Australia’s Kelly Layne and Samhitas Leave Wellington for Quarantine Stop in Germany on Way to Tokyo Olympics

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Australia’s Kelly Layne leading Samhitas at Wellington to begin the journey to the Tokyo Olympics. © 2021 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

July 2, 2021

Kelly Layne with Samhitas was heading to Europe Friday for a quarantine stop before going to Tokyo for the Australian rider’s first Olympics, starting in three weeks.

Kelly and the 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding, left her base in Wellington, Florida, with Samhitas and three other horses that she plans to compete in Germany after the Olympic dressage competition July 24-28. At the quarantine center in Aachen, Germany  she will join team mate, Simone Pearce with Destano. Mary Hanna with Calanta, the third team combination, will fly directly from Australia to Tokyo.

The Australian squad will be one of 15 nations in the Grand Prix that will try to be among eight moving to the Grand Prix Special that will determine team medals.

Kelly, 46, is no stranger to Tokyo. For the past 15 years she has traveled to the Japanese capital three times annually to coach as well as compete, including in summers with a sub-tropical climate more humid than she experiences in South Florida.

Her first Australian team event was on Amoucher at the 2006 World Equestrian Games in Aachen, Germany, that this year is the quarantine center for horses from Europe and the Americas. She campaigned Udon P for a place on the Australian team for the 2016 Olympics but withdrew the horse for fitness reasons while competing in Europe.

She acquired Samhitas in 2019, taking over the ride from the USA’s Endel Ots who had competed the Oldenburg gelding at the 2015 World Young Horse Championships.

At this year’s winter-long Global Dressage Festival in Wellington and in Tryon in April, Kelly and Samhitas started nine times for two victories and two other top three placings. The pair competed in the CDIO3* Nations Cup, her fourth team competition at Wellington in the past seven years.

Her husband, Steve, an American, is going with Kelly to Tokyo.

The USA team and two of four Canadian team combinations are scheduled to leave Saturday.