US Olympic Dressage Team Selection Upended by Show Cancellations

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Adrienne Lyle and Salvino competing at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Florida. © 2020 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Mar. 18, 2020

The United States Olympic selection program has been upended by the coronavirus pandemic with the prospects of a European tour to determine the dressage team dimmed by the growing number of show cancellations. Among those off the schedule is a major jumping event in France the same time as a prospective dressage qualifier for the Americans also in France.

Californians Steffen Peters on Suppenkasper and Sabine Schut-Kery on Sanceo among others competed head-to-head against East Coast combinations at the Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida as required by the selection format.

The top scoring American combination of Adrienne Lyle and Salvino has competed only once in the selection time frame and the last week of the Global circuit that could have given her an opportunity for a required second result was canceled.

Only two international shows of at least CDI3* level–Tryon, North Carolina April 16-19 and Saugerties, New York June 11-14–are on the American calendar before final decisions on a Tokyo team are made. Tryon starts immediately after the current U.S. Equestrian Federation’s month-long embargo on shows that some officials fear could be extended.

At least one of the two European shows–Compiègne, France May 14 -17 and Aachen, Germany, June 1-7–designated as part of the selection process has been put in doubt with cancellation of the prestigious jumping Nations Cup at La Baule, France the same week as Compiègne.

The selection criteria includes naming up to eight combinations to a short list after April 26. The team of three riders and horses plus a reserve pair would be selected at mandatory events that could include at least one of the two European competitions.

The original schedule provided for the pairs selected for the team to return to the U.S. from Europe to be based in the New York area ahead of going to Tokyo.

Uncertainty over the U.S. team selection procedures comes after end of the competition career of Laura Graves and Verdades, the top American combination for the past three years.

The 2016 Olympic, 2018 World Games and World Cup partnership of Kasey Perry-Glass and Dublet is not known as the pair could have competed the last week of Global and at Tryon that would give them the two scores required for consideration for the European tour.

U.S. selection procedures as with most countries were drawn up well before the coronavirus outbreak and were designed to give riders plenty of time to prepare for competitions to earn a start at the Tokyo Games where dressage is scheduled for the last week of July.

Current official rankings of the top 8 with the Grand Prix Special average:
1. Adrienne Lyle & Salvino – (1 result) 80.170%
2. Steffen Peters & Suppenkasper (5 results) 76.298%
3. Olivia LaGoy-Weltz & Lonoir (3 results) 75.617%
4. Ashley Holzer & Mango Eastwood (3 results) 72.901%
5. Sabine Schut-Kery & Sanceo (3 results) 72.256%
6. Charlotte Jorst & Kastel’s Nintendo (2 results) 72.234%
7. Adrienne Lyle & Harmony’s Duval (3 results) 72.092%
8. Katherine Bateson-Chandler & Alcazar (3 results) 70.032%