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Show Jumping - what went RIGHT?

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  • Show Jumping - what went RIGHT?

    We've spent much time on this BB talking about all the things that we have done poorly, why things go wrong, why we're worried about the future of our equestrian teams.

    But let's look at this case study before us: WHAT WENT RIGHT?

    All of our riders jumped at least one clear round. Wooo!

    None of our riders had a disasterous round.

    So why did it go so well, particularly when we've struggled at the World Cup? Better horses? Better conditioning? Are our riders finally coming of age?
    If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

  • #2
    I think a lot of it is luck. We were lucky all of our horses stayed sound; the Canadians were unlucky to lose a rider, thus they didn't have a score to drop. The Germans had some unlucky rails. All of the US horses looked very prepared and they rode the course great. Kudos to the riders, horses, and GM!


    • #3
      Originally posted by Eyemadonkee View Post
      Kudos to the riders, horses, and GM!

      I think GM's prep had ALOT to do with it. Combine that with four pairs of athletes that were amazing throughout the selection process, not to mention the great pressure riders we had in Ward and Beezie which I think lended quite a bit of confidence to the team in general (although both Laura and Will certainly proved their pressure riding capabilities as well). The superb horsemanship that allowed all four horses to peak at the right time went a long way as well. I think it was just our year, all the pieces fell into place: Great chep d'equip, great riders, fabulous horses and a great venue.


      • #4
        Good luck, talent and good management on our part.

        Objective scoring.
        * What you release is what you teach * Don't be distracted by unwanted behavior* Whoever waits the longest is the teacher. Van Hargis


        • Original Poster

          I agree luck is a factor and it was on our side. Laura Kraut had a pretty massive rattle that stayed up, and I'm sure some of the Germans just tapped rails that came down.

          I remember watching Sapphire at the World Cup and she looked like she just got tired for the later rounds. But in the team competition, she looked stronger and fitter than ever after the third round, so maybe they've upped her fitness level.

          Laura Kraut's Cedric and Will Simpson's Carlsson vom Dach seem to be really spectacular horses new to the US. So maybe we are just getting some deeper pockets better attached to riders who can make it all come together.

          (Nice story about Will Simpson in his local paper: http://www.venturacountystar.com/new...lizes-a-dream/ )

          Authentic and Sapphire were young horses with little behind them when they sparkled at the 2004 Olympic Trials, and they've barely faltered since. One big competition, they went right to the top, and have stayed there. Maybe we're getting better at keeping our younger horses fit and fresh and sound and interested and confident.
          If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


          • #6
            Originally posted by Madeline View Post

            Objective scoring.

            Very true. Thank goodness I don't follow dressage or gymnastics much I feel bad for those athletes, how heartbreaking.


            • #7
              They all rode consistently well but more importantly seemed to be mentally on top of their game (kudos to Chef d' Equip GM for the latter). That coupled with inconsistentcy and self destruction from several of the Dutch and Germans and voila.

              The individual will be interesting to see if the likes of Ludger, MMB, Skelton etc have ironed out the kinks and will come out with all guns blazing, not to mention the non-team riders like Lansink, Pessoa and Denis Lynch quietly waiting in the wings. But the confidence of the US riders has got to be high, as long as they haven't dwelled too much on the team victory.


              • Original Poster

                It seems to me that we finally have a good selection process - one that tests the horses for big ability, for fitness, etc, but doesn't use them up, one that gives great but unheralded combinations a chance to shine, that is forgiving for great horses with a little bad luck (like Will Simpson's horse), and can take into account some of the unexpected/untestable factors.
                If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


                • #9
                  Our horses and riders were very well prepared and made some incredibly difficult courses look like walks in the park. I can't say that anything went wrong with our show jumping team. Can't wait for the individual rounds!!


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by poltroon View Post

                    (Nice story about Will Simpson in his local paper: http://www.venturacountystar.com/new...lizes-a-dream/ )
                    It was a nice article, but not the first jump-off in Olympic history since we jumped-off for silver in Athens. Maybe they meant the first jump-off for gold?

                    Back to the topic, our selection system worked and the riders/horses performed. With the new subjective and objective selection system, we now have 2 team gold medals.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Eyemadonkee View Post
                      I think a lot of it is luck. We were lucky all of our horses stayed sound; the Canadians were unlucky to lose a rider, thus they didn't have a score to drop. The Germans had some unlucky rails. All of the US horses looked very prepared and they rode the course great. Kudos to the riders, horses, and GM!
                      Luck favors the well prepared!


                      • #12
                        What went right? Everything.

                        Poltroon gives a spot-on analysis of the U.S. selecting its best for the Games.

                        Everything converged - all the good decisions, visions, instincts and wins of the last 2-3years resulted in a perfect Show Jumping harmonic, a Golden Quartet.

                        The horses, riders, years, and maybe something artistic and un-namable, invisible? Four magicians, their steeds, and a wizard...

                        How proud our Team was, standing up there on the podium. Now that you've captured your time, maybe you Heroic Fab Four can come home and catch up on a little sleep.... Bravo! And Sweet Dreams.

                        Lee Ann Morgan


                        • #13
                          Things we did exceptionally well:

                          Good selection trials in Florida - while FL sucks for indoor WC prep, between the ring and heat/humidity factor it was probably very useful, and of course it didn't hurt that Palacios and Stephens' courses are the normal fare for WEF.

                          Committing to Sapphire and Authentic early in the process and letting those riders craft their prep towards the Olympics has to help, don't you think?

                          Being smart about Will's decision to skip the last trial due to his horse's minor injury after the storm.

                          Getting two teams (consisting of likely olympic caliber rider/horse plus possible olympic rider/horse plus future olympic riders) to compete in the Super League in the Nations Cup format all summer long. I think both the repeated exposure to the format and the level of competition is a major factor. After Winter and Spruce Meadows, in this country these 4 riders only have to beat each other, it's got to be useful to constantly be up against a much deeper pool of talent.

                          And I think you have to credit the team and the Chef for peaking at exactly the right time, but I suspect most of that credit goes to the Chef, because if it hadn't worked out, he'd get all the blame.

                          It's definitely a bit of luck, but I think you have to be both good and prepared to capitalize on luck.
                          Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.


                          • #14
                            The hard part will be choosing horses going forward. We have a huge depth of great horses at the very top and if they are well maintained like Sapphire and Authentic (who are still fairly young) then choosing is going to get harder and harder. There are also a handful of young riders clawing their way to the top... But in 2 yrs for WEG we are looking at the possibility of having a huge number of very good horses and choosing will get harder. I hope its not a cycle of subjective/objective where the USEF once again will have to worry about lawsuits...


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by katherine w View Post
                              I hope its not a cycle of subjective/objective where the USEF once again will have to worry about lawsuits...
                              Nothing is written in stone, but I would tend to think that the stunning lack of success that finally put that system to rest has had the final nail in the coffin due to the last two Olympic successes.
                              Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.


                              • #16
                                My take is that we are sending our riders to Europe for international competition, and it's working very well. The Samsung Super League and the Developing Riders Tour have made all the difference in the results.
                                "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
                                Thread killer Extraordinaire


                                • #17
                                  So how do they propose to be ready for World Cup in Las Vegas next year? It will be interesting to see how we fare there. not sure we have time to become experts at the Indoor but Rich Fellers sure found a way didn't he!

                                  Looking forward to finding out!


                                  Rerider/Haydunker Clique

                                  RIP Barbaro, you were my hero!


                                  • Original Poster

                                    The World Cup is not a Team event - meaning that the riders are selected with the World Cup criteria and not by the national teams, nor are they sent as teams. It is an event of individuals who happen to represent different countries. It doesn't seem to me that the USET does any group training or preparation for it these days (if they ever did).
                                    If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


                                    • #19
                                      I realize this but the same riders etc will be there! How will those riders prepare? I want them to be successful at the WC too! Of course MMB fell off last time in LV so who knows!


                                      Rerider/Haydunker Clique

                                      RIP Barbaro, you were my hero!


                                      • #20
                                        We have gone almost full circle in the selection process.

                                        Yes, we must have a selection trial according to the IOC however allowing George the freedom to name the team (as it was up to and including LA) has made, IMO the biggest difference.

                                        Luck. Maybe. But these guys are making their luck.

                                        Both Beezie and McLain have been pointing their horses toward a Gold in HK since Athens. Laura has been showing in Europe during the summer for the past few years. Will's no new comer.

                                        All these rider's respect George and he in turn, gives them enough room to do what they know how to do with their horses.

                                        Let's hope our selection process never again dictates we leave the likes of Gem Twist in the barn.