Robert Dover has earned more honors than any other U.S. Dressage rider competing in six consecutive Olympiads for the United States Equestrian Team, as well as 4 World Championship Teams and 7 World Cups. Robert Dover was born in Chicago on June 7, 1956.
He began riding when he was 13-years old, graduated as an “A” pony clubber, and specialized in dressage when he was 19. After attending the University of Georgia, Mr. Dover saw his equestrian career take off in the 1980’s. After his first Olympic appearance in 1984, he helped the U.S. capture the North American championship the following year.
In 1987, Mr. Dover defeated six-time Olympic gold medalist Dr. Reiner Klimke to win the Aachen Grand Prix in Germany before a crowd of 65,000. This victory was the first time an American had won at Aachen since 1960, and Mr. Dover considers it the high point of his distinguished career. He said the biggest thrill came during the awards ceremony when the U.S. flag was raised and the band played the Star-Spangled Banner. He made his international debut at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, finishing in 17th place in the individual event (on Romantico) while the U.S. placed sixth in the team competition.
Mr. Dover returned to the Olympics in 1988 at the Seoul Games, where he finished in 13th place. At the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, he won his first medal, helping to lead the U.S. to a bronze medal in the team competition. In 1994, he was named “Male Equestrian of the Year” by the U.S. Olympic Committee after winning the bronze team medal at the World Championships in Hague and finishing 5th individually. At the 1996 Atlanta Games, Mr. Dover won his second Olympic medal and the U.S. finished in third place to win the bronze medal for the second straight Olympiad. At the 2000 Sydney Games, he captained the U.S. equestrian team and helped lead the Americans to another bronze medal (his third consecutive bronze), finishing behind Germany and the Netherlands. He said of being elected captain, a title he was named to at all 6 Olympic Games, “It is truly an honor for me to represent my teammates on the dressage, eventing and jumping squads as Olympic Team Captain… the USET riders here are all conducting ourselves as teammates should, and I am truly proud to serve as our Captain.” Dover clinched his sixth Games berth at the 2004 Olympic Dressage Trials when he won all four tests. In Athens, the veteran rode FBW Kennedy, a Baden Wurttemberg gelding. He won a bronze medal, his fourth medal in six Olympics in team dressage, and finished 6th individually.
To finish out his career in 2005, Dover placed 4th in the 2005 World Cup in Las Vegas. He has also taught and given clinics all over the world, sat on many U.S.E.F. committees, and is one of the Founders of the Equestrian Aid Foundation, which helps people in the horse world suffering from any life threatening illness or injury.