Be careful what you wish for–part two

14 Oct




Be careful what you wish for—

Only a few years ago, the intense wish was for dressage to have a more public face, in order to attract more sponsors, more audience, more people interested in the sport.

Reality: the horse-athlete can only do so much.

Yes, in the US, breed shows such as the regionals and nationals put on by Quarter Horse and Arabian fans attract comparatively huge sponsor money, thousands of competitors—not hundreds if they are lucky— and their vendor list is the stuff top sport dreams are made of.

But the horse part of the equation at these breed shows is NOT being asked for extreme athleticism. Beauty pageants  and  top sport athletic contests have different requirements for preparation and performance.

These days look numbered for some competitions–I just do not see how World Dressage Masters will stand up to the FEI’s dressage Nation’s Cup Series which is gaining ‘traction’ as the expression goes, in Florida. In the U.S.,the two coasts have increased their CDI calendars, and now it will be interesting to see if the West Coast can keep their circuit successful. Most of the CDI shows in California have relied upon entries from Canada to fill the entries–but that country seems to have joined with Florida for the upcoming season.The obvious solution–to combine dressage with, say, show jumping or some indoor eventing or roller derby (just kidding)–does not seem to have gained any support.

In any case, on any coast, what will stay true is that the equine athlete half of the various partnerships/combinations/call them whatever you like, the horses can only perform at their best so many times in a given season. And each of these seasons,whatever the coast, exist for the very serious purpose of ranking the athletes for various international team competitions.

2014 World Equestrian Games has never looked closer than when planning how to get from Here to There and still have enough horse athlete to peak while There.

Good luck to every equestrian starting the sobering side of that dream.



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