At 18, Kessler became the youngest Olympic show jumper when she competed in the equestrian event in London. Although she did not ride her mount, Cylana, to an Olympic medal, she brought attention to a sport that usually features older athletes. In fact, her teammates in the team show jumping event in London were: Beezie Madden (age 48), Rich Fellers (52) and McLain Ward (36). Now Kessler is back in the saddle and preparing for possibly many more trips to the Games.
Istanbul (TUR), 8 November 2012 – Lord Sebastian Coe, Chairman of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) has described equestrian as “one of the great Olympic sports”.
Lord Coe, who was elected as the new chairman of the British Olympic Association yesterday, addressed the FEI General Assembly in Istanbul (TUR) via video link today, congratulating the FEI and its President, HRH Princess Haya, on an “exceptional Olympic equestrian event” at London 2012.
“It would be remiss of me not to immediately congratulate the FEI President and all her team for helping us to deliver just an exceptional Olympic equestrian event,” he said. “Our opportunity to bring the sport into the city centre was one that we wanted to grasp with both hands and I want to thank Princess Haya and her Board for helping to do that in such an extraordinarily successful way.
“To have Greenwich Park, a park of historical importance anywhere in the world, but, within that park, to be able to stage one of the great Olympic sports, was really for me the icing on the cake.”
Lexington, Ky. – Reed Kessler, the 18-year-old equestrian phenomenon who became the youngest competitor in the 2012 Summer Olympics equestrian field and the youngest U.S. Equestrian Team member in history to take part in the games, will speak at the University of Kentucky Ag Equine Programs’ Distinguished Industry Lecture Series Nov. 15. Sponsored by Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, the event will take place at 6:30 p.m. EST in the Ag Science Building’s Seay Auditorium on the UK campus. It is free and open to the public.
Kessler, who now calls Lexington home, helped her team secure a sixth place finish in show jumping in the London games. She is also the current U.S. Equestrian Federation National Show Jumping co-champion.
Team USA lists Kessler’s other career highlights as winning the Show Jumping Hall of Fame Junior Jumper Championship at the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival and the bronze medal at the 2010 Adequan FEI North American Junior and Young Rider Championships.
Lexington, KY – United States Equestrian Federation Chief Executive Officer John Long has announced the development of a Blue Ribbon Panel that will assemble to evaluate the performances of the USEF’s High Performance teams within the global landscape of Olympic level competition. The Panel will consist of representatives from each of the Olympic disciplines, leadership from the USEF High Performance Program, the USET Foundation, and a member of the United States Olympic Committee NGB Council.
Long formed the Panel in an effort to review every aspect of the U.S. Olympic teams, including development and training programs, selection procedures, incenting greater owner participation, and all factors contributing to better positioning the United States in a changing global sport landscape. Long views the outcome of the recent U.S. Olympic effort as “a wake-up call,” and an opportunity to grow from the experience in London.
Lausanne (SUI), 16 August 2012 – FEI President HRH Princess Haya is proud to announce that London 2012 was a clean Games for equestrian sport, following confirmation that all human and equine samples taken during the Olympic equestrian events at Greenwich Park were negative.
“The FEI had a really steep mountain to climb after Athens and Hong Kong, but we had a clean Youth Olympic Games, a clean FEI World Equestrian Games and now we’ve crowned it with a clean Olympic Games in London,” Princess Haya said. “We knew that fair play and clean sport was the only way to produce top sport in the Olympic equestrian events and we are very proud that we have achieved that goal.
“The fact that all human and equine samples came back negative demonstrates the success of the FEI Clean Sport campaign, which has resulted in a major reduction in the number of positives in the Olympic disciplines over the past two and a half years.
Greenwich, UK – The equestrian competition at the 2012 Olympic Games ended today and the U.S. medal drought continued. Steffen Peters and Ravel carried the weight of a nation into main arena for the Freestyle, which would determine the Individual medals, and the most consistently clutch combination in U.S. Dressage history didn’t have the day they were hoping for.
Great Britain did.
Charlotte Dujardin scored a historic 90.089% on Valegro to win Individual Gold on the heels of the Team Gold she scored earlier in the week. That Gold was the first dressage medal ever won by Great Britain, Dujardin and teammate Laura Bechtolsheimer (on Mistral Hojris), who won Bronze, tripled that count in one afternoon. Adelinde Cornelissen and Parzival scored Silver for The Netherlands.
Ravel, who has been so reliable through the last four years, was visibly distracted during his test. Mistakes meant the mark suffered at 77.268%. This horse’s resume is clearly so much stronger. The 14-year-old KWPN gelding owned by Four Winds Farm was fourth individually at the 2008 Olympic Games; he won the 2009 Rolex FEI World Cup Final, the 2009 Aachen CDIO, won two Bronze medals at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games and has twice been the USEF National Grand Prix Dressage Champion. He’s a modern day legend for the American sport. But today was not his day.
London (GBR), 9 August 2012 – Great Britain’s new shining star, Charlotte Dujardin, brought the crowd to their feet and the London 2012 equestrian events to the perfect conclusion when securing the individual Olympic Dressage title as winner of the Grand Prix Freestyle this afternoon at Greenwich Park.
Last of the 18 to line out today, the 26-year-old rider scored a magnificent 90.089 to pin The Netherlands’ Adelinde Cornelissen and Parzival into silver medal position, while the host nation had even more to celebrate when Laura Bechtolsheimer and Mistral Hojris claimed the bronze.
On Monday, Dujardin was part of the team that claimed Britain’s first-ever dressage medals in the history of the Games, and golden ones at that. The sport is in an exciting period of change and suddenly, it seems from almost out of nowhere, the British are right on top of the game.
As the FEI Eventing Chairman, Giuseppe della Chiesa, said this afternoon, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, “Two golds for Germany in eventing, and two golds for Britain in dressage – the world has turned upside down!”
London (GBR), 9 August 2012 – FEI Secretary General Ingmar De Vos has spoken publicly for the first time about the Canadian team Jumping horse Victor, which was disqualified under the FEI’s hypersensitivity protocol shortly before the Olympic team competition in London on 5 August.
“Disqualification of an athlete will always spark speculation, but in the case of Tiffany Foster’s horse Victor the protocol established very clearly that this was an obvious case of hypersensitivity,” Ingmar De Vos said today. “This was a unanimous decision, supported by four highly qualified veterinarians who specialise in testing for hypersensitivity using a system that has been monitoring FEI competitions since 2005.”
“These have been really great Games, and all the equestrian disciplines at Greenwich have been very special. The spectacular sport and the fantastic crowds are the memories that we will take away from London 2012.”
Greenwich, UK – Rich Fellers and Flexible put in a valiant effort in the Individual Show Jumping Final at the Olympic Games and came up with a top 10 finish on just five faults. Swiss rider Steve Guerdat put forward an immaculate effort to take Gold on Nino des Buissonnets while Gerco Schröder’s clear jump-off round meant he takes Individual Silver home to Holland with the appropriately named London. Irishman Cian O’Connor would have stopped the clock quicker in that jump-off on Blue Lloyd 12 but had the very last fence down to settle for Bronze.
The United States was represented by both Fellers (Sherwood, OR) and McLain Ward (Brewster, NY) in the Individual Final. Ward rode Antares F to a 12-fault effort in Round A, putting a foot in the water in addition to lowering the heights of two of the fences on Bob Ellis’ track. Five faults was the cut off for the top 20 who qualified for Round B, so only Fellers returned to the ring.
“It was a great course,” said Ward after Round A. “It was hard but fair. At this point you’re starting to run on fumes. But my horse should have been better. I felt like I rode the course better today than I rode a Nations Cup so I was pleased with my riding. As always, I will look to see what I could have done better down the last line.”
London (GBR), 8 August 2012 – Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat claimed individual jumping gold at the London 2012 Olympic venue at Greenwich Park today when he was the only rider in the final competition to maintain a completely clean sheet in the two rounds. And in a thrilling two-way third-round jump off, The Netherlands’ Gerco Schroder pipped Ireland’s Cian O’Connor for silver.
Hopes had been high for a fairytale British ending to a week of fantastic jumping sport, but it wasn’t to be. And it was a very last-minute affair for O’Connor who only made the cut when Sweden’s Rolf-Goran Bengtsson’s stallion, Casall, was withdrawn after being sent to the holding box at this morning’s final veterinary inspection. This allowed the three riders sharing reserve spot to take their chance, and the Irishman grabbed the opportunity with both hands.
Bengtsson, silver medallist at the 2008 Beijing Games, was disappointed when he couldn’t compete. “I’ve been working towards this since Hong Kong, but the horse has to be my first priority,” he said. Swedish team vet Jonas Tornell explained, “Casall got a small injury on his left front leg during the second round of the team competition.”