Not to put words in JP60's mouth. He's perfectly capable of explaining himself, but what I took it to mean is that Sinead was told last year not to run Rolex because she was a shoo in for the team and should save the horse for the Olympics. Well, that didn't happen and now she's being told to not run Rolex again for a chance at Pau. Perhaps she has more faith in DOC, and the selectors this time around.
Hopefully the lack of transparency that surrounded the team in the recent past has changed. Time will tell.
I think these sorts of discussions/threads are really important and good for the sport. That said, I do think we need to make efforts to try and fairly represent the facts and try not to reach conclusions based on suppositions. The reality is that, even under a more transparent process, the general eventing public won't have access to all the details, nor will they be present at discussions between the team, riders, vets, owners, etc.
Back in a COTH blog from June 2012, Sinead stated: At the beginning of the season I was told, thankfully, by the selectors that it wasn’t necessary for Tate and I to compete at a CCI competition, but that we would need to hold our form at the CIC level all spring. This was to give Tate the best chance to be fit mentally and physically for the Games.
It seems to be an oft repeated statement that Sinead was told she was a 'shoo in' for the team in 2012. But I've never heard that she has confirmed that version. And the above actually suggests otherwise. And frankly, even if those were the actual words uttered, it must be put in context. It was early 2012, and if the team had been named in January or February of 2012, she probably would have been on the team. That isn't to say, however, that there weren't lots of other horses vying for spots. I can think of a few horses that would have been very legitimate contenders if their seasons had gone a bit differently.
Instead, the Team actually did a great thing, imo, and gave her the flexibility to build a program that suited her horse and the ultimate end goal:
So this year, when I went to the Captain and asked, “OK, so if I’m not going to Rolex (which I know how to prepare for) what do you think I should do for my season?” it shocked me a little when he responded, “Do whatever you need to do to prepare you and your horse to perform your best at the biggest competition of your life.”
Now, perhaps the Team could have provided more support or advice through that process. I don't know. But I don't think Sinead was left off the Team because she didn't run Rolex, or because she headed to England earlier. I just don't think that is a fair assessment.
As for this year, particularly with a horse with substantial upper level miles, if the goal is WEG 2014, why would you waste his legs on Rolex when Pau (or another French event) will provide the best preparation? Particularly a horse like Tate who hasn't, historically, been heavily competed.
I honest to goodness think this nationalism is doing more to negatively impact this sport then even the FEI. 99% of the time this sport about individuals, not teams, not even really country. Do WE, as a country, gain anything if the USA gets gold at the Olympics. Do we run around our local shows going USA USA USA or do we maybe more go "Wow, did you see Mary King's ride at WEG?" (traitor. You are Banished from Eventing.). If we talk, we talk about the best from any country, but we talk about them mainly because we see them.
Sinead Halpin is not going to run at Rolex. I read her blog, I understood (in principle) the decision, but that just pissed me off. She got dumped by the Selection Committee, took her horse, trained the dickens out of both and then put her name on the tip of every tongue, both sides of the pond. I respected that, because it was the example of doing what you, the rider wants and can do. Now, as I understand, her horse is not injured, he in no way would be harmed running Rolex, but I now don't get to see one of my favorite combinations, because of some damn potential for a piece of metal that has little impact on this sport, with no guarantee she'll run in the Olympics or WEG. A bird in the hand in this case...
We should fill Rolex up to overflowing. We should have it so there is a reason to run a second one. Sinead and others skipping Rolex should tell DOC, thanks, but not again (didn't she get told to not do some events to "save" herself for the Olympics?). Rolex should be our Daytona, our Superbowl, our Wold Series. If what DOC is doing is true, he cheapens Eventing in the US. We should become more vocal in demanding more challenging courses here in the states and just stop trying to compete with Europe. Its like everyone wants to play at the Rich guy's mansion, because ours is not as fancy or nice. Eventing does not need WEG or the Olympics, but US Eventing does need Rolex and more.
I have to agree about the part where they told her not to run...then she got left high and dry. I also think if she can Rolex again, she has a good chance of winning. After showing what she can do overseas, I don't think that team has much left to prove. However, that being said I support Sinead %100 and I hope she has a great year. I will be attending Rolex this year regardless with the same amount of excitement as ever!
Starfish, I agree to a point, but what is said or written for public consumption may not be the whole story. And I don't understand your point that they gave her the flexibility to reach her ultimate goal. Her goal was the Olympics in 2012.
Of course its all just supposition, because we were not privy to the conversations. And in the end probably doesn't matter. There have been many before her who were burned when they banged their head against the glass ceiling. Its always right to do what is best for yourself and your horse, and then you can look back with a clean heart, and less regrets.
Starfish, I agree to a point, but what is said or written for public consumption may not be the whole story.
Well, of course. But I don't think its fair to be reaching conclusions based on supposition about what was actually said. Even if she WAS told that she was a 'shoo in' for the Team, that is a statement made at that particular moment of time. It is obviously accompanied by the usual qualifications like...provided the horse is sound, provided the horse maintains its form and provided that there aren't other, stronger candidates.
Of course, in my view, the real issue that people have with the decision to not select Sinead/Tate, is less about running Rolex or being told she was a 'shoo in' and more about the selection of Ringwood Magister and, to a lesser extent, Twizzel.
Originally Posted by SLR
And I don't understand your point that they gave her the flexibility to reach her ultimate goal. Her goal was the Olympics in 2012.
The Team didn't dictate to her that she had to follow a certain path. They allowed her the freedom and flexibility to design her own program. Now, ultimately, the plan was not successful in terms of getting on the Team but I don't think that was because they offered her the flexibility. I think that a more flexible approach should be encouraged as not every horse/rider needs the same prep before a big event.
Last edited by starfish; Mar. 21, 2013 at 05:30 PM.
I don't think anyone should run Rolex if they don't think it is in there best interest but as a spectator I am a little concerned. Is this usual? I don't recall their being so few entries a month out the last two years and entries must be in within the week correct? Just wondering as I have only been the last two years so not sure what is the norm.
Last edited by bizbachfan; Mar. 22, 2013 at 07:09 AM.
I don't think anyone should run Rolex if they don't think it is in their best interest but as a spectator I am a little concerned. Is this usual? I don't recall their being so few entries a month out the last two years and entries must be in within the week correct? Just wondering as I have only been the last two years so not sure what is the norm.
You don't need to be concerned yet. There are still a number of horses aimed at Rolex who are not yet on the entry list.
The general tone shown before and after the Olympics was that in not doing certain shows, consideration would be given to the Olympics, yet later she was not picked over a lesser experienced rider (with in theory better dressage). It was a lousy system and perhaps still is. My view there is we do not need teams in Eventing. The Olympic *team* the WEG *team*, even the Pan Am *team* provides an opportunity for division, angst, and favoritism. The best *team* we fielded was at Burghley because it was not a forced, tightly controlled process, it was great riders working together, on their own, to go beyond what they were as individuals. if we want national pride, then field as many Americans at international shows and begin building them up. Teams benefit the few, always.
As to my second thought regarding Sinead, I in no way impinge on her care for Tate, her Horsemanship, or her character. When I read her blog she said this...
Tate looked fantastic in his clinical evaluation, showing no sensitivity to flexions and also looking great (and wild) on a circle. During the second part of evaluations, Dr. Revenaugh found a weakened area in one of Tate’s scans. This was very surprising because Tate was as close to perfect as you can get in a clinical exam.
Following the exam, Coach O’Connor, Dr. Revenaugh, Dr. Furlong and I had a good chat about moving forward. With the ultimate goal being the WEG in Normandy in August 2014, we decided that we should spend the next few months strengthening this weakness. Our original plan of Rolex this spring seems an unnecessary risk if it’s going to compromise the horse or the big picture plan with Team USA.
her first comment does not match the decision of the second.
(1) Had Sinead not been a part of the "team" involved with all this intensive scanning she may have never found a weak spot, thus without team involvement would have run at Rolex and Tate would have either been fine, or showed off, just like so many of us Riders that don't make decisions based on a team, but on what we have. For all we know, Tate may have had this "weak" spot as far back as Burghley.
(2) If it is going to compromise the horse, without a doubt you pull them out. If he had an injury that would compromise his ability to compete, would injure him self with no other consideration, don't go. That is not what she said. She said "or" in regards to a big picture and changes the equation.
What I got from that was (1) Tate is not in anyway unable to run, but is being held back to run at Pau (2) Decision are being made with the consideration of a team that does not exist so has no bearing on the moment other then possibilities, "If you want to run WEG you better do this".
I never, ever want to see a rider/horse team go just because I want to see them at some Event. I fully support the idea that it is first the horse, then the rider in deciding to go and had this not been colored by "team" considerations I'd not make a peep. But it was, and maybe some wont go to Rolex, because they were told you better run at Pau. We, the fans, lose in one way because we don't get to see a Rolex of individual choice, but one shaped and colored by team considerations and future potentials that cannot be predicted.
So yes,I am disappointed that Tate wont be running at Rolex, I understand that Sinead made a call with two vets and a "couch" telling her to look at the big picture, and I am grateful she is the kind of person who will make a tough call for the sake of a horse. I wont back away from my feelings that this sport does not benefit from a structured team approach.
Why not add a long format Prelim. Talk about drawing entries!
Sad to say it wouldn't. In the muck and mire of FEI qualifications a long format prelim serves no purpose. Unless you don't mind blowing the cash and possible extra wear and tear on your horse it only serves as a NQR.....
A LF Prelim DOES serve a purpose -- for those who don't want to give money to FEI and those who want to run a full format event. Not everyone in eventing land wants to give money to the Princess. However, I will agree that there has been a problem with entries at Prelim -- Training and lower, people enter. At Prelim, the crowd thins. But I think at least part of this is due to the waning support for our National levels and the pressure to pay up and run FEI levels (which are just about indistinguishable to me in execution). Clients, students, and our fellow riders will not make the long format their goal unless (a) they go to one and see how awesome they are [heh, that's how I got the fever] or (b) their mentors and peers encourage participation.
I agree that they should consider running a 3* or Advanced at Rolex to get the entries up. I remember when I first went to Rolex (the mid-90's I think) they had horses running all day. It was great for the spectators (and vendors, etc.) Now it always seems like there are long breaks and the day starts mid-morning and ends in the mid-afternoon. It's still good--but I really enjoyed when they had a 3* level too. I also liked that you could watch some stadium on Sunday morning (they would do the 3* I think). Those of us with a long drive liked to watch that group go and then get on the road. Now, we usually just end up leaving on Sunday a.m. because the show jumping doesn't start until 1 or so.
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Considering there is only 1 LF Prelim left (gods bless Mary Fike and MSEDA!), I think a spring one would be fantastic. Like others said, not everyone wants to run FEI or go higher than Prelim. They have the facility, minimal investment would need to be done imo... why not? Would the addition of an advanced HT running that day be of benefit to the calendar... to those perhaps aimed at Bromont or Jersey Fresh as a "last run"?
As slp2 said, I remember the day being really long... especially for those of us who wanted to watch some Steeplechase and horses leaving off an Phase A. The day was FULL! I haven't been in a few years mostly because I'd only be going down for XC and with it being such a shortened day, it didn't seem worth the trip (as sad as that is to say). I'd like to go this year but the decision will be made probably last minute and yes, the length of the day will be a factor.
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