And, if that gentleman wished to spend a small fortune promoting my favorite hobby and my beloved Arabian horses across the world and as an Olympic sport, I might think quite highly of him.
It would seem that the gentleman you refer to is simply a wealthy patron of our sport. Big money endorsements of athletics is nothing new. I don't know you, Howard, but it seems that your primary objections to this man are his social status, wealth and place of birth. I hope that isn't true, because if it is, this freedom-loving renegade American would not think well of you.
Cathy and the Herd
P.S. With the price of gas, my herd of five competitors was hoping for a sponsorship from Shell Oil or Chevron, but, what the heck, we'll accept any petrol, foreign or domestic, you can put in a Ford 3/4 ton.
Dear Cathy and the Herd:
You are entitled to your opinion. And I hope you feel the same way towards me, even if mine isn't what you would consider to be politically correct.
My objection to what is going on can best be expressed with that paragraph I wrote about Shaq, not only playing for the team, but owning the team, owning the TV station and owning the enterprises that put their commercials on his TV station. Most people would call it a monopoly or undue influence if something like that were to happen. Well, guess what? It is happening, with FEI and endurance.
I really wish the man in question didn't own a country that happened to be in the Gulf. I wish he was Bill Gates, then I wouldn't be accused of racism. Race and nationality have nothing to do with my objections. My objections are based on CONTROL. I don't like being controlled by someone and having the one sport I really love affected by him because he has the money and the power to do so. If the changes being made were done in a more democratic fashion (as in members being able to vote on FEI's influence at American rides), I wouldn't say a word about it. But the changes aren't happening that way; not even close.
If you don't see that what he's doing with FEI (on the board and pours money into the organization), what he's doing in the states as far as buying up our good horses (and elsewhere in the world), influencing the top riders in the world by offering them an all expense paid trip to his country to run a race, taking out full page ads in National Endurance publications to get everyone thinking his way (Olympics; one world order; we're all on the same team for the same goal), and much, much more, as a conflict of interest, then we disagree. And it all revolves around money. Nothing disturbs me more than the FEI world rankings of endurance riders (guess who runs that) and the money involved there.
Look, maybe in your eyes I am an ugly American; I don't know. I don't dislike the man because he's rich or powerful or both. And it sure isn't because he's ARAB. I do object to his actions and feel it's my right to speak out against them if I don't like what I see. If I lived in his country I don't think I'd have this freedom to say what I do. But I choose to do so, and, maybe, it is because I am an American, that I feel I have a right to make this choice. One thing that does differentiate us (Americans) from the rest of the world is our fierce independence. And I'm probably too independent even for most Americans. It's either my best or my worst quality, depending on how you look at it. But it is who I am, and I won't apologize for it.