Some nations have already announced team rosters for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, which kick off in about six weeks in Lexington, Kentucky. The United States isn't quite there yet, but we're getting closer.
On Tuesday, the US Equestrian Federation announced the jumping short list for the WEG. (Want to know how they got picked, and got some time to kill? You can read the entire 17-page selection-procedures document by clicking here.) The confirmed team of four horses and riders, plus the alternate, will be named from these "finalists", listed below in ranked order:
McLain Ward, 34, Brewster, NY, and Sapphire, a 15-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare owned by McLain Ward, Tom Grossman, and Blue Chip Bloodstock
Laura Kraut, 44, Middleburg, VA, and Cedric, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Happy Hill Farm
Lauren Hough, 32, Wellington, FL, and Quick Study, an 11-year-old French Warmblood gelding owned by Laura and Meredith Mateo
Mario Deslauriers, 44, New York, NY, and Urico, a 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Jane F. Clark
Candice King, 39, Wellington, FL, and Skara Glen's Davos, a 10-year-old Zangersheide gelding owned by Skara Glen Stables
Richard Spooner, 39, Agua Dulce, CA, and Cristallo, a 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by Show Jumping Syndications International
Rich Fellers, 50, Wilsonville, OR, and Flexible, a 14-year-old Irish-bred stallion owned by Harry and Mollie Chapman
McLain Ward, 34, Brewster, NY, and Rothchild, a 9-year-old warmblood gelding owned by Sagamore Farms
Beezie Madden, 46, Cazenovia, NY, and Mademoiselle, a 13-year-old Holsteiner mare owned by Abigail Wexner
Cara Raether, 30, North Palm Beach, FL, and Ublesco, a 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood stallion owned by Trelawny Farm.
As I write this, we're at the halfway point of the US dressage WEG selection trials, which are being held over two consecutive weekends at the US Equestrian Team Foundation headquarters in Gladstone, New Jersey, as part of the annual Collecting Gaits Farm/USEF Dressage Festival of Champions. Last weekend, the nation's top horses and riders contested the first of two Grand Prix tests as well as the Grand Prix Special. Tomorrow the second Grand Prix begins at 2:00 p.m. EDT, and the trials culminate Sunday with the Grand Prix Freestyle at 8:00 a.m.
The top-ranked combination, Steffen Peters and Ravel, has received permission to sit this one out -- but Peters will be on hand at Gladstone Sunday to do commentary. (And don't worry: Assuming he and Akiko Yamazaki's Dutch Warmblood gelding remain sound and healthy, Peters is on the team.) Finishing 1-2-3 in both tests last weekend were Tina Konyot on Calecto V, Katherine Bateson-Chandler on Nartan, and Todd Flettrich on Otto. Given USEF dressage techical advisor Anne Gribbons's statement to USDF Connection magazine that "usually it's one, two, three, four, five" -- meaning that, normally, the top four in the selection trials make the team, with the fifth-placed pair serving as alternate -- Konyot, Bateson-Chandler, and Flettrich will be fighting for all they're worth to stay atop the leader board.
For the first time, the USEF is streaming live coverage of the Festival of Champions (Saturday and Sunday classes only). View a few choice rides from last weekend that are archived on the site, check schedules and results, and watch live online (beginning at 8:00 a.m. Saturday) at USEF Live. Coverage also includes national Young Rider, Junior, and Brentina Cup championship competition.
I'll be at Gladstone this weekend, so I'll be bringing you more from the dressage WEG selection trials. Stay tuned.