Robert Dover Is USA Team Coach for Two More Years

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Robert Dover cheering on the United States team at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Robert Dover cheering on the United States team at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Dec. 2, 2016

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

Robert Dover, who led the United States back to the Olympic medals podium, came to agreement with the U.S. Equestrian Federation Friday to stay on as head of the American team for the next two years leading to the 2018 World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina.

Robert, 60 years old and based in Wellington, Florida, will continue in the position that is officially called Technical Advisor/Chef d’Equipe that he was first appointed to in April, 2013.

During that time, American dressage teams won bronze at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro this year, team gold and individual gold and silver at the 2015 Pan American Games, fourth place at the 2014 World Equestrian Games and winner of the first official trans-Atlantic Nations Cup series in 2016.

He worked with the personal coaches of riders, such as Debbie McDonald who trains Olympic team mates Laura Graves and Verdades, ranked No. 4 in the world, and Kasey Perry-Glass and Dublet, ranked 22nd, and Michael Barisone who works with Allison Brock and Rosevelt, 28th on the international standings.

“I am thrilled and honored to remain in the position of Dressage Technical Advisor for the USEF,” Robert said. “I look forward to continuing to work with staff, volunteers and athletes to produce training and programs for sustained excellence for the U.S. Equestrian Dressage Team.”

“Robert has done so many positive things for U.S. dressage,” saidUSEF President Chrystine Tauber. “From returning our team to the Olympic podium to growing our development program, there is no one better to lead U.S. dressage.

“As an athlete, chef d’equipe, or technical advisor, it has been wonderful to see the amazing impact he has had on this sport and our athletes. I know Robert will work hard to build upon this success.”

The World Equestrian Games at home in Tryon, North Carolina in 2018 will also be a qualifying competition for the Tokyo Olympics.

The USA Olympic medal team of Allison Brock, Laura Graves, Kasey Perry-Glass and Steffen Peters on the podium. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
The USA Olympic bronze medal team of Allison Brock, Laura Graves, Kasey Perry-Glass and Steffen Peters on the podium. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

For about 18 months beginning in late 2009, he was Technical/Coach Advisor for the Canadian national dressage team when he was not selected for the U.S. job when it became available after the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Despite the official job description to coach and head up the U.S. dressage team he expanded his role to include an ambitious and unprecedented fund raising effort to help send dozens of American horses and riders to compete in Europe.

He implemented what he named a “pipeline” of coaches and programs beginning with the youngest riders to the elite high performance combinations for Olympics, world championships and Pan American Games.

Robert used his love of showmanship to pursue his oft-stated goal of providing more riders than ever before with opportunities to go to Europe and get the United States back on the Olympic medals podium for the first time since the 2004 Olympics in Athens.

His main fund raising vehicle was “American Equestrians Got Talent,” a weekly talent quest throughout winter that he personally organized and operated that raised enough money to help send dozens of riders and horses at the top level as well as youth divisions for extended competition tours of Europe.

Robert rode for the USA at six Olympics beginning in 1984 and won team medals in 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2004. He also took team bronze at the 1994 World Equestrian Games.

Robert was national champion on Deveraux in 1994 and on FBW Kennedy 10 years later. He was inducted into the U.S. Dressage Federation Hall of Fame.

He founded the Equestrian Aids Foundation in 1996 at the peak of the epidemic and the name was later changed to Equestrian Aid Foundation to provide support and assistance to others in the horse community. In 2007, he hosted a five-part Fox reality television series that searched for the next dressage star.