USA Team of 3 & 1 Individual for London Olympics Decided

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USA dressage team members Tina Konyot, Jan Ebeling, Steffen Peters and Adrienne Lyle with coach Anne Gribbons. © 2012 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

GLADSTONE, Florida, June 16–The United States will send Steffen Peters and Ravel and Legolas, Tina Konyot and Calecto V, Jan Ebeling and Rafalca and Adrienne Lyle and Wizard for the team and one individual place at the London Olympics starting next month.

The four riders and five horses were selected from the top four finishes Saturday in the final competition of two weeks of selection trials as part of the U.S. Grand Prix Championships. At least one reserve combination will be sent and, according to the rankings, will be Todd Flettrich of Wellington, Florida and Otto.

The only rider with Olympic experience is Steffen Peters who rode at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and the 2008 Beijing Games.

Adrienne Lyle and Wizard. © 2012 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

The last of four competitions was marked by spectators celebrating with red foam rubber fingers emblazoned with the words “Dressage is #1” made famous by the national television show,  Stephen Colebert Report, that lampooned the sport, but has been embraced by dressage fans as bringing the sport into mainstream American life for a while, at least.

And the presence of Ann Romney, the wife of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and part-owner of Rafalca added to the air of celebration at the century-old U.S. Equestrian Team Foundation headquarters an our from New York.

The squad to be officially announced Sunday, is:

Steffen Peters, 47, of San Diego, California – Ravel is a 14-year-old KWPN gelding (Contango x Hautain x Democraat). They won two individual gold medals at the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Kentucky, only the second American to win the World Cup Final which they did in 2009 when they also became the only U.S. partnership ever to be crowned champion of the CDIO at the World Equestrian Festival in Aachen, Germany. The pair came fourth individually at the 2008 Bejing Olympics.

Steffen Peters and Legolas, U.S. Grand Prix Champions for 2012. © 2012 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Steffen Peters – Legolas, 10-year-old Westfalen gelding (Laomedon x Furstin x Florestan II) was bought as a successor to Ravel and arrived from Germany at Steffen’s stables last Christmas. Since then, the horse has competed in four CDIs in California and are ranked 17th in the world. The pair won the U.S. Grand Prix Championships in their first appearance this year.

Tina Konyot, 50, Palm City, Florida – Calecto V, 14-year-old Danish Warmblood stallion (Come Back II x Bahera x Rastell) were on the WEG team in 2010. Tina began competing Calecto at Grand Prix almost three years ago and since the world championships all but one of their nine competitions have been on the 2011 and 2012 Florida winter circuits.

Tina Konyot and Calecto V. © 2012 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Jan Ebeling, 53, Moorpark, California – Rafalca, 15-year-old Oldenburg mare (Argentinus x Ratine x Rubenstein) owned by Ann Romney, Amy Ebeling and Beth Meyer. The pair competed in three World Cup Finals, in Las Vegas in 2009, Leipzig, Germany in 2011 and ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands, this year. They have competed at the top European shows and are coached by Wolfram Wittig of Germany.

Adrienne Lyle, 27, of Ketchum, Idaho – Wizard, 13-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Weltmeyer x Pica x Classiker). Adrienne and Wizard competed in Europe in 2010. They competed for the first time this year on Florida’s winter circuit of 11 CDIs over three months.

Steffen said the highlight of this competition for him was the “life changing” success of Adrienne who is coached by Debbie McDonald, rider of Brentina and one of only two Americans ever to win the World Cup Final.

Anne Gribbons, the team coach, said that up to six horses will ship to England on July 9 after a final veterinary examination.

The Americans will be based about 90 minutes northeast of London in a private barn and will take part in an unofficial show at Hickstead open to all Olympians as a final warmup for the Olympics that starts with the team competition on Aug. 2 and ends with the individual freestyle Aug. 9.

The Stephen Colbert red foam fingers with Jan Ebeling and Rafalca that started it all. © 2012 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

The final results of the four competitions, two Grand Prix and two Olympic Grand Prix Specials, each of which counted for 25 per cent of the total:

1. Steffen Peters – Legolas – 77.653%
2. Tina Konyot – Calecto V – 76.873%
3. Jan Ebeling – Rafalca – 73.169%
4. Adrienne Lyle – Wizard – 72.558%
5. Todd Flettrich – Otto – 71.870%
6. Heather Blitz – Paragon – 70.384%
7. Günter Seidel – Fandango – 69.631%
8. Pierre St. Jacques – Lucky Tiger – 69.293%
9. Kathleen Raine – Breanna – 68.569%
10. Shawna Harding – Come On III – 68.449%
11. Susan Blinks – Robin Hood – 68.042%
12. Jim Koford – Rhett – 67.859%