Lisa Wilcox Focuses Olympic Efforts On Galant After Pikko del Cerro Retires With Injury
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
WELLINGTON, Florida, Feb. 9, 2016–Lisa Wilcox focused her efforts Tuesday on the 10-year-old Galant as her Olympic prospect a day after the American-bred stallion Pikko del Cerro HU was retired from competition with an injury.
Galant, that Lisa began competing at international Grand Prix less than five months ago, is scheduled to start in the $250,000 CDI5* Thursday in the next step of their campaign to win a place on the squad of up to eight American combinations to go to Europe for final selection of the Olympic team.
Lisa and the Belgian Warmblood (Escuro x De Niro) were being coached by Ernst Hoyes, her long-time trainer, at the Adequan Flobal Dressage Festival show grounds.
Pikko del Cerro HU, the Hanoverian stallion bred and owned by Anne Sparks of Horses Unlimited of Albuquerque, New Mexico was retired from competition after the latest injury that knocked the horse out of contention for the Olympic team.
Lisa rode the German stallion Relevant on the U.S. bronze medal team at the 2004 Olympics, the silver medal team at the World Games in 2002 and silver at the open European Championships in 2003. In 2001 through 2003 she was ranked No. 2 or No. 3 in the world for a total of 15 months when she was based in Europe.
Pikko del Cerro became her main championship prospect in 2013 but the stallion sustained an injury that kept him out the competition arena for all of 2014. The latest injury led to the end of his competition career.
After competing Galant at Small Tour in 2014 and 2015, Lisa moved the horse up to CDI Grand Prix last September and in six starts has never scored below 70 per cent.
“Galant is coming along beautifully,” Lisa told dressage-news.com, “he continues to show improvements both in his training and in the show arena.
“Galant is a spectacular horse with amazing expression. Ernst and I are optimistic about his development in preparation for Rio.”
Galant does not mind the atmosphere of competing under lights in front of thousands of spectators as created at Global during the Fright night Freestyles.
“His biggest worries are the other horses in the warm-up,” she said.
“When he gets in the show arena he takes a deep breath and literally relaxes.”