Sigh. Sometimes I feel like such a meanie for picking on EC the way I do, but they really give me no choice sometimes. Resistance is futile. When the subject line “Northern Dancer named as Equine Canada Horse of the Year Recipient“, appeared in my inbox, I wondered if I was to shortly receive a corrected release with either a more appropriate honour or a more appropriate name. But no. They really meant it.
Now, if the award were for Horse of the 20th Century, or perhaps more specifically, Canadian Thoroughbred of the 20th Century, or if it was the Horse of the Year award for 1964 (which is the year Northern Dancer actually won an award with the remarkably similar name Canadian Horse of the Year), I could see it. But seriously. Is there anyone out there beyond the walls of EC who thinks it’s even remotely apropos to give a long dead horse this award? Sure, Hickstead had died before he received the Hickstead Trophy, which was created in his memory last year. But Hickstead had been ALIVE and winning until just a couple of months before the award was given.
What I find most offensive about EC’s choice of recipients for this award is that it implies there were no horses worthy of honouring in 2012. And that’s an insult to some very special equine athletes. I can think of three worthy equines without even taking breath. How about Star Power, who carried Ian Millar to the highest individual placing of his record breaking Olympic career? How about Exponential, who has one big thing in common with Northern Dancer in that he is a Canadian Thoroughbred? Exponential, ridden by his owner Jessica Phoenix, was the ONLY Canadian team horse to finish the Eventing in London, and he placed in the top 25. And even though he didn’t compete in London, who could deny that Pop Art is overdue for recognition as the most successful Canadian dressage horse of the past two decades?
As a federation, EC represents all the non-Olympic disciplines, as well as the breed disciplines. I am not as familiar with the shining stars of today in those categories, but surely there lurked within them at least one un-dead horse that achieved some level of greatness within, oh, the past FORTY YEARS.
The announcement that EC had chosen a long-deceased horse as its Horse of 2012 came hot on the heels of its announcement that the horse Simply Ahorn was the 2012 Canadian Bred Horse of the Year. Yes, this horse was Canadian-bred, but he was sold to Brit show jumper Nick Skelton two years ago, renamed Belmont, and has been shown by Laura Kraut under the stars and stripes ever since. Since he didn’t get Horse of the Year, perhaps EC could have given Exponential this award; goodness knows he deserves it more than a horse that has been sold out of Canada.
Some of you may not yet have seen Friday’s announcement that EC’s brand new CEO is in da house. I haven’t had a chance to burrow too deeply into this new name, though I did find an excrutiatingly boring youtube video of him droning on about a hospital in Oakville that betrays little personality but a healthy share of political ambition.
I also found an announcement from last March (yes, that’s just under a year ago) about his being hired as the General Manager for a company that builds ice rinks. Funny, there is no mention of him holding down that job in the EC announcement from Friday. More on this new face of the EC Executive shortly, when I’ve had a chance to learn more about the man charged with the daunting task of leading EC out of the woods.