Post-Olympics…heroes and others

13 Aug

So  “higher faster stronger”  is over for another four  years.

Thanks to the internet, it was possible to watch the entire competition, whatever one’s interests might be.


Also thanks to the internet, it was possible to discuss events in live time, making  ever stronger the illusion of ‘global village’ and that one was actually there, cheering on heroes, magnanimously not holding bad thoughts about villains.  In dressage, there were no villains. Every horse and rider there had proven over and over their legitimate right to be there, in the company of the best of the best.


As no one else has yet ever accomplished what Anky has done– and  Salinero, with his back to back golds is ALSO in the ‘legend’ category –these two are of course  WINNERS.  What other rider and support team has produced an equine athlete that has medaled in 3 Olympics and maybe looked the best in his final Olympics?

As there would be no dressage medals for GBR without Carl Hester, he is an absolute ,hands-down WINNER.

As there would be no Charlotte Dujardin and no Valegro without Carl, he is a DOUBLE TRIPLE WINNER.

His training program, his management, his good luck—it all came under the closest  scrutiny and held up for gold.

Valegro always looks self-satisfied—as though he knows the sun comes up each day merely because it pleases him.  Everyone knows that these horses will be sold, so a wish here that Valegro and Uthopia always look as happy and confident as they did at this championship.

However much Charlotte was mentored by Carl and however much Carl oversaw just about every step , hats off to the combination itself for pulling out everything in their performances and raising the bar that was Ed-and-Toto.

There is no doubt that Charlotte and ‘Blueberry’  deserved their marks. The harmony, the charm, the incredible self-carriage  far outweighed  a mistaken step here or there in the freestyle. To those who say the horse looks heavy in her hand, I can only ask: how then, does he manage to collect and extend and never change his balance, rhythm or outline?  Because  other horses ALL nodded their heads, changed their outlines, etc. when they leaned on the bit or froze behind it.

Here is hoping that Carl and Charlotte’s next partnerships rise to these heights  and beyond. And as Carl Hester has said: it takes THREE HORSES and THREE RIDERS ll to peak at the same time–so hats off  at this Olympics to Carl, Charlotte and Laura.

As no one else has ever had the partnership of Ed-and-Toto, only to  lose it and make another partnership which we watched develop over the three competitions, so Edward Gal  is a WINNER.

Sure,  Undercover looked tense, but each performance became more confident, more appealing,more relaxed. As Ed himself said, by the end, he was “75.4% satisfied”  –and that  there are 80’s and 90’s again in his future.

I still miss Ed-and-Toto, and can only imagine what the bar might be now if that partnership had not been pissed on and cast aside.



The hypersensitivity protocol must be rewritten ,revised, re-whatever word one wants to use.

AS is stands now, the capricious power to prod with a pencil and insist a horse is ‘hypersensitive’ is just ludicrous,as it results in DISQUALIFICATION. The bland response that ‘no wrongdoing is implied’ only makes the  rule ever more bizarre and unfair and in stark contrast to the idea of fairness in sport.


The Saudi Arabian show  jumper team won  team bronze. But it is a tainted medal. ALL these riders have westernized to the point where they  could have, indeed should have, stood up for and publicly applauded the courageous decision of Saudi leaders to allow two Saudi women to compete at the games:

Wajdan Shaherkan (16)  in judo and Sarah Attar(19) in track.

These two teenagers carried their responsibility with immense dignity and pride. They are true champions. They deserve everyone’s applause and consideration.

There is also the rather strange ‘qualification’ of one of the show jumping team, Abdullah Sharbatly, whose FEI  drug suspension sentence was  overturned and shortened by the one-man CAS arbitrator in order that Sharbatly could be part of the Olympic team.  (The Saudis are funding the FEI’s priority Nation’s Cup competition for at least the next 5 years with the possibility of more if certain conditions are met). Even with the suspension overturned, Sharbatly still needed qualifying scores.

The entire story is told here:



And finally—

Dear FEI Dressage Committee:

We the public really applaud your decision to push for more transparency.  To that end, please give us back the OLYMPIC DRESSAGE SCORE SHEETS  which were available for the last Olympic Games in 2008 and which have been available for nearly every big dressage competition since then.

It really helps grow the audience if we are allowed to understand how the scores have been evaluated.

Thank you.


One Response to “Post-Olympics…heroes and others”

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