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Olympic Equestrians  
 
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Dover has been together with his life partner, fellow equestrian Robert Ross, since 1988. His family approves of the match. "We couldn't have picked a more perfect mate if we had tried," declared Jean Dover. "We love [Ross] like another son."

After his graduation from Georgia, Dover embarked on a highly successful career in dressage, competing both nationally and internationally. A highlight came in 1987, when he bested Dr. Reiner Klimke, the holder of six Olympic gold medals, to win the Aachen (Germany) Grand Prix and give the United States its first victory in the event in 27 years.

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Dover became a mainstay of the American Olympic team, participating in individual and team dressage. He first competed at the 1984 Los Angeles games and continued his Olympic career in 1988 in Seoul, where he achieved his best individual finish, in thirteenth place.

Dover's first medal came at the Barcelona games in 1992, when the United States won the team bronze. Dover was also part of the bronze medal-winning dressage teams in 1996 in Atlanta, 2000 in Sydney, and 2004 in Athens.

In 2000 the United States Equestrian Team honored Dover by electing him their captain. He has also been recognized by his peers with the Male Equestrian of the Year award from the United States Olympic Committee in 1994 and with induction into the United States Dressage Foundation Hall of Fame in 2008.

Dover takes pride in having co-founded the Equestrian AIDS Foundation with Ross and Phelps. Not only riders but also grooms, walkers, and farriers have benefited from EAF's support. Dover stated that he has repeatedly been told, "You were my equestrian angels. Without your group I couldn't live."

Dover supported EAF's decision ten years after its founding to change its name to the Equestrian Aid Foundation and expand its mission to help members of the horse community with serious injuries. "We still serve men, women, and children living with AIDS, but by changing our focus to 'aid,' we're embraced by many more donors," stated Dover, who noted that the group's fundraising base had increased tenfold.

Guenter Seidel

A native of Fischen im Allgäu in Bavaria, Guenter Seidel (b. 1960) earned a degree as a horse trainer (Bereiter) in Germany before immigrating to the United States in 1985. He is also a talented dressage rider and was soon enjoying success competing in the sport for his adopted country.

He won the USET Intermediaire Championships in 1992 and earned the individual bronze medal at the United States Olympic Festival in 1994. The following year he was part of American teams that took silver at the Pan American Games and gold at the Can-Am Dressage Challenge.

Seidel's first Olympic appearance and first medal came in 1996 in Atlanta, where the United States team won the bronze in dressage. Seidel and his teammates repeated as bronze medalists in the Sydney games in 2000 and in Athens in 2004.

It was widely expected that Seidel would be on his fourth Olympic team in 2008, but a tendon injury to his horse Robin before the Dressage Affaire, a qualifying event, put an end to his chances. "It would be the equivalent of Tiger Woods being knocked out of a tournament," stated event spokesman Bob Scheid.

While acknowledging his disappointment, Seidel showed his spirit of sportsmanship, saying, "I've been lucky enough to participate in three Olympics, so I can't complain." Nevertheless, Seidel looks forward to being in a fourth and is training a young horse, U II, whom he hopes to ride in the 2012 games in London.

Within the horse community Seidel is respected not only for his exquisite performances but also for his compassion and willingness to help others. USET dressage teammate Betsy Steiner, who has long been close friends with Seidel—a relationship that she calls "a Will and Grace kind of thing"—praised him for being "extremely generous with his time" and also noted, "I think it's because he's so balanced and content in himself that . . . he can step outside of himself and into other persons' shoes to understand how they feel."

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