Monday, July 9, 2012

USA Equestrian Team Preview

Thought you guys would like reading this, I found it pretty interesting.
2012 U.S. Olympic Equestrian Team Preview
From the USEF Communications Department
Lexington, KY - The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) named its 2012 Olympic Teams in Dressage, Eventing, and Jumping. The USEF will field three full teams in the disciplines of Dressage, Eventing, and Jumping. These teams are comprised of a mix of veterans and rookies, men and women from across the country with 17 Olympic Games between them. Seven men, six women. Eight geldings, three mares, two stallions.

Jan Ebeling (Moorpark, CA) on Amy Ebeling, Beth Meyers, and Ann Romney's Rafalca
Tina Konyot (Palm City, FL) on her own and John Byrialsen's Calecto V
Steffen Peters (San Diego, CA) on Four Winds Farm's Ravel

Adrienne Lyle (Ketchum, ID) on Peggy Thomas' Wizard

To view the entire nominated entry, please click here.

Will Coleman (Gordonsville, VA) on Jim Wildasin's Twizzel
Tiana Coudray (Ojai, CA) on Jatial, Inc.'s Ringwood Magister
Phillip Dutton (West Grove, PA) on Jim and Arden Wildasin's Mystery Whisper
Boyd Martin (Cochranville, PA) on the Otis Barbotiere Syndicate's Otis Barbotiere
Karen O'Connor (Ocala, FL) on the Mr. Medicott Syndicate's Mr. Medicott

To view the entire nominated entry, please click here.

Rich Fellers (Sherwood, OR) on Mollie and Harry Chapman's Flexible
Reed Kessler (Lexington, KY) on her own Cylana
Beezie Madden (Cazenovia, NY) on Coral Reef Ranch's Coral Reef Via Volo
McLain Ward (Brewster NY) on Grant Road Partners' Antares F

Traveling Reserve: Charlie Jayne (Elgin, IL) on Pony Lane Farm's Chill R Z

To view the entire nominated entry, please click here.

The youngest equestrian athlete to ever represent the United States is Reed Kessler, she turns 18 on July 9th. Kessler will ride Cylana, the horse with which she won the 2012 USEF Selection Trials. She rides on the team with Beezie Madden and McLain Ward who together have been members of the last two Gold medal winning Olympic Jumping Teams. Rich Fellers, the reigning Rolex/FEI World Cup Champion, rounds out the quartet on the striking 16-year-old veteran Flexible.

The most senior is Karen O'Connor, she rode in the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul and will be representing her country for the fifth time in the Olympic Games at the age of 54. She will ride the uber experienced Irish-bred, German import, Mr. Medicott, who was a stalwart of the German team before he arrived in the U.S. at the end of last year. O'Connor shared Team Silver and Team Bronze with her husband David in 1996 and 2000 respectively. Jan Ebeling, Rich Fellers, and Tina Konyot all have also crossed the half-century mark. Video

Along with O'Connor, Phillip Dutton will be contesting his fifth Olympic Games. He first represented his native Australia, winning back-to-back Team Gold medals in 1996 and 2000. He rode again for the land down under in 2004 before changing nationalities and representing the country in which he has lived since 1991 at the 2008 Games. He hasn't missed a World or Olympic Games since 1994. Dutton rides another Aussie import: Mystery Whisper. Video

Boyd Martin, another Aussie ex-pat arrived from Australia in 2006, the child of two winter Olympians - he rebounded from a horrific year in 2011 in which he lost his barn and 7 horses in a barn fire. His mount, Otis Barbotiere, was one of the horses that survived that devastating event. Video

Will Coleman, the only American to ever win the Bramham CCI3* for Under 25-year-olds, will be looking to continue success in Great Britain nine years later. He also rides a horse owned by Jim Wildasin, a rare occasion that one family owns two horses at the Games. Coleman and Twizzel were fifth at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by Bridgestone (finishing on their dressage score) 4/10ths of a point behind Martin and O'Connor (who finished on the same score - the tie was broken because Martin was closer to the optimum time on the cross country). Coleman won the 2001 FEI North American Young Rider Eventing Championships in 2001. Video

Tiana Coudray also won Team Gold at the 2008 FEI North American Young Rider Eventing Championships on her 2012 Olympic mount Ringwood Magister. This pair was second out of more than 100 horses at last fall's Fidelity Investments Blenheim International CCI3*. They also won the Jersey Fresh CCI3* in 2010. Video

Jan Ebeling rides Rafalca, who has kicked off a pop-culture sensation on the Colbert Report - the attention largely due to one of her owners, Ann Romney (wife of Mitt Romney, Republican Presidential candidate). Romney owns the horse in conjunction with Beth Meyers and Amy Ebeling. They have represented the U.S. three times at The FEI World Cup Final. Video

Steffen Peters was fourth individually at the 2008 Olympic Games on Ravel, who was then an unknown entity. Four years, two World Championship Bronze medals, and a Rolex/FEI World Cup title later - Peters will try to add to those accolades with the Four Winds Farm's legend. Video

Peters' will ride alongside one of his teammates from the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, Tina Konyot. She returns to the U.S. Team with Calecto V, a Danish Warmblood stallion co-owned by Konyot and John Byrialsen. This pair won the 2010 USEF National Grand Prix Dressage Championship and finished runners-up this year (and last) behind Peters and Ravel and Legolas 92 respectively. Video

Adrienne Lyle has come up under the tutelage of American dressage icon Debbie McDonald in Idaho. McDonald rode at the last two Olympic Games and has produced Lyle into the next generation of winners. Lyle rides Peggy Thomas' Wizard, a horse started by McDonald but finished by Lyle in her first Olympic Games. They will ride as Individuals. Video

Thirty-five years spans the gap between Reed Kessler and Rich Fellers, which is one year less than the age of McLain Ward. Ward who is a pioneer in success in the big leagues against those his senior. Ward, now a veteran, has settled into a habit of winning. He will be without his two-time Gold medal-winning horse, Sapphire who has hit the retirement pasture, and will ride his Team Gold medalist from last year's 2011 Pan American Games, Antares F (owned by Grant Road Partners). Ward battled back from a shattered knee cap in January and the first evidence that the comeback had come to fruition was with a stirring victory in the Grand Prix of Devon in May. Video

Madden and her Olympic ride, Coral Reef Ranch's Coral Reef Via Volo shared in that Team Gold and also won Individual Silver at the 2011 Pan American Games. Madden is also without Authentic, her Gold medal ride from 2004 and 2008, with whom she also picked up Individual Bronze in an intense jump-off in Hong Kong. Video

Mollie and Harry Chapman's Flexible is by the same sire as the Mr. Medicott Syndicate's Mr. Medicott - but the diminutive Cruising stallion defies his size in every jump. He and Fellers have won every class but one (in which they were second) since their World Cup run. Video

Kessler has been winning a ridiculous amount in her own right, the newly minted 2012 USEF co-National Show Jumping Champion has taken on those three times her age without flinching. She refers to Cylana, whom she owns herself, as an 'overscoped equitation horse.' Video

10 Things you might not have known about Equestrian Team USA in 2012:

1. Rafalca and Twizzel are by the same sire, Hanoverian stallion Argentinus. Twizzel is out of an Australian Thoroughbred mare, hence is nicknamed 'Ossi'.
2. Mr. Medicott and Flexible are by the same sire, Irish Sport Horse Cruising. Both are bright chestnuts with big blazes but there is more than a hand different in their height.
3. There are only TWO grey horses: Ringwood Magister and Antares F who is nearly white.
4. Mystery Whisper was produced to the CCI4* level in Australia by Heath Ryan. Dutton won Olympic Team Gold in 1996 with Heath's brother Matt.
5. Ravel has his own wine, made from grapes grown in his owners' vineyard.
6. Neither Cylana nor Kessler had shown above 1.45m, when Kessler got the mare last year, but they have made the move to prime time with ease.
7. Beezie Madden and McLain Ward were in the same jump-off for Individual Bronze at the 2008 Olympics, they found a shortcut on course through the decorations that proved to be the winning route for Madden. Ward had the very last fence down.
8. Madden is a die-hard Green Bay Packers fan.
9. Tina Konyot's family was in the circus, her father was a renowned horse trainer, and her mother was known as "Queen of the High Wire."
10. Coral Reef Via Volo is the smallest horse on the team at 15.2 hands, while Ravel is the biggest at over 17 hands.

Wheels Up

So everyone has left. They are on the road to London. The horses shipped out last night, and flew out at 3 a.m. this morning. The riders left yesterday afternoon, and the grooms just left. I hated saying goodbye to everyone, but I have promises from the grooms that they will keep me up to date. I apologize for not posting anything sooner, however I did not think you all would be very interested in my day to day activities, because other than helping out in the office there was really not that much going on. However I have been taking pictures so here is what has been happening this past week:

Rafalca go a compression suit because of the whole Colbert thing. If you have not watched it, go and do so, it is hilarious! So Bloomberg News and NBC came out to see Jan and Rafalca

One of the photographers.

My workspace. It is great! Lots of room to blog, work on homework, answer phones, ect.

NBC interviewing Jan.

Alright! Now for last nights pictures!
Hi Rafalca! 

                                                      Dawn (Steffen's groom) and Ravel

                                                                       The horse trailer
                                       From Left to Right: Me, Dawn, and Lauren (Tina's groom)
Me and Lauren

                                                  Rubin and Wizard getting ready to load
  From this picture (sorry about the terrible quality) you can kind of see how huge this horse trailer was.
                                                                  Paragon loading

                                                                     Me and Jan.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Slowly but Surely

I apologize for not being posting sooner, but there was nothing really to post this past weekend. Jan, Steffen, and Adrienne were out for the weekend so all the horses had time off.  

Here is Ravel all settled in!

This morning though, everyone was back on track, and I got up early to watch before work. It’s getting a bit chilly up here so all the horses are fresh and ready to go. Perfect riding weather!

So this morning I watched Ravel and Steffen. He only rode him for a short time and did no collection, only walk and trot on a very long rein. When I asked Steffen about preparing Ravel and Legolas for competition, he said that for Legolas, on the day of competition, he would take him out early in the morning and do some work with him, and then do a short warm up before the class. This is because Legolas can get very tense and so this helps him relax, and to be more supple. And when I asked about Ravel, Steffen just said he can do whatever with that guy. King Ravel J

In addition to Ravel, Jan Ebeling was back this morning and while I missed his ride on Rafalca, I did get to see a bit of him riding his stallion Breitan. He was riding him in a snaffle and doing some piaffe work. He is a very nice horse, and a sweetheart.

So that is all that I was able to see today but I will definitely try to get up a bit earlier and watch. So keep checking back!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Grilling Out with the Champs

With all the office work going on, I had a chance to slip away and was lucky enough to be invited to grill out with Steffen and the gang. It essentially happened like so:

Steffen: Do you guys want to grill out?

Collective response: yeah, sure. It’s a nice night, why not?

Steffen: Do we have a grill?

Eddie: umm no

Steffen: Then I will go and buy one. How does steak and chicken sound?

Collective response: Good!

An hour and a half later we were grilling out with steak, chicken, salad, chips, and cupcakes. Oh and lots of drinks. The Spanish love their drinks. With Steffen as master chef, Dawn as salad maker, and Eddie and Rubin making sure everyone had a drink in their hand, we were set to go.

Although it took a while to put everything together. When the guys pulled out the instructions, we knew it was bad. I then asked Eddie, purely out of curiosity, if he read the instructions in Spanish or English to which he promptly replied, "French."

And thus, the Olympic flame of Gladstone was lit. From left to right: Dawn, Steffen, Tom, Eddie, and Rubin.

And why waste beer when you can use it to cook? Our master chef hard at work. Go Steffen!

And Ravel came in yesterday, I am happy to say he is right at home here. Eddie even made him a sign for his arrival!

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Rainbow of Ribbons

I apologize for the late post, but everything here has been super busy. I hope you all enjoyed the Festival of Champions, I know I certainly did! Now without further ado, here is your backside buzz from what went on this past weekend:

I had the wonderful chance to meet Ann Romney :)

Adrienne, Wizard, and me

Team Romney after the awards

Adrienne coming out of the ring. Debbie was standing behind me and by the end of the test she was crying and when Adrienne walked out, before she could get off, Steffen had lifted up Debbie to give Adrienne a big ole hug! This girl really worked hard for everything and I am so very proud of her.

Steffen and Legolas during their victory gallop

Tina Konyot and Calecto V during warm-up

Team Peters after Steffen's ride

Adrienne and Wizard going into the arena

Rafalca and Wizard during the awards ceremony

Steffen with a huge grin coming out of the arena after a very good ride.

Tina Konyot and Calecto V during their test

Team Peters looking on...and not breathing.

A mouth works as a third hand, right? Jan Ebeling and Rafalca with last minute checks before they go up.

The wonderful backside of the barn Sunday morning

Tina Konyot and Calecto V during the awards ceremony

Jan and Rafalca walking up to the arena

Another picture of Adrienne and Wizard as they make their way to the arena

Jan, Rafalca, and Sanna (Ralfalc's groom) as they get ready for the awards. Did you know that Sanna calls Raflaca "Girly"? :)

Legolas did not want to stand still for me!

Steffen trying to help my cause. Saying, "Smile Legolas, smile!"

Team Adrienne after her amazing ride....everybody was sobbing

Steffen and Legolas going into the arena.

Finally I got a decent picture of Legolas before awards!

Team Konyot after her ride.

A fellow North Carolinian and a good personal friend Jim Koford and Rhett. I was given the honor of putting on the Carolina blue ribbons for him. And I asked if I could take a picture to which Rhett promptly responded, "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn." Congrats guys!

Sue Blinks and Robin Hood!

Raflaca and Jan after their amazing ride. Dressage is #1!

So now that the Festival is over, and most have left it would seem like things are beginning to quiet down, right? Nah. Team Steffen is staying and Ravel will be coming in tomorrow. Adrienne and Wizard are staying, as is Raflaca. Tina and Calecto left about an hour ago but they will return July 5th. Everyone fly's out the 9th to London! Never a dull moment and I will keep you as up to date as possible!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Small Tour Begins

Hello! So today was the kick off for the second and final weekend of the Festival of Champions, with only one class today (The Prix St. George) and the Grand Prix jog. I had the pleasure of running for Jane Weatherwax and I met Tom, Steffen Peters’ horse massage therapist.

               Tom has been with Steffen since 1996 and he has some incredible stories to tell and is a very down to earth and genuine person. Apparently Steffen is a HUGE techie! Ravel is extremely competitive and Tom had the pleasure of meeting Totilas at the WEG, and said that Totilas is a sweetheart.

               In terms of the competition today, Caroline Roffman on Pie came in first with Steffen Peters and Sundance 8 in second. I really was looking forward to seeing everyone go, but the horse that surprised me the most was David Blake’s ride, Royal Prinz. If he had not messed up with a flying change from counter canter he probably would have won the day. Or at least came in second. As it was, he ended up fourth which I believe he is fine with. He is a superb and tactful rider, and this pair is a real pleasure to watch. I really hope they do well here!

Jane Weatherwax is a wonderful judge who does not give points based on who the rider is and she even told us that she did not and will not watch the Grand Prix rides from last weekend because she does not want it to affect her judging. She asked about everyone, including me, the lowly intern with keen and genuine interest and her scoring was very fair. She was not afraid to use the whole range and she did! There were some 3.5’s and 4’s and some 8’s and 9’s. I truly enjoyed being able to sit by her and listen.

Well as usual here are the pictures from today!

Tina Konyot's horse, Calecto V has his best friend with him :)

Shawna Harding's wonderful groom Lauren working on her small tour horse Rigo

Shawna Harding getting ready to go into the arena! Go Rigo!

We had a slightly unwatned military helicopter fly-by from who knows where.

And David Blake and Royal Prinz look phenomenal!