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P Equine Elitists H

earing the recent mainstream media frenzy about Ann Romney (wife to presidential candidate Mitt Romney) and her partially-owned horse Rafalca, that competed for the U.S. at the Olympics in dressage with rider/trainer Jan Ebeling, has leſt me smiling with an occasional LOL. Media comments have ranged from “I wonder which part of the horse she owns?” to “Dressaaaage – I hope I’m saying it correctly” to remarks about Ann being involved in “dancing horses” which is nothing other than “an elitist’s sport.” Who would have ever thought that dressage would have jumped out of the sand arena into the political arena?

Add to that the queen’s granddaughter, Zara Phillips. She just competed in the Olympics on the British Eventing Team and

helped her team earn the silver medal. Suddenly all the Olympic equestrian sports are garnering more media attention than usual. You can bet that TV and radio producers, anchors and reporters have been forced into brushing up on their equestrian lingo. One morning, two weeks before the Olympics began, as I was doing my daily barn chores, two commentators on the radio were comparing what their three favorite sports were to watch at the Olympics. To my surprise, fi rst on the woman commentator’s list was dressage, which she then proceeded to explain to the listening audience! We’ve come a long way. But as the term “elitist” is bantered about in the media, I’ll admit my feathers do get a bit ruffl ed. Yes, we all know it takes

money to make it to the Olympics. But it’s much more than that. T ere are a few exceptions, but most of the riders in the Olympics didn’t come from “deep pockets.” T ey were talented, dedicated athletes who put in years of tremendous hard work. Somewhere along the way their talent was recognized, which is when fi nancial backers, a.k.a. sponsors, have stepped in, be it friends, relatives, corporations or the latest, syndicates. Hence, someone like Ann Romney, who rides but can’t make it to the Olympics herself, contributes to funding a talented rider with a talented—and probably very expensive—horse. Gone are the days when Olympic-quality horses might be discovered in someone’s backyard. T e Canadians say it well in

the special Canadian Warmblood breed section on page 50: “T e sports have become so challenging and competitive, and the horses are so intensely selected, that most elite horses are the result of planned breedings and well managed rearing and training programs.” You can be sure that top elite horses are demanding six-, seven- and sometimes eight-digit dollar fi gures! Sounds like an elite sport to most outsiders, that’s for sure. T e reality is that most of us non-Olympians ride, train and/or breed, and simply love the relationship and companionship

with our horses, whether we paid $1,000 or $100,000. If we are fortunate enough to win in the show ring, and perhaps win a championship or two, that’s icing on the cake. It’s the journey—all the little progressions along the way—that continually feed our passion, which is where Warmbloods Today comes in. Whether it’s sharing someone else’s journey, reading interesting opinions or appreciating various breeds and bloodlines, there is so much for us to understand. And, of course, it’s important to keep an open dialog with one another, even when we disagree. Regardless of which sport we choose, we can never stop learning about these amazing animals. From that perspective, we should consider ourselves lucky to be called “equine elitists.” It’s something non-equestrians may

never understand.

ublisher’s Welcome

Liz Cornell, Publisher

Our Mission: Warmbloods Today is the only magazine in North America focused on the entire spectrum of Warmblood breeds. It’s a place where people from all aspects of the sport horse community can come together: amateurs, owners, trainers and breeders. Each issue contains interesting, informative and often heart-warming stories of peoples’ experiences with their horses, along with thought-provoking opinions from various professionals and amateurs. We cover all horses from European descent bred for the sports of jumping, dressage, eventing and driving including the Iberian breeds and American Warmbloods.

10 September/October 2012

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