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Buying your way into the Olympics...

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  • #21
    Originally posted by BasqueMom View Post
    WAsn't Amy Tryon's horse, Pogo I think was his name, a cheap TB. And
    Courgeous Comet...California rider and horse whose name (Becky Holder, maybe)...think he was also a TB.
    Sure, there are plenty of examples of that. We all know about those.
    But people act like buying your way to OG or World's is some new thing, and is something esp eventers would never do. It's actually been going on for 50+ years, and some very storied names are not above doing it. Not that there is anything wrong with it. But people need to keep that perspective next time they want to browbeat the likes of Nina Lignon or some Saudi showjumper.

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    • #22
      A few late-night thoughts

      I am glad that there are many different countries represented in the equestrian sports, and I don't care if they bought high-level horses to get there. It helps keep those sports in the Olympics.

      Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan, and many other countries have strong equestrian cultures, but they don't have fox hunting or strong cavalry traditions, so they never developed native breeds that are suited to the current Olympic equestrian disciplines, all of which were derived from European military and/or hunting traditions. Very few Arabians, Barbs, or Akhel-Teke type horses are going to be great Grand Prix jumpers, but they would probably win endurance competitions every time.

      Here's another thing that crossed my mind. Show jumping, dressage and eventing are horribly expensive, but it is almost certainly easier and cheaper to find a few talented (and wealthy) people and let them buy some horses and training, than it is to develop the infrastructure needed to build a great track and field or swimming and diving program. People like Michael Phelps are genuine freaks of nature, and they are hard to find and hard to develop. (In many countries, for instance, before you find your swimming star, you would have to teach all the little kids to swim, and how are you going to do that where there are no pools or teachers?)

      I am not sure that I understand just how important Olympic participation is to other countries, but I see that many countries which have never won a medal in any thing, send athletes to the games every four years without fail, despite whatever hardship and turmoil exists inside their countries.
      friend of bar.ka

      I am dressed up. These wellies are clean.

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      • #23
        Originally posted by oldgreypony View Post
        I am glad that there are many different countries represented in the equestrian sports, and I don't care if they bought high-level horses to get there. It helps keep those sports in the Olympics.

        Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan, and many other countries have strong equestrian cultures, but they don't have fox hunting or strong cavalry traditions, so they never developed native breeds that are suited to the current Olympic equestrian disciplines, all of which were derived from European military and/or hunting traditions. Very few Arabians, Barbs, or Akhal-Teke type horses are going to be great Grand Prix jumpers, but they would probably win endurance competitions every time.


        I am not sure that I understand just how important Olympic participation is to other countries, but I see that many countries which have never won a medal in any thing, send athletes to the games every four years without fail, despite whatever hardship and turmoil exists inside their countries.

        That is exactly the way I see it. And at the Olympic level, even if you buy a well-trained horse, you still have to ride it well to succeed.
        For many countries, participation to the games, and being noticed in their own countries, might help develop breeding etc. in these particular countries.
        I think it's great to see riders from Jordan, Ukraine, Saudi Arabia, Japan etc. etc. in SJ and eventing.

        And lastly...Olympic participation is an honor in itself, for many countries, whether they medal or not. The USA overall, even if they don't medal, really didn't do too shabbily.... whatever one may read on CoTH.
        Ottbs - The finish line is only the beginning!

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        • #24
          Originally posted by Beentheredonethat View Post
          I do not know the background of the British horses. Did they all buy these as young horses and do the training themselves?
          The Bechtolsheimers bought Mistral Hojris as a PSG horse.
          Carl Hester got Valegro and Uthopia as young horses, I remember seeing Uthopia in Horse and Hound magazine in novice or elementary classes getting 80%.

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          • #25
            I believe Carl Hester bought Valegro as a 4 yo and Charlotte Dujardin has been riding him since then.

            Back in the day all sorts of rich Americans bought top horses and donated them to The Team. It's been going on for years and will continue. Some on the eventing forums have been apoplectic for months about how Nina Ligon's family bought her all these fabulous horses for the Olympics. Of course she still had to learn to ride them, qualify for the 4* level, and then ride around the course, all of which were extremely difficult but she did it.

            Realistically, few top riders have the time or interest to start young horses and bring them up the levels. Some excellent riders aren't great at working with the babies, it's 2 different skill sets. If they can work with made horses then it makes their lives much easier. Nothing wrong with that. This is a riding competition, not a starting-young-horses competition

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            • #26
              Carl Hester bought Valegro as a 2yo and while he was still very young decided he was going to sell him so sent him over to Holland. (Horses sell for a lot more money in mainland Europe than they do in the UK. I have no idea why!) Valegro didn't sell and Carl said in an interview "I thought, I really like this horse. I'm going to bring him home."

              Valegro does have a problem with headshaking, not that you'd ever guess! Carl rode him and Charlotte rode him and Carl has said he went better for Charlotte so he let her have the ride. They've trained him up from being unbroken.

              Carl went to Holland looking for a horse for his long term sponsor Sacha Stewart. Early in their trip they found Uthopia. They thought he was a bit small but his movement and his temperament more than made up for his lack of inches. Uti was 3 or 4 at the time. Sacha started riding him but (I think) got pregnant and so passed the ride over to Carl.

              So Carl and Charlotte have trained their horses up from the very start. I think it shows in the partnerships they have got.

              Mistral Hojris was at PSG when Laura bought him but he had a reputation for being difficult. Laura has said he was "a misunderstood horse".

              The 4th member of the team, Richard Davison, has trained multiple horses from unbacked to GP. However his sponsor bought Artemis from Canada's Evi Strasser with most of his GP training in place. He was called Foto Tyme originally.

              The winner of the individual eventing silver medal was on a homebred horse. That family is exceptional. The granddam bred THREE Olympic eventers. The dam has bred TWO Olympic eventers and competed at these Olympics herself. Wow.

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              • #27
                Originally posted by oldgreypony View Post

                Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan, and many other countries have strong equestrian cultures, but they don't have fox hunting or strong cavalry traditions, so they never developed native breeds that are suited to the current Olympic equestrian disciplines, all of which were derived from European military and/or hunting traditions. Very few Arabians, Barbs, or Akhel-Teke type horses are going to be great Grand Prix jumpers, but they would probably win endurance competitions every time.

                Perhaps the olympics should out of respect for the rest of the world include non european equestrian events.

                Ban'ei racing
                Dzhigitovka
                Endurance
                Mounted Archery
                Reining
                Tent pegging
                A pussycat of a horse with a chewed off tail won the triple crown, The Cubs won the world series and Trump won the Presidency.
                Don't tell me 'It can't be done.'

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                • #28
                  Let's not forget that the US Army "liberated" a whole lot of horses from Europe after the WWs--that coincidentally were on the next Olympic teams.

                  Another thing I remember is years ago Isabel Werth (I believe) stating firmly that she was a RIDER and not a trainer, which I believe might be the norm in some of the European countries. A rider would get already trained horses and by virtue of her/his expertise improve them by their riding.

                  Haven't the British, as I remember it, always been sort of do-it-yourselfers? Hence the remark by the British announcer.

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                  • #29
                    Originally posted by betonbill View Post
                    Let's not forget that the US Army "liberated" a whole lot of horses from Europe after the WWs--that coincidentally were on the next Olympic teams.

                    Another thing I remember is years ago Isabel Werth (I believe) stating firmly that she was a RIDER and not a trainer, which I believe might be the norm in some of the European countries. A rider would get already trained horses and by virtue of her/his expertise improve them by their riding.

                    Haven't the British, as I remember it, always been sort of do-it-yourselfers? Hence the remark by the British announcer.
                    I'm interested in the statement that "liberated" horses made the US teams post WWII. Can you cite specifics?
                    "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
                    Thread killer Extraordinaire

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                    • #30
                      Yes!

                      Originally posted by 5 View Post
                      Perhaps the olympics should out of respect for the rest of the world include non european equestrian events.

                      Ban'ei racing
                      Dzhigitovka
                      Endurance
                      Mounted Archery
                      Reining
                      Tent pegging
                      Barrel racing! And mounted archery would be amazing.
                      friend of bar.ka

                      I am dressed up. These wellies are clean.

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        Let's define "cheap finds", too. Poggio wasn't a meat truck buy--he was under $20K, yes, but not under $5k.
                        Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

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                        • #32
                          Originally posted by mbhorse View Post
                          Even more interesting. I started this thread as a result of the BBC commentators at the first round of show jumping. They seemed to be indicating that the Saudis and other muslim countries, and Ukraine as well, had been spending extraordinary amounts of money on horseflesh for their teams. This is what I was referring to.
                          glad to see that no one picked up your ball and ran with it.

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                          • #33
                            Originally posted by oldgreypony View Post
                            Barrel racing! And mounted archery would be amazing.
                            I would wager the winners in mounted archery would be native americans and a couple of the middle eastern countries.
                            Not out of the question would be a couple of the warmbloods recalling their their knight charger ancestors and clean up in tent pegging.
                            A pussycat of a horse with a chewed off tail won the triple crown, The Cubs won the world series and Trump won the Presidency.
                            Don't tell me 'It can't be done.'

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              http://www.qmfound.com/horse.htm#Post-World War II Importations of Horses from the European Theater to the United States

                              The U.S. Army purchased a lot of horses post WWII. primarily saddle stock.

                              I'm sure that I read some place that some were highly trained and wound up being ridden in the OG before the Army deactivated the cavalry. I'll keep looking.

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                              • #35
                                Cowboy mounted shooting.
                                It's just grass and water till it hits the ground.

                                Comment


                                • #36
                                  I don't really see a problem with buying a proven horse, it just costs $$$. Just because someone didn't start that particular horse doesn't mean they don't have the skill or talent to do so. In reality many of these riders probably have tons of young horses back home, but the fact is it takes a special horse to make it to this level. It is awesome to hear about riders who have brought their young horse to the top level, but if you think it is a cake walk to get on a proven horse and win you haven't ridden enough nice horses. While at the ammy level top dollar means the horse is really nice and easy to ride that is not true at this level. Many of the top horses are top horses due to talent not because they are easy to ride.

                                  Horses that are well trained that haven't been ridden by too many outside riders are usually hard to ride, their cues are just off of what your normal ones are and it takes time to figure each other out. So yes it takes time to build the partnership. I thought Karen did a good job with her new horse that she has not had long at all. Just because she showed in some serious hardware doesn't mean thats what she rides in at home, maybe the horse was still extremely fresh, at the shows sometimes you have to pull out the big guns to get it done. That doesn't always mean proper prep wasn't done.

                                  I am all for people working hard and earning their way up, but I also have no problem just because someone can afford a horse worth more than mine. If I could afford it I would buy it too! It does NOT mean that person doesn't work just as hard. Just because you spend a lot of money on a horse doesn't mean you will win, sure it helps your chances, but you still have to ride and train especially at this level. I have been on both sides, I was at a barn where I was seen as the one who got what she wanted and didn't have to work for it and had the "expensive" horse (it is all relative) , and I was also at a barn where my horse (same "expensive" horse) was by far the cheapest thing there and not as nice. I worked hard, sometimes I beat the nicer horses, sometimes I didn't, did everyone with the $$ horses work hard? No but some did, and really in the end it evened out just fine where the people who worked hard (regardless of horse cost) did better consistently than the people who didn't. I would say everyone person competing at the olympics has worked hard and deserve to be there regardless of how they got their horses.
                                  http://community.webshots.com/user/jenn52318

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                                  • #37
                                    Originally posted by Weatherford View Post
                                    I agree!!



                                    Sometimes it's an owner issue, not a rider issue. I've seen wonderful riders have horses they've worked on for years pulled out from underneath them because the owners want it all NOW. (And does the next rider do better? No.) That can be very disheartening for a young (or old ) professional who has dreams of going higher!!!
                                    I imagine Heather Bitz thought Otto was to be her ride for Hong Kong/Beijing. I bet she has learned her lesson from that experience.
                                    "Friend" me !

                                    http://www.facebook.com/isabeau.solace

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                                    • #38
                                      Originally posted by 5 View Post
                                      I would wager the winners in mounted archery would be native americans and a couple of the middle eastern countries.
                                      Not out of the question would be a couple of the warmbloods recalling their their knight charger ancestors and clean up in tent pegging.

                                      Actually it'd be between the middle east and asia (China, Japan) most likely. We wouldn't stand a chance to how strong it still is in Asia. (Lived in both countries) Though I know some people who'd love to have that opportunity who are not in any way native american. Think more medieval reenactment folks


                                      I have often wished we had endurance riding as an Olympic sport. I thought about that when I was watching the biking competitions.

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                                      • #39
                                        Mounted archery and Native Americans? Stereotype much? Probably not. I see disaster in the making with that one, kind of like Pentathalon-all those non-riders but good shots? Oye!!

                                        You'd really have to go back to the Mongol Empire to find true mounted archers. Not so much with American Indians, despite what Hollywood showed us
                                        Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

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                                        • #40
                                          Mounted archery

                                          I think it would be easier to teach a rider to shoot, than to teach an archer to ride.
                                          friend of bar.ka

                                          I am dressed up. These wellies are clean.

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