America’s Top Three Combinations Head to 2nd of 3 Olympic Trials With More USA Pairs In World Top 25 In At Least 7 Years

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Steffen Peters and Legolas. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Steffen Peters and Legolas. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

June 1, 2016

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

America’s top three riders and horses on Wednesday head into the second of three Olympic selection events in Europe with four United States combinations in the world top 25 for the first time in at least seven years.

Steffen Peters on Legolas at No. 7 on the FEI–International Equestrian Federation–rankings at the end of May, at No. 17 on Rosamunde and Laura Graves on Verdades at No. 13 as well as Arlene “Tuny” Page on Woodstock and Günter Seidel on Zero Gravity are competing at the Den Goubergh CDI4* at Roosendaal, Netherlands beginning Friday.

Kasey Perry-Glass on Dublet moved up to No. 24 from 29th boosted by their results at the first observation event in France two weeks ago and is not competing this week.

With the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro just two months away, the four American horses and riders in the top 25 is the most since the FEI launched its digital database in mid-2009. The dressage ranking system underwent a major overhaul a decade ago

Another three American combinations that also competed in France are in the top 50–Allison Brock on Rosevelt at No. 34, “Tuny” Page on Woodstock at No. 49 and Shelly Francis on Doktor at No. 50. That matches the number in June last year as the only other month with seven U.S. pairs in the top 50 since the digital database was started. The dressage ranking system underwent a major overhaul a decade ago that make comparisons difficult with earlier years.

The Roosendaal CDI4* will be followed later this month by the Nations Cup and a CDI3* at Rotterdam at which all seven American riders and nine horses will compete to determine the team of four combinations and reserves to go to Rio.

Steffen of San Diego, California told dressage-news.com that Legolas and Rosamunde had an uneventful trip to Europe and arrived at the U.S. training center in Belgium “with lots of energy.”

Mikala Gundersen, the Wellington, Florida-based Danish team rider, will also compete at Roosendaal in preparation for the Danish Championships and the Rotterdam and Aachen, Germany events that will decide Denmark’s Olympic team.

Fiona Bigwood on Orthilia, the second highest ranked combination for Great Britain behind Carl Hester on Nip Tuck, heads up a big British contingent. Charlotte Dujardin has not competed Valegro since the European Championships last August as they focus on the Olympics with the aim of repeating their gold medal performance at the 2012 London Games.