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Has the Dream Really Died?

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  • Has the Dream Really Died?

    I found this comment on the web about horse sports explained:

    The dream of taking of backyard horse to the Olympics is very unlikely. At the level where riders are competing on an international level each will need a pool of horses. Most will be leased and many imported from Europe, although there are programs promoting the breeding of international level competition horses in North America. Extensive travel is required and riders may need sponsorship to fund their competition expenses.
    So was National Velvet a lie , International Velvet cohort to the crime of having us believe any one with heart, any horse with heart can make it to the top? I watched a lifetime movie about a blind horse winning the prize in dressage and (while sappy) enforse my belief that if you work hard enough, it can happen. Jimmy Wofford wrote about how great riders are not born but they are made. Yet, with all the talk about buying pre-trained horses, politics and backroom nods, how much of the dream is left?

    I am not worried for me (old guy, old horses, likes body in one piece) though I like to dream and imagine. Pie inspired me, even for the real world so I would like to think that young kids coming into this sport can believe that hard work and a good horse can take them all the way.

  • #2
    Originally posted by JP60 View Post
    I am not worried for me (old guy, old horses, likes body in one piece) though I like to dream and imagine. Pie inspired me, even for the real world so I would like to think that young kids coming into this sport can believe that hard work and a good horse can take them all the way.

    The disney dream was NEVER terribly realistic but of course it is still possible. I can think of several 4* riders who got there on their one OTTB. Perhaps even more possible than 30 years ago when people couldn't earn the living in the sport that they do now.

    Sure if you want to be a professional and ride for a team...having a string of horses helps. Over course there are politics (always have been)--and of course if you do not have money it is harder. That isn't any different than it ever has been.
    ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

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    • Original Poster

      #3
      Originally posted by bornfreenowexpensive View Post
      The disney dream was NEVER terribly realistic but of course it is still possible.
      Okay, conceding the Disney view is a little blue birdish*what I am pondering, in the US, do we plant, water, and grow the encouragement for potential 4* Olympians, or do we hope they will bubble up on their own. I read JW's commentary on Lumuhlen and one point that struck me was his open admiration for the young riders (outriders) at the show. I realize we compete against mainstream sports, but so does Europe and Australia yet they field some amazing riders and seem to not worry about the next generation.

      I guess if there is no perceived issue then why do anything, but that comment in about.com struck a nerve for I would rather we say "It can happen" then "yeah right, good luck".


      *(I had this dream recently that I was picked as an experiment by a evil group to see if you can take a completely green, "mature" eventer and train him to run at some "Big" event. The premise was if I lost (which was the plan by the evils guys) then bad things would happen. I have to do this with my horse (Sterling the wonder horse). We get teamed with JW and while at one point he wants to give up on us, we finally find the grit to beast the Wellington wall. Show day I'm up against an evil twin of WFP, the ending is predictable, but fun. I do dream big ).

      Comment


      • #4
        Totally possible. I know a woman who turned on another to a $2,500 backyard OTTB that I believe went to the Olympics. The woman was Amy Tryon and the horse is Poggio II.
        Yogurt - If you're so cultured, how come I never see you at the opera? Steven Colbert

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        • #5
          Michele Mueller (on the Canadian Olympic team) has one horse that she has been working with for a long time to achieve the dream

          Comment


          • #6
            National Velvet is from 1944, What cost you $1 in 1944 will cost you $13.00 today. (more in Europe)
            ... _. ._ .._. .._

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            • Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by Mtn trails View Post
              Totally possible. I know a woman who turned on another to a $2,500 backyard OTTB that I believe went to the Olympics. The woman was Amy Tryon and the horse is Poggio II.
              Wow, see...had tears in my eyes...but it is these stories that I would love to see more in the general public, more in the ears of young ones so to give them that dream. It can be given that to grow this sport it takes effort on both the top and the bottom. I doubt I'll even walk the course at the same time as a Mary King or Kyle Carter, but the idea that they are there speaks volumes to my connection the the sport as a whole. I would hope that would not change.

              I got to jump judge and watch Comet run around Pine Top, making it look easy and he (to me) is another story of growing from the bottom up. So who inspires the young today?

              Comment


              • #8
                Getting ANY horse to the Olympics has always been very unlikely. No change. The dream is still there, and people still pursue it on backyard horses and fancy imports alike, all equally unlikely to make it to the very top.

                Do we properly nurture riders in this country? This topic has been hashed to death on these boards. People I respect say we could do more, so I believe them. However, every time this topic comes up, I mostly find myself annoyed by the multitude of people who show up to post and whine about how they/their kid can't get the support they want and deserve and blah blah blah. I can't believe so many people think they are somehow "owed" a shot at what is, and has always been, an elite sport. You know, you gotta fight for it. Everyone has challenges, whether they relate to time, money, location, talent, what have you. No one owes you anything -- including success, no matter how hard you work and how much you want it -- and even in countries that put more money toward the sport, there are very few riders who rise above the rest to get themselves in that position.

                I say this from the position of someone who is a mediocre to poor rider but somehow managed to take a (heaven-sent) backyard horse -- a broken, free OTTB -- from the track through the CIC*** level as a self-funded amateur. Sure, that's not the Olympic level, but considering our relative degree of mediocrity and combined lack of experience or funding, it's close enough for me to say (a) it's possible (not to be confused with probable) and (b) the dream's definitely still alive.
                I evented just for the Halibut.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by JP60 View Post
                  *(I had this dream recently that I was picked as an experiment by a evil group to see if you can take a completely green, "mature" eventer and train him to run at some "Big" event. The premise was if I lost (which was the plan by the evils guys) then bad things would happen. I have to do this with my horse (Sterling the wonder horse). We get teamed with JW and while at one point he wants to give up on us, we finally find the grit to beast the Wellington wall. Show day I'm up against an evil twin of WFP, the ending is predictable, but fun. I do dream big ).
                  I'd watch that.

                  I think that the truly rare occurrence is getting to the Olympics on your first big-time horse. With so many qualifications these days, you probably have a horse that you go Novice/Training on, then another that you take up to Prelim or maybe even Intermediate/Advanced, then you have another one coming up that you can get to Advanced and hope to do CCI*** or your first CCI**** - then do you get to the Olympics?

                  Not many are lucky enough to find that diamond at the first go.

                  Taking some BC'ers for example, Stephanie Rhodes-Bosch had a pony, then a Novice/Training horse, then she got Port Authority. She lived the dream of doing Young Riders then Rolex then the WEG. That is the unusual story. (And, the usual part of the story, as so often happens in horses, had an injury which kept him out of Olympic contention.)

                  Hawley Bennett had an Arab that she went Training on. She then became a WS for a team rider, who was in the habit of picking up green horses and OTTBs from good race trainers. That is how she got Livingstone as a 4 year old - from someone with a good eye. Determination and hard work, they went to YR then Rolex and eventually the Olympics. But as often happens, you have to learn somehow, and it was not a fairytale ending with winning a gold medal. Hawley's next team horse has the benefit of a more experienced rider, and the end result was a medal at WEG.

                  Rebecca Howard came up through Pony Club and I remember her first Prelim horse who was not a long-format 3-day horse. So she got the next one, and the next. Went to YRs twice (or maybe 3 times). Then she got a TB (through an Olympic rider who knew how to choose them) who got her to Rolex, but couldn't stay sound. Onto the next prospect. But you knew all along that she had talent and determination and hard work, and one day she'd make it. So very happy to see the success she has been reaping the last couple of years

                  Peter Barry was an amateur with a dream... coming to eventing as an adult with a family - a different kind of dream. He bought experienced horses (funnily enough, some from the same team rider as Hawley got hers from) and learned the ropes. Kept learning and kept getting good horses under him. Worked hard... and here he is on the Team.

                  It is not one-size fits all.
                  Blugal

                  You never know what kind of obsessive compulsive crazy person you are until another person imitates your behaviour at a three-day. --Gry2Yng

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    JP60, that was Blugal's long-winded way of saying that, if you really want to live the dream, you have to move to Canada.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by NeverTime View Post

                      I say this from the position of someone who is a mediocre to poor rider but somehow managed to take a (heaven-sent) backyard horse -- a broken, free OTTB -- from the track through the CIC*** level as a self-funded amateur. Sure, that's not the Olympic level, but considering our relative degree of mediocrity and combined lack of experience or funding, it's close enough for me to say (a) it's possible (not to be confused with probable) and (b) the dream's definitely still alive.
                      Mediocre to poor rider? Holy Christ I'd hate for you to see ME ride. "The Dream" for me is getting to Prelim someday. That would be pretty much my Olympic level. And Canada? Too cold, eh?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I think if one were to acknowledge that this sort of "dream" is not simply a matter of pluck, courage, talent and some mysterious intangible and in fact includes a HUMONGOUS dose of luck, it might sit better.

                        Because nobody likes to think they are lacking in pluck. Whatever that is.

                        Even National Velvet won the Pie in a raffle. Blind luck.
                        Click here before you buy.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                          Even National Velvet won the Pie in a raffle. Blind luck.
                          Except that National Velvet was a novel, and therefore the raffle win was a plot point.

                          There's nothing easier than making someone's dreams come true when you're the one writing the story.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            If only we could all get the occasional free "edit" on our lives.
                            Click here before you buy.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Quote:
                              The dream of taking of backyard horse to the Olympics is very unlikely. At the level where riders are competing on an international level each will need a pool of horses. Most will be leased and many imported from Europe, although there are programs promoting the breeding of international level competition horses in North America. Extensive travel is required and riders may need sponsorship to fund their competition expenses.
                              So was National Velvet a lie , International Velvet cohort to the crime of having us believe any one with heart, any horse with heart can make it to the top? I watched a lifetime movie about a blind horse winning the prize in dressage and (while sappy) enforse my belief that if you work hard enough, it can happen. Jimmy Wofford wrote about how great riders are not born but they are made. Yet, with all the talk about buying pre-trained horses, politics and backroom nods, how much of the dream is left?
                              also Jil Walton started Patrona's eventing career and was the highest placing American at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

                              http://www.flickr.com/photos/11960375@N04/2811766557/

                              http://www.flickr.com/photos/11960375@N04/2818996855/

                              anything is possible

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Nirvana II . . .
                                Click here before you buy.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Crusader - David Wilding-Davies (Seoul)
                                  Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Bally Cor

                                    I have heard several versions of the pick the horse out of the field and win a gold medal at the Olympics saga.
                                    A man must love a thing very much if he not only practices it without any hope of fame or money, but even practices it without any hope of doing it well.--G. K. Chesterton

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I believe Crusader came from that same team rider mentioned above
                                      Blugal

                                      You never know what kind of obsessive compulsive crazy person you are until another person imitates your behaviour at a three-day. --Gry2Yng

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Keep on bringing in these stories!!! You all are nourishing my dream to one day compete at Rolex!!!
                                        runnjump86 Instagram

                                        Horse Junkies United guest blogger

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