And it’s a press release about an Olympic discipline! And it’s not three weeks after the fact! It came out the day after the event finished! This is a test to see if I can overdose on exclamation marks. Yes I can. And I have.

A release came out from EC HQ first thing last week to herald Ashley Holzer’s excellent results at the five star in Welly World. It also included results of the other Canadians who had done well not only at that show, but in California too. It even had two actual photos (tempted to use another exclamation point). I never in a million years would have thought I’d catch myself saying I was happy to see EC’s Communicators return to doing something they used to do, but in this case I say HURRAH.  Now if they could just keep it up as the eventers, show jumpers and Paras start ramping up their Olympic preparations.

Back to Olympic DQs. It’s quite heartening to see that there are a team’s worth of qualified pairs already, and that is with the highest score criteria for a Canadian team since I’ve cared to notice. I’ll go out on a willow branch and say it’s probably the highest threshold criteria ever for Canada. There are also several pairs who are on the cusp of making it into the corral of qualified hopefuls; with two months of competitions left and the scores quite close (as long as your name isn’t Ashley Holzer) I’ll predict there is going to be some intense shuffling around as those who are qualified and soon to be qualified work on bettering their averages. You can see how the leaderboard looks by clicking here, but I’ll warn you that the lay out of the Excel spread sheet takes a bit of getting used to. Okay, I’ll come right and say it. It’s user unfriendly. But at least it exists.

There has been some grumbling about a couple of aspects of the London dressage – legitimate grumbling too. For instance, I was completely shocked to learn that, contrary to how it had been sold to the international dressage community, countries qualified with teams would not get to send a fourth competitor as an individual – and as a last minute replacement in the event of illness or injury to a team member.  Instead, the extra individual spots freed up by reducing the team to three (dressage is the only Olympic equestrian discipline including Para not to enjoy a throw away score for the team) were doled out to individuals from countries that didn’t qualify a team. Except for three countries, who will enjoy a significant advantage by being the only teams with a fourth member waiting in the wings, and those three just happen to be the three who don’t need a leg up: Great Britain, Holland and Germany.  When I heard about the distribution of individual qualifications, I went straight to the Olympic criteria, and it was spelled out clear as day. It’s obvious that the nations which stood to gain an individual berth have been well aware of things, so how did this come as such a shock to so many of us? The three-per-team format was highly unpopular in Hong Kong, especially for Spain and Brazil, which lost their teams when they had a horse that didn’t pass muster. Why is this happening all over again as if it was a winning idea? I’m not saying we shouldn’t be expanding the Olympic dressage universe. Isn’t it time we thought about increasing the number of competitors in Olympic dressage? It has the lowest quota of all the  disciplines.

Another source of unhappy muttering is  the new GPS test, which I just read in the IDRC’s latest news bulletin is not any shorter than the original GPS it replaced for exactly that purpose. What? Did no one have a stop watch when they tested the thing out? Jeepers creepers, this isn’t rocket science (more temptation to use an exclamation mark).  They could have asked any freestyle designer worth his or her salt to sit down and crunch some average stats on how long it takes a horse to get from A to B to C to X- because we all have plenty of that information right at our fingertips. Then again, I suspect hell might have to get some hoar frost on its fever trees before my advice will be sought by the FEI.

And on that note, please allow me to point out that I was joking (April fool’s style) with my last remark in Monday’s post.  I thought it was obvious I was kidding, but at least one person whose intelligence I have never questioned thought I’d actually been asked to sit in on the FEI vs. IDRC hearing. She warned me to be careful not to let myself become the mouse in a game of cat and cat’s prey. And speaking of the FEI vs. IDRC, make sure you keep an eye on my other blog, because I’ve been spanked yet again by Mission Control and will be posting about that tomorrow.

I’m sorry I don’t have any funny cartoons about cats and mice on today’s post, but until I develop the patience and skill to draw my own , I have been forced to stop ‘borrowing’ images from the web. I kind of thought that a black and white drawing with some kind of well-known punchline under it was uncopyrighted, but I was wrong. And I cause enough trouble to the brave and long-suffering publisher of these blogs to not cause further grief. Unless it’s absolutely necessary.