Based on the number of texts, emails and Facebook messages I’ve received with this link  I’m guessing many of you have already seen the news item exposing the change that has been made to the Dressage Rio criteria. I want to assure those of you who suspect I missed a beat that I was fully aware of the change as it was impending, and then as soon as it was approved.

Here is the difference between Mr. Braddick and myself (well one of the many): being a Canadian journalist, and having agreed to confidentiality when I was sent the Rio Dressage criteria after requesting them, I have elected to honour the terms upon which I was allowed to see them. Under no circumstances (well, maybe if I was being water boarded) would I betray that confidence. It would be both unethical and stupid to do so.  The very reason I’m in the loop on what’s going on in the back rooms of EC World is that I respect confidentiality, and I protect my sources with the same rigor that Bob Woodward protected Deep Throat.  Mr. Braddick, on the other hand, is not Canadian, and therefore has no moral compunction to keep his mouth shut about Canada’s Rio criteria.

The leaked news about the Dressage criteria  brings up  yet another valid argument against keeping them away from the public: they are going to get out anyway. Most people are lousy at keeping a secret. Clearly someone with a great deal of inside knowledge, not only about the criteria but also the upcoming changes to EC’s governance in 2016, made a conscious decision to deliver all this information into the hands of someone who was guaranteed to publish it. This is not the first time that Canadians have read Canadian dressage news on a non-Canadian site before receiving the news via EC (nor is it the only discipline – regularly breaks Canadian Eventing news well ahead of anything coming from EC). Unless the person(s) who continually find it so rewarding to share with Mr. Braddick not-yet or not-ever-to-be published news about Dressage Canada has a change of heart, I expect it will keep on happening.

When I heard (via leaks of  course) that the amendment to the Dressage criteria had been approved , I immediately decided to find a way to share the good news without betraying any confidence. Because it IS good news. The change to the criteria could only be made after every single declared athlete agreed to it. In Dressage, from where the expression ‘herding cats’ may have originated, getting even a handful of individuals to sign on the same dotted line is an achievement. I’m so impressed by this unanimity that I’m not even going to ask why the athletes didn’t raise their objections when the criteria were in draft stage and sent to them for approval…

This will be my last post before the holiday chaos descends upon us. In keeping with Straight-Up tradition, I’ll have my ‘best and worst of 2015’ list for you over the next couple of weeks, as well as my annual ‘crystal ball’ predictions for the coming year.

Wishing you and your loved ones – no matter how many legs they have, and no matter how long or short – a very happy holiday season.