2010 FEI World Cup Finals Commentary
Competitive riders have many goals and overcome numerous obstacles, literally and psychologically, to achieve these goals. When a name is synonymous with the best of the best, having won Olympic Gold Medals, international titles and countless Grand Prix events, that individual has clearly earned recognition and deserves respect.
That is how we see McLain Ward. Granted he and his father have a tainted past, but as McLain points out that was over a decade ago and he has had a completely clean record ever since. He expects extra scrutiny and often has to endure it. However he continues to be at the top of his game, winning on numerous horses, of course the most famous to date is the fabulous Sapphire.
We all know full well this could’ve been their World Cup victory year. They came so incredibly close last year in Vegas against Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and Shutterfly, an awesome competition until the very end. After Friday’s class McLain and Sapphire were on the path to potentially claim the title this year.
Then hypersensitivity happened. Seems sadly unjust to those of us who were routing from afar. Takes the wind out of the competition sails. From what we’ve read, what is sad and disheartening for thousands of us who support and participate in equestrian sport was an absolute nightmare for McLain and his team.
A mare who has proven time and time again to be a winner, has no history of unsoundness, whom had just won top placings in the first two rounds of the FEI World Cup Final, continues to jog sound and clearly is a competitor – why at this stage in her career could she test as hypersensitive to the point of elimination for her own safety? It may be ‘protocol’ but is it logical?
What makes this decision the right one? Why do these individuals get absolute power to eliminate with no appeal or recourse? How is that clean sport? It seems to put too much power in the hands of a few. It certainly presents a serious issue for the future of the sport. When does hypersensitivity make sense in a seasoned horse?
So many unanswered questions.
We congratulate Marcus Ehning, who is a tremendous talent and impeccable rider. Congratulations also go to US riders Mario Deslauriers, Richard Spooner and Rich Fellers, all in the top twelve. We only wish they and all the other competitors would’ve competed against McLain.
Here are several links to find out more:
– PhelpsSports.com – includes an exclusive interview with McLain and a conversation with Rodrigo Pessoa & Jimmy Torano (must be a member to read)
– The Chronicle of the Horse
– USEF – look for World Cup releases
– We Support McLain Ward and Sapphire – Facebook group
– McLain and Sapphire – Facebook group