No one ever won a medal for not taking part….

Do you remember, back we were younger, before reality bit, when dreams still seemed possible? That is one of the joys of being a child – the ability to dream without restraint and without limitations.

For many of us, as we get older we realise that we may not have the ability to achieve those dreams – either from a lack of support, a lack of finance, a lack of ability or other factors. So we revise and we edit and we continue to dream our smaller, more adult, realistic dreams. I would imagine when we were younger, most of us who rode fantasised about one day representing our sport Internationally. I know I did spurred on by films such as International Velvet. Did anyone grow up in the 90’s and not watch The Mighty Ducks, Rocky and Cool Runnings ?

The truth is victory against all odds has always enthralled the public – we all love an underdog story. We all love to see a chance given and a chance taken. We know that fortune favours the brave and that sometimes luck will be on the side of the unexpected. This has not changed as evidenced by the success of films such as I Tonya and Eddie the Eagle.

As a child films like Cool Runnings taught us that every dog has his day. It taught us to always take a chance to participate even if defeat seemed likely. It taught us to be competitors, to be supporters, to be present. It taught us that no matter the odds against you – you show up. Did anyone ever win at anything by not taking part? No.

Now I want you to imagine having enough talent, dedication and support to compete Internationally at a sport you love. Imagine as a full fledged adult slapped daily in the face by real life and still managing to chase that Olympic Dream. Imagine funding your way around the world just to some day get your bite at the apple. Imagine achieving what you needed for Olympic qualification. Now imagine your own country turning around and saying No. No, you are not going because while your achievements to date merit Olympic qualification, we do not think you are good enough. This happened this year to two Irish dressage riders.

Is this the message we want to send to our future riders, our youth teams and our children? Is this the message we want to send to ourselves? Have we accepted that our new approach is that its better to not take part than to take part and not win?

I have a little thing I always do if I am betting on horse racing – I put a small amount on the horse with the worst odds. I’ve won hundreds doing it. I know by virtue of just being in that race that horse has a chance. The horses back in the stable are the horses going nowhere.

Do you still remember the song from Cool Runnings?

“Nuff people say they know they cant believe

Ireland, we have a dressage team”

Here’s the good news – read the press release below – these guys still have a chance – please share and share the hashtag #letthemride


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