29 April 2010

Swedish Equestrian Federation Makes it Official

The Swedish Equestrian Federation made the official announcement today that Sven Holmberg, FEI 1st Vice President and Chair of the FEI Jumping Committee, will stand for election to the FEI presidency against HRH in November. They have put out a strong statement against what happened in Copenhagen, which we applaud. As usual, Häst is also not mincing words. We're glad there's another option; however we're disappointed that Mr. Holmberg did not use Geneva as an opportunity to further differentiate himself from HRH at least by remaining silent, especially when his entirely appropriate outrage over the General Assembly had been so, uh...vividly expressed. So we can only conclude that either he agrees with HRH's activities at the World Cup Final, or he was just being a good boy and falling in line. That he is running against her would seem to suggest it's not the latter, which is concerning.

The problem in Geneva was the same problem that existed in Copenhagen: a president out of control. Whether it takes place in an office or on the field of play, it's the same beast. Anyone who agrees with what went on in Geneva is unfit for the FEI presidency, even if they think the guy was indeed up to something. Plenty of people are up to something, but it's for the event officials to decide, without political interference, period. This cannot be negotiable. And anyone who plays footsie with her under the conference table to get what they want by any means necessary (e.g., NSAIDs) must accept they played a role in creating the monster that just came back to bite them in the arse. It's still corruption, even when it gets you what you want. You can't pick and choose and say, "Oh, we don't like that kind of corruption." You can't have it both ways. You're either for it or you're against it; pick a side.

HRH formally announced her re-election bid back in March, which was almost entirely overlooked by the equestrian media. We sort of got the feeling she didn't want to make a big deal of it and didn't even notify them. The mainstream press reports consistently noted that HRH was responsible for the introduction of term limits for the presidency, so that must have been part of her own press release. That change was great and much needed (of course, it could always be changed again later if it suits). But we are reminded that there was another huge change in the FEI Statutes that was introduced at the same time and never got any press at all, even though the negative consequences of it have been seen time and again. We think it's very relevant at this juncture.

27 April 2010

SportAccord Convention Under Way In Dubai

The SportAccord convention is taking place this week in Dubai, its organising committee headed up by our illustrious President of the Geneva Ground Jury FEI president Princess Haya. This is a must-attend event for everyone who is anyone in the world of international sport. HRH has spent a great deal of time putting together a fantastic meeting for all the movers and shakers in the Olympic movement, with a wide selection of informational sessions highlighting the annual gathering. On the programme this year:

  • Witchcraft in International Sport: How to Spot It

  • Bogus Disqualifications: Not Just for Dubai Anymore!

  • Statutes, What Statutes? How to Ram a Rule Change Through the General Assembly

  • Advanced Public Relations: Maintaining a Personality Cult Amongst Countless Disasters

  • No Officiating Licence? No Problem! How to Usurp the Authority of Event Officials, From Course Design to Veterinary

  • The Magic of Turning Surpluses into Deficits Overnight When Your Husband Gave You Plenty of Money to Play With

  • How to Manufacture a Doping Crisis

  • Destroying a Sport Altogether: A Step-by-Step Plan

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    25 April 2010

    EXCLUSIVE: McLain Ward Explicitly Prohibited From Winning Rolex FEI World CupTM Final By Terms Of FEI-Rolex Sponsorship Contract

    It has taken awhile, but The Carrot has finally gotten to the bottom of the latest FEI fiasco in Geneva. Utilising our excellent sources in Switzerland, we have uncovered a highly confidential copy of Rolex's latest FEI sponsorship contract, the curiously timed renewal of which was announced on Monday, 12 April, just before the start of the Rolex FEI World CupTM Final (you'll want to see our related story). Apparently, McLain Ward does not have many fans at Rolex, SA, but they insist it is not because of his past history or family connections (that would be wrong!), but because of an anonymous tip received by the very expensive public relations firm Hill and Knowlton that it just might be best for the welfare of the horse Rolex's image if Mr. Ward and a chestnut mare with a bit of a reputation did not top the podium this time. Maybe that would have been OK for Las Vegas, but not in Geneva.

    Once we had the contract in hand, Rolex, SA CEO Bruno Meier proved quite chatty: "When our Rolex Testimonee Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum indicated she was not yet up to the top level of competition following the arrival of little Brianne Victoria, we had a problem. We don't sponsor HRH's personal hero Ludger Beerbaum, otherwise that would have been a no-brainer," he remarked. "Therefore, we took the highly democratic decision to leave the title open to the entire field, with one important exception. The contract was amended to exclude Mr. Ward and the witchy, twitchy mare from the podium, by any means necessary. We have to protect our bottom line; we lost a billion Swiss francs on that Madoff thing. Oh wait, we officially denied that, never mind, that didn't happen. But we still need to look after our financial interests. It is a very difficult time for luxury goods."

    The FEI president agreed enthusiastically to these terms, since clearly she'll jump off a cliff and take the sport with her if the right person whispers in her ear at the right moment in time. The Carrot notes that this was definitely the right moment for a little "welfare" and "integrity" display.

    Have You Hugged Your Hero Today?


    Prior story

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    23 April 2010

    A Miner Matter

    We left this news item alone at the time, because we really don't want to give anybody's PR people a psychiatric condition, but now it's just too perfect. We're sorry, we can't help it. The stars rarely align like this. This assuming you believe in The Beerbaum Conspiracy. Now we don't know if it's true and we certainly don't jump on the first conspiracy theory we hear, but we do know it's at least possible, and that alone is funny enough on its face for us to have a go. Very sad if true, but also deserving of ridicule regardless. We like to sit back and see just what bumbling Equestrian Twit behaviour comes to the surface (it always does) before coming to any conclusions, but we do know that no rider could possibly get that done if the will wasn't there at the top.

    The FEI president received an interesting award in Bochum, Germany last month, which just happens to be right around the corner from Riesenbeck. We're guessing the good people of Der Steiger are entirely oblivious to the FEI Statutes. And lots of other stuff.
    The Steiger Award is named after "Der Steiger" (The Miner) and symbolizes traits that are associated with miners in the North Rhine-Westphalia region of Germany—straightforward, open, honest, fair and tolerant. It also stands for reliability, loyalty and cooperation in good times and in bad. The award is given annually to personalities who are recognized for their work in fields of music, sports, media, environment and film.
    The Person Responsible for the laudation of HRH was none other than Ludger Beerbaum. Yes, really.
    The given reason for this award was: "Princess Haya of Jordan is not only an exceptionally gifted sportswoman, but she also fights with all her dedication for fairness in sport in her function as President of the World Equestrian Federation." As Ludger Beerbaum himself wrote on his website (www.ludger-beerbaum.de), he described Princess Haya in his laudation as "a self-confident young woman full of willpower, who stands up for all the interests of her riding colleagues even after the end of her active riding career. She has opened the door for the Arabian world!" (Ed: Yes, we can see some of that "Arabian" influence in a certain possible Geneva scenario). Princess Haya was quite happy about the fact that Ludger Beerbaum handed over the award to her: "He is a hero!"

    "Er ist ein Held für mich!"

    And look there's even a kiss. Get a room, you two! 

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    As If The FEI Doesn't Have Enough Problems

    Please give a warm underground welcome to Felicity Foxhunter, who came to our attention shortly after we had posted about the Rolex ranking thing. Turns out Felicity was on the story well before us, we just have such an enormous backlog of material here at The Carrot we hadn't been able to get to it. We haven't even got out our Youth Edition which was scheduled for Easter time. Just too many damn clusterfucks going on. And certain organisations have been behaving so badly they did the unthinkable which was to put us off comedy altogether for awhile. That's when you know it's really, really bad.

    So felicitations to Felicity, who we're sure will be greatly enhancing the equestrian media landscape. Well done Horsetalk out of New Zealand, which is really a must-read no matter where you are in the world, especially if you are sadly consigned to the English language for your equestrian news.

    Felicity's identity remains a mystery however if you are wondering who The Carrot is, and we know some folks in London are now full-on obsessed with it although not using Hill and Knowlton's IP so we can't be 100 per cent certain who they are, we may as well be Mickey Mouse for all it matters. We are just The Public, watching the show both in and out of the arena. So don't waste your time, silly monkeys, there's nothing you can do to us except cry to Google. But we'll stay underground because if we wanted to be fed bullshit, we'd become journalists and get paid for it. The soil is much more fertile for growing Carrots down here. We did actually get fed some bullshit recently, which was unprecedented and totally unacceptable.

    If you manage Swedish, you probably already read the bold (at least from what we can make out of a surprisingly good online Swedish translator) Häst, which appears to have also taken exception to the ranking list silliness and maybe struck a nerve because the article is no longer there. Perhaps that was their choice but somehow we doubt it. Hope no one has come to any bodily harm there in Sweden. They were onto us before anybody, very progressive people, the Swedish. Excellent country. On the plus side, the ranking buffoonery provided some great Carrot fertiliser, so it's all good from this end.
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    22 April 2010

    Need A World Cup Final Win?

    Call the Equestrian Community Integrity Unit confidential hotline on
    +44 (0) 20 7935 5822, or email: report@equestrianintegrity.com.

    When it's down to the last competition and you're not in the lead, you know it's time for action! It's not just the judges and buffoonish appeals committees that can be gotten to! You can get to the vets too! Don't worry, confidentiality is assured. A simple tip-off can set in motion all kinds of FEI top brass shenanigans. No one will ever know!

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    19 April 2010

    More Transparency

    In one of the most shamelessly stupid displays of transparency we've ever seen, on 9 April the FEI became Meredith Michaels Beerbaum's personal PR agency announced that 50 per cent of ranking points for pregnant riders would be frozen, retroactively effective of course, blatantly benefitting the rider who lobbied for said rule change upon becoming pregnant.

    This rider just happens to be personally sponsored in a big way by Rolex, the sponsor of the FEI ranking list, whose FEI sponsorship contract was apparently up for renewal. Then the FEI announced on 12 April that Rolex had renewed their FEI sponsorship, including that of the FEI ranking list. You'd think some of these high-priced PR firms would be able to recognise that this looks really bad, especially since the FEI press release reads overtly like they made the change directly to benefit one particular Rolex Testimonee rider. They even included a photo of the happy beneficiaries family! That's nice. Cute baby.
    The new ruling means that former world number one Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum moves up from 31st on the March Rolex Rankings to 14th following the reinstatement of 50% of her points. The German rider, who gave birth to her first child Brianne Victoria Beerbaum on 27 February, has announced that she will not be defending her Rolex FEI World Cup™ title in Geneva next week.
    You'd think they might have spaced those events out a little more. You wouldn't want it to be totally obvious or anything...

    Just a suggestion.
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    Official: BFFs USEF And FEI Have Broken Up, USEFEI No Longer Exists

    In a shocking display of backstabbing, the FEI has thrown its BFF (and their star mare) under the bus in Geneva. USEF had quickly become a major liability for the FEI in this nascent Post-Morrissey Clusterfuck Era,  in which Somebody has to show they're super keen on horsey welfare and "integrity," unlike those crooked Americans who cover for their VIPs and blind judges, secretly develop NSAID proposals leaving everyone else in the dark against the FEI Statutes, and even want to—gasp!—jump ornery chestnut mares that don't like their pasterns poked. The FEI would never do such things!

    We know, it's almost as sad as Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie. Or J-Lo and Ben Affleck, formerly known as Bennifer. It's really over; we must accept it. In a prepared statement, the FEI declared, "See, USEF is so NOT our BFF!" The USEF responded, "This is worse than being broken up with via text. We thought they should have honoured what we had together with some face-to-face closure. But on the plus side, if we're no longer the FEI's BFF, we'll probably be less popular on The Carrot."

    We'll have more on this breaking-up story later, but we just wanted to get the real news out there, to help the conspiracy theorists refine their presently rather unsophisticated hypotheses. Wait, isn't the media supposed to report the real news, and then we make fun of it? The Carrot is confused.

    For the purposes of this graphic, you have to accept that the FEI is a bear, because our senior graphic designer who is the only one who can change the FEI into a more suitable animal is busy. Just roll with it.
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    12 April 2010

    Oh My, We Have A Situation

    Or, The Carrot Reluctantly Strays Into (Mostly) Serious Commentary
    (this is very long and there may be some profanity)

    Some readers may not yet be aware, but we've actually had a Situation a-simmerin' since 17 March, when an intrepid Canadian journalist named Karen Robinson dared to call something out more than two weeks after everyone, starting with the FEI's illustrious Ground Jury, started pretending it never happened. We knew this was really something when the entire United States of America went silent. When even The Carrot's resourceful correspondents can't get a word out of anybody, you know it's really going to be good. Then you know it's really a Situation. We just can't pass up great comedy material here at The Carrot, but first we really need to outline the extent of the bullshit for informational purposes, because no one else is doing it and these arsehats really, really deserve it.

    First, if you haven't seen this emerging YouTube star, watch the show before reading further. We mostly left this kid alone when there was no video, because as we know just as well as the FEI and USEF, if it's not on YouTube, it didn't really happen. And what we've learned in this faux news business is that it's always best to let the FEI Nation write its own material. We'd never want to interfere with a good clusterfuck as it unfolds, and we just had a feeling about this thing. So we kept pretty quiet and watched, even though we have some impatient readers all but demanding fresh Carrots on this. But now there's a video, which has managed an impressive 8200 views as of this writing despite a very conspicuous US media blackout. Still, we are far less concerned with the offence itself than we are with the inaction of the FEI judges and USEF bigwigs at the time, and the behaviour of the two governing bodies after the fact.

    At the end of March, this little intrigue became even more of a Situation when the good people at Faux Equestrian Investigations finally returned to Ms. Robinson with their opening offer of astonishing bullshit:
    The FEI is aware of the incident involving Michael Morrissey of the USA riding the horse Crelido at CSI2* Wellington on 27 February. We are investigating the matter alongside the USEF to determine whether, and to what extent the rider breached FEI and/or USEF rules. Mr. Morrissey was nevertheless disqualified from the rest of this Event and was not permitted to continue taking part in the United States Selection Trials for the World Equestrian Games organised during that and the following week.

    Follow Cinders on Facebook!

    Oh my. Where do we begin? We hope Ms. Robinson will eventually note who sent her this bullshit, because it's really something. Likely it came from the Secretary General, but that doesn't mean he wrote it. We know he's an attorney, and we don't think he's that stupid.  Regardless of its origin, let's examine the bullshit closely:

    11 April 2010

    FEI Expands Stable Of YouTube Stars

    The FEI is clearly considering getting into the talent management market as they add to their growing stable of budding YouTube stars, a niche that appears to be created almost entirely by their officials not doing their jobs and subsequent botched FEI/NF/OC cover-ups. This young man has managed 7500 views despite a total US media blackout. Perhaps un petit scandale, as FEI YouTube scandales go, but impressive nonetheless, considering the whole thing would have been no big deal if the judges had just done their job at the show. End of story. If you haven't been following this breaking clusterfuck, please see the entertaining blog of Canada's intrepid Karen Robinson (but first watch the video so your perception is not influenced by the blog).

    In related news, just at the very same moment this new star of theirs was emerging, the FEI announced that the rollkur working group "has finalised its report on guidelines to prevent any form of aggressive riding at FEI events." Oh, the irony. We see the irony is not lost on eurodressage.com either, an essential problem in the warm-up being the lack of authority of the stewards, meanwhile you have this sort of blatant looking the other way by the FEI's own judges in the competition arena itself.
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    06 April 2010

    A Message From President Obama

    "Hey all you equestrians at [name your state or federal government agency], stop reading The Carrot and get back to work!"
    As The Carrot's IT director, I come across all kinds of fascinating information to divert attention from my studies.

    Weird things people Google and end up at The Carrot:
    (and many of them are purportedly in a place called Bumfuck Quinter, Kansas, USA)

    "double trouble carrot punch"
    We assume this must be a special name for the HRH-branded "Kool-Aid" that proved so popular in Kuala Lumpur. In fact I think we'll slap a trademark on that and start using it:

    Some more Double Trouble Carrot PunchTM was served up in Lausanne and the USA today, as these asshats tried to get us to believe that someone was properly disqualified and prohibited from finishing the US Selection Trials, when in fact he remained in the results for a month and managed to place 22nd at the next trial despite not even having been permitted to take part. What a performance! This kid is a superstar.

    05 April 2010

    A Message From The Horse In The FEI Logo

    Look, it's been five years since I was introduced as the FEI's new "corporate identity," and now it's five days past when the new rules guidelines were supposed to be out, and I've had it.  I've still got my chin pinned to my chest as if rollkur hasn't even been banned or anything. Don't be fooled by the clever graphics; it's an optical illusion that makes it look like my face is at the vertical. That's what it's all about these days, fancy photography!   Look at my chin!  Look at the neck!  What the hell is that?  Don't you people think it's time you brought Old Dobbin back up, for fuck's sake?

    Two out of ten FEI Chief Stewards even agreed that five years does meet the threshold of "excessive or prolonged" hyperflexion, despite regretting they had no real authority to do anything about it.  The judges were strangely not available for this survey. And my neck is killing me, can't I get some bute around here?  Somebody help me!!!

    The Fédération Equestre Internationale: We like rollkur LDR so much, we put it in our logo!

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    01 April 2010

    Illegal Alien Horses Jump US Border, Assert Rightful Place In Olympic Family

    O, Caballos Sin Fronteras

    According to reports, wild horses approached and lured horses out of their pastures at the OK Corral.
    OK that was the real part. This is still causing Sprout a mental double take because you can't make this stuff up. A herd of illegal alien horses jumped the US border, recruited some locals and started running down a San Diego highway, then infiltrated the US Olympic Training Center, being chased by the US Border Patrol, among others. Seriously. Clearly the US is dedicated to controlling its frontiers against rampaging, undocumented equines. They probably don't even have passports!

    It's That Time Of Year

    It's finally April, and you know what that means...Badminton and Kentucky! The Carrot correspondents will be on the scene this year, so don't do anything stupid or we might write about it! They are combining British Eventing's Grassroots Festival with Badminton which sounds great, but might prove even scarier than your typical BE90, or slightly less so; take your pick either way you're in for a treat. And rumour has it snipers will be hiding out at Kentucky ready to take out any loose dogs lest there is a repeat of last year's incident. At least Badders has a crèche, perhaps they can get the Pooch Paddock to set up at Kentucky.

    Maybe these events just need better signage:

    PSA: Cinders, the mysophobic piglet, reminds everyone:

    In some terrific news, you will be able to watch the Badminton cross country on Horse & Country TV. This site seems to have struggled getting off the ground but hopefully it is turning the corner. They are putting up some great content so be sure to check it out. If you want to know everything about what's happening at Kentucky, or even things we haven't seen anywhere else like write-ups of training sessions with American chef d'équipe Mark Phillips, be sure to visit Eventing Nation.
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