Surprised, Amazed and Very Disappointed

Obviously the big news as of yesterday is that the race for the next American coach has been narrowed down to David O’Connor and Leslie Law. Both of these guys are Olympic champions and terrific coaches and either of them would definitely make an excellent coach for the American team.

What I must get off my chest is that I’m absolutely flabbergasted that the proposal presented by Phillip and Bobby failed to even make the second round of the selection process without consideration.

I’ve had extensive coaching and training from Phillip over the last three years and this guy has turned me into the successful rider that I am today. He’s shared with me his philosophies, training methods and personal intuition and turned me into one of America’s leading riders. In my heart of hearts I truly believe that if Phillip could get this job as the US coach, he could do the same thing that he’s done for me for a huge number of riders dreaming of representing the United States in eventing competition.

Before the final interview with the search committee I was privileged to spend an evening with a few friends of Phillip and Bobby as they had a practice run, going through their proposal, before meeting with the selection committee. Their ideas for attracting owners and sponsors to the sport and improving America’s performance on the world stage are breathtaking. I was so impressed with their thoughts and ideas for the next generation of riders, I left the proposal preview assured that the search committee would at least extend their ideas to the final round.

To me, as one of American eventing’s representatives, I think it’s an absolute disgrace that the opportunity for the riders’ voices and the riders’ opinions, on hearing out the proposal, has been squashed before it even made it to the table. From the way I see it, the search committee did not take into account the proposals made by the applicants; from an outsider looking in, they had their minds made up before the phone call was even made. Phillip and Bobby’s proposal was exceptional and that their ideas were not made public to the Active Athletes Committee is a disgrace. These are the people who will ultimately be influenced by the chosen coach, and I feel that the selection of our coach has been taken away from the riders.

Make no mistake, I think either David or Leslie would make a great coach and would have my full support, whoever is chosen. The disappointing part to me is that the members of the Active Athletes’ Committee will not even have an opportunity to look at Phillip and Bobby’s plan and to me that is outrageous.


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  1. M Bernier says

    agreed, well said, Boyd…”gobsmacked” appears to be the reaction across ALL levels of the Eventing community (and mine), from what I’ve heard and read in the past 24 hours.

  2. Liza Horan says

    Well said Boyd, and I wholeheartedly agree.

  3. Anonymous says

    Bravo, Boyd. Thank you for your insight. Many agree with you.

  4. Does anyone know if there is ANY way to get reconsideration, if perhaps the Eventing Community can get behind them with a petition of some sort? I’m uneducated on the process, but feel it would be worth an attempt!

  5. Boyd, well said. Your honesty and passion are so refreshing.

  6. Anonymous says

    Straight from the mouth of a high performance rider and a consummate horseman. Boyd’s opinion cannot and should not be discounted. Bobby and Philip had a plan and put it out there for all to see and critique. It is an absolute crime that it didn’t put them onto the short list — they covered every base thoughtfully and with credentials. The high performance team should find a way to get them re-heard! Bravo Boyd.

  7. Sara Richardson says

    Boyd, I am behind your statement 150%. It is nice to see a rider stand behind their voice and I hope more do the same!

  8. Anonymous says

    Totally agree. I don’t know how they left them off the list. Giving the Active Athletes Committee only TWO choices!!! That is nonsense.

  9. Michele Pestl says

    Well said. I totally agree and quite frankly, it seems like more & more our so called search committee’s have there own agendas in mind and not the interests of the eventing community as a whole. These kind of actions really cause me to lose faith in the systems we have in place to make these decisions. I am just a small time coach/trainer in Area VII who has had some experience with developing riders that left me feeling a bit indifferent. Not surprised at all to hear about this. Thanks Boyd for bringing this to the attention of the eventing community. Perhaps they will reconsider if enought people rally?

  10. This is so ridiculous. Thanks, Boyd! I hope more people keep speaking out.

  11. Anonymous says

    As usual, thank you, Boyd, for your honesty and willingness to put your opinion out there. I have thought from the get go that Phillip & Bobby’s plan looked like a winner and I think it’s a load of crap that they weren’t included on the short list.

  12. Anonymous says

    Bravo Boyd! I respect the two choices, but the process is very important if the eventing community is to get behind the “new era” with support, financial and otherwise. We will never know how impressive the other candidates’ presentations were. If the committees have nothing to hide, they should make these documents public! As for me, when I get those envelopes in the mail asking for support, I plan to toss them! Ms. Mars can fund it all.

  13. Karen Rubin says

    I completely agree Boyd – a disgrace to our sport. I can’t believe it!

  14. Thanks Boyd for not being afraid to speak your mind. Your observations are always spot on!

  15. Anonymous says

    If the USEF is really interested in building a team for beyond 2012 then they should give a voice to all upper level riders and young riders that have that kind of potential. Most, if not all of the riders of that caliber have/had ties to one candidate or another. It makes no sense to discount opinions of riders that have ties to the nominees. What is nonsensical is that the bigger pool of potential riders is not given a voice. They should also give voice to riders that have been on successful teams. I realize that times have changed and programs are different, but perhaps if we go back to some methods that were successful we could build from there. Where do the US team members of past teams stand on this process — where are their voices?

    It is also ridiculous that we are going for more of the same when our program is at a low point and when we need to be creative and better at finding new horses that have the talent AND the mind to weather this kind of competition schedule. We need a thoughtful, comprehensive plan that speaks to the present and the future. This is a big job not a popularity contest, and not just another line on someone’s grandiose resume.

    I know we all hope it works, but one measure of the programs’ success will be championship medals, another is the horsemanship and good will demonstrated along the way. It would be nice for the US to be able to show off both.
    Thanks Boyd for continually trying to raise the bar.

  16. Anonymous says

    Boyd, perhaps you are already in too much trouble to do something with this info! “Conflicts of interest” appear in several ways: the Karen/David relationship is an obvious one, but there are others. It is generally considered a conflict to have a FINANCIAL relationship with someone. A judge for example would have to give notice if he/she had personal business dealings with one of the attorneys appearing in the courtroom. It appears that this selection process is tainted by at least one of these people having a financial business relationship with one of the candidates. Perhaps that was disclosed, perhaps not. Don’t know how the ICP stuff would fit here, perhaps not a conflict.

  17. Anonymous says

    Its smoke and mirrors! David is gonna win. Leslie is a stand-in, to make it seem a selection! Isn’t David head of the committee that chooses the committee, so on and so forth?!?! There is something sneaky going on here.

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