Robert Dover, Steffen Peters Sharply Criticize Germany For Pulling Team from Wellington Nations Cup

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Robert Dover, the United States Technical Advisor and chef d'equipe. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Robert Dover, the United States Technical Advisor and chef d’equipe. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

WELLINGTON, Florida, Mar. 19, 2016–Robert Dover, the United States team coach, and Steffen Peters, the highest ranked American rider, sharply criticized Germany for pulling its team from the CDIO3* Nations Cup questioning the “sportsmanship” of the decision.

Other riders and officials from many of the 30 countries competing at the Adeuqan Global Dressage Festival used even stronger language–“arrogance,” being a common term–to describe the decision made after Germany officially entered the event at the end of March then the national federation decided not to field what would have been an all-Small Tour team.

Most did not want to be identified because they will compete in Germany and fear reprisals for speaking out.

Robert Dover, the U.S.. Technical Advisor and Chef d’Equipe, essentially fulfilling the same role as German coach Monica Theodorescu, said:

“I’m very disppointed in the decision by the German federation through their chef d’equipe to disallow very good and very hopeful riders in the United States who are domiciled here or are here for the winter to compete in our Nations Cup.

“We send teams at great cost to our federation and owners and sponsors all around the world and many times athletes, both two and four-legged, are green and up-and-coming and we would never consider not allowing them to compete because they might not win the Nations Cup.

“In the spirt of good sportsmanship we felt the Germans would have thought the same way for their riders as we do in America.

“There’s still time to reconsider and we hope that they will do so.”

Steffen Peters competing Legolas in the CDIO5* Nations Cup at Aachen, Germany. File photo © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Steffen Peters competing Legolas in the CDIO5* Nations Cup at Aachen, Germany. File photo © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Steffen Peters, German-born but an American citizen who is ranked sixth in the world with Legolas, was even blunter and his sentiments reflected the opinions of others.

“A poor decision by the German federation,” he said. “The entire Florida show organizing team tries extremely hard and has succeeded to invite top horses and riders from around the world.

“With the decision by the German federation, they show poor support for the sport in the U.S.

“Competing is not always about winning, but it is always about good sportsmanship, which the German federation clearly failed to display.”

He also questioned how the organizer of the Nations Cup in Germany would react if the United States entered a team and then decided to withdraw because it might not be as strong as they hoped..

Thomas Baur, the Sports Director of the Global circuit who is also German and an organizer of shows in Austria and Germany, said, “I am disappointed in the decision of my federation.

“I think it’s bad for German riders living abroad that they don’t have the possibility of being a part of a German Nations Cup team.”

He also criticized Argentina that he said “could have easily formed a team with three Grand Prix horses but decided not to compete in the Nations Cup which is not the right decision.”

The Wellington CDIO3* Nations Cup is unique in that it seeks to embrace all of the Americas, many of whom do not have a Grand Prix combination as reflected in the Pan American Games which permits teams of mixed Big and Small Tour horses in a format pioneered at Global in an effort to enhance top dressage.

However, as the only non-championship in the Western Hemisphere, it kicks off the FEI, International Equestrian Federation, series of seven events after three years testing the format.

Germany won the 2015 Nations Cup series by four points over the Netherlands, seven of the country’s points coming from their participation in last year’s Wellington Nations Cup that included three Small Tour and one Big Tour combination.