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Buying a ride to the Olympics

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  • Buying a ride to the Olympics

    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?

  • #2
    Well, considering that Germany just bought the top international horse, then they decided they wanted to also buy the top trainer to go with him ... now, if that isn't just plain buying the sport I don't know what is.

    I think it truly lacks class basically, but that hasn't stopped anyone yet.
    Last edited by BaroquePony; Apr. 8, 2012, 09:13 AM.


    • #3
      Germany bought Totilas, however, he and his new rider have yet to become comfortable and in sync with one another.

      You can buy the horse. The partnership with the rider cannot be bought. It takes time.

      I don't think that there are many olympic caliber dressage horses that are "schoolmasters" (that will win with a rider who has only been riding them for 7 months.) If so, I have yet to see it.

      ( It will be interesting to see what becomes of all these new partnerships at the upcoming games).

      Of course, people will keep trying, but the same sort of "olympic horse" buying has gone on in the jumper and eventing disciplines, (with the USA participating, just as much as other nations have) and most have yet to mesh.

      Nina Lingon is an exception that comes to mind. She seems to be very in tune with her new eventers.

      Beezie's new horse looks good but it seems that they will need time to get together. An example of how even the best riders can't just take on a new horse, however talented it may be,and have it win right away.

      Eric Lemaz's new jumpers seem to be going well for him, but I think dressage horses are a different thing altogether..

      (Relatively) last minute Olympic horse buying isn't pretty, it is very competitive, however, it remains to be seen if it is really
      an effective strategy, especially in the dressage arena.
      Last edited by skydy; Apr. 8, 2012, 12:28 PM. Reason: Spelling


      • #4
        Many of the top riders are not riding horses that they brought up the levels. You still have to ride the horse to its best on a given day.
        I.D.E.A. yoda


        • #5
          How they got there will all be forgotten if they win.


          • #6
            Originally posted by hyacinth View Post
            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.
            Yes, it's a shame, but how would you legislate it?


            • #7
              I don't think the buying and selling of the horses for competitive sport should ever be legislated. It is part of what allows various owners, trainers and riders to make a living.

              The sale of Totilas has been a great educational experience for anyone interested in dressage as an art or a sport.

              The only thing that can be legislated are the rules of competition and a country's riding programs.
              Last edited by BaroquePony; Apr. 8, 2012, 10:44 AM.


              • #8
                Might be worth pointing out that its not usually the dressage RIDER who purchases the horse, its some reasonably well off person who wants to be in the position of owning an Olympic prospect.
                We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........


                • #9
                  That type of last-minute buying rarely works out for a dressage rider. You may just squeak into the Olympics with a newly bought horse, but the combinations who have been together for years like Laura Bechtosheimer and Mistral Hojris, Steffen Peters and Ravel, Adelinde Cornelissen and Parzival are going to take your medal! LOL

                  There may be rare instances where someone does really well with a new horse, but if you look at the past sponsors/riders who have tried it, it really has not turned out well for most of them. I don't care how wonderful the horse is, the new combinations are at SUCH a huge disadvantage. The rider will not know what to expect from the horse in that Olympic atmosphere, or how to best ride them through it. So any sense of unfairness about buying a horse for the Olympics is really trumped by how difficult it would be to attempt it.


                  • #10

                    I wish there was a requirement that you had to have ridden the horse for a certain period of time before being allowed to represent your country on that horse.

                    (don't know how long that should be???)

                    it's always bothered me that someone can buy a horse at the last minute and represent their country. it seems to me that this reflects how much money folks are willing to spend rather than the dressage expertise of that country.

                    however, I know that it takes time to get on the same page. I know that a horse can have all the buttons in the world, but if you don't know how to use them, you're not going anywhere. so there is skill involved.

                    I guess I'm just not sure what dressage competition is really about....riding? training? money?


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Plantagenet View Post
                      I wish there was a requirement that you had to have ridden the horse for a certain period of time before being allowed to represent your country on that horse.
                      What options would a rider have if a particular horse got sick, was injured, or got sold?


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Plantagenet View Post
                        I wish there was a requirement that you had to have ridden the horse for a certain period of time before being allowed to represent your country on that horse.

                        (don't know how long that should be???)
                        There is. That's why all the sales had to be final before Jan 1 of this year...



                        • #13
                          There many different players in dressage, there are trainers and teachers, there are people who can train horses that they can ride but are not necessarily ridable from everyone else and there are riders. Anybody who has ridden in competition or even done semi-serious dressage work knows dressage isn't like those mechanical pony rides outside the grocery store where you put a quarter in the the horse goes around in circles.

                          Anyone who buys a horse 7 months before the Olympics to qualify either has a lot of $$$ or has the talent to impress sponsors. To be successful, they will have to have ability to connect with the horse rapidly and produce winning rides. That doesn't happen automatically. If a rider can make that happen, they'd have my respect. It is not the same kind of talent as someone who has "brought a horse up the levels", but it is talent.

                          Hardly a tragedy.
                          See those flying monkeys? They work for me.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by SprinklerBandit View Post
                            There is. That's why all the sales had to be final before Jan 1 of this year...
                            Actually, the rule says nothing about anyone having to have ridden the horse for any length of time.
                            The horse must be owned and registered in the country for which it will be competing, and by Jan 1st. That's it.
                            Last edited by skydy; Apr. 8, 2012, 12:30 PM. Reason: Sp


                            • #15
                              Out of the more recent medals I dont believe anyone winning or placing are doing this so.... If you just want to GO for the $$$ so be it...
                              ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~


                              • #16
                                I think of the rider whose talented Olympic horse gets sold out from under them
                                - UK has lost a few jumpers that way recently. Edward Gal probably feels pretty bad, too.
                                Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


                                • #17
                                  I disagree. I want the best three horse and rider combinations representing the country. If a rider is skilled enough to be one of the top three after only spending a few months developing a partnership with a horse- more power to him/her.


                                  • #18
                                    There's a woman very local to me who has literally done this.
                                    Went over to Europe, with her 20+ years older Husband and bought a VERY fancy horse for a disgustingly huge amount of money from a big stable confirmed and competitive on the European Grand prix circuit. Spent some months over in Europe riding it/competing, and then bought it back home. Was home maybe 3 months and wasn't selected for the WEG team because she was a "new combination" and actually went public and had a whinge about how she was not selected and then said "well this person was and she and her horse have been a team the same amount of time as myself and my horse".

                                    The sad part is she's an average rider with a phenomenal horse, but because she does the horse no justice, the horse doesn't get ridden to his full potential and he just looks like an "average" grand prix horse with her. Though riding a grand prix horse isn't exactly easy, she isn't a "superstar" rider or a true natural.

                                    But, she will be going to the olympics, cause even though her horse goes below his ability with her as a rider, in Australia we have very few grand prix combinations with international experience. And we had some of our best horses pass away last year (victory salutes passing was particularly devestating for Aussie dressage).
                                    So she literally did buy her way on the team. It wasn't her training, and I think that's quite sad and takes away the signifigance of being there if you haven't put in the hard yards in the beginning.


                                    • #19
                                      So what, it happens all the time in almost every sport.

                                      How many mediocre riders make the teams because of the horses they bring? Lots.

                                      Rather spoiled princesses with a barn full of horses their parents bought, full time instructors etc. and no worry about doing anything but sitting on their horses. Nice work if you can get it, but it's fair. They support the sport, keep instructors in bread and cheese and pay the crazy entry fees. Every sport needs dilletentes.

                                      Riding sports aren't like archery or marathon running...they need lots of support and infrastructure. Does it make people pissed to be working hard, sacrificing a life for a sport and having someone walk in with a made horse and all the help in the world competing against them? You betcha! But it's fair.
                                      "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"


                                      • #20
                                        I think it is a little more complicated than "whoever has the most $$ wins".

                                        Many, many nice horses get ruined on the way because of egos.