The US Festival of Champions US Dressage Team Selection Trials are over and the team is set. First off is Steffen Peters on Ravel with Legolas as his back up horse. Next is Tina Konoyt on Colecto, who scored over 80% on one of her rides. Jan Ebeling riding Rafalca qualified third with and additional pressure of the race for President of the US lurking in the background. And Adrienne Lyle qualified for the fourth spot on Wizard.
It is a strong, solid team. Certainly, the British team is favored to win this year--what a grand departure from previous years when Germany dominated--but as all horsemen know, anything can happen.
And this year "anything" already has here in the US. Stephen Colbert, talk show host of the tremendously popular "Colbert Report" aired weeknights on the Comedy Channel, did a piece on the competition. His focus was that Mitt Romney's (Republican candidate for US President) wife is part owner of Rafalca. Needless to say, dressage at that Olympic level is an extremely expensive sport, and
many news reporters have been critical of the Romney's money and being "out of touch" with the common man, so mocking out their dressage connection is one sure way of underscoring all that wealth.
Now, at the USET headquarters, dressage fans responded with good humor, laughter, beer, and foam
fingers, cheering on the new team.
Link to USEF Dressage Video
What a breath of fresh air!!
I love dressage, but the sport has had a rocky road to popularity and not many non-horsemen understand it. As well, the competitions rarely get TV coverage, so I often miss seeing the masterful rides of the best riders in the world--except on YouTube videos. Silly as all this may be, perhaps all the publicity and the Romney connection will finally put dressage "on the map."
Perhaps the "Colbert Bump" as publicity on "The Colbert Report" is known is just what dressage needs--at least in an Olympic year. I will be watching the "Report" on Monday night--airs here at 11:30 PM on Comedy Central--to see if Mr. Colbert is up to a response to the dressage world's response to his previous report.
I'm ready to laugh my way all the way down the centerline.