Following the completion of the first half of the Dressage competition, the Jumping horses got their first glimpse of the main arena as 90 horses from 26 countries were presented before the Ground Jury at the jog. The U.S. Team looked sharp under the care of veterinarian Dr. Tim Ober, farrier Dr. Todd Meister, physio Janus Marquis, and their grooms (listed below). George Morris is serving as Chef d'Equipe, he will retire at the end of 2012.
The U.S. Jumping Team is led by two-time Gold medalists Beezie Madden (Cazenovia, NY) and McLain Ward (Brewster, NY) who claimed Team Gold in 2004 and 2008 together will ride Coral Reef Ranch's Coral Reef Via Volo and Grant Road Partners' Antares F respectively in both horses' first Olympic Games.
Madden also won Individual Bronze in 2008 with Authentic. After his retirement she built a new superstar out of Coral Reef Via Volo. Together they won Team Gold and Individual Silver at the 2011 Pan American Games. They shared those Team honors with Ward and Antares F. Clark Shipley grooms for Coral Reef Via Volo, this is his third Olympic Games.
"She doesn't feel small to ride," said Madden. "She has a huge stride and a lot of scope. People are surprised when they walk up to her to see how small she is."
Ward was one of the most decorated Young Riders of his generation and has produced impeccable results at every turn since joining the senior ranks. He shattered his kneecap in January of 2012 and was surgically repaired by the late Dr. Craig Ferrel. Dr. Ferrel was part of the U.S. Olympic movement since working with U.S. Swimming in the 1980s. He joined the Equestrian Team in 1996. Devastatingly, he died as a result of injuries sustained in polo accident only a few months ago and has left an incredible hole in the U.S. Team.
Antares F and Ward proved they are back on pre-injury form when they won the Grand Prix of Devon in May. Diane Pupolo is grooming for Antares F at their first Olympic Games.
The streaking duo of Rich Fellers (Sherwood, OR) and the 16-year-old Irish Sport Horse phenom Flexible are looking poised to continue their run at an Olympic Games medal. Owned by Mollie and Harry Chapman, the diminutive chestnut stallion is the reigning Rolex/FEI World Cup Champion after an epic effort in s'Hertogenbosch in April. Flexible won all of the Observation Events he contested. Rachel Terleski is Flexible's groom.
Rounding out the U.S. squad is Reed Kessler (Lexington, KY). She stormed onto the U.S. Team with exceptional jumping results throughout the USEF Selection Trials and the following Observation Events securing her place as the youngest member of the U.S. Equestrian Team in history. She celebrated her 18th birthday in July. Kessler will ride Cylana in her first Olympic Games. Tracey Edge grooms for Kessler and Cylana. She also groomed for eventing rider Abigail Lufkin when she made her Olympic bid in 2000.
"Cylana is probably the easiest horse to ride here," said Kessler. "She has a lot of scope and is a dream horse for a kid like me."
Charlie Jayne (Elgin, IL) and Pony Lane Farm's Chill R Z are the traveling reserves, they too jogged up well in front of the Ground Jury. Jonathan Cohen grooms for Chill R Z.
Jumping competition gets underway on August 4th at 10:30 AM with the First Individual Qualifier.
Schedules, live results and information about Olympic equestrian competitors can be found here: http://www.london2012.com/equestrian/
With a cable, satellite or telco TV subscription that includes MSNBC and CNBC, you can access live and replay streams of EVERY Olympic event here: http://www.nbcolympics.com/liveextra/index.html
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