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US Dressage Coach - Dover or van der Schaft ?

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  • #21
    Isn't it time we stop playing musical chairs with a handful of US Dressage Coaches? Really - it's time for change - unless we want the same dismal results we've seen in High Performance with the Teams. The Committees and Coaches in the US - always ends up like a "kissing your sister" event. SAME PEOPLE rotating between the various positions. If our Team results were in the to medals it would prove this is working...............but it's NOT.

    I should also say that I believe that individuals who may be on a National Team but DO NOT RIDE in the Team medal round should not receive a medal. Medals should go to the riders who RIDE and earn the scores.
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    • #22
      ise@ssl

      Love the not so subtle way of saying RD never earned a medal.

      I would also have to add that when he used to qualify even to get on our team it was often a situation of trying to field a group of four with maybe only two that really had a snowballs hope in he** of finishing in the top ten.

      Not really qualifications for a team coach that is meant to pull us up from where we are right now.
      "And I'm thinking you weren't burdened with an overabundance of schooling." - Capt Reynolds "Firefly"

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      • #23
        Originally posted by vineyridge View Post
        Anyone but Dover. While he may have been on more Olympic Teams than any other dressage rider, how many medals has he brought home?
        I count six Olympic Games, four team medals.
        A helmet saved my life.

        2017 goal: learn to ride like TheHorseProblem, er, a barn rat!

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        • #24
          Originally posted by DownYonder View Post
          I will be hugely surprised if they do not select RD, and thought when Gribbons resigned that he would be the next HP Coach, despite the baggage he would bring with him.

          They no doubt got more applications, but remember they had to extend the application deadline because they had NOT gotten very many. My gut feeling is that they probably wanted to go with Dover from the get-go because no one else in the U.S. has the credentials he has, but they threw van der Schaft's name in there for the sake of appearance. They are probably now polling the reactions from the HP riders, and will go with van der Schaft if there is an overly strong resistance to Dover. And there WILL be resistance - it's just a matter of how vicious it is.

          But think of how it would look politically to select van der Schaft over Dover. Dover has been on six U.S. Olympic dressage teams, he was elected team captain on each team, he won 4 Olympic Team Bronze Medals and a Bronze at the World Equestrian Games, he is in the USDF Hall of Fame, and he has experience coaching a national team. The USEF board, executive committee and HP committees (as well as USOC) would probably prefer him over the other applicant based simply on credentials. It LOOKS good, so they probably feel they should give him his chance. If it doesn't result in medals for the U.S., they will at least be able to say they selected the one person in the U.S. with the best credentials.

          But what a slap in the face to Dover if they DON'T select him.
          Exactly!

          And besides, the way the job description is now written RD will NOT be in charge. Team members will still work with their chosen coaches primarily. That was one of the reasons no one wanted the job.

          You can't do much in terms of influence, but you'll get the heat if we tank. I'd wonder why ANYONE would want the job.

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          • #25
            Team Medal in Athens where he was sixth individually on a very made dressage horse that was bought just for that Olympics--Kennedy..

            Team Medal in Sydney where he was 23rd individually. Team medal at Atlanta where he was the drop score. Team medal at Barcelona, where he tied for 22nd individually with another US rider. He was the top US rider at Seoul at 13th individually. Was 17th individually at the LA Games behind only Hilda Gurney and Keen.

            WEGs-- Did not compete at Lexington, Aachen or Jerez. 1998 was 17th behind two other US riders. Bronze Team Medal in 1994; 5th of 12 in the Freestyle. 17th individually behind only Carol Lavell at Stockholm in 1990.

            According to the FEI database, the only times he was EVER in the top ten in big international dressage championships were with Kennedy. Almost all his wins and seconds were in North America after 1998.

            He's not even an FEI dressage judge, per their list of dressage officials. But neither is the other guy.
            Last edited by vineyridge; Apr. 7, 2013, 07:15 PM.
            "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
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            • #26
              Originally posted by Kyzteke View Post
              Exactly!

              And besides, the way the job description is now written RD will NOT be in charge. Team members will still work with their chosen coaches primarily. That was one of the reasons no one wanted the job.

              You can't do much in terms of influence, but you'll get the heat if we tank. I'd wonder why ANYONE would want the job.
              if people will work primarily with their own coach, then what will the Team coach be doing?

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              • #27
                I say go with Robert...we need a little fun and drama around here!
                Humans don’t mind duress, in fact they thrive on it. What they mind is not feeling necessary. –Sebastian Junger

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                • #28
                  I could be wrong....but don't most other sports (gymnastics comes to mind) use their personal coaches under the guidance of the team coach? I see nothing wrong with it and would actually prefer a collaborative effort between the coaches. If the team "fails" I don't honestly see how the team coach could be to blame. If mistakes and errors were made it is on the rider and horse. As with any sport it comes down to the quality of the "players". A coach can only do so much with the talent pool the US currently has. At a clinic I rode in Shannon Peters said something to the effect that the US did not do well in the Olympics because we don't quite have the quality of horses in Europe. US riders also do not have the same sponsorship opportunities making it difficult.

                  As for Robert Dover, I can only say I enjoyed his commentary during the Olympics a few years ago. He was insightful and fair in his comments and it was obvious he wanted everyone to have a clean ride. I think he deserves a chance and although he did not receive an individual medal, he has had the experience on the big stage and I think that combined with a good eye could make him effective.

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                  • #29
                    Originally posted by vineyridge View Post
                    Team Medal in Athens where he was sixth individually on a very made dressage horse that was bought just for that Olympics--Kennedy..

                    Team Medal in Sydney where he was 23rd individually. Team medal at Atlanta where he was the drop score. Team medal at Barcelona, where he tied for 22nd individually with another US rider. He was the top US rider at Seoul at 13th individually. Was 17th individually at the LA Games behind only Hilda Gurney and Keen.

                    WEGs-- Did not compete at Lexington, Aachen or Jerez. 1998 was 17th behind two other US riders. Bronze Team Medal in 1994; 5th of 12 in the Freestyle. 17th individually behind only Carol Lavell at Stockholm in 1990.

                    According to the FEI database, the only times he was EVER in the top ten in big international dressage championships were with Kennedy.

                    He's not even an FEI dressage judge, per their list of dressage officials. But neither is the other guy.
                    I get your point, but six Olympic teams means he was one of the top four riders in the US for six Olympic Games. His teammates elected him team captain all six games.

                    How many Olympic medals does the other candidate have?
                    Last edited by Bristol Bay; Apr. 7, 2013, 06:47 PM.
                    A helmet saved my life.

                    2017 goal: learn to ride like TheHorseProblem, er, a barn rat!

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                    • #30
                      The US is not precisely famous for turning out World Class dressage riders. Often Half our team has been foreign born and foreign trained.

                      As to the captain business, how many times in the early days was he the only male on the squad? After that he gets seniority bonuses. How is the captain chosen? Do the riders vote or is it the coach's choice?
                      "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
                      Thread killer Extraordinaire

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                      • #31
                        Yes, but there weren't other US riders doing much better than him at these events. Thus far we have been behind Germany, Netherlands always...and now we are way behind England as they have been able to gather rider/ horse combos to compete in that league. I certainly do not know the answer to the question of how does the US change their position in top equestrian sport. But to say RD is not a top US competitor is not exactly true...he is the top of what we have produced thus far, but maybe not the top when comparing to Germany/ Netherlands/ and now England.



                        Originally posted by vineyridge View Post
                        Team Medal in Athens where he was sixth individually on a very made dressage horse that was bought just for that Olympics--Kennedy..

                        Team Medal in Sydney where he was 23rd individually. Team medal at Atlanta where he was the drop score. Team medal at Barcelona, where he tied for 22nd individually with another US rider. He was the top US rider at Seoul at 13th individually. Was 17th individually at the LA Games behind only Hilda Gurney and Keen.

                        WEGs-- Did not compete at Lexington, Aachen or Jerez. 1998 was 17th behind two other US riders. Bronze Team Medal in 1994; 5th of 12 in the Freestyle. 17th individually behind only Carol Lavell at Stockholm in 1990.

                        According to the FEI database, the only times he was EVER in the top ten in big international dressage championships were with Kennedy. Almost all his wins and seconds were in North America after 1998.

                        He's not even an FEI dressage judge, per their list of dressage officials. But neither is the other guy.
                        Read about my time at the Hannoveraner Verband Breeders Courses:
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                        • #32
                          Dovers big brag was that he beat Reine Klimke at Aachen 1987 in the freestyle.
                          His Olympic record;

                          1984 Summer 28 Los Angeles Equestrianism Mixed Dressage, Individual United States USA 17
                          1984 Summer 28 Los Angeles Equestrianism Mixed Dressage, Team United States USA 6
                          1988 Summer 32 Seoul Equestrianism Mixed Dressage, Individual United States USA 13
                          1988 Summer 32 Seoul Equestrianism Mixed Dressage, Team United States USA 6T
                          1992 Summer 36 Barcelona Equestrianism Mixed Dressage, Individual United States USA 22T
                          1992 Summer 36 Barcelona Equestrianism Mixed Dressage, Team United States USA 3 Bronze
                          1996 Summer 40 Atlanta Equestrianism Mixed Dressage, Individual United States USA 25
                          1996 Summer 40 Atlanta Equestrianism Mixed Dressage, Team United States USA 3 Bronze non-scoring
                          2000 Summer 44 Sydney Equestrianism Mixed Dressage, Individual United States USA 23
                          2000 Summer 44 Sydney Equestrianism Mixed Dressage, Team United States USA 3 Bronze non-scoring
                          2004 Summer 48 Athina Equestrianism Mixed Dressage, Individual United States USA 6
                          2004 Summer 48 Athina Equestrianism Mixed Dressage, Team United States USA 3 Bronze
                          Last edited by Equibrit; Apr. 7, 2013, 09:55 PM.
                          ... _. ._ .._. .._

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                          • #33
                            It is more important to have a good well educated trainer/coach/chef d'equipe than somebody with a riding record on purpose bought horses and a huge ego.
                            ... _. ._ .._. .._

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                            • #34
                              I totally agree there would be a lot of drama with RD, and that his record was built on pretty much "made" horses bought specifically for him to make the Olympics with, but again - the selectors don't care what the membership thinks. They are more concerned with satisfying the USEF board, executive committee, and HP committees.

                              As for van der Schaft's qualifications - he may have "started" Gal, but the selectors will have to determine if his credentials trumps Dover's.

                              However, as someone pointed out, everyone is going to continue riding with their own trainer, anyway, and there would be a lot less drama/stress without Dover in the picture.

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                              • #35
                                Originally posted by Equibrit View Post
                                It is more important to have a good well educated trainer/coach/chef d'equipe than somebody with a riding record on purpose bought horses and a huge ego.
                                Actually, while he may have the ego, the man can train and has an eye especially for identifying talent. He's very, very, good and I've enjoyed watching him teach.
                                Kelly
                                It is rare to see a rider who is truly passionate about the horse and his training, taking a profound interest in dressage with self-abnegation, and making this extraordinarily subtle work one of the dominant motivations of his life.\"

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                                • #36
                                  Originally posted by Blume Farm View Post
                                  ...and now we are way behind England as they have been able to gather rider/ horse combos to compete in that league. I certainly do not know the answer to the question of how does the US change their position in top equestrian sport. But to say RD is not a top US competitor is not exactly true...he is the top of what we have produced thus far, but maybe not the top when comparing to Germany/ Netherlands/ and now England.
                                  ...or Great Britain even. This may be off topic, but as for how the UK improved its dressage team, it's been a combination of well-thought-out programmes to identify and reward young talent in BOTH horses and riders, alongside increased funding from the National Lottery that supports all the facets of rider development and maintenance. The quality of British sport horse breeding has absolutely skyrocketed, and many of the stereotypes formerly associated with dressage are beginning to go away (though they'll never go away entirely). The objective has been to foster excellence from its earliest stages through national programmes - probably not something likely to happen in the US soon. Also our proximity to Europe is certainly not inconsequential... But it does suggest that for the US to improve its dressage performance, far more nationally-coordinated support of riders would be a good idea.

                                  As for the RD issue, surely the bigger issue is WHY others won't come forward for the role??
                                  Proud COTH lurker since 2001.

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                                  • #37
                                    Originally posted by EnzoDbr9 View Post
                                    Lol "team". I laugh at that word's application to equestrian sports in the 21st century.
                                    The thing is, the "team" is the horse and rider.

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                                    • #38
                                      Originally posted by DownYonder View Post
                                      I totally agree there would be a lot of drama with RD, and that his record was built on pretty much "made" horses bought specifically for him to make the Olympics with, but again - the selectors don't care what the membership thinks. They are more concerned with satisfying the USEF board, executive committee, and HP committees.

                                      As for van der Schaft's qualifications - he may have "started" Gal, but the selectors will have to determine if his credentials trumps Dover's.

                                      However, as someone pointed out, everyone is going to continue riding with their own trainer, anyway, and there would be a lot less drama/stress without Dover in the picture.
                                      A problem RD has is that he's a polarizing figure in the world of elite dressage. Alot of people just don't want to deal with him in that position (whether justified or not, it is what it is). I know there were other applicants, but the committee wanted someone with international competition experience. I think most people who fit the qualifying criteria wouldnt touch the chef position with a 10 foot pole. It's sort of "thank-less" these days.
                                      Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation

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                                      • #39
                                        This is being set up for Dover, a la the Eventing Coach decision for David O'Connor. There were, however, oodles of applicants for Eventing. Committee chose two finalists, one of whom was a VERY long shot, and, of course, picked DOC. Do we spy a pattern? Especially since DOC is on the selection committee. This way the committee can allege that coach was not pre-selected before the search even started.
                                        "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
                                        Thread killer Extraordinaire

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                                        • #40
                                          It's always political. It's what's killing our chances. They don't want a medal, they want to stroke egos. The only way we get people who are talented enough to get medals is because those people go out and do all the hard work of finding sponsors and getting training on their OWN. Not everyone can do that. Not everyone has an accent.

                                          (Aplogies to SP, he is an extremely talented rider and has worked hard, but if he didn't have a German accent, it would have been 10x harder to find a sponsor and students in the first place!)
                                          "And I'm thinking you weren't burdened with an overabundance of schooling." - Capt Reynolds "Firefly"

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