Week eleven of the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival kicked off on Wednesday with the exciting first round of the USEF Selection Trials for the U.S. Show Jumping Team for the 2012 Olympic Games. Eight of the USA's top show jumping duos stood out from the pack with clear rounds in Selection Trial #1, including Reed Kessler and Cylana, Charlie Jayne and Athena, Margie Engle and Indigo, Laura Kraut and Teirra, Kirsten Coe and Baronez, Kent Farrington and Uceko, Christine McCrea and Romantovich Take One, and Mario Deslauriers and Urico.
Today's class was the first of four challenging rounds in the USEF Selection Trials. The next two rounds, similar to Nations Cup format, will be held on Thursday, March 22. The first round is at 1 p.m. and the second round starts with festivities at 7 p.m. and the first horse at 8 p.m. The final round in jump-off format is on Saturday, March 24, with festivities starting at 7 p.m. and first horse at 8 p.m.
Four horse/rider combinations have already been named to the USEF Show Jumping Long List for the 2012 Olympic Games and do not have to contest the Selection Trials: McLain Ward and Sapphire, McLain Ward and Antares F, Laura Kraut and Cedric, and Beezie Madden and Coral Reef Via Volo.
Thirty-seven of the United States' top horse and rider combinations showed on Wednesday in Selection Trial #1, held in a speed format over a course set by Alan Wade of Ireland. Riders were not competing against the clock since only their scores count, but there was a 90-second time allowed. Eight entries cleared the course without fault to tie at the top of the standings.
Eighteen-year-old Reed Kessler, of Armonk, NY, and her mount Cylana were the first pair to produce a clear round. Kessler is showing in her first Selection Trials and was thrilled to go clear through the challenging course. Cylana, a ten-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare by Skippy II x Darco, is also showing in her first Selection Trials and this was the pair's biggest class together to date. Kessler also showed her horse Mika today and had one rail.
"I'm still in shock; I'm so happy," Kessler beamed. "I'm so thankful for my trainers, Katie and Henri Prudent, my owners (my parents), and my sponsors. I'm just very happy to be here. It's a very big day in my short life thus far."
Charlie Jayne, of Elgin, IL, immediately followed with the second clear round aboard Athena before Olympic veterans Marige Engle (Indigio) and Laura Kraut (Teirra) were the next two to go clear.
"He felt very sound today and hopefully he'll be fit enough. That's the only issue I'm worried about," Engle noted on her lovely grey gelding. "He hasn't had the chance to jump too much in the last ten weeks, so we'll just have to see how things go."
Kraut has already been named to the Long List with her 2008 Olympic partner Cedric, owned by Cherry Knoll Farm, Inc., and rode her second horse Teirra, owned by Stars and Stripes, to a clear round today. Teirra is a twelve-year-old KWPN mare by Tolano Van Het Riethof x Aldatus. Even with her name already on the long list, Kraut admits to feeling nervous coming into today's competition. "I think you don't know what to expect. We got the speech from George (Morris) yesterday that this was a dress rehearsal for London. You have visions in the night of what that means," Kraut laughed. "Fortunately I am riding a mare named Teirra, who has an enormous heart and is a real trier. I think I may have felt a little more comfortable than some other times. I know she is going to give it a good go. I might mess up, but she is going to try hard. I'm also feeling at ease a little bit knowing that Cedric didn't have to jump. He's back in the stable laughing at her. I'd say I feel fortunate at this moment, but there are still three long rounds to go."
A few rounds after Kraut cleared the course, Kirsten Coe, of Johnston, SC, was the fifth rider to jump clear aboard her own and Ilan Ferder's Baronez. Baronez is an eleven-year-old Warmblood mare by Heartbreaker.
2011 Pan American Games Show Jumping Team gold medalists Kent Farrington, of Chicago, IL, and Christine McCrea, of East Windsor, CT, were the next two to jump clear. Farrington guided Lara Kelly and RCG Farm's Uceko, an eleven-year-old KWPN gelding by Celano x Koriander, to the sixth clear round of the day. McCrea and Windsor Show Stables' Romantovich Take One (who were also Pan Am Individual Gold Medalists) followed with their faultless trip through the course. Romantovich Take One is a twelve-year-old KWPN gelding by Numero Uno x Karandasj. Commenting on her round today, McCrea stated, "Today ended up great for me. My horse felt fantastic. He was jumping sharp and he just felt back in form. I was really thrilled with him."
Mario Deslauriers and Urico were the final pair to clear the course without fault. Deslauriers and Urico, an eleven-year-old KWPN gelding by Zandor Z x Fedor, were most recently a part of the U.S. Show Jumping Team at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games and hope to claim their spot on the Olympic Team. They are off to a good start with a clear round today.
In addition to the trial today, the $8,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Classic was held this morning in the International Arena. Laura Kraut rode Azzaro Van't Hagenhof to the win. Twelve of 43 entries went clear to jump-off, and Kraut had the fastest of seven double clear rounds for the victory. Johannes Ehning (GER) and Winley Farm LLC's Cayenne 162 finished second, while Conor Swail (IRL) and Donatello, owned by Haras De La Rogue & Normandie Connection, were third.
For full results, please visit www.showgroundslive.com.
Final Results: USEF Show Jumping Selection Trial #1
CYLANA: 2002 Belgian Warmblood mare by Skippy II x Darco
REED KESSLER (USA), Reed Kessler: 0
ATHENA: 2000 Belgian Warmblood mare by Toulon x Capital
CHARLIE JAYNE (USA), The London Group: 0
INDIGO: 2000 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Indoctro x Unknown
MARGIE ENGLE (USA), Griese, Garber, Hidden Creek & Gladewinds: 0
TEIRRA: 2000 KWPN mare by Tolano Van Het Riethof x Aldatus
LAURA KRAUT (USA), Stars & Stripes: 0
BARONEZ: 2001 Warmblood mare by Heartbreaker x Unknown
KIRSTEN COE (USA), Ilan Ferder & Kirsten Coe: 0
UCEKO: 2001 KWPN gelding by Celano x Koriander
KENT FARRINGTON (USA), R.C.G. Farm: 0
ROMANTOVICH TAKE ONE: 2000 KWPN gelding by Numero Uno x Karandasj
CHRISTINE MCCREA (USA), Candy Tribble: 0
URICO: 2001 KWPN gelding by Zandor Z x Fedor
MARIO DESLAURIERS (USA), Jane F. Clark: 0
NEMO 119: 1999 Holsteiner gelding by Cambridge x Cantus
LUCY DAVIS (USA), Old Oak Farm: 1
FLEXIBLE: 1996 Irish Sporthorse stallion by Cruising x Safari
RICH FELLERS (USA), Harry and Mollie Chapman: 4
LEAP OF JOY: 2001 Holsteiner gelding by Lovari x Silbersee
CHARLIE JACOBS SR., Deeridge Farm: 4
LYONELL: 2001 Sachsen-Anhaltiner gelding by Levisto x Kolibri
CARA RAETHER (USA), Trelawny Farm LLC: 4
URAYA: 2001 KWPN mare by Farmer x Zeno
CHARLIE JAYNE (USA), Pony Lane Farm: 4
NICE DE PRISSEY: 2001 Selle Francais stallion by Rosire x Amarpour
BRIANNE GOUTAL (USA), Cloverleaf Farm: 4
HH CAROTINO: 2002 Holsteiner gelding by Caretino x Corrado I
QUENTIN JUDGE (USA), Double H Farm: 4
SPRINGTIME: 1999 KWPN gelding by Indorado x Elmshorn
SAER COULTER (USA), Copernicus Stables LLC: 4
ARIES: 2001 Oldenburg gelding by Argentinas x Grannus
JEFFERY WELLES (USA), Noel Love Gross: 4
MIKA: 2000 Selle Francais gelding by Nidor Platiere x Rubis Rouge
REED KESSLER (USA), Reed Kessler: 4
SIMON: 1999 KWPN gelding by Mr. Blue x Polydox
BEEZIE MADDEN (USA), Abigail Wexner: 4
SASKIA 269: 2002 Holsteiner mare by Quantum x Carthago
CARA RAETHER (USA), Trelawny Farm LLC: 4
Source: Jennifer Wood Media Inc.
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