USA Team for WEG Decided Sunday

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Lauren Sammis and Sagacious HF after the Grand Prix. © 2010 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Lauren Sammis and Sagacious HF after the Grand Prix. © 2010 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

GLADSTONE, New Jersey, Aug. 14–The final qualifying competition, the Grand Prix Freestyle, for American riders and their horses hoping to be on the U.S. team for the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky will be held Sunday but with the field reduced by another combination.

Lauren Sammis of South Orange, New Jersey, withdrew Sagacious HF, her 2007 Pan American Games team gold and individual silver medal horse, because of continuing problems that displayed itself in an uncharacteristic Grand Prix on Friday when the pair scored 62.170 per cent.

“We felt we should not put the horse through another competition that would not change the overall result,” she told dressage-news.com.

The score was the lowest the pair have received since the 2007 Pan Am Games that are held at small tour level. Lauren and the 11-year-old black Dutch gelding owned by Hyperion Farm have been competing Grand Prix since early 2009.

The horse was recovering from a muscle pull in the back earlier this year.

Steffen Peters of San Diego, California, and Ravel is not competing at the trials as he was excused and named to the team based on their performances over the past two years.

The top combinations from which another three will be selected for the team, heading into the freestyle are Tina Konyot of Palm City, Florida, and Calecto V; Katherine Bateson-Chandler of Wellington, Florida, and Nartan; Todd Flettrich also of Wellington and Otto and Germany-based Catherine Haddad and Winyamaro.

Fifteen combinations began the selection trials that are also the National Grand Prix Championships, but three pairs dropped out after the first two competitions of a Grand Prix and a Grand Prix Special. On this second weekend, the Grand Prix was held Friday and the Freestyle Sunday. The freestyle counts for only 15 per cent of the total cumulative score.