” I am very pleased to announce my 4th sponsor for “Dover’s World Live” premiering next Tuesday evening at 6pm on WBZT (1230 AM), Clear Channel ( www.clearchannel.com ), and everywhere on the World Wide Web at DoversWorld.com – the United States PRE (Pure Spanish Horse)! So, naturally, I am going to print each and every fact below a this is my responsibility to my sponsor, but before I do so I really want you all to truly get just why I have been touting the PRE’s recently, much to the surprise of many of my “more traditional” colleagues.
Look, Dressage is a very lovely art but also a very complicated sport. I have spent decades both competing and coaching at the highest levels and when it comes right down to it, sometimes it’s best to look at the whole business from the perspective of what is most practical and cost effective to get the job done. Now, you are probably thinking, “What the hell is Robert talking about?” Let me explain.
I love any great horse, regardless of its breed. If it has the gaits, the presence and that certain “X Factor” which sets it apart as a world-class horse, I want it on my team! Now, finding these ”equine freaks of nature” has become harder and harder and when you find that one in a million, the key word can most definitely be “MILLION!” As in Euro’s or Dollars. Even if you are looking at 3 or 4 year olds that are “super-horses”, they can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and this just makes our sport more and more prohibitive to us mortals. I think to myself, ” As a Coach of any Team, my job is to put together a large group of combinations which have the ability to arrive at the 70% mark. I want depth in my Team with as many horses able to accomplish this as possible as we head toward any major championships. And there is the answer- if I have, as part of my squad some very competitive Spanish horses which, along with their riders, I can count on to bring in the points to help earn my Team a medal, then I absolutely ”Love me my PRE’s!” Am I thrilled to have the great Warm-bloods on my Team? Of course I am. But the PRE is a reliable, cost-effective answer to having at the minimum, a good “Team score” and as we just saw in the WEG’s, has the potential when trained and shown well, to become one of the very top horses of the world! That is exactly what Fuego proved when he won the hearts of not only the public, but also the judges in Lexington and was rewarded with earning the title of 5th best horse in the World !
So, now do you understand why I went out and bought an excellent young PRE stallion, with 3 lovely gaits, great uphill frame, and perfect color and temperament. Such a horse of another breed, if I could have found him, I am certain I could not have afforded him! There you have it. In the end it’s all about MATH, Logic, and Pragmatism. ( And they are pretty and have nice tails 🙂 ) Now, for the facts about the PRE:
The United States PRE Association (USPRE) is the American representative organization for the Studbook of the PRE Horse of Spain. USPRE was founded in 2007 to officially represent the PRE horse in the United States: to assist American breeders in their interactions with Spain and the Studbook, and to promote the PRE horse within the dressage community. USPRE is a non-profit organization dedicated to service and education, and is guided by a distinguished Honorary Board that includes many leaders in the American dressage community, such as Lendon Gray, Kathy Connelly, Robert Dover, Jan Brons and Tim Ober.
The PRE horse is both an ancient and modern breed. Its baroque beauty has been celebrated for centuries in Europe and its bloodlines date back to prior to the 16th Century. At the same, the PRE is the sport horse world’s fastest developing breed. Protected and serviced by the Spanish Breeders Association, ANCCE—the managers of the PRE Studbook—the PRE has recently joined the World Breeders Federation of Sport Horses and is recognized as a sport horse breed within the European Union.
The PRE horse has always been a horse for functionality, and was developed in earliest times for the collected and technical movements of High School Dressage. Historically, the PRE horse has been used in many disciplines, including Bull Fighting, Driving, and Classical Performance. In recent decades, the horse has improved its overall athleticism. Selective breeding within its own bloodlines has produced a slightly larger, more powerful horse with the capability of the extended gaits without loosing the innate ability for collection and animation. At the same time, the PRE horse has maintained its outstanding disposition and intelligence for which it has been known from the very beginning.
The PRE horse has had considerable success in international dressage in the past ten years, most notably with the Spanish Team, which included Rafael Soto and Invasor and several other PREs, in the World Equestrian Games in 2002, the European Championships from 2002-2005, and culminating in Olympic Silver in Athens in 2004. At the most recent Olympics in Hong Kong, PRE horse Fuego and his rider quietly finished 16th ahead of many well-known pairs, and Fuego has had continued success against the top dressage riders in the world including members of the German national team. In 2010 alone, Spain sent three PREs and one Lusitano to the World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Kentucky; the German Para-Olympic Team fielded a PRE; and the National Grand Prix Champion for France was also a PRE. There is no other alternate breed to the warmblood that has done so well in international championships, nor has any other non-German breed obtained an Olympic medal for Team competition other than the PRE. Olympic rider Courtney King Dye has several PREs in her training program, and Olympians Robert Dover, Lendon Gray and Martin Schaudt own and train PREs.
Today, the PRE horse is growing in popularity in the United States, a country where it has been bred domestically for over 30 years. The USPRE membership is continually growing, attracting breeders and riders alike. USPRE is intensely involved in the support of American PRE breeders, providing services and education through clinics, revision tours and tribunals, sponsoring annual Spanish-sanctioned breed shows, and recently introducing El Caballo Magazine in English. In its promotion of the PRE horse to the sport horse world, USPRE has initiated a number of events and national programs to support PRE riders and to provide education about the horse to the community where the PRE can excel. Dressage High Point Challenges have been held at major shows from California to New York, including here in Wellington, where a series of three High Point Challenges will be held again this winter for its third year in a row. In 2008 USPRE established a USDF All Breeds Program, resulting in respectable numbers and high scores in its first three years. Additionally, USPRE sponsors USDF Sport Horse Breed Championships for PRE horses at the major breed shows across the country including a PRE class at Devon for the first time in 2009.
USPRE is particularly pleased to be a sponsor of Dover’s World Live. We look forward to watching Robert bring along his PRE, HGF Fiero and know this horse will be yet another proof that selective breeding of Spanish horses is the way toward Olympic Medals!