Paragon’s Prospects Clouded for USA World Games Selection Trials
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April 2, 2014
By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
Paragon, the American-bred chestnut gelding that Heather Blitz rode to become reserve for the U.S. team at the 2012 Olympic Games, has dropped to a ranking close to the cutoff for an invitation to the World Equestrian Games team selection trials at Gladstone, New Jersey in mid-June.
The Danish Warmblood whose spectacular gaits showed promise in winning team gold and individual silver at small tour at the 2011 Pan American Games has dropped to 15th place in the latest U.S. Equestrian Federation rankings for the selection trials, based on scores earned at CDI3* events and above.
However, Coral Reef Wylea is still ranked at No. 2 although the horse was injured and rider Günter Seidel of Cardiff, California said the pair will not be available for the selection trials. Steffen Peters of San Diego, California is top ranked with Legolas.
Paragon, now 11 years old, started four times in only two CDIs at the 12-week Adequan Global Dressage Festival that ended Mar. 30.
Several combinations competing at the Global circuit in Wellington, Florida moved up the rankings significantly. The USEF selection criteria states that at least the 15 highest ranked athlete/horse combinations from tryout events/qualifying competitions will be invited to compete in the selection trial as long as they meet requirements.
Heather, based in Boston in the summer and Wellington in winter, is ranked 15th with an average of two Grand Prix results of 68.160.
The pair are, however, fifth ranked American combination at No. 57 on the world ranking list at the end of March.
Questions to Heather from dressage-news.com about the status of Paragon and whether she would compete the horse at Gladstone to seek to be among eight combinations to go to Europe for the final squad of four with a reserve were not answered.
Realistically only two CDIs remain in the Unted States for Heather and Paragon (Blue Hors Don Schufro x Loran) to raise their average–of six CDIs on the calendar two are the same week in April and the other four are the same week in May, ending the day of the cutoff for Gladstone qualifying scores.
Heather and Paragon began their international Grand Prix together in Florida in January, 2012. A year later, the partnership posted a personal best of 74.064 per cent at Grand Prix, and their average of four Grand Prix in 2013 was 72.053.
However, when they returned to Florida for the 2014 winter circuit the results were disappointing–an average of 68.160 in two Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special scores of 60.745 per cent and 68.118 per cent.