Looks like that crystal ball needs some repairs after all. 2013 is already turning out to be a sizzler, and it’s only January 25th. Here are a few items I’ve been storing in my inbox to share with you this week:
1. The FEI has yanked Guadalajara’s 2015 World Cup Final hosting gig: in an unromantic press release, the FEI announced that Guadalajara would not be hosting the WC Dressage and Jumping Final after all. The unstated reason: no venue. Well, duh! I could have told you that a year and a half ago when I attended the Pan Am Games in that fine city (which were very well run, incidentally). When I learned that Vegas had been passed over in favour of Guadalajara, my first thought was: so they gave the WC Final to a city that has NEVER hosted an indoor horse show of any kind, and jilted long time smooth operator, Las Vegas, which has hosted the dual final with dressage and jumping THREE TIMES. The FEI says they intend to re-invite Vegas to the party. Couple of problems: firstly, the Thomas and Mack Center books out years in advance, so even if they wanted to, the Vegas organizers may not be able to secure the venue. Secondly (and perhaps more importantly), if I were Vegas I’d feel like the proverbial spurned girlfriend and would flip the FEI the bird in response to their proposed re-gifting of WC 2015. I’m with Pippa Cuckson, who guest blogged last week that she and other journalists wouldn’t be surprised to see the 2015 WC Final pop up in Dubai.
2. Rolex prevails in America. Further to the news outlined in my post last week on Low-Down, Rolex has declared its continued loyalty to the USEF. Yesterday’s press release from USEF is the picture of diplomacy and good will – a model of good public relations with a long-time sponsor. And I have to say Rolex is being a bigger man about this than some of us more cynical types would have dared to hope. Who could have blamed them if they had turned their backs on the horsey crowd for good and thrown their money and watches at some other, less ignoble international sports federation?
3. Finally a bit of good news out of Mission Control: Stephen Clarke has taken over from Ghislain Fouarge (who is NOT a snuggle bunny) as FEI Dressage Judge General. Sounds kind of nice, doesn’t it? General Clarke. Grand Poobah of the Ground Jury (Yabba Dabba Doo). What makes Stephen such a good choice for this volunteer role is that he is an excellent communicator and he has never forgotten that he is a human being, fallible like the rest of us. Oh yeah, he’s a great judge too. Though I’m never absolutely sure he knows when the beat matches the footfall in freestyles…I’ll be keeping a close eye on his artistic marks at the WDM Palm Beach tomorrow. Which reminds me, if you are stuck in the frozen north and curious to know how things are going on in Welly World over the next twelve days, you’d be well advised to visit Low-Down. Tomorrow I’ll do a post or two over there during and after the WDM GPS and Freestyle.
Things have already gone a bit sideways with the communications at the Masters before it even began. Wednesday a PMG press release announced that recently minted Canadian David Marcus could enter a second horse in the WDM if he qualified with Don Kontes in the CDI3* Grand Prix. Um, not. The FEI rules state that the number of horses per rider in a CDI5* is at the discretion of the organizing committee, but I know from covering past WDM Palm Beach events that it’s one horse per jockey. So, if you have heard that David and Don Kontes, who were second in yesterday’s three star GP, got into the WDM, it’s not true. A Canadian who DID get added to the WDM start list with no announcement of any kind – she just appeared on the roster post-jog – is Diane Creech with Devon L. Right after PMG told everyone that David and DK were eligible, they declared that Lisa Wilcox and Pikko Del Cerro were ‘favorites to advance to WDM’. Sadly, that is also not the case, since this was Cerro’s first CDI3* at Grand Prix, and even though he won both handily and in fine style yesterday, he would need another score from a second three star show to be eligible (remember the downgrade to four star at last year’s WDM?).
Why am I telling you all this? Because PMG, the official disseminator of WDM Palm Beach information, is doing a pretty lousy job of conveying the finer details about this exciting but slightly complicated event. Yesterday’s release following the CDI3* Grand Prix was downright secretive about why Lisa and Cerro don’t get to do the Masters but the third and seventh placed pairs do. According to PMG, Mikala Gunderson earned her WDM spot by placing third in the three star with 69.574%, which is remarkable in that her score is identical to the score that Lisa received for the win. Adding further confusion, there is no explanation as to why Cheryl Meisner is taking her seventh placed horse from the three star, Tango, and not her fourth placed horse Paganini. I think the ‘M’ in WDM may actually stand for ‘mystery’.
Anyway, here’s the good news for Canada at WDM Palm Beach – an unprecedented number of Canadians are participating: David on Chrevi’s Capital, Jacquie on D-Niro, Diane and Devon L and Cheryl with Tango. I wish them all a pair of awesome rides today and tomorrow. Go Canada!