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Buying a ride to the Olympics

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  • #21
    The Olympics isn't the measure it used to be. It's not strickly amateurs. Look at the basketball teams. One can buy their way in just like the Derby and The Daytona 500. Sad, but true.
    Groom to trainer: "Where's the glamour? You promised me glamour!"

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    • #22
      I'm with Alicen on this one. What if an extrordinarily talented, hard working rider has the incredible misfortune of losing their horse to colic, or it has a suspensory injury or fractured coffin bone, or some other injury that will make it impossible to go to the Olympics? If this rider has the means to buy a confirmed GP horse or a sponsor who will provide them with one, than I think he/she deserves the chance to tryout for the team. Keep in mind that this person is already at a huge disadvantage from not having years to form a partnership with the new horse.

      Bad things happen to good people (and good horses), and I don't see any reason that this hypothetical rider should miss out on the opportunity to compete at the Olympics if it can be helped.

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      • #23
        maybe we all need to rethink the way we look at the Olympics.

        Its not talented amateurs sweating their way to the top, if indeed it ever was.

        It priveleged rich people who have trained since their teens, don't have to have another job, and they schmooze with big money sponsors to buy them a suitable ride. If the sponsor wants to make money on their investment, the horse gets sold, often to some totally unsuitable but very rich wannabe. The wholething is fueled by corporate sponsorship who want to make us all feel inadequate so we'll buy their fancy and overpriced products to feel more important.

        And we think this is the pinnacle of horse sport?

        Give our collective heads a shake.
        "The Threat of Internet Ignorance: ... we are witnessing the rise of an age of equestrian disinformation, one where a trusting public can graze on nonsense packaged to look like fact."-LRG-AF

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        • #24
          Wow, Cat on Lap. Have you ever met any of our dressage Olympians? I know quite a few of them, and none of there were born, or are now, rich. Well, maybe RD, but he's made his money. All of them work their tails off, and some of them risk financial ruin whenever they make a team, because they have to leave their source of income for months. And sponsors come and go. Nothing is forever.

          No, they are not amateurs, but you have to ride as many horses as they do to become good enough to do what they do. There is certainly no shame in it.

          I've found that the people who are born wealthy, generally don't have the drive that really top riders have. They haven't had to work as hard to get to Grand Prix, so they don't have that same work ethic. Maybe others disagree, but that's what I've observed.

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          • #25
            I agree!

            I've never gotten the impression that they were all rich... Debbie Mcdonald is an example of a trainer from another discipline who made the switch and had to learn dressage later in life... I am sure coming from the horse business world she was neither rich nor absolutely sure it was the best idea but she wanted to make the switch from hunters after a fall or something (If I remember)...
            ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~
            http://www.off-breed-dressage.blogspot.com/

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            • #26
              I am tired of the attitude that everyone that has $$ is a dilatante and everyone else is the salt of the earth.

              Most people who are US contenders don't "have other jobs", they are horse trainers. They often ride horses that other people own. That is the nature of their work. Don't we want the best combination on the team? If the selection process is credible, the best horse/rider combination will be chosen. If that isn't the case, then we should look at the way teams are selected.

              It is a nice fantasy that anyone who "works hard enough" bringing their horse up the levels has a shot at the Olympics. That just isn't the way it works.
              See those flying monkeys? They work for me.

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              • #27
                And this is why, if I were ever a rider to be considered for the Olympics (LOL), I would very likely decline. Way too political, morally don't agree with a lot of what goes on. Just not for me in many capacities. I'd rather invest in pursuing other types of competitions.

                However, you know, this is something that occurs at EVERY level of equestrian competition? Of course there are exceptions, but the Olympics aren't the only place this is happening my friends! It's not shocking!
                Custom Equine Art

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                • #28
                  Also I wanted to add, this is a huge factor in every olympic sport.

                  A Bobsled can cost upwards of $150 000. At least the maintenance fees are nowhere near a horse
                  Custom Equine Art

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                  • #29
                    Jane Clark has been supporting US horse sports at the very highest levels for decades. She's the sort of sponsor that any professional would kill to have, one believes. Every great pro has that kind of sponsor. Beezie Madden has Abigail Wexner; Peters has Ravel's owner who just bought him another lovely horse.

                    Speaking of Ravel, he was a made GP horse before he was bought for Peters. It's not as if he were brought to the US as a 4 year old and brought along from the very beginning.

                    Jane Clark bought Kennedy for RD at the last minute.'

                    Right now, in eventing, both Phillip Dutton and Karen O'Connor (with her long time Sponsor, Jackie Mars) have new rides that they are hoping to make the Olympics with. Dutton got Heath Ryan's horse, in part because Ryan is no longer able to compete at the 4* level; and KOC has a horse who has been a mainstay of the German eventing teams for the last four years or so. He's not as accomplished as Nina Ligon's German buy, but he's good. PD doesn't even plan to run his new horse in a 4* pre-Olympics, and Nina Ligon has NEVER run a 4* and doesn't seem to plan to pre-Olympics; but KOC and Mr. Medicott will be at Rolex in a few weeks.

                    If you want to talk about someone buying an Olympic berth without a medal goal, Nina Ligon is it.
                    "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
                    Thread killer Extraordinaire

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                    • #30
                      Once a rider gets to a certain level of proficiency in the saddle, I actually don't expect them to start their own horses.

                      However, I hate it when someone picks up a great horse and doesn't do it justice in the long run.

                      And I'm not talking about Rath and Totilas.

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                      • #31
                        But in all fairness, even if you can buy a horse for the Olympics those are not easy horses to ride so you have to have some skill to ride them effectively anyway so I don't begrudge anyone the ability to buy an Olympic horse at all really.

                        Paula
                        He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).

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                        • #32
                          Originally posted by NOMIOMI1 View Post
                          I agree!

                          I've never gotten the impression that they were all rich... Debbie Mcdonald is an example of a trainer from another discipline who made the switch and had to learn dressage later in life... I am sure coming from the horse business world she was neither rich nor absolutely sure it was the best idea but she wanted to make the switch from hunters after a fall or something (If I remember)...
                          Dressage is no different than the other equestrian sports, they are all becoming insanely expensive.

                          I think there use to be a time when someone with very few resources but a lot of talent could work there way to the top. But that is no longer the case.

                          So it may be true that those presently at the top are no all "rich", the up and comers certainly seem to be. And in the future the top of the sport will those that could afford to get in, not necessarily the most talented.
                          www.OneJumpAhead.ca

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                          • #33
                            Originally posted by Ravencrest_Camp View Post
                            Dressage is no different than the other equestrian sports, they are all becoming insanely expensive.

                            I think there use to be a time when someone with very few resources but a lot of talent could work there way to the top. But that is no longer the case.

                            So it may be true that those presently at the top are no all "rich", the up and comers certainly seem to be. And in the future the top of the sport will those that could afford to get in, not necessarily the most talented.
                            you've got that right. 4 years ago the USEF would give money to long listed riders to compete in Europe for example. several grants in the range of $35K were available. last year Anne Gribbons told riders at an HP meeting: 'if you've got a sponsor, go to Europe. there is no money for grants'

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                            • #34
                              THEY'RE NOT BUYING INTO AN OLYMPIC RIDE

                              THEY STILL HAVE TO GO THRU THE SELECTION PROCESS TO GET ON THE TEAM. THEY MIGHT BUY THE HORSE BUT THERE IS NO GUARANTEE THAT THE "NEW" RIDER ON A VERY EXPENSIVE HORSE WILL PERFORM TO SELECTION STANDARDS.

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                              • #35
                                I agree with you, Easy Rider, but please do consider not typing in all caps -it's hard on the eyes.

                                Paula
                                He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).

                                Comment


                                • #36
                                  Originally posted by hyacinth View Post
                                  Does it strike anyone else as hypocritical - or at the least unjust - that dressage riders can purchase a confirmed GP horse 7 months before the Olympics and try to qualify. Granted, buying an international GP horse doesn’t guarantee success, but it is a shortcut being used more and more often.
                                  Aren’t the Olympics the consummate test for achievement. And, in dressage, isn’t achievement not only being able to ride a test, but to showcase the achievement a rider has worked years to attain--- training his or her Olympic partner: Steffen Peters, Tina Konyot, Heather Blitz, Catherine Haddad to name just a few current American stars. Wouldn’t it be shameful if one of these- who has spent years working with their partner to the epitome of the sport- misses out because someone else bought a better ride. Somehow buying the vehicle to win just doesn’t sit right. Not to mention that some of the finest, most skillful riders – who have given so much to the sport - seem to lose the mounts they've trained from ground up to those who can’t or didn’t train their own. Money is, as usual, the game….. but should it affect these Games?
                                  That's Life!!!
                                  “Maybe some women aren't meant to be tamed. Maybe they just need to run free til they find someone just as wild to run with them.”

                                  Comment


                                  • #37
                                    Originally posted by vineyridge View Post
                                    If you want to talk about someone buying an Olympic berth without a medal goal, Nina Ligon is it.
                                    Perhaps, and knowing she is very young, quite pretty, and %$&*)(&(% rich, I was TOTALLY prepared to hate her. But now I've seen her ride, and see that she has horses at the lower levels too, and seen that she is very talented and definitely a very good rider, well.....if I wasted my time being horrendously jealous and critical of those who can afford to buy the kind of horse I only dream of*, I'd be hating all the time. Not productive or conducive to good mental health. LOL And, of course, she is not trying to get on the USA team, but on the THAI team, so she should, undoubtedly, make it.


                                    *Of course, I dream of very fancy Appaloosas. And now I've got one, but I have no Olympic delusions. *G*

                                    Comment


                                    • #38
                                      Originally posted by CatOnLap View Post
                                      maybe we all need to rethink the way we look at the Olympics.

                                      Its not talented amateurs sweating their way to the top, if indeed it ever was


                                      It priveleged rich people who have trained since their teens, don't have to have another job, and they schmooze with big money sponsors to buy them a suitable ride. If the sponsor wants to make money on their investment, the horse gets sold, often to some totally unsuitable but very rich wannabe. The wholething is fueled by corporate sponsorship who want to make us all feel inadequate so we'll buy their fancy and overpriced products to feel more important.

                                      And we think this is the pinnacle of horse sport?

                                      Give our collective heads a shake.
                                      Ever hear of Jim Thrope?
                                      Groom to trainer: "Where's the glamour? You promised me glamour!"

                                      Comment


                                      • #39
                                        Robert Dover and Kennedy in the 2006 games come to mind. That horse was purchased by his sponsors specifically for him to have one last shot at a medal.
                                        2012 goal: learn to ride like a Barn Rat

                                        A helmet saved my life.

                                        Comment


                                        • #40
                                          Originally posted by CFFarm View Post
                                          Ever hear of Jim Thrope?
                                          Thorpe.

                                          And it's much easier to get to the Olympics when as part of the deal, you do not have to maintain and train a bunch of expensive, half-ton prey animals who are inclined to break themselves at inopportune moments.

                                          If you actually read up on Olympic equestrian events history, you'll see that there has always been money needed to make it to the Games. Early on, our competitors were in the Calvary, so they and their horses were supported by the US taxpayers. Imagine how that would go over these days! Later, in the heyday of the "amateur rule", there were wealthy patrons who bought horses for The Team and helped support the riders, many of whom were wealthy themselves. These days... to make a go of it financially, a top rider needs wealthy sponsors and/or a lucrative training business (which then interferes with the rider's ability to train.)
                                          You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                                          1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"

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