another year is passive thinking but they were really spectacular horses. Only Flexible made it to the Olympics. If only...Sapphire would have held on one more year. I think that Ravel lost his glow because he wasn't competing but say he just faded off the top level and he was still a leading act not a supporting act. We lacked a star. We know the timing on this Olympics would be close and we are paying the penalty for trying to hold the old guard through the Olympics...and they aged out. It is not really a surprise...we historically don't bring on fresh riders very often...This year we had to and they were probably not well enough prepared to star. So we prepare for Rio. I am sure people will get back to whining about so and so having EARNED the right to go to the Olympics...this is what happens when earning is more important than a selectors intuition about who will bring out the star in a impressive up and comer. We had some impressive up and comers at the Olympics because the big guns didn't last to the opening ceremony. That was bad luck and a lesson to be learned but how can you step back from a star like Sapphire...we had to and we didn't or couldn't. We would have needed a lot of money at the last minute. PatO
During the selection process this year horses on the eventing tean, the dressage team and the jumping team were given passes. I think the intent was to reduce the chance they would be injured competing, or that they would be burned out, or that if they were fresh it would be better, or they needed to heal(a terrible risk that they wouldn't) also MW and BD had to heal. We invested extra hope in these people and horses. They had proven themselves at the very top and they just needed to be ready for the Olympics. They were not. I wonder at what point their riders KNEW they would not have IT at the Olympic level but it seemed that the selectors made a huge error not thinking past these horses or not thinking pessemistically about these horses. I felt that the selectors "trusted" that the riders were thinking of the "team" and instead the selectors seemed to decide if the riders didn't have the "big" ride they would come up with another ride...and they did.
All teams have this happen...what they do next seems to be different. GB show jumping looked at their owners and said find a horse now...we need a star. Germany looked into the deep well of top level horses and said he's out you're in. They didn't stick with the rider and say...what else you got at home. We seem to look first at the rider and we need to look at the whole healthy team of horse, rider and owner. In GB there is a culture of owning for the team, this was THEIR Olympics and the owners were full on board...and having fun! PatO