The Brits have done it again. Just when we thought all hopes were lost for Team GB to field a crack team for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) — they head off to Dublin, needing maximum points in the Nations Cup to avoid relegation, and achieve just that.
Team manager Rob Hoekstra took a chance, placing relative newcomer Spencer Roe (pictured) under that much pressure — Spencer being there to prove his worth on the WEG team in the process — and drew out a new superstar. Don’t miss H&H showjumping editor Jennifer Donald’s interview with Spencer in this week’s magazine (Thursday 14 August).
Showjumping, with worthwhile prize-money, is setting itself apart from all other disciplines, and more in line with the elitist likes of Formula One motor racing.
This does put riders into a predicament, though. Do you jump for the money, or save your best horse to represent your country? Which is the greater motivation?
Will our team manager continue to find enough talent and horsepower to service both? With Spencer and Joe Clee both being given their first crack at championship level, let’s hope he has found another Scott (Brash) and Ben (Maher).
Turning to the eventers acquitted of any wrongdoing, this outcome begs the question: does anybody actually know with 100% certainty what substances they are feeding their horse? And how far should riders reasonably be expected to go to make sure that they do? More of which next week…
This column was first published in Horse & Hound magazine (14 August, 2014 issue)