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  1. #1
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    Default Olympics - Anne Gribbons article

    https://www.chronofhorse.com/article...hing-we-feared

    Some interesting points, however to read of the defeatist attitude pre-London was unexpected.

    If the Olympics were "everything we feared" then of course our fears were certain to come true.

    And "...because we had no chance at a medal it was at times frustrating and difficult to subdue the “go get it” instinct that lives within every true competitor, and make do with “participating....”

    ...why would true competitors EVER want to subdue that hunger, that drive, to "go get it" ?

    How can the USET Foundation ask for donations to support our team in the future if this is the attitude ?
    -Amor vincit omnia-



  2. #2
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    I know very, very little about competition at the international level. Although I have seen all of the riders who made up this U.S. team compete in person, I am never going to personally ride at anywhere near that level myself.

    So I don't know if the sentiments expressed in this article are the norm for that level of competition. But it seems to be contradictory to state in one paragraph that she (Gribbons) would have suggested just sitting the Olympics out, and then a paragraph or two later say:When you go to compete at the Olympics, the philosophy is that winning is not the essence, it’s how you play the game.

    Winning isn't everything, but apparently it is enough to make her think that sitting it out was a viable option to not winning? It is confusing, especially coming from the person whose attitude would be central to the riders and owners she is working with.

    Then she goes on to kind of take a crap on her team with this comment: For success both during preparation and in the Olympic arena, self-discipline is essential. Team thinking is of major importance. With a few shining exceptions, neither is a strong feature among our dressage riders, and feeling entitled really gets in the way of putting on your best performance when it counts.. Is she talking about dressage riders in general? Team members in particular?

    Where is her personal responsibility to the team "failure"? The horses weren't up to par, the riders were too self centered. If she stepped up and pointed some of her blame at herself, I sure missed it.
    Sheilah



  3. #3
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    There does seem to be a lot of rather undignified arse-covering going on...

    Get over it. Only 3 countries are going to get medals. There are more than three countries with a longer tradition of dressage and much better funding than we have here. We didn't totally disgrace ourselves by any stretch of the imagination.



  4. #4
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    It read a little tight on the we and more on the they that was my take.
    ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~
    http://www.off-breed-dressage.blogspot.com/



  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by atr View Post
    There does seem to be a lot of rather undignified arse-covering going on...

    Get over it. Only 3 countries are going to get medals. There are more than three countries with a longer tradition of dressage and much better funding than we have here. We didn't totally disgrace ourselves by any stretch of the imagination.
    Excellent point!

    Medaling in dressage was just not likely to happen for the US; Ravel and Steffen Peters had the best chance, but then Ravel had problems in the freestyle, and that was that. There were about 5 other countries duking it out for the medals, and then the US was at or near the top of "likely to do well but not medal." As it turned out, we didn't do that well in the second group, either

    (A rather bizarre comparison: when showing my mare at schooling shows this year, we've consistently placed at or near the top of the "not quite ready for prime time" group, with horses placing ahead of us usually those being prepped for recognized shows. I am quite happy to be at the top of the "our" group, given that mare and I both have issues.)
    You have to have experiences to gain experience.

    Proudly owned by Mythic Feronia, 1998 Morgan mare; G-dspeed Trump & Minnie; welcome 2014 Morgan filly MtnTop FlyWithMeJosephine



  6. #6
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    This article pissed me off...by what she said and who she is. No other way to put it. With an attitude like this, I believe it's high time to find another Chef d'Equipe/Technical Advisor.
    Heather
    Green Cove Springs, FL



  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by IdahoRider View Post

    Then she goes on to kind of take a crap on her team with this comment: For success both during preparation and in the Olympic arena, self-discipline is essential. Team thinking is of major importance. With a few shining exceptions, neither is a strong feature among our dressage riders, and feeling entitled really gets in the way of putting on your best performance when it counts.. Is she talking about dressage riders in general? Team members in particular?
    It sounded to me that she was referring to certain team members at these Olympics.

    I hope I'm wrong.
    -Amor vincit omnia-



  8. #8
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    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. Is that really how the judges are? Are they like that at my little USDF shows, too? Maybe it's not possible for them to judge accurately in real time? If they really can't keep up, maybe they should judge from video at this high level, after the fact -- with the opportunity to zoom in and rewind as needed.


    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.



  9. #9
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    Default

    For my money Anne Gribbons was right on track, you could see the Olympic results coming a mile off.



  10. #10
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    Default

    I think there is a big difference between realistic expectations and "why play if I'm not going to win". I certainly did not expect the US to medal, however, was happy to support our team anyway.

    I don't consider the Olympics to be the final round of a year long tournament where you only see the top 3 to 5. Isn't it supposed to be about many nations coming together? Here's some stuff from the Olympics Charter which can be found in total at http://www.olympic.org/Documents/Oly...er_en_2010.pdf

    Olympism is a philosophy of life, exalting and combining in a balanced whole the qualities of body, will and mind. Blending sport with culture and education, Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on the joy of effort, the educational value of good example and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles.

    The goal of Olympism is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of man, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.

    The Olympic Movement is the concerted, organised, universal and permanent action, carried out under the supreme authority of the IOC, of all individuals and entities who are inspired by the values of Olympism. It covers the five continents. It reaches its peak with the bringing together of the world’s athletes at the great sports festival, the Olympic Games.


    Anyway, I believe the point of the Olympics is to participate. Yes, winning is the icing on the cake, but it's not the point.

    That all said, I agree with yellowhorse16 on the "prepping the judges" part. Judges are supposed to judge what they see at that moment in time.



  11. #11
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    Quote 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. Is that really how the judges are? Are they like that at my little USDF shows, too? Maybe it's not possible for them to judge accurately in real time? If they really can't keep up, maybe they should judge from video at this high level, after the fact -- with the opportunity to zoom in and rewind as needed.
    I had a slightly different take on this particular comment. I *think* she's saying that the American riders need to compete directly against the Europeans more often. We need to be in the same ring, competing under the same judges, on the same playing field. How can we compete against the best in the world....when we rarely directly compete with them?

    NOT doing so possibly lends our riders (and certainly the American dressage public) too much confidence when we DO go across the pond.

    I love Steffen and I love Ravel, but there is just no way they were going to be in the top ten even. We forget that just because a combination is the best in the US, that does NOT automatically make them contenders against the UK, Germany, and the Netherlands in international competition.
    In order to think outside the box, one must first know what is in the box.



  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mardi View Post
    It sounded to me that she was referring to certain team members at these Olympics.

    I hope I'm wrong.
    Perhaps she was referring to the fact that SP had another good horse that could have carried a rider. Perhaps SP could have formulated a result like Carl Hester did, putting someone else on one of his top horses.

    This is not the fault of SP, rather of the American way of doing/thinking about things. NO American rider with their sanity intact would give up a possibilty International quality ride.



  13. #13
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    I think Anne has some good, valid points. However, it sounds to me that she'd like government sponsorship for Olympic sports, especially equestrian - and especially dressage. That would be criminal, in my opinion.

    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.

    My purpose in mentioning that is background for the steam coming out my ears at the THOUGHT of anyone implying that money - BOATLOADS of it - be handed out for 'fun' when people are starving, homeless, uneducated, jobless.

    Corporate sponsorship is a possibility, but sponsorship has to be a win-win situation. Rider wins the $$$; sponsoring corporation gets...their name on a saddle pad? Your name in front of a few [hundred?] people doesn't get all that much return on investment. At the risk of dressage enthusiasts everywhere getting their tar & feathers out, I suggest that ALL equestrian endeavors study - and I mean STUDY - the PBR (Professional Bull Riding). AWESOME corporate sponsorship - complete with TV ads featuring the sponsored riders. ??? Now we REALLY up the ante - rider gets FAME as well as 'fortune'. But what does the corporation get? Thanked - EVERY SINGLE TIME the bullrider is interviewed. BIG recognition, because its name is on the shirt, helmet, vest, chaps... OK, so that wouldn't cut it in dressage, but why not have sponsor shirt/jacket/hat that would be worn in warmup, strolling about the shows - and out in public? F'r heaven sake, I see enough people PAYING to advertise RL and other 'brand names' - why not advertise the outfit that's paying YOU? And when people ask "Why are you wearing that?" you tell them - you're a competitive dressage rider and they are your sponsor. And then tell them a bit about how good the products are, what a responsible company it is. And one more thing. I understand that it takes time to get a horse ready for competition, but the bullriders come early to every event and walk around talking to people LINED UP to pay for tickets or to get in - shake hands, sign autographs... Wave to the crowd when they finish their ride.

    It's been a while since I've seen a dressage show program (will see one tomorrow!), but do they contain any info that would be helpful for a spectator who's not 'in the choir'? Short bios on some of the riders - not necessarily the GPs; ditto on the horses; describing/defining the ladder of levels and, in layman's terms, expectations in each.

    C
    www.ayliprod.com
    Equine Photography in the Northeast



  14. #14
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    Catherine Haddad wrote a blog entry on the scoring a while back.

    http://www.chronofhorse.com/article/...p-how-it-works

    Also, SP hadn't had that second horse for long, and he is not the owner. Unlike Carl Hester w/ Valegro.



  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccoronios View Post
    I think Anne has some good, valid points. However, it sounds to me that she'd like government sponsorship for Olympic sports, especially equestrian - and especially dressage. That would be criminal, in my opinion.

    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.

    My purpose in mentioning that is background for the steam coming out my ears at the THOUGHT of anyone implying that money - BOATLOADS of it - be handed out for 'fun' when people are starving, homeless, uneducated, jobless.

    Corporate sponsorship is a possibility, but sponsorship has to be a win-win situation. Rider wins the $$$; sponsoring corporation gets...their name on a saddle pad? Your name in front of a few [hundred?] people doesn't get all that much return on investment. At the risk of dressage enthusiasts everywhere getting their tar & feathers out, I suggest that ALL equestrian endeavors study - and I mean STUDY - the PBR (Professional Bull Riding). AWESOME corporate sponsorship - complete with TV ads featuring the sponsored riders. ??? Now we REALLY up the ante - rider gets FAME as well as 'fortune'. But what does the corporation get? Thanked - EVERY SINGLE TIME the bullrider is interviewed. BIG recognition, because its name is on the shirt, helmet, vest, chaps... OK, so that wouldn't cut it in dressage, but why not have sponsor shirt/jacket/hat that would be worn in warmup, strolling about the shows - and out in public? F'r heaven sake, I see enough people PAYING to advertise RL and other 'brand names' - why not advertise the outfit that's paying YOU? And when people ask "Why are you wearing that?" you tell them - you're a competitive dressage rider and they are your sponsor. And then tell them a bit about how good the products are, what a responsible company it is. And one more thing. I understand that it takes time to get a horse ready for competition, but the bullriders come early to every event and walk around talking to people LINED UP to pay for tickets or to get in - shake hands, sign autographs... Wave to the crowd when they finish their ride.

    It's been a while since I've seen a dressage show program (will see one tomorrow!), but do they contain any info that would be helpful for a spectator who's not 'in the choir'? Short bios on some of the riders - not necessarily the GPs; ditto on the horses; describing/defining the ladder of levels and, in layman's terms, expectations in each.

    C
    Excellent points!! And I particularly agree about the funding issues... no way could I support lottery funding for equestrian pursuits when there are so many, much more critical needs in our society.

    I'd take the sponsorship situation a step further and suggest that until/unless we make dressage (or show jumping or whatever) appeal to the average mainstream spectator, we simply will not offer enough value to the average (non horsey) companies and provide them with a return on investment that makes sense compared to other options (like PBR.)

    In other words - lots and lots and lots of people wear jeans, and that is a competitive category for a clothing manufacturer. The audience drawn to the PBR events includes many potential customers for that manufacturer, and thus it makes sense for them to prominently advertise their products in that venue (whether on a banner or on some bull rider's rear end.)

    Dressage and other equestrian sports are competing with those venues when it comes to spectator eyeballs (and the associated dollars that chase them from a corporate perspective) which is a tall order, but not impossible. Europe, I think, has a leg up on us here in the US because there is more general interest and knowledge about horse sports, and thus they tend to do a better job filling those stands - and therefore an easier time attracting those corporate dollars.

    I know it's a bit non-PC to actively promote horse sports as elite or luxury events, but I personally think that that is an area that does make sense. Luxury goods manufacturers are doing relatively well even in the current economy, and that is a group that does not require quite as wide an audience in order to realize a decent ROI from sponsorship dollars much of the time. Compare the supporters of F1 compared to NASCAR and the profiles of sponsors will be very different, but each venue offers value to the sponsors for whom they are a good fit.
    **********
    We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
    -PaulaEdwina



  16. #16
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    The brits didnt hand valegro out as an upper level horse. He started with her as a young horse. Im sure the odds were not on this being a gold medal horse until much later and you dont hand off international horses to be team oriented.
    ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~
    http://www.off-breed-dressage.blogspot.com/



  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kadenz View Post
    I love Steffen and I love Ravel, but there is just no way they were going to be in the top ten even.
    Have to disagree.

    The judges were scoring relaxation and harmony higher than in the past (and said so). If the Ravel/Steffen freestyle had gone well, there was an excellent chance of them finishing in top 5.
    -Amor vincit omnia-



  18. #18
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    How many of you have seen Anne, herself, ride...or see horses that she has trained being ridden?



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by angel View Post
    How many of you have seen Anne, herself, ride...or see horses that she has trained being ridden?
    I have, and she is a beautiful rider. Her show record (if that means anything to some of you) is available on Centerlinescores. She has over 140 GP rides and various other levels with 14 horses, all with medians around 65%. She is currently showing a GP Developing horse that I assume she trains and she is scoring very well. I think very highly of her and almost always agree with what she writes.



  20. #20
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    I am expressing my opinion....

    I thought it interesting to see some of the scores from various judges - like I saw very inflated scores like in the upper 80s for some riders when for the same test and rider - other judges gave mid 70s. Weird to me. Just a different angle should not swing it ten points. And those judges did not do that consistently for all riders. I did feel like with the scoring - GB was going to have to screw up bad to NOT medal. I was married to a brit and I love London so please no one scream at me.

    TRUTH IS - the Brits rode better and I think deserved to medal but I did see those scores - and Laura B's horse misstepped several times and no one marked that off.... I scribe all the time at rec shows and that is consistently a score knocker but it was completely missed.

    But I thought though Ravel was 'good' - I thought there were mistakes there definitely and felt a little bit like he needed to be 'perfect' to score higher than some of the Germans and Brits horses even ridden at 'very good'.

    But lets be honest - America has been trying hard to compete with Germany and countries of Europe all along in dressage. Hey, we buy their horses so we can compete with them. Our best chance at a medal in dressage was a man born there for petes sake.

    ALL that said - we are America - we raise our children to think riding is a hobby and our country doesnt really look at it as a SPORT like Germany and GB and most of the rest of the world does. These people started training seriously when they are SO young and its given the respect as a sport. I have kids in my barn I am lucky if their parents bring them 2x a week to ride their horses but they will get them to track practice every day.

    I think there is some noise in our training. Its my opinion. I read a great article - cant remember who it was - an American who is multi national - went to compete for another country - and the first thing the trainer there told her is that she needs to get QUIET - she is screaming at her horse without knowing it. She had trained her horse to GP and was going to be on the Olympic team and she was like WHAT? And she said it changed her life working with this trainer.

    So I thought - our culture is filled with noise - so probably is our riding! Just a philosophical thought.

    It is a humbling process. But isnt that what learning is all about? I dont think we show to WIN as a first priority but its on the priority list. No reason to waste the money if you dont even have a CHANCE. But - as dressage people - we know it means TRAINING and training is a present tense word - so I think what everyone needs to do is ask what we can do better in the FUTURE and not point fingers at everyone. Its the same for the show jumping and eventing too actually. We need to move forward and be POSITIVE.

    Good news - there is lots of room for improvement! So lots of opportunity for victories. LOL



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