USEF Denies Denmark’s Morten Thomsen to Coach US Team
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The U.S. Equestrian Federation denied on Thursday that an application had been sought for a visa to allow Morten Thomsen to be an American team dressage coach.
Dressage-news.com reported that a visa application had been prepared–not filed–by the U.S. Equestrian Federation after the Danish trainer was prevented from entering the country for official training sessions.
The USEF said in a statement:
“The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) would like to issue the following clarification regarding the US Dressage coaching program. It was incorrectly reported that Morten Thomsen has been hired as a US Team coach and the USEF has applied for a visa for him.
“Both of these statements are incorrect.
“The USEF has contracted a number of highly qualified clinicians to help prepare our athletes for future international competitions. Steffen Peters and Kyra Kyrklund have both taught clinics in 2010 for the USEF and Thomsen may be available in this capacity in the future.”
Dressage-news reported that preparation of an application for a special work visa is the second for a Scandinavian sought by the federation for the U.S. dressage program since the appointment late in 2009 of the Swedish-born Anne Gribbons as technical advisor to coordinate high performance training.
Eva Salomon, a Swedish national and former Director of Dressage for the International Equestrian Federation, has been appointed Managing Director/Chef d’Equpe for Dressage to replace Gil Merrick who resigned last September from the position based at USEF headquarters in Lexington, Kentucky.
Morten Thomsen represented Denmark at the 1988 Olympic Games with Diplomat and at the 2000 Olympic Games with Gay. He was the official Danish young horse trainer from 2005 to 2007. Horses he has trained include Chablis, the 2006 European Young Rider Champion horse; Solos Carex, a 2002 Swedish team World Equestrian Games horse, and Bernstein Las Marismas, which won bronze at the 2007 Pan American Games.
Morten will play a key role in the development of U.S. dressage following the end of eight years of coaching by Germany’s Klaus Balkenhol whose contract was not renewed at the end of 2008.
A search in Europe and the U.S. for a national coach/chef d’equipe throughout 2009 led to the functions being split up, with Anne Gribbons becoming technical advisor, Eva Salomon the chef d’equipe and different trainers undertaking coaching sessions.
A developing rider training session that was to have been held by Morten Thomsen in Florida this past weekend was filled instead by 2009 World Cup champion Steffen Peters.