Since our inception in 1997, it had been the policy of DressageDaily to avoid gossip and negative reporting. There is so much “good stuff” to talk about we normally have more stories than there are days in the week and hours in the day to report. However, we have been aware of a persistent rumor regarding Lisa Wilcox and Relevant, which originated from Europe after his performance at the CDI Stuttgart, and continues to circulate throughout America.
During an Olympic year, when lifelong careers, goals, and dreams become the center of attention, those at the top take the most heat from speculators, and we have decided to put the rumors to rest by going to the source, offering Lisa the opportunity to set the record straight.
We contacted Cindy Snowdon, Lisa’s manager in America, to offer Lisa the opportunity to respond;
Lisa has been aware of a rumor floating around south Florida with regards to Relevant, but did not give it further thought because rumors seem to be the ugly side of this sport when you reach a certain level.
The embellished and expanded rumor has left her feeling very disappointed. Lisa questions the motivation behind spreading such erroneous and slanderous accusations, particularly when they involve methods employed by her trainer, Ernst Hoyos.
The facts behind the accident with Relevant are just this - Relevant was playing with his blanket bar attached to the front of his stall with his mouth. This occurred several weeks before CDI Stuttgart. He managed to get his lower teeth hooked under the rail, and when he pulled back to free himself, he knocked two bottom incisors loose. Relevant did not fracture his jaw as mentioned in this rumor. An uncomplicated surgical procedure to wire these teeth in place and hold them, like a retainer, was performed. Relevant had a complete and successful recovery.
The rumor that Ernst Hoyos, being from the Spanish Riding School, works horses on crossties is completely false. Ernst has shared and demonstrated his methods of working horses in hand at the Global Dressage Forum in Holland, as well as the Symposium in New England, and at the USDF Convention. "Nothing like that would ever be practiced on this farm. It is insulting to the integrity of Ernst's training. This is an ignorant assumption and comparison to what is done at the Spanish Riding School"
Lisa Wilcox and Relevant - On Track
Lisa Wilcox said in telephone conversation today. "Further, Relevant is so far advanced; he has not been worked in hand in years. I am very disappointed in this gossip in America. I am working very hard to make our team, and wish for the respect and support from the country I am representing. I wish that instead of spreading information that people have no factual basis to report, they would ask me, or better yet, come and see for yourselves what we do on a daily basis. We do things no differently at home than we have illustrated in our clinics or in print articles."
Lisa is strategically planning Relevant's show schedule with regards to her Olympic qualifiers. Relevant, being a breeding stallion, gets very "hot" during the breeding season. Years of performing at the indoor stallion shows featuring him to prospective breeders, tends to naturally get him a bit worked up for any show held indoors. "Relevant's extreme sensitivity is what makes him such a brilliant Grand Prix horse" said Lisa. A decision to focus on the outdoor shows was made in planning his competition schedule. This is why the World Cup Finals is not the right venue for the thrid ranked horse and rider in the Dressage world.
Ernst Hoyos and Lisa Wilcox
It is true that the romantic relationship between Lisa and Ernst has ended, however, the personal relationship has NOT. He works with her daily preparing her many horses for this year's show season, and for the upcoming qualifiers with Relevant.
They speak on the telephone each day and did so when she was just here in America, doing the Dressage Symposium in San Fransisco. They have the utmost respect for each other and feel this will never change. They decided their work together is too important to give up. They understand each other completely and trust in their work they do with the horses.
All is well for them and they remain true friends.
Lisa thanks Mary Phelps and Dressage Daily, and appreciates the opportunity to respond to this rumor. - Cindy Snowdon
2003 USDF Symposium Tour: Wilcox & Hoyos
Photos of Lisa Wilcox - Search the PhelpsPhotos.com database by clicking on the FREE SEARCH link, and simply entering Wilcox in the field for Rider's last name.