Tina Konyot & Calecto Back Competing for 1st Time Since Olympics
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
LOXAHATCHEE, Florida, Jan. 12–In her first competition ride on Calecto V since the Olympics that fulfilled every dream for Tina Konyot, the pair scored above 71 per cent in the Grand Prix at the I.H.S. Blue Hors Dressage CDN Saturday in the start of a year to “enjoy my horse because I love him.”
Describing the 15-year-old stallion as “sound and healthy,” Tina said she is working to get the horse fit for competition after only their second public performance since last August, the first an exhibition ride a week ago at the Trump Invitational jumping event at Mar-A-Lago resort, the first horse show ever on exclusive Palm Beach.
Her goal for 2013 is “as many big shows as possible” such as the World Dressage Masters in West Palm Beach in two weeks and the Global Dressage Festival CDI5* in Wellington in April.
“We’ll address next year,” she said of the World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France, “next year. We have a lot of wonderful young up-and-coming horses for the future.”
Tina, aged 51 of Palm City, Florida, recalled that her parents took her to the Montreal Olympic equestrian competition in Canada in 1976 and she had dreamed ever since of riding on an American team at the Games.
“It took that long to get there,” she said. “But it was the greatest feeling in the world.”
Calecto, she said, has “been very good to me. He made all my dreams come true, he fulfilled my bucket list… the World Equestrian Games in 2010, the Olympics and Aachen (Germany) in 2010 which was my favorite experience. I got an eighth place ribbon there; it was fantastic. I’ll always treasure the experiences.
“This year we’ll try to do as many big shows as we can. I want to enjoy my horse because I love him. He’s a very sound, healthy horse and could go until he’s 20 years old but that will not happen.”
Tina has competed Calecto, a Danish Warmblood (Come Back II x Bahera x Rastell) throughout North America and Europe since 2009. She is not training with anyone and has no intention to do so.
“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” is her opinion. “I don’t thnk anyone can make big changes in us at this stage. Maybe a little bit extra. For my own peace of mind, I’ll stick to my own schedule and program.”
Tina said she was not happy with preparation of the U.S. team for London.
“If we want to be in that great ocean of talent we should have been in Europe two months before,” she said. “If I’d been competition sharp I could have moved up, maybe finishing somewhere like 18th instead of 25th. I don’t have the caliber horse to be in the top group but our riding program should have been entirely different, instead of isolating ourselves.”
And the publicly stated view three years before the Olympics not to expect much from the U.S. team because of a lack of horses, she described as “negative, not very good” for team morale.
Tina suggested a new approach to development of high performance dressage in the United States, proposing innovative syndication of top combinations that do not have well funded ownership.
“I believe we can do this for the individually owned horse,” she said, “a support system for our country, for the future of dressage.”