No Dressage Team Medal for USA for 2nd Straight Olympics, Finishes 6th in London

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The Rafalca ownership group of Beth Meyer, Amy Ebeling and Ann Romney, wife of U.S. President candidate Mitt Romney, applauding the performance by the mare and rider Jan Ebeling. © 2012 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

LONDON, Aug. 7–The United States did not earn an Olympic dressage team medal at the London Games Thursday for the second straight Olympics after a string of four straight bronze medals in the Games going back 20 years.

The team of Steffen Peters and Ravel, Tina Konyot and Calecto V and Jan Ebeling and Rafalca placed sixth on a combined average score of 72.435 per cent behind Great Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden.

However, Steffen of San Diego, California, is in the hunt with Ravel for an individual medal in the freestyle on Thursday.

Steffen finished seventh individually with a score of 76.254 per cent in the team competition when the second phase, the Grand Prix Special, wrapped up Tuesday.

In the Special, Ravel stumbled at the end of the test after the first canter pirouette meaning he started his one-time changes late. Steffen managed to pull off the movement despite the misstep.

“Without that (stumble) it would have been right around a 78 per cent which is right about where he has been his whole life,” he said.

“He was right on,” Steffen said. “The half-passes felt great, I pushed the changes a bit more than I did the first day and the pirouettes felt really good. The piaffe even felt better than it did the first day. I’m just so excited that he still wants to do it after all these years.”

Ravel was bought by Akiko Yamazaki in 2006 and became the second American to win the World Cup Final, in 2009, the first to capture the CDIO title at Aachen. Germany, and claim individual bronze medals at the 2010 world championships. in 2010 has been undefeated in 2012.

“This might be the last time Ravel goes down the centerline,” Steffen said of Thursday’s freestyle. “I hope I can get one more really exciting freestyle out of him… he doesn’t owe us anything, but we owe him everything.”

Tina Konyot of Paslm City Florida and the stallion Calecto V placed 25th on 70.651 per cent while Jan Ebeling of Moorpark, California on Rafalca was 28th on 69.302 per cent.

Only Steffen and Ravel qualified for the freestyle on Thursday.

The last time an American won an individual medal in dressage was in 1932 when Army Col. Hiram Tuttle won bronze on the horse Olympic.

In 2008, the U.S was disqualified as a team over a positive drug test. Steffen and Ravel finished fourth individually by a narrow margin.

The U.S. won team bronze in Barcelona in 1992, Atlanta in 1996, Sydney in 2000 and Athens n 2004.

So far, the U.S. has not an equestrian medal at these Olympics in which medals were awarded for team and individual eventing and dressage and jumping team events.

The only medal hopes remaining are for dressage and jumping individual competition.

Jan Ebeling said he was “really happy” with the performance by the 14-year-old Oldenburg mare.

“She felt good–she’s been really good all week, she’s peaking and I’m really happy. She’s given it her all.”

The involvement of Ann Romney has led to media attention on Rafalca and Jan that he said he is pleased with because it raises the prfile of the sport.

“I think having Mrs. Romney and having the visibility of the mainstream media report on our sport so much has really been a good thing,” he said. “If just one young kid picks up riding and makes it to the Olympics, hey, I’ve done my job.”