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Olympics - Anne Gribbons article

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  • #21
    Not exactly on topic

    "NYS instituted a lottery several years ago with the stated purpose of raising $$$ for education. Perhaps it's improving, but basically public education in this country is in the toilet. With all the unemployment, there are about 3 million jobs available, but no one skill-qualified to fill them." -QUOTE-ccoronios

    Has anyone ever checked to see how much of that money actually gets to education?

    As far as AG's article. She was telling it as she saw it! Ravel's retirement was planned, and some of the other riders had their own agenda. She is correct, they spend a lot of time, paying their bills, and earning the money to do so.
    Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

    Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

    Comment


    • #22
      Some quick comments -

      1 - last winter, a very astute observer of high level dressage who spends a great deal of time in both the U.S. and in Europe, commented that the U.S. had only one true international horse, and that was Ravel. This was about the time Steffen brought Legolas out for the first time, but Legolas was too inexperienced and green at GP competition to have proven himself for consideration as an Olympic contender. Based on this comment, it is not surprising that the U.S. did not medal in London.

      As for Steffen "sharing" his horses with someone else - both his top horses had the same owner. They were bought specifically for Steffen to ride, and Legolas was bought specifically as the successor to Ravel. Also, Steffen and Ravel were a known and pretty reliable pair - they were very much needed to anchor the team. Ravel under another rider would have been a different story. And there would have been WAY too much risk putting Legolas under another rider. I doubt he and Akiko would have considered for a moment turning one of those horses over to someone else.

      2 - AG was observed in FL over this past winter to be "talking up" certain horses & riders with the judges prior to the CDIs. It was clear to the person who heard some of these conversations that AG already had in mind some of the pairs she wanted on the team for London, and was hoping the judges would confirm her decisions with good scores for those pairs. This same person also said that there were reasons why certain high level judges did not judge in FL last winter, because they judge what they see in front of them, and not according to what the team coach or technical adviser wants.

      3 - and from another observer on the scene last winter in FL - there is some feeling at USEF that very wealthy owners/sponsors/patrons should be "stroked" to encourage them to remain in the sport. Since it takes a heck of a lot of money to campaign a high level horse, USEF wants to "entice" the wealthy as much as possible, and this sometimes carries over into the HP officials displaying "favoritism" toward certain horse/rider combinations.

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #23
        Originally posted by yellowhorse16 View Post
        The section on "prepping the judges" is what I found especially disturbing. Seriously? I thought judges were supposed to judge what they see in the ring at that moment. This "reputation and pre-judging" attitude conflicts with the idea of fair competition.
        I wanted to reply to your post, and Down Yonder's immediate post (point #2 re: AG talking with judges in Florida).

        HOWEVER,

        Yellow Horse, if I remember correctly, AG's article mentioned that "prepping the judges" was part of the preparation for fielding a competitive team. So I went back to re-read the article before I posted, but after several tries, cannot find "prepping the judges" and the other quote you mentioned. I'm almost positive that "prepping the judges" was in the original article, because the word "prep" reminded me that the word is also used when referring to hunters that are drugged before a show. And I thought it was an interesting choice of words by AG. Am I mistaken, or did that quote NOT appear in the original article ?

        The AG article that's now posted on COTH seems to have a more positive and encouraging tone, than the piece I had read immediately after it was published. Re-read it and see if you feel the same.

        Has her article been edited and re-written ? Or have I lost my marbles.
        Last edited by Mardi; Sep. 16, 2012, 06:57 PM.

        Comment


        • #24
          response by Heather Blitz/Catherine Haddad to AG

          chrisstafford.podbean.com

          very interesting conversation about the AG article.

          Comment


          • #25
            I thought the article read distressingly like some of the Mark Phillips commentaries from eventing, and I'm not sure that bodes well for dressage. I don't know what message she was trying to send to her team members, but it didn't sound very nice.

            The fact is that the British went all in for this Olympics. They weren't contenders 4 years ago. To get sponsorship for a home court Olympics is a little different than for each and every international year.

            The US isn't entitled to get a medal every time.

            It would be nice, from the point of view of the Olympics, to base our riders in Germany. But how does that benefit our sport as a whole and our people supporting them? Is it worth doing if that's how it needs to be done?

            So then I ask, how else might we do it? How can we use technology to build this? How can we create gatherings in the US of value? Can we fly european judges here? Can we fly riders to Europe to work for an intensive week or month on European horses, perhaps including showing those borrowed horses? Can we figure out how to send videos around? Can you build team spirit with regular use of Skype? Is there a uniquely American solution to a uniquely American problem?

            The article is a whine. "Other people suck" is basically the theme. The job of the Chef is to solve problems and to reflect on solutions. If it sucked, it is the Chef who needs to figure out a new strategy. "Hope that more rich people will buy dressage horses and give them to imported German riders" is not a strategy, nor is "Hope the US government will pay for dressage horses for imported German riders."
            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

            Comment


            • #26
              Originally posted by Mardi View Post
              I wanted to reply to your post, and Down Yonder's immediate post (point #2 re: AG talking with judges in Florida).

              HOWEVER,

              Yellow Horse, if I remember correctly, AG's article mentioned that "prepping the judges" was part of the preparation for fielding a competitive team. So I went back to re-read the article before I posted, but after several tries, cannot find "prepping the judges" and the other quote you mentioned. I'm almost positive that "prepping the judges" was in the original article, because the word "prep" reminded me that the word is also used when referring to hunters that are drugged before a show. And I thought it was an interesting choice of words by AG. Am I mistaken, or did that quote NOT appear in the original article ?

              The AG article that's now posted on COTH seems to have a more positive and encouraging tone, than the piece I had read immediately after it was published. Re-read it and see if you feel the same.

              Has her article been edited and re-written ? Or have I lost my marbles.
              This is how it reads now:

              What they really need is a controlled program that sends them overseas to stay long enough to compete against the Europeans. They need to compete in foreign arenas, in front of judges who can compare them with the horses that we must try to measure up to and hopefully surpass. Frequent showing on European terms until our riders become as seasoned in the ring as those of the nations we’re up against is of the essence. Our horses have to be seen repeatedly until the judges are familiar with them and know what to expect.
              I would interpret that as "prepping the judges," as in it suggests that you can't expect to score at your full potential the first time a judge sees you ride.
              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

              Comment


              • #27
                Originally posted by Plantagenet View Post
                chrisstafford.podbean.com

                very interesting conversation about the AG article.
                That is nice. I thought the comment about the importance of not dismissing combinations who are at 65% at GP, that in Europe combinations at that score are often mentored to 70+ scores, is well worth considering.
                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

                Comment


                • #28
                  direct link to discussion

                  http://chrisstafford.podbean.com/201...a-way-forward/

                  Comment


                  • #29
                    I don't see any discussion there...
                    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

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      It is an audio file. Click the pink play button.

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        Originally posted by poltroon View Post
                        That is nice. I thought the comment about the importance of not dismissing combinations who are at 65% at GP, that in Europe combinations at that score are often mentored to 70+ scores, is well worth considering.
                        agree. we don't do much to help our folks along. it's an every person for himself/herself battle until you make a team. there are folks here with talent and great horses that are being squandered IMHO.



                        crockpot: thanks for putting in the 'real' link. I didn't know how!

                        Comment


                        • #32
                          Anne Gribbon's articles often have a similar tone. It was she who wrote the first commentary about installing Performance Standards for amateur riders, suggesting they ride (as I recall) 20 rides per level at a certain score before moving up to the next level?

                          I find her commentary distasteful, personally. Comments suggesting that we should have "sat this one out" because we didn't have the depth to win is insulting to the owners and riders who spent gobs of money and time to represent America in the Olympics. Three years ago I knew of a couple of top riders looking for sponsorship at the big European shows specifically because they were aiming for these Olympics and....and....it wasn't given to them. They either owned their own horses or relied on sponsorships, not wealthy owners with unlimited checkbooks, and their European excursions were on their dime. They worked to make the money to afford it. In my opinion, Anne needs recognize these rider/owners who don't want to sell their horses in order to get the International ride on THEIR OWN HORSES. Anne should develop funding strategies for these riders, especially the riders already in Europe. Anne complains alot but I've yet to see her offer a viable solution or proposal.

                          Catherine Haddad and Heather Blitz "lived and played overseas" yet were not showered with money or U.S. support. They beat the bushes for their own sponsorship and continue to do so. Anne?

                          Rafalca was never a medal contender at any point. But Ann Romney's horse created more publicity for dressage than any other combination in America. How about thanking Ann Romney and Jan for doing a huge part to increase dressage awareness in the US. "Hoopla" is all you can come up with to describe this, AG? Further, Ann Romney spent gobs of money to campaign Rafalca in the US and Europe, ensure that America had a respectable combo in the Olympics, and bring Jan's career to the forefront these days. WTF, AG? Jan's clinic fees are directly tied to his paid-for experience on Rafalca, in addition to his now vast European experience that he can bring back to American riders. I'm sure he'll argue with you about what a "failure" he is.

                          I disagree - Ravel was a contender. he had a bad show. Lisa Wilcox lived in Europe, took European-bred horses to the WEG and Olympics and was a drop score. Because she and her horses were terrible? no. Because her horse just had a bad show at a major competition. So planting an American in Europe doesn't guarantee a "win". This strategy is flawed.

                          Much, not all, but much of our success in the past relied on wealthy sponsors purchasing already made International GP horses for riders to be successful, and sponsoring American riders to be in Europe for lengths of time in order to gain "credibility" with judges. Basically, this formula relies on extremely deep pockets to select a handful of riders and pour money at them. Ann says: "The chosen riders could spend their time training instead of stressing about teaching, traveling to give clinics, trading horses, worrying about maintaining support of the horse or having to sell it. What a concept!" Did Gunther Seidel, Robert Dover, Debbie MacDonald, Sue Blinks, Lisa Wilcox, Steffen Peters, Jan Ebeling, etc. EVER have to stress about giving clinics and trading horses to support their international riding career? No. How many gold medals have we won? Silver medals? Do you actually think that stressing about money influenced the scores of Jan and Steffen at these Olympics? Steffen has had a pipeline of wealthy sponsors since Floriano. Should we complain to him and his benefactors for why they haven't given us Gold? Ummmm, no. They've kept us at the top in international competition.

                          I would argue that showing up at the opening ceremonies of Games you are representing your country in should be mandatory. No kudos for declining, despite the lame excuse "I'd rather ride". You are representing your country and have money from the public supporting your sport.

                          Anne says: "At the Olympic Games, you have failed if you come home without a medal." You need to retire from your position, Anne. You have completely lost perspective.

                          No one here has to agree with me. This is my vent.

                          J.
                          Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation

                          Comment


                          • #33
                            Originally posted by J-Lu View Post
                            Anne says: "At the Olympic Games, you have failed if you come home without a medal." You need to retire from your position, Anne. You have completely lost perspective.

                            No one here has to agree with me. This is my vent.

                            J.
                            This opinion is not only held by Anne. It's held by many, many people in all of the Equestrian disciplines in the US. I do not think the Olympics were her fault in the least and I applaud her for coming out and saying a lot of this stuff. We've known for a few years that we had "slim pickings" for the team this year. Horses got hurt, horses ended up not being what we had hoped (through NO fault of Anne)... I think Heather and Catherine have it right when they say the entire sport changed with Totilas. It went from 4-years-ago when consistent 70%s would put you on a team pretty much anywhere in the world to 80% being the new standard. Except for Ravel (and Wizard when he's being brave!), we don't have 80% horses. Paragon could be. Legolas could be. I'm sorry but I can't think of any others.
                            www.lizaustindressage.com
                            http://www.imajica.net/stallion/olivier/profile/ Dutch Warmblood stallion, Olivier.

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              agree w Liz that not much was AG's fault, but she was drinking the present USEF kool-aid.

                              Ann told long listed riders-there's no money. if you have a sponsor, get yourself to Europe. if you don't, too bad for you.

                              that approach didn't necessarily develop our best talent and I hold the USEF responsible.

                              I asked on another thread, and am hoping someone here will know. what happened to the large training grants that the USEF used to give? did the USET dry up?

                              at least the Dressage Foundation is helping some.

                              sometimes I wonder if the the USEF is so big and diverse that they don't really care too much about the Olympic disciplines.

                              Comment


                              • #35
                                Realistically, only a handful of countries can come home with a medal in dressage in any one year. USA has never been a threat for more than bronze, and this year Britain made a big shot at it. As we all know if you're 4th in the Olympics you might as well be last. I can appreciate the feeling of frustration that a medal isn't in play, but then you look to it as a rider-building event - taking your up-and-coming talent and getting them experience that may pay off in future success. The 'taking part' is important.

                                It is the Chef's job to develop the best possible team with the resources given. It's fine to say, "If we had more money, I would do X,Y, and Z, and I think we could give the Dutch a run for their spot" but she misses the next step, which is, "Because we don't have more money, this is my cunning plan to build the best team we can...."
                                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

                                Comment


                                • #36
                                  Originally posted by StarDoozer View Post
                                  This opinion is not only held by Anne. It's held by many, many people in all of the Equestrian disciplines in the US. I do not think the Olympics were her fault in the least and I applaud her for coming out and saying a lot of this stuff. We've known for a few years that we had "slim pickings" for the team this year. Horses got hurt, horses ended up not being what we had hoped (through NO fault of Anne)... I think Heather and Catherine have it right when they say the entire sport changed with Totilas. It went from 4-years-ago when consistent 70%s would put you on a team pretty much anywhere in the world to 80% being the new standard. Except for Ravel (and Wizard when he's being brave!), we don't have 80% horses. Paragon could be. Legolas could be. I'm sorry but I can't think of any others.

                                  Not just with Totilas as these other horses who scored well (besides Valegro) have been showing for a while for the most part correct?

                                  So the temperature has been rising for some time and America just kept their jackets on
                                  ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~
                                  http://www.off-breed-dressage.blogspot.com/

                                  Comment


                                  • #37
                                    my thought - USDF could set up a program of clinics in conjunction with CDIs (or other shows employing foreign judges) for two or more days after the show

                                    the show would be handling travel expenses anyway and the USDF clinic could handle hotel, etc for the subsequent days

                                    first dibs on clinic spots probably to go to competitors in the CDI - thus they could receive invaluable feedback on improving their performances

                                    perhaps include a couple of spots for Young Horse competitors so that the clinic is diversified

                                    an inducement of two - three 'vacation' days (hotel picked up by clinic, transport provided, etc) could be offered to judge/clinician -- in winter Florida or California circuit the Europeans might enjoy a few days at the beach and surely there would be 'tourist attractions' near other shows that would be of interest to some of these folks (for example NASA at Katy show)

                                    seems like this sort of thing could be worth a co-ordinator position at USDF
                                    Nothing says "I love you" like a tractor. (Clydejumper)

                                    The reports states, “Elizabeth reported that she accidently put down this pony, ........, at the show.”

                                    Comment


                                    • #38
                                      "can't think of 4 names"?!

                                      I can't believe she said she can't name four potential combinations even for the next Weg....PARAGON?! This horse is truly international caliber, Carl Hester was even quoted as saying it was the one horse on the international scene he would most like to ride. I felt like it was a complete insult to Heather--her horse wasn't quite ready this year but in 2014 he should be peaking! And how about Catherine Haddad?! Lives and competes in Germany for 20 years and gets barely a nod of recognition from the US federation. And has an amazing new horse!! Meanwhile, we put Germans who came to America on the team. How about some respect for Americans who went to Europe? Heather and Catherine are truly competitive, with no national system to back them up, and apparently Anne Gribbons doesn't even know they exist.

                                      Comment


                                      • #39
                                        and add Lisa Wilcox to that list.

                                        Comment


                                        • #40
                                          The whole "prepping the judges" thing is Old Home Week for those who follow figure skating.

                                          Comment

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