Decision Weeks Away on Steffen Peters & Ravel to be Excused from Olympic Selection Trials

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Steffen Peters and Ravel competing in California this year. © 2012 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

Steffen Peters, the top ranked American rider, will have to wait for another three weeks to find out whether Ravel will have to fly 2,400 miles (3,860km) across the United States to compete head-to-head over two weeks for a place on the team for the Olympics in London.

The latest rankings from the U.S. Equestrian Federation place Steffen of San Diego, California, and Ravel as the No. 1 combination with average scores of 80.298 per cent in the Grand Prix and 78.499 per cent in the Olympic Grand Prix Special, the only two tests that will count in the selection trials to be held over two weekends–June 8-10 and June 15-17 in Gladstone, New Jersey.

The team competition in the Olympics is over two phases–the Grand Prix on Aug. 2-3 and the Olympic Grand Prix Special on Aug. 7. The Freestyle will determine individual medals

The rider is placed second with Legolas, that along with Ravel is owned by Akiko Yamazaki, and he has been riding since last Christmas with averages from the top two competitions that are counted of 75.879 per cent in the Grand Prix and 75.111 per cent in the Special, according to the USEF rankings through April 30.

Rankings are: 3rd, Adrienne Lyle of Ketchum, Idaho, and Wizard 70.670 per cent for the Grand Prix and 72.634 per cent in the Special; 4th-Heather Blitz of Wellington, Florida, and Paragon 70.009 per cent and 71.400 per cent; 5th-Tina Konyot of Palm City, Florida, and Calecto V, 69.674 per cent and 71.544 per cent; 6th-Todd Flettrich of Wellington and Otto, 70.390 per cent and 70.678 per cent; 7th Günter Seidel of Caridff, California, and Fandango, 69.915 per cent and 70.756 per cent; 8th-Shawna Harding of Aiken, South Carolina, and Come On III, 68.523 per cent and 69.878 per cent; 9th-Sue Blinks of Encinitas, California, and Robin Hood, 68.511 per cent and 69.567 per cent, and 10th-Jan Ebeling of Moorpark, California, and Rafalca, 70.929 per cent and 67.125 per cent.

Other combinations are Kathleen Raine of Murieta, Californa, and Breanna; Lauren Sammis of South Orange New Jersey, and Sagacious HF; Katherine Bateson of Wellington and Nartan; James Koford of Wellington and Rhett; Chris Hickey of Colora, Maryland, and Douglas Hilltop, and Pierre St. Jacques of Anthony, Florida, and Lucky Tiger.

Scores count for CDI3* or higher rated shows anywhere in the world between June 1, 2011 and May 27. 2012.

The only CDIs remaining in the U.S. before the May 27 cutoff date are Batavia, Ohio, May 17, and Lexington, Kentucky and Allentown, New Jersey, both scheduled for May 24-27.

Under the selection procedures, a combination can be appointed to the squad of four combinations–three team members and one reserve–if they have qualified for the trials and meet other requirements such as finishing in the top six positions as an individual at a World Championship or Olympic Games within the past four years, Steffen and Ravel fulfill both in that the pair finished fourth at the 2008 Olympics and third at the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky in 2010.

The U.S. will have only a team of three competing at the Olympics as it failed to qualify an individual within the period by March 1. Great Britain, Germany and The Netherlands each qualified individuals in addition to their three-member teams.

The request by Steffen to be excused from the trials was filed with the U.S. Equestrian Federation in late March.

However, the rules also require a veterinary examination with an Olympic team selector present.

The veterinary exam of Ravel, a 14-year-old KWPN gelding (Contango x Hautain x Democraat), is scheduled for May 21.

The USEF said that the vet exam and other criteria for a bye must be approved by the USEF High Performance Dressage Committee that has not yet set a date for a meeting after the May 21 vet exam.

Steffen had said earlier he hoped for a decision on a bye to be made by the end of April.