Proven Performers In Lead Halfway in USA Olympic Trials
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
GLADSTONE, New Jersey, June 10–Proven performers Tina Konyot and Calcto V and Todd Flettrich and Otto, 2010 World Equestrian Games team mates, took the lead Sunday halfway through the United States Olympic selection trials, while Steffen Peters and his backup horse, Legolas, were at the top of the national championship standings.
Jan Ebeling and Rafalca, with three World Cup Final appearances on their record, were third in the Olympic standings while Adrienne Lyle and Wizard moved up to fourth place with three-time Olympian Günter Seidel and Fandango were in fifth place.
Adrienne of Ketchum, Idaho, made the biggest jump in the overall standings after a rocky start.
Heather Blitz and Paragon, who came into these trials ranked among the top American combinations, improved on Sunday compared with Saturday’s Grand.
Both Adrienne and Heather are contenders for a place on the squad of six pairs that will go to Europe.
The Grand Prix Saturday and the Olympic Grand Prix Special Sunday in the first of two weekends of trials to select three combinations to join Steffen Peters and Ravel on the three-member team and fill one individual place for the Games that start in London on July 27. Because of their past record, Steffen and Ravel have been excused from the selection trials and will fly from his San Diego, California, base in another week to join the team preparing to leave for London.
The selection trials are embedded within the U.S. championships. Each of the two Grand Prix and two Special scores–there is no Freestyle–count for 25 per cent of the total. These head-to-head trials for which horses and riders had to qualify based on scores in CDI3* and above for more than a year are the final procedure to choose the squad for the Olympis.
The United States qualified a team at the 2010 WEG in Kentucky and this weekend was assured of an individual place, joining host Great Britain, Germany and The Netherlands with four places in the dressage that begins at London’s historic Greenwich Park with the Nations Cup on Aug. 2.
The Special was the first time that Steffen Peters and the 10-year-old Westfalen gelding (Laomedon x Fürstin x Florestan II) that he has been riding only since last Christmas succeeded with the one-tempis on bth the diagonal and the centerline and were scored 77.933 per cent.
“It’s too soon to really open the throttle on him,” he said, “but he felt fabulous, very relaxed and supple.”
The piaffe and passage that has become the horse’s trademark was in evidence Sunday, but Steffen said Legolas offers 100 per cent that he has to tone it down a bit at this stage. Legolas will be part of the group heading to London as a backup for Ravel, the horse on which Steffen was fourth individually at the 2008 Beijing Games, won two individual bronze medals at the 2010 WEG and was World Cup champion in 2009. Both horses are owned by Akiko Yamazaki.
Tina Konyot of Palm City Florida said the ride on Calecto, the 14-year-old Danish Warmblood (Come Back II x Bahera x Rastell), was the best she had experienced in the competition arena but the black stallion felt even better in training. They were awarded a score of 76.667 per cent to put the pair at the top of the standings.
The result was the highest ever for the partnership in a Grand Prix or a Special but the ground jury included four American judges and retired German judge Uwe Mechlem. Janet Foy of the U.S. scored Tina and Calecto higher than Steffen and Legolas.
“He was so honest and in front of the leg and very elastic–just like a big gummy bear,” she said.
The score for Todd Flettrich of Wellington, Florida and Otto of 73.067 per cent was also their best at the Special.
“Otto is getting a bit older and I’m getting older,” he said of the 16-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding (Rambo x Jubl x Rampal), “but we’re getting better like a good bottle of wine.”
He said they have shortened the warmup and implemented a major maintanance program including aquatread that has been beneficial. They also discovered that Otto is allergic to beet pulp so changed his feed, too.
Standings after two of four rounds in the U.S.National Championships (Olympic qualification ranking–excluding Steffen Peters and Ravel who were excused from these trials):
1. Steffen Peters/Legolas (NA) – 38.499
2. Tina Konyot/Calecto V (1) – 37.364
3. Todd Flettrich/Otto (2) – 36.054
4. Jan Ebeling/Rafalca (3) – 35.894
5. Adrienne Lyle/Wizard (4) – 35.512
6. Günter Seidel/Fandango (5) – 35.155
7. Heather Blitz/Paragon (6) – 34.484
8. Pierre St. Jacques/Lucky Tiger (7) – 34.425
9. Shawna Harding/Come on III (8) – 34.378
10. Susan Blinks/Robn Hood (9) – 33.984
|Class: 5 – FEI Olympic Grand Prix Special||Ring: Brown Arena|
|E: Mechlem – GER||H: Foy – USA||C: Lamping – USA||M: Zang – USA||B: Gurney – USA|
|Konyot, Tina||USA||Calecto V||76.111%||2||78.667%||1||75.889%||2||77.556%||2||75.111%||2||76.667%||2|
|St Jacques, Pierre||USA||Lucky Tiger||69.667%||8||69.111%||9||71.556%||5||70.889%||7||68.333%||10||69.911%||8|
|Harding, Shawna||USA||Come On III||69.222%||9||70.111%||7||70.667%||7||68.667%||9||68.778%||7||69.489%||9|
|Blinks, Susan||USA||Robin Hood||68.889%||10||68.222%||10||67.556%||12||66.889%||11||68.556%||9||68.022%||10|
|Sammis, Lauren||USA||Sagacious HF||67.000%||11||67.889%||13||68.667%||11||65.111%||14||65.111%||14||66.756%||12|
|Parra, Cesar||USA||Van the Man||64.667%||15||62.333%||15||63.667%||15||62.556%||15||63.444%||15||63.333%||15|