Can you talk about your reaction to the Team’s overall performance this week?
Well we didn’t have the superstar horses like Sapphire and Authentic at their peak. We had great riders. Beezie had a very unfortunate start when the horse was very over impressed in the ring. She did a marvelous job resurrecting that. You can’t have an elimination, with refusals, and then resurrect it at
the Olympics. But she did resurrect it, and that’s why I tip my hat to her. It was a very unfortunate thing for the whole team to have that happen. She was going to be the anchor, she and Rich were the anchors. When the anchor is shaky then everybody feels a little shaky. We didn’t have the best start, but we have a good group of horses and riders. Reed did remarkably well for her age. I didn’t even know she was the youngest equestrian in the history of the sport. She did remarkably well, but she is very green. She earned her spot during the Trials and the Observation Events. I was hoping with this team to maybe get a medal, but the French, Germans and Belgians didn’t even come back today. So we ended up in the higher end of the middle of the pack. What we had, it wasn’t better or worse than I expected.
Talk about Rich, how do you feel about him going into the Individual Final?
I feel fine about him. He went to the stick at the water to make sure Flexible made the water, which was probably a good choice
because a lot of horses stepped in the water. But, when you use the stick, you usually pay for that, and he paid for that at the liverpool where he had a light rub. The horse got flat. I think he’ll freshen up tomorrow though. The horse had a very good ride at the water and he hopefully won’t have to go to the stick again. You don’t want to have to go to the stick. The fences are so delicate. But it’s something if you have to, you do it. You don’t love to do that, because it does get a horse flat. I think in preparation for Wednesday, he had a very good prep. We’ll hope for the best.
In the press conference, Great Britain touched on coming to Wellington to prepare. Can you remark on coming to the United States to prepare and then winning a gold medal?
I think Wellington is a great preparation. Don’t forget, these countries are much more committed to these equestrian sports than America. We have all the hunters, the equitation, so much of our resources go into nothing to do with this level of professionalism. They start on Ponies, Children’s and Juniors. It bothers me that so many of our resources are sent in a direction that has nothing to do any longer with this sport. That lowers the standard of horsemanship, so lots of owners look to other
countries that are basically living in America to give them horses. Lots of these horses are owned, partly owned by Americans. You talk about winning medals or winning the Super League or WEG. It’s a huge commitment, and the country, as a whole doesn’t have that commitment as much as it once had. They are very consumed with their own businesses and their own circuits. Yes we have a bunch of great owners and great professionals, but the commitment should be much better.
Are you disappointed to see a horse like Davos (left, with Prince Abdullah Al Saud
) go on to be a Bronze medalist since it was originally an American horse?
No, that’s not my business. The owners, that’s their business. They are offered prices that they can’t afford to turn down. We’re talking about millions of dollars, not hundreds of thousands, millions of dollars. Horses are very fragile. That’s a very hard call for me to make.Lastly, what about McLain, he will also be going on to the Individual Finals. What did you think of his performance?
McLain is also a very, very high overachiever. He’s a great rider. It wasn’t bad, the horse just didn’t have a clear round. There weren’t any real mistakes. The horse is a very good horse, a lovely horse. The level of horses and riding in these classes though, is extraordinary. That’s what I kept telling them for all these years at home. You don’t know at HITS and Southampton what you really have. You’ve got to be over here at Dublin, Aachen, and Rotterdam. You’ve got to hit reality. That’s not reality at home. I love it at home, that’s a great place to start, but that’s not real international jumping, except for Wellington. That’s the one exception, and Calgary. After Wellington though, they are lovely horse shows, but it’s a national level, it’s a local level.
Thank you much for talking with me.
Thank you, have a nice night.