Ebeling and Koford Confirmed as U.S. Representatives at 2012 World Cup Finals
California based Jan Ebeling and North Carolina based James Koford have been confirmed as the official U.S. representatives at the 2012 World Cup Finals in 's Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands, 18 - 22 April 2012.
For the North American League the highest average score counts for World Cup Final qualification while in Europe riders have to earn points by competing in a series of qualifiers. Several American Grand Prix riders chose not to declare for the 2012 World Cup Finals. Neither Steffen Peters nor Adrienne Lyle were willing to make the journey to Europe to save their horse for the road to the Olympics. The same counts for Canadian World Cup top scorer Ashley Holzer who opted not to make the journey.
For 49-year old James "Jim" Koford the 2012 World Cup Finals will be his first ever major championship representation for team U.S.A. He will be riding his student Hannah Holland Shook and Mitzi Presnell's 13-year old Belgian warmblood gelding Pharaoh (by Ferro x Carneval). Koford is confident that he will put up a good fight in 's Hertogenbosch with Pharaoh.
"I feel strongly about my horse. I don’t think of it as filling one of the requisite number of slots for North America. I believe Pharaoh could put in a strong showing," Koford told Dressage-News I am absolutely confident we can hold our head high. He’s a scrappy little street fighter who will go in there and just light up."
Koford is relishing the opportunity to represent his native country abroad. "The clock is ticking," said Koford, who spent the summer of 2010 training with Michael Klimke in Germany. “In Europe, all the people my age were retiring. I’m just getting going. I made a pact with myself–like President Obama said, ‘if not now, when.’ Before you know it, you’ve got gray hair. It is really, really time.”
The 53-year old Jan Ebeling qualified his 15-year old bay Oldenburg mare Rafalca (by Argentinus x Rubinstein) for his third World Cup Finals. The bay mare is owned by Ebeling's wife Amy in partnership with Beth Meyer and Ann Romney, wife to the Republican candidate Mitt Romney who is in the running to face Barack Obama in the U.S. presidential campaign.
Ebeling plans to stay in Europe to train with his long-time euro-coach Wolfram Wittig and compete in Europe before returning to the USA for the National Championships and Dressage Olympic Selection Trials held in Gladstone, NJ, in June.
Ebeling’s partnership with the Romneys began when the couple was living in Utah while Mitt was overseeing the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City. Jan was traveling to Salt Lake City to do clinics and Ann began to ride with him. At the time, Ann’s multiple sclerosis was so severe she could only ride for five minutes. But Ann was determined to ride. “What willpower,” Jan told Dressagedaily. Romney credits riding and dressage for helping her MS which is now in remission, and shares with her good friends in supporting one of America’s leading Dressage riders in his Olympic dream.
Photos © Phelpsphotos.com - Astrid Appels
Eurodressage Coverage of the 2012 World Cup Finals