|By Joanie Morris, courtesy of the USEF|
|Lexington, KY – Thirty-three of the country’s best riders are going to line-up for a nod to represent the United States at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. The Road to Lexington will run through the Winter Equestrian Festival when the USEF Selection Trials for Show Jumping grace the International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Club. Five trials over 11 days means an action-packed time in Wellington, FL – further highlighted by America’s only Nations Cup which will be held on Friday, March 5 during CSIO4* week.
The field includes all four riders from the Gold medal-winning team at the 2008 Olympic Games. Will Simpson, McLain Ward, Beezie Madden and Laura Kraut will all be vying for spots on back-to-back teams. Only Kraut will ride her horse from 2008 – Cedric. The diminutive grey with an ever-growing fan club will be jumping with a heavy heart as his owner, Peter Wetherill, passed away last week. His obituary is available here: http://www.usef.org/_IFrames/newsdisplay/viewPR.aspx?id=5371.
Ward will rely on Sagamore Farm’s Rothchild in the Trials – as his unstoppable champion, Sapphire, was named by the USEF Ad HOC Committee on Selection to the long list for the2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. Sapphire jumped into the record books last year with immaculate performances from coast to coast throughout the year. Read more about this here: http://www.usef.org/_IFrames/newsdisplay/viewPR.aspx?id=5372.
Madden added Individual Bronze to her Team Gold with Authentic in 2008 – one of the most clutch horses in history. Madden and Ward were also on the 2004 Gold medal winning team in Athens and on the Silver medal winning team at the 2006 FEI World Equestrian Games, where Madden added Individual Silver. Madden will ride Danny Boy, Mademoiselle, and Coral Reef Via Volo in the Trials.
Simpson has Linda Smith’s Archie Bunker in the fold for 2010. Simpson brought his entourage east from his California base to prep for the trials in Florida. His wife Nicole Shahinian-Simpson also has two horses entered.
The California invasion has plenty of depth in addition to the Simpson family. Richard Spooner and Cristallo are always in the hunt as are Rich Fellers and the Irish Sport Horse stallion Flexible (who is owned by Harry and Mollie Chapman). The woman with the biggest breakthrough year in recent memory in 2009 is back on a mission in 2010 and 24-year-old Ashlee Bond will jump superstar Cadett 7 and Chivas Z in her first selection trials for a championship.
At the conclusion of the Trials, per the USEF Selection Procedures nine horse/rider combinations will be named to the USEF Long List based on their final overall placing from the USEF Selection Trials for Jumping. There are also up to six places on the long list available at the recommendation of the USEF selectors. A total of 15 horse/rider combinations will be named on Monday, March 5, 2010.
For a complete list of entries, selection procedures, coverage, photos and all the info on the best show jumpers in the US, please visit: http://www.usef.org/_IFrames/breedsDisciplines/discipline/alljumping/sjSelectionTrials.aspx or www.clubequestrian.com.
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