Applications for USA Coach Close

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Robert Dover. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Robert Dover. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Applications for USA Technical Advisor/Chef d’Equipe to lead the United States dressage team at the 2014 World Equestrian Games and the 2016 Olympic Games closed Friday and the new coach is expected to be announced by about April 1.

The U.S. Equestrian Federation that appointed a search committee led by Eric Straus, a respected businessmam with vast exerience in high performance equestrian sports, did not announce how many applications had been received for the position.

The job description posted by the USEF seeks one person for the combined position of coach/manager and chef d’equipe. According to the job description that person should be resident in the United States.

The position, has been vacant since Anne Gribbons resigned as coach after the Olympics in London last summer following three years heading the high performance program. Eva Salomon resigned shortly after as chef d’equipe and USEF managing director of dressage.

Robert Dover, a six-time Olympian for the United States who has been involved in most aspects of the horse industry including dressage coach of the U.S. Eventing team and coach of the Canadian team, is considered the front runner for the job that he applied for after Klaus Balkenhol’s eight years in the position ended after the 2008 Oympics.

Despite a detailed plan to develop American dressage from the grass roots to the top level and the backing of some of the most esteemed figures in U.S. horse sports he was passed over in favor of Anne Gribbons.

Since then, the U.S. Equestrian Federation’s High Performance Dressage Committee that is essentially in charge of the procedures for selecting the new coach has undergone a complete makeover with a new chair person, Janet Fot, a FEI4* judge, CDI show organizer and widely respected in dressage.

The job description drawn up by the previous high performance committee and adopted by the committee, limited the authority of the new coach.

However, a clause that gives the committee the power to change the terms has provided applicants with hope that the successful candidate will be able implement their program and not become a manager of riders and their personal coaches.

 

The procedures for choosing the person to fill the coaching post this year were basically the same applied in selecting new Technical Advisors/coaches for Eventing and Jumping.

Eric Straus led the search committees for eventing and jumping after the 2009 dressage selection was clouded in controversy. He was appointed chairman of the dressage search committee, an assignment seen as assurance that the process for dressage would be as transparent as the other two Olympic disciplines.

Other members of the search committee are Janet Foy, chairperson of the High Performance Dressage Committee; Catherine Haddad-Staller and Susan Dutta, members of the committeee; Anne Kursinski a veteran Olympic jumper rider and David O’Connor, former president of the USEF and Olympic gold medalist in eventing.

In addition to a transparent application process, Eric Straus arranged open forums at major competitions where applicants for the eventing and jumping positions presented their positions and were subjected to questions.