Wednesday, May. 29, 2024

Conflicts of Time and Interest

Dear Rita,

With the USEF Festival fast approaching, horses have already started to arrive at the USET in Gladstone. This year’s Pan American Games Selection Trials bring elements of excitement and suspense to the competition and the participation of Steffen Peters with Ravel and Tina Konyot with Calecto in the Grand Prix Championships will also boost spectator appeal.

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Dear Rita,

With the USEF Festival fast approaching, horses have already started to arrive at the USET in Gladstone. This year’s Pan American Games Selection Trials bring elements of excitement and suspense to the competition and the participation of Steffen Peters with Ravel and Tina Konyot with Calecto in the Grand Prix Championships will also boost spectator appeal.

I am doing a couple of test rides on Cadillac during the weekend. I hope to show the test ride for the Grand Prix Special (Friday) and the Grand Prix freestyle (Sunday). I am not competing at the Festival this year because my husband, Dr. Greg Staller, is the Treating Veterinarian for the show, and this is one conflict of interest that will not be allowed by the USEF.

I have known since last winter that I would not compete at the Championships, so while it may be a shock to some of my followers, this is not news to me. Greg and I have agreed that he will carry on his decade long commitment to working during team competitions as long as it does not interfere with any important selection trials for me. Since I have no Pan Am horse this year, sitting out the Grand Prix National Championships is something I can bear, even though I did bring my top horses to the USA to compete for a few months.

Now let me explain that a bit further. Our National Championships are not held within a CDI competition, so riders cannot earn World Ranking Points from their participation. There also is no prize money offered during the Festival. (Entry fees are waived, and most of the expenses of running the show are met by the generosity of Collecting Gaits Farm—the official show sponsor.) So given the choice of competing at Gladstone or at a CDI where my horses can earn ranking points, World Cup points and prize money, it doesn’t really make sense to choose the national competition over an international one unless a selection trial is involved.

Personally, I would prefer to see the USEF Festival turned into an international competition—a CDI*** or CDI***** combined with a World Cup qualifier. The venue at Gladstone is PERFECT for this! I think we should invite other nations and compete under FEI doping and judging rules.  After all, the teams that are chosen from our selection trials have to represent the United States at FEI competitions such as the Pan Ams, the WEG and the Olympics. So why not qualify under the same rules?

It also seems that a large international venue might attract more sponsorship possibilities. It would be great to offer more than prestige and a few gifts to the winners—especially the competitors who travel long distances to get to the National Championships. Prize money to help cover expenses would be a relief to most riders.

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So Rita, my biggest concern at the moment is not sitting out the competition at Gladstone next week. I am more concerned about finding sponsorship for my top horses and preparing for my international starts at Saugerties and Devon. Winyamaro and Cadillac are in good form, and I hope we can leave a good impression with our compatriots at both shows.

But time is running out, Rita. I will have to offer both my horses for sale when I return to Europe in October unless a sponsor emerges with some financial support for my Olympic bid. I have two good horses and one realizable dream—the London 2012 Olympics. I’m wondering if there is a partner out there would like to join me on this journey?

Listen to some discussion about sponsorship and my situation on Robert Dover’s Radio Show.

I’m Catherine Haddad Staller, and I’m sayin it like it is from Gladstone, New Jersey.

Training Tip of the Day: If international success is you goal, plan your horse show schedule carefully. Optimize ranking points and prize money, minimize expenses and stress.

InternationalDressage.com

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