Three Olympic Combinations Among at Least 12 USA Riders Seeking to Qualify for World Cup Final

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Jan Ebeling on Rafalca in their third World Cup Final at Leipzig, Germany in 2012. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Jan Ebeling on Rafalca in their third World Cup Final at Leipzig, Germany in 2012. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Jan. 15, 2014

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

Three Olympic combinations are among more than 12 United States riders and horses declaring the intention to seek one of two starting places reserved for North America at the World Cup Final in Lyon, France in mid-April.

The lineup is the largest since Steffen Peters and Ravel won the World Cup in 2009, but three leading California pairs are absent–Steffen and Legolas, Kathleen Raine and Breanne and Günter Seidel and Coral Reef Wylea. They told dressage-news.com their efforts are focused on the World Equestrian Games to be held in Normandy, France in summer.

The three 2012 Olympic combinations are Jan Ebeling of Moorpark, California and Rafalca as well as his new prospect Rassolini, Tina Konyot of Palm City, Florida and Calecto V and Adrienne Lyle of Hailey, Idaho and Wizard.

Others declared their intention to the U.S. Equestrian Federation are:
Heather Blitz of Boston and Paragon
Barbi Breen-Gurley of Los Osos, California and Vindicator
Susie Dutta of Wellington, Florida and Currency DC
Shelly Francis of Loxahatchee, Florida and Doktor & Danilo
Catherine Haddad-Staller of Califon, New Jersey and Mane Stream Hotmail
Chris Hickey of Colora, Maryland and Douglas Hilltop
Cesar Parra of Whitehouse Station, New Jersey and Van the Man
Rebecca Rigdon of San Diego, California and Solei
Caroline Roffman of Wellington and Her Highness & Sagacious HF
Lauren Sammis of South Orange, New Jersey and Lombard V

The United States and Canada make up the World Cup North American League for which two slots of the total of 18 places are reserved at the Final, the only annual championship for dressage.

Four of the nine World up qualifiers in North America–all of them in the United States–have already been held for the 2013/14 season with three in Florida and two in California still scheduled by the end of March.

Canada has held no World Cup events since the 2011/12 season.

The World Cup is made up of four leagues–Western Europe, Central Europe and the Pacific Leagues as well as North America.

A declaration by the riders does not obligate them to compete in qualifying competitions or to accept an invitation for the Final if they are among the top two finishers.

North American riders can qualify with a minimum of two Grand Prix Freestyle results that are averaged to determine the standings. The two European leagues award points while the Pacific League holds a head-to-head league final.

Since 2009 when Steffen and Ravel became only the second American combination to capture the title, North America’s involvement has been checkered.

In 2010 there were no participants from North America. In 2011 Jan Ebeling and Rafalca and Shawna Harding and Come On III represented North America while Catherine Haddad-Staller, resident in Germany, were invited as an “additional” rider with Winyamaro. The two pairs from the U.S. competed in 2012 while in 2013 the Canadians Jacqueline Brooks and D Niro and Jaimey Irwin and Lindor’s Finest were the two combinations.

This season combinations from Denmark, Australia, Ecuador and Korea have competed in the North American League against Canadian and U.S. competitors but the World Cup rules are weighted against competitors in leagues outside their geographic continent.

A factor in North American involvement has been that European show organizers pay about $12,000 toward the cost that has required individuals to pay another $15,000 to $20,000 to cover expenses. The U.S. Equestrian Federation has indicated that some funding might be available this year.

Full costs for the dozen or so European pairs competing at the World Cup in Las Vegas, for example, are paid by the organizers, an issue that the Swiss-based International Equestrian Federation (FEI) has not addressed.