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Friday, November 7, 2008

Fireworks in the FEI! Drama in Dressage Land!

I know, I know, I have not delivered the promised blogs this week. But there was a little matter of the articles I had to deliver to magazines – and fun as the blog is to write, I do have to meet my deadlines. Today I will be brief, but I have had several emails asking where my opinions lie regarding the very public scorchings between FEI Executive and FEI Dressage Committee (or more specifically, HRH Princess Haya and Mariette Withages).

First of all, if you have no idea what I’m talking about or need to fill some gaps in your up-to-datedness, go to, where you can read both the letter requesting the DC’s immediate resignation and the DC’s subsequent response, as well as some interesting quotes from Mariette and FEI Exec David Holmes.

I must say that at this moment I am filled with Fear and Trembling. Not for myself this time, but for our sport. I am sure that this is going to go to a vote at the FEI General Assembly, and I am not at all sure that HRH is going to win the round. This week I was at the WBFSH (World breeding federation for sport horses) General Assembly; I must say they get along an awful lot better with each other and have more fun than some other groups I’ve been hanging out with recently. As the Big Battle was all I could think about, I asked several of the Europeans at the meetings what they thought. The man from Denmark: the request for resignation was a mistake; the man from Holland: mistake; the man from Germany (from the national federation no less): mistake. The vote will be made by each national federation at the FEI General Assembly that will take place in Buenos Aires in just ten days. The vote comes from each NF as a whole – in other words it won’t be the exclusive decision of dressage committees in each country, though I would hope they have the greatest input.

It looks to me like there could be an awful lot of support for the DC remaining in place. The main message I took from the people I asked this week was that they questioned the legality of such a move (HRH is a lawyer, is surrounded by people whose specialty is the rules, and I don’t believe she would make such an ill-informed move); they also questioned the democracy of the request for resignation, given that the FEI is supposed to be a democratic organization. I find that second concern rather ironic, since the reason the DC was asked to resign is because they weren’t acting democratically….what a clusterf*@k. I try not to swear on this blog but I just have to in this case.

Does the Mean Justify the End?

There are two issues hanging in the balance, and they are quite possibly in conflict with one another. On the one hand, if what the FEI Executive did is not appropriate, then there is arguable reason to vote against them. On the other hand, do we really want the status quo to continue? Come on! Who says ‘yes’? Who? (Feel free to weigh in and post comments on this blog, but pretty please sign with your name).

20,000 Posts

Since I’m on the topic of people putting their names to their words, I have to tell you I am seriously concerned for the health of one of my readers. I generally stay away from the anonymous whining and bickerfests that is the Chronicle Forum, but when several people told me I would be entertained with the thread about this blog, I couldn’t resist (though I’m not going back to that buffet for a while – my tummy is full). Who are these people with so much time on their hands? With emphasis on the WHO. Since I don’t know the sex of the forum’s most prolific poster, I will just have to go with the pronoun ‘it’ when talking about slc2. ‘It’ has apparently posted almost 20,000 times on the Chronicle Forum. The only person who has posted more is the moderator. So why am I concerned? I think that if ‘it’ keeps reading this blog, ‘it’ might have a nervous breakdown. Hie thee to a therapist, please! And for Cheez Whiz sake, if you don’t like what I write, stop reading it. By the way, I do appreciate how a bunch of you rallied around me in the face of the attacks. Forte, whoever you are, you made me blush. But not to worry folks, I love a good scrap, not to mention a good laugh. And I am constantly amazed at how people will read what they want, even when it differs to the words glowing on the screen.

Watch this space as the FEI Exec and DC draw their sabres in Argentina. If I can just meet a few more deadlines over the weekend I will tell you about the fun I had in Lyon (hint: if you are a single, straight woman, you should think of attending the WBFSH GA next year – 80% men!). I will close today with a quote from one of my favourite writers, Anthony Bourdain (whom you might know from the traveling food show No Reservations):

Absurdity is a regular and often terrifying feature in the life of many who stray off the beaten path. There is a reason that dictators and despots, early in their purges, have always executed writers and satirists and anyone with a sense of humour. Laughter – and particularly ridicule – is dangerous. Recognizing the absurdity of a situation is to recognize that it’s simply no good, that it doesn’t work, that something has to change.


Anonymous said...

Hi Karen,
I'm surprised you even have time to bother with COTH with all the jetting around the world you do. Keep up the good work. By the way, I am "Forte" on COTH.
-Sara Alberni

Anonymous said...

HRH Princess Haya graduated from St Hilda’s College, Oxford University with an Honors Degree BA MA, in P.P.E. (Politics, Philosophy and Economics.) Lawyer?

Benny said...
This comment has been removed by the author.