Monday, May 9, 2011

Underthinking Equestrian

So I was reading this story regarding the sale of Katie McVean's prize horse Dustan Delphi. Apparently this effectively ends her hopes of winning a medal at the 2012 London Olympics.

Although given this giant man will be there, I doubt anyone apart from him is in a shot for a medal. Seriously, HE IS JUMPING A FREAKING BRIDGE.

Now equestrian events at the Olympics have always intrigued me, for one thing they are the only event at the Olympics where men and woman compete against each other.

Well...only time it officially happens
They seem to be pretty bad at geography too, in 1956 when the Olympics was being held in Melbourne Australia, do you know where the equestrians held their event?

That's close right?
That's right while everyone else was competing in Melbourne, the equestrian event was already completed, having been held 5 months early in Stockholm Sweden. They claim it was due to the quarantine laws in Australia at the time, but come on Sweden isn't even close, why didn't they do it in Indonesia or Malaysia or NZ or somewhere closer? Why Sweden?

But the main point about today's story that interested me is the fact she has sold her horse means Katie has given up winning a medal, despite the fact she is an up and coming person in the equestrian world. I mean if some one had brought Sarah Ulmers bike off her before the Sydney Olympics she would still have backed herself to win.

Assuming she purchased a bike of similar qualities to her own

But in horse riding a good horse is very important, and since they aren't manufactured by men, if you have a good horse you should probably hang onto it. You can't just go to the factory and replace a good horse.

"We are just putting the finishing touches on your horse, Sir"
This is alright because a lot of sports having top of the line equipment is essential for reaching the pinnacle, I imagine Sarah Ulmers bike was expensive, so is Michael Phelps swimsuit. But a good horse, could run you into the millions of dollars, and an entry level horse is probably in the thousands of dollars, so you are hardly likely to see some one in the horse world who has worked there way up from the streets.

As much as he tried Fredrick, couldn't get Mr Tubbs to jump the hurdles.
  And the kids with the best horses will always have a step ahead of the others, meaning the best horse rider will always be the richest. Making equestrian one of the most elite sports that exist, don't you think?
I think that all equestrian events should be held similar to the equestrian in Modern Pentathlon, where the competitors are given a random horse, to simulate riding a horse behind enemy lines, this way the quality of the horse is evened out. So every competitor brings a horse, and they are then randomly assigned one from the total pool of horses.

"This only works, if everyone brings a HORSE guys"

 Either that or they should start giving the medal to the horse. 

"Seriously, I get the medal, she is literally sleeping on my back!"


  1. Haha, Just read ur blog. I beg to differ, having competed at a high level myself I think that you can be a very successful rider and have come from not much money. With horses you cant just buy a good horse and expect it to go for you. You still need to have the talent and guts to do it. A lot of people believe buying a good horse will take them to the top, it might work for a little while but horses have brains and they soon figure out if you cant ride them properly and then they start to go shit. Kate trained Delphi from a baby and although Delphi might be one in a million at the moment she has others that she will train up and get back to the olympics again. An example is, at HOY this year one of NZ's other top riders was injured so he asked kate to compete his horse in the Horse of the year class, she had only ridden the horse twice before this class and ended up winning it... most people ride their own horses who they have competed for years and years and years and never do that well.

    And I dont know why they picked Sweden for the olympics but I know they held it outside of oz because oz had the horse flu going around which can kill horses and wasnt really anywhere but there at the time.

    Kates reason for selling Delphi was that its super expensive for her to finance herself to compete in Europe and she doesnt have backers like some of the European people do, horses get injured alll the time so she thought what if I turn this money down, the horse breaks down and Im left with nothing. This way she can come home, train up the others she has here and get back on track with waaay more funds.

    Anyways, love ur blogs. Keep them coming.

  2. Mum effectively did this back in 1990 Barcelona Olympics when we were just youngsters. Then again in 2001(?). Ranked in the top 100 in the World, Long Listed (10 People) for NZ Olympics Squad and then up and sold the horse, ending the dream. Money and *cough* Children came first.

    As to your final point; I concur to a point.
    Those whom are lucky enough to have the funds to buy a horse which is at CCI ** or *** Level are effectively buying the fastest racing available. Example Clarke Johnstone... Local Taieri Boy, decided he wanted to ride horses. Went and got lessons off myself and Mum, along with a number of big name stars. His Parents bought him a 50K horse and BAM he’s winning things..... To be fair, he's turned out to be an OK rider; however the Horse is one of the biggest reasons why he is where he is.

    On the other hand, not everyone in the eventing world does this. Again, I use Mum as an example.

    Horse Eventing in general I suppose is about a rider’s ability to control a horse, to train and manipulate it to your best ability. But, as with most sports these days, money has changed everything. You can buy your way to the top. Imagine buying a new set of arms that made you throw a Javelin at an Olympic level with very little effort!?!
    Maybe it should be a requirement that you train a horse from a certain level upwards in order to compete in the Olympics?

    And now to take the seriousness out of this....The horse totally gets the good end of wining! We get a silly ribbon or medal and he gets food as his prize!!! Hehe.

    As always, bringing a smile to my working day Aaron.

  3. Haha okay, so apparently I know very little about the world of horse riding, although that is unsurprising.

    I had no idea your mother was so highly ranked Karen, that is awesome.
    I do like you idea of having a length of time you must have been with the horse before you can compete in the Olympics. This would certainly mean the person winning the prize was the best horseman, and not just some rich guy....

  4. haha, Not many people did, even at the time. It's Mum, she’s not one to tell people.
    There’s the Olympic listing invitation letter framed on the mantle at home.
    My own achievements = crap compared to that LOL

    It is true; it’s not just the horse, nor is it just the rider. My own horse back in the day was an amazing horse, but at the same time, he never went as good for anyone other than myself.

    I watched Katie ride at the 3 Day at McLean's Island at Easter Weekend this year. She’s a very good rider, and that was especially clear watching the Cross Country.

    However, Eventing is a rich persons sport. If you have the money, you can go far.
    I know quite a few riders that have the talent, far beyond some that are at the top, but can’t fund themselves to the top.


    Latest result, cant be that bad of a rider Karen.

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