Lexington, KY – The 2012 Rolex/FEI World Cup Champions have not been in the ring in six weeks – but based on their performance in the Husky Energy Classic on Thursday night at Spruce Meadows in Calgary, it didn’t make any difference.
Rich Fellers and Flexible bested a field of 19 and made it look easy, stopping the jump-off clock at 51.237 to score victory by just less than a second over Beezie Madden and Coral Reef Via Volo. This class serves as the first half of the final Observation Event for the US Show Jumping Team for the 2012 Olympic Games.
Fellers and Flexible jumped one of only three first round clears over the 1.60m track designed by Bob Ellis, and scored their third consecutive victory in a USEF Observation Event. With Harry and Mollie Chapman’s 16-year-old Irish Sport Horse stallion, Fellers took top honors at two classes at Del Mar in May, but since then Flexible has been waiting for Spruce Meadows to return to the ring. It was a detour from his normal schedule but with selection for the 2012 Olympic Games on the line, so far for Fellers, it has paid off.
Lexington, KY – The fourth and final USEF Observation Event for the 2012 US Show Jumping Team highlights this week’s schedule at Spruce Meadows in Calgary. Eleven riders from the USEF Show Jumping Long List have one more chance to prove their mettle as they vie for a spot on the 2012 Olympic Team.
Thursday’s Husky Energy Classic serves as the first of the two classes designated by the USEF for observation, and the second is Saturday’s CN Performance Grand Prix. Both classes are held at 1.60m height.
Both classes will be shown live on www.usefnetwork.com, Thursday June 14th at 8 PM Eastern and Saturday, June 16th at 4:30 PM Eastern.
The leader of the Long List, based on her victory of the USEF Observation Event classes in March, is 17-year-old phenom Reed Kessler (Lexington, KY). The reigining co-National champion has been racking up clear rounds from Florida to Kentucky to Calgary. She arrived in Canada two weeks ago and already claimed the top honors in the 1.60 meter Spectra Energy Cup last week with her top ranked horse Cylana. It was her first win at the prestigious Spruce Meadows tournament. She will compete the 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare and Mika, a 12-year-old Selle Francais gelding, both owned by her family.
Calgary, Alberta – June 12, 2012 – After successful competitions at the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows and the Devon Horse Show, junior rider Abigail McArdle has now traveled to Spruce Meadows, one of the leading international events in the world. During the first week of show, McArdle piloted her top mounts Cosma 20 and Bravoman to excellent finishes in the Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers. She also traveled to Rocky Mountain Show Jumping for their June Classic, where she was victorious in the Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search with Apartico.
“The rings at Spruce Meadows are fabulous and my horses have been super consistent,” said McArdle. “It’s been cold and rainy here, but it’s helped because the horses have all stayed really fresh. The courses have been really difficult, and it’s very tough competition. It’s not like any other place where we show; I love being here. It’s such a wonderful experience and every class feels like it is really special.”
McArdle kicked off the week with a fourth place finish in the $5,000 – Gienow 1.40m Junior/Amateur Jumpers aboard Cosma 20, but stepped it up on Friday to finish second in the $10,000 Friends of the Meadows Junior/Amateur Jumpers with a double-clear effort. She also qualified for the jump-off on Saturday, placing third in the $10,000 ConocoPhillips Junior/Amateur Cup.
Lexington, KY – U.S. Show Jumping Chef d’Equipe George Morris will be undergoing treatment for prostate cancer this spring.
Morris will remain in his position of Chef d’Equipe and will stay closely involved with the program, the selection process and the riders even though he will be unable to travel to the Observation Events.
Lexington, KY – The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) announced today the four competitions which will host the 2012 US Show Jumping Team Observation Events. These events will play an important role in selecting the U.S. Show Jumping Team for the 2012 Olympic Games.
Following the USEF Selection Trials at the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival March 21-24, 2012, a Long List of athlete/horse combinations will be ranked. Any of these combinations wishing to continue in the Olympic Selection process will have to contest two of the four USEF Observation Events.
Spruce Meadows, Calgary, Alberta – History was made at Spruce Meadows Thursday with 16-year-old Caitlin Ziegler (USA) becoming the youngest ever winner of an FEI event in the Spruce Meadows International Ring. Riding her 13-year-old mare, Valencia, Ziegler bested an international field of 32 horse/rider combinations with a convincing double clear, and a 3-second margin of victory in a seven-horse jump-off in the 1.5m AON Cup.
“This is really unbelievable, I really am speechless. Winning here against these riders is very special,” said the beaming teen from Wisconsin. With names like Madden, Spooner, Millar, Simpson and Lamaze falling behind her in the final standings, Ziegler took time to relish the moment.
“I guess I should be worried about my job,” chuckled her coach Eric Lamaze, who finished sixth in the event with four faults in the jump-off and a slower time.
Earlier this season Caitlin Ziegler was recognized at Spruce Meadows for her commitment and dedication to the sport with and RSA scholarship. Clearly that dedication is paying off with her historic win.
Eventing In preparation of the London 2012 Olympic Games, the CIC2* Greenwich Park Eventing Invitational was held as the London Test Event. Piggy French of Great Britain lead from start to finish with DHI Topper W, finishing on her dressage score of 34.70 in front of the stunning backdrop of Greenwich Park. Michael Jung of Germany and River of Joy came in second, while Pippa Funnell of Great Britain and Billy Shannon finished third. Will Faudree and DHI Colour Candy were the top placed American pair, finishing in 21st place.
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Jumping Numerous U.S. riders were competing at Spruce Meadows over the holiday weekend. To start things off, U.S. riders interestingly took all of the odd places in the top ten in the 1.60m Great-West Life Cup. Leslie Howard finished on top with Utah while Mario Deslauriers and Diablo came in third. In the 1.45m Cargill Cup, Rich Fellers took top honors with McGuinness, while Richard Spooner and Quirino 3 came in a close second. McLain Ward and Rothchild came in second in the 1.50m RSA Cup. Ward then won the next class – this time in the 1.45m WESTJET Cup with Pjotter Van De Zonnehoeve. Deslauriers was second with Urico. Kristen Coe and Tristan jumped clean and fast to win the 1.50m Duncan Ross Cup.
The U.S. riders dominated the top ten of the 1.50m Talisman Energy Cup, and Ward took home another win, this time aboard Vocas. Deslauriers and Vicomte D were second while Spooner finished fourth. In the 1.60m RBC Financial Group Cup, Katherine Dinan and Vancouver were the top American pair finishing in third place. Ward continued his winning streak with Oh D’Eole in the 1.45m West Canadian Cup. In the 1.60m ESSO Challenge World Cup Qualifier, U.S. riders dominated the top three. Rich Fellers and Flexible scored a big win with clean, lightning-fast rounds. Deslauriers and Urico were second while Farrington and Uceko finished third.