I may have got what I wanted when Anky announced last week that she would take Painted Black to Las Vegas, but not everyone is happy about the outcome. I received comments and emails on both sides of the fence, and I suspect there are more people out there (especially those who hold plane tickets to Vegas) who land on the Salinero side than Painted Black’s. One of the reasons I stopped majoring in Philosophy in my third year at university was because so many moral questions don’t have tidy answers (I also got tired of being asked if chickens have rights by nerds with B.O.). Such is the case with Salinero’s failure to qualify for WC. Lita pointed out in her comment that the FEI World Cup dressage rule states a clear flexibility to make exceptions. I went on the FEI site to look for myself; I was also curious to compare the dressage WC rules to the jumper WC rules. What I discovered in the preamble to the rules was yet more evidence that there was a big enough window for the FEI to pass Salinero through to Vegas:

 “It is acknowledged that every eventuality cannot be provided for in these Rules and in any unforeseen or exceptional circumstances it is the duty of those responsible to make a decision in a sporting spirit and approaching as nearly as possible the intention of these Rules and of the General Regulations.”

Sjef’s questionable sportsmanship notwithstanding (and let me not forget that this is about Anky and Salinero, after all – not Sjef), it really is starting to look a bit mean of the FEI not to let Anky ride her Numero Uno in Vegas. It is interesting to note that even though they have far more qualifiers in a year, the show jumpers are required to show at only one WC qualifier to be granted access to the Final. I am still looking forward to seeing Painted Black, but that’s because I like him better than Salinero from a purely aesthetic point of view. He’s pretty and small. I like pretty and small. I also like his music better. Even though it was not originally made for him – Anky has previously used the Tango freestyle for Partout, Krack C, and even Salinero in 2003 – it suits him beautifully. For those of you who are disappointed not to see Salinero, please trust me. I’m pretty sure you’ll like Painted Black. And for those of you who think the contest will be boring without Salinero, I fail to see your rationale – but maybe I shouldn’t have dropped out of Philosophy before taking that course in Logic. Also, if I were Steffen or Adelinde I would be just a wee bit saddened (insulted, perhaps?) that there are so many who continue to believe the winner will always be either Anky or Isabell.

What I’d like to know is who participated in the decision whether or not to make an exception for Salinero. The FEI World Cup Rules refer to an FEI World Cup Dressage Committee and Director, but I couldn’t find information anywhere about who those people might be. Eva Salomon departed from her post as FEI Dressage Director immediately following s’-Hertogenbosch and has not yet been replaced. Apparently there hasn’t been a separate WC committee for some years, and the Dressage Committee has filled that role. There IS no DC at the moment, only the Working Group. The Working Group has a narrow focus, and its members have declared from within that they are not to be seen as a replacement for the DC. It does appear that the full weight of the decision this time fell to the Dressage Director, who doubled as WC dressage director. And now she’s gone too. FEI dressage is not only a clean house at the moment – it’s all but vacant.