How dressage turned into derby

18.05.12 | By Ihor Levenstein Photo A. Goodzenko

XXX Olympic Summer Games will start in London in less than three months. For the first time in history Ukrainian equestrian athletes will represent the country in dressage discipline. Ukraine already has the license, but it is still unclear who will represent Ukraine in London

The last dressage event of the season that took place at Parade Allure equestrian complex in Zhashkiv, Cherkasy oblast, from May 3 to May 13 left this question unanswered. The event, to be precise, was a two-week series of international dressage event of the series VIAN Tour 2012. Ukrainian company VIAN Group with support of general partner PJSK Ukrstalkonstruktsiya is the organizer of the series. One four-star tournament and one event of the World Cup took place within the framework of the series. The participants represented 5 countries, including Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Austria and Morocco. The total number of pairs rider-horse reached 67 and beat records of all international dressage tournaments earlier held in Ukraine. This became possible thanks to high level of organization of the competitions and modern world-level infrastructure of Zhashkiv complex.
This time, the event took place in the open air in the light of the hot sun. Shows in the open arena have their own peculiarities, said VIAN Group general director Mykhailo Parkhomchuk. It is a different environment, different sounds, bright tents and stalls, which could distract a horse. This, however, applies to all participants; so everybody is in equal conditions.
The biggest intrigue of the May series was competition between the two Ukrainian riders for the right to represent the country at Summer Olympic Games 2012. Svitlana Kyselyova and Inna Lohutenkova have been in stiff competition for the only Ukraines license for London.
Kyselyova rides Ukrainian Riding Breed horse named Paryzh (Paris). As of March 1, 2012, they took the top spot in the Olympic rating of Group C, which includes countries of Eastern Europe and Middle Asia, and won a license for Ukraine for participation of one athlete at the Olympics in London. However, young rider Inna Lohutenkova, who rides two Olympic-level horses Dutch gelding Stallone and German stallion Don Gregorius, is breathing down at Kyselyovas neck.
The thing is that a license for the Olympics is not personalized. The national Olympic committee of a concrete country decides who will compete at the Olympics. In Ukraine, the two top riders were given a chance to decide who is best at several events prior to the Olympic Games.
The final date of submission of the application is July 9. It must contain only one pair rider-horse, which will compete for Ukraine at the Olympics in London.
In Zhashkiv, Svitlana Kyselyova won first place on Paris and Lohutenkova was second on Stallone and third on Don Gregorius in one of the main events of the program of the 4-star tournament Big Prize.
The competition between the two Ukrainian riders was to continue on May 12, at a World Cup event. Svitlana, however, decided not to participate in this event and transfer her competition with Inna to the next event, which will take place in Western Europe, where both riders are heading after the Zhashkiv tournament. The first event for Svitlana will take place in Achleiten, Austria and Inna will begin in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. These arrangements of the events is pretty close to Olympic with the judges who will be judging in London. Ann Gribbons, a judge from the U.S., says that there will be seven judges working in London. There are only thirty dressage judges of the top 5-star category in the world and the management of FEI (International Equestrian Federation) chooses the best for the Olympic Games. Ann is a five-star category judge, but there will be a different judge who will go to London from the U.S. Gary Rockwell, who, by the way, will be judging Svitlana Kyselyovas performance at a tournament in Austria.
In absence of Svitlana at the World Cup in Zhashkiv, Luhutenkova on Stallone took the second place in Big Prize having lost only to an experienced Austrian rider Steffen Peters on Don Valesco. Moroccan Yessin Rahmouni on Floresco came in third. He also won the only Olympic license to London in dressage for Morocco.
Yessin Rahmouni is a frequent visitor to Zhashkiv equestrian center. He participates in tournaments and helps the great Dutch rider, three-time Olympic champion Anky van Grunsven, who has been training Lohutenkova on the contract with VIAN Group for the past 18 months.
Anky followed the performance of her student this time as well. The legend of the dressage world was satisfied with the progress of the young Ukrainain rider. Van Grunsven, however, notes that 18 months is a very short time for dressage in order to achieve the level of world results. In dressage, it is always the pair rider-horse who compete, says van Grunsven. Success of a rider depends on the horse. A good rider will never achieve anything on a bad horse and a good horse does not guarantee success for a weak rider. A horse is not a machine; its training requires lots of time and hard labor.
By the way, Anky, a champion of three Olympics, has not decided yet whether she will compete in London. There are still several events ahead, including Dutch Championship, where the strongest dressage riders in the world contend. Based on the results of these tournaments and health of her Olympic horse, gelding Salinero, Anky will decide whether she should subject herself and her horse to the severe trial of the Olympic Games.
While the great van Grunsven can allow herself to have such approach to Olympics, for Ukrainian riders competing in London is a dream and the main objective. I dreamt about it since childhood, Kyselyova told Kyiv Weekly. And I will be fighting make my dream come true.
At the dressage events, the pairs rider-horse perform prescribed series of movements ridden within a standard arena. Figuratively speaking, however, the current situation in the Ukrainian dressage the rivalry between Kyselyova and Lohutenkova makes one think of a different term derby. In equestrian sport, the term derby is used strictly to refer to races restricted to three-year-olds for the distance of 1.5 miles. The other meaning of the word is a sporting fixture between two, generally local, rivals. Therefore, the dispute between Svitlana and Inna for the Olympic license is turning dressage into a Ukrainian derby. Regardless of the result of this derby, however, Ukrainian equestrian sport benefits anyway, because a Ukrainian rider will compete at the Olympic Games for the first time.

The last dressage event of the season that took place at Parade Allure equestrian complex in Zhashkiv, Cherkasy oblast, from May 3 to May 13 left this question unanswered. The event, to be precise, was a two-week series of international dressage event of the series VIAN Tour 2012. Ukrainian company VIAN Group with support of general partner PJSK Ukrstalkonstruktsiya is the organizer of the series. One four-star tournament and one event of the World Cup took place within the framework of the series. The participants represented 5 countries, including Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Austria and Morocco. The total number of pairs rider-horse reached 67 and beat records of all international dressage tournaments earlier held in Ukraine. This became possible thanks to high level of organization of the competitions and modern world-level infrastructure of Zhashkiv complex.This time, the event took place in the open air in the light of the hot sun. Shows in the open arena have their own peculiarities, said VIAN Group general director Mykhailo Parkhomchuk. It is a different environment, different sounds, bright tents and stalls, which could distract a horse. This, however, applies to all participants; so everybody is in equal conditions.The biggest intrigue of the May series was competition between the two Ukrainian riders for the right to represent the country at Summer Olympic Games 2012. Svitlana Kyselyova and Inna Lohutenkova have been in stiff competition for the only Ukraines license for London.Kyselyova rides Ukrainian Riding Breed horse named Paryzh (Paris). As of March 1, 2012, they took the top spot in the Olympic rating of Group C, which includes countries of Eastern Europe and Middle Asia, and won a license for Ukraine for participation of one athlete at the Olympics in London. However, young rider Inna Lohutenkova, who rides two Olympic-level horses Dutch gelding Stallone and German stallion Don Gregorius, is breathing down at Kyselyovas neck.The thing is that a license for the Olympics is not personalized. The national Olympic committee of a concrete country decides who will compete at the Olympics. In Ukraine, the two top riders were given a chance to decide who is best at several events prior to the Olympic Games.The final date of submission of the application is July 9. It must contain only one pair rider-horse, which will compete for Ukraine at the Olympics in London.In Zhashkiv, Svitlana Kyselyova won first place on Paris and Lohutenkova was second on Stallone and third on Don Gregorius in one of the main events of the program of the 4-star tournament Big Prize.The competition between the two Ukrainian riders was to continue on May 12, at a World Cup event. Svitlana, however, decided not to participate in this event and transfer her competition with Inna to the next event, which will take place in Western Europe, where both riders are heading after the Zhashkiv tournament. The first event for Svitlana will take place in Achleiten, Austria and Inna will begin in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. These arrangements of the events is pretty close to Olympic with the judges who will be judging in London. Ann Gribbons, a judge from the U.S., says that there will be seven judges working in London. There are only thirty dressage judges of the top 5-star category in the world and the management of FEI (International Equestrian Federation) chooses the best for the Olympic Games. Ann is a five-star category judge, but there will be a different judge who will go to London from the U.S. Gary Rockwell, who, by the way, will be judging Svitlana Kyselyovas performance at a tournament in Austria.In absence of Svitlana at the World Cup in Zhashkiv, Luhutenkova on Stallone took the second place in Big Prize having lost only to an experienced Austrian rider Steffen Peters on Don Valesco. Moroccan Yessin Rahmouni on Floresco came in third. He also won the only Olympic license to London in dressage for Morocco.Yessin Rahmouni is a frequent visitor to Zhashkiv equestrian center. He participates in tournaments and helps the great Dutch rider, three-time Olympic champion Anky van Grunsven, who has been training Lohutenkova on the contract with VIAN Group for the past 18 months.Anky followed the performance of her student this time as well. The legend of the dressage world was satisfied with the progress of the young Ukrainain rider. Van Grunsven, however, notes that 18 months is a very short time for dressage in order to achieve the level of world results. In dressage, it is always the pair rider-horse who compete, says van Grunsven. Success of a rider depends on the horse. A good rider will never achieve anything on a bad horse and a good horse does not guarantee success for a weak rider. A horse is not a machine; its training requires lots of time and hard labor.By the way, Anky, a champion of three Olympics, has not decided yet whether she will compete in London. There are still several events ahead, including Dutch Championship, where the strongest dressage riders in the world contend. Based on the results of these tournaments and health of her Olympic horse, gelding Salinero, Anky will decide whether she should subject herself and her horse to the severe trial of the Olympic Games.While the great van Grunsven can allow herself to have such approach to Olympics, for Ukrainian riders competing in London is a dream and the main objective. I dreamt about it since childhood, Kyselyova told Kyiv Weekly. And I will be fighting make my dream come true.At the dressage events, the pairs rider-horse perform prescribed series of movements ridden within a standard arena. Figuratively speaking, however, the current situation in the Ukrainian dressage the rivalry between Kyselyova and Lohutenkova makes one think of a different term derby. In equestrian sport, the term derby is used strictly to refer to races restricted to three-year-olds for the distance of 1.5 miles. The other meaning of the word is a sporting fixture between two, generally local, rivals. Therefore, the dispute between Svitlana and Inna for the Olympic license is turning dressage into a Ukrainian derby. Regardless of the result of this derby, however, Ukrainian equestrian sport benefits anyway, because a Ukrainian rider will compete at the Olympic Games for the first time.

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