Archive | April, 2014

There is still a ways to go for perfection

21 Apr



London International Horse Show - Olympia , 15-21 December 2009


I loved and still adore Edward and Totilas—they took us all to ‘the promised land’.
Power and expression and serenity. A true partnership, with harmony and generosity on both sides.
The ultimate fantasy: that the black stallion really cares what we want and is an active partner in flying to the heavens.
Of course, no sooner had this pair ascended such dizzying height, even before holding all World Records, but the backlash had to start.
The hind legs did not match the front.
The extravagant movement was the product of chains and straps.
Etcetera, etcetera.


char and valegro

Now, we have a new world record holder partnership, and it is even more understandable that the backlash has begun.
Not only do Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro hold all 3 world records; not only are they Olympic individual gold and European individual gold, AND now individual World Cup—putting them in direct line for the Grand Slam, should they be able to stay at the top of their game for upcoming World Equestrian Games—but they have accomplished all this in 2 years, almost never looking back since the amazement that just continued to grow at Rotterdam’s European Championships in 2011, where the combination was part of the British gold-medal team for GBR’s first European Championships. Ever.
Charlotte is now only 28 years old. At least Ed had the decency to wait until he was well into his 30s and had the usual ups and downs of top sport before he and Totilas found each other and made magic that still rings in many hearts !!

All teasing aside, I can only wonder at the people who ‘don’t like the music’ of this new kur, just unveiled at Lyon in the World Cup Finals (Of course, being Charlotte, she had only ridden it twice at home and Lyon was the third time she had ever ridden it through).
But I wonder more at the people who now find Valegro ‘too tight in the neck’ and not quite as loose as he was in other performances. Who do not understand why THIS Grand Prix was awarded a new World Record score of 87.13, breaking the pair’s previous World Record.
We all see what we want to see. We all see what we think we already understand. Perception IS reality.
Dreams and desire however, cannot rule here.


Valegro look of eagles(Chronicle of Horse)

This combination is the new standard for connection, for expression, for what their mentor Carl Hester has defined as dressage:  sit,push, and responsiveness.

And  of course, they are still 12 + points from perfection.



The Fox IS the Henhouse

13 Apr




Meydan is a global corporate entity controlled by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, husband of Princess Haya who is of course president of the FEI.

In 2013, the Maktoum Thoroughbred racing and endurance facilities came under intense scrutiny for illegal drugs found in racehorses’ blood tests, as well as  seizure of a large load of illegally imported medicines found in a Maktoum private plane.  A subsequent investigation by the FEI’s own Integrity Unit ‘s Quest, exonerated the Sheikh of any wrongdoing. And also exonerated itself from any suggestions of prejudice or favoritism.

In FEI’s homepage, there is a n annoucement of  the creation of the IHSC, a wedding featuring FEI and IFHA. (The FEI can give the CIA a run for its money for  acronyms that only the “in kids” know, along with possession of the secret decoder ring.)


IHSC= International Horse Sports Confederation.
FEI= Princess Haya
IFHA= International Federation of Horseracing Authorities.
Yes, horse sport is now in bed with horse racing. Officially.
The IHSC will “assist with surveillance” in the ongoing fight against doping and abuse.
Wow, fox in the henhouse #1.


On Feb. 26, 2014, The Meydan Group became an Official Sponsor of the upcoming Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. This sponsorship was seen as a financial move to (again) save WEG.

On March 30, 2014, Meydan cancelled their sponsorship as a prudent gesture of sportsmanship to remove the idea that riders from Region VII might benefit from a conflict of interest.

But no worries– Meydan found one of  the  companies it does enormous business with, SOBHA, to immediately step in and assume the financial sponsorship for WEG.
Meydan will continue to sponsor hospitality for ALL endurance  competitors and, by the way, sponsorship of the new FEI Endurance Task Force, which now exists to implement the Endurance Strategic Planning Group. The task force basically is ESPG plus a member of the Dubai Equestrian Club. Yes, endurance suddenly requires several  SPONSORED groups to plan and re-plan and devise regulations, etc.

Florida dropped out of bidding on the next WEG  (2018) due to its longtime contracts/ commitment to Rolex as a major sponsor.
The next WEG is now down to 2 bids, one of which is already in jeopardy because of its ties to Rolex–ousted as a longtime sponsor by FEI in favor of Longines, for no particular financial  reasons as Rolex offered to match any offer by Longines + 10%…   Fox in the henhouse # 2.

The 2015 European Endurance Championships no longer have a host country. Denmark won the bidding, arranged venue, facilities, accommodations, sponsors, support both national and international.
But Denmark proposed a ‘Closed’ European Championship: ie, open to European countries and teams.
Not good enough for the FEI, which wants—apparently—another ‘Open’ Championship as in 2013, where the ‘Open’ Championship was won by Rashid Dalmook Al Maktoum riding Yamamah of the UAE. And the ‘Closed’ Championship (for Europeans) was won by Jaume Punti Dachs riding Quran El Ulm from Spain. Of course, Dachs is one of the Maktoum family’s leading endurance trainers, overseeing farms both in England and Dubai.
I propose that WEG 2018 simply be named the Meydan WEG now, to save time and headlines later on.