The short list to determine the United States Equestrian Team (USET) Dressage squad for the World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Jerez, Spain was named today.
The five riders and horses that will go to Europe for further training before competing in the WEG in September are: Debbie McDonald of Hailey, ID, and Brentina, owned by Parry and Peggy Thomas; Guenter Seidel of Del Mar, CA, with Nikolaus, owned by Dick and Jane Brown; Sue Blinks of Wellington, FL, and Flim Flam, owned by owned by Fritz Kundrun and Dressage Sponsor Corporation; Lisa Wilcox of Thousand Oaks, CA, with Relevant, owned by Gudula Vorwerk and Dr. Claus Crone-Munzebrock; and Christine Traurig of Carlsbad, CA, with Etienne, owned by Kelly Trierweiler. Steffen Peters of Escondido, CA, with Grandeur, owned by Robert and Lila Kommerstadt actually qualified in sixth place but removed themselves from the selection process leaving five riders to vie for the U.S. team.
The final selections were made following four days of Dressage Trials that took place over two weekends at the USET Headquarters and Olympic Training Center in Gladstone, NJ, June 1-2 and June 8-9. The first day of competition consisted of a Grand Prix class to count for 30% of riders’ overall selection trial score with the Grand Prix Special accounting for 25% the next day. There was a second Grand Prix on the following Saturday, again representing 30%, and the remaining 15% of riders’ scores were taken from the Freestyle on the final Sunday. The Trials also served as the 2002 USET Grand Prix Championship. The Grand Champion was Debbie McDonald and Brentina and the Reserve Champion was Guenter Seidel and Niklaus 7.
McDonald finished first overall, but finished second in the Freestyle after Brentina stumbled while trotting down the diagonal.
“I didn’t know what happened,” said McDonald. “I found out later that she spooked from a photographer. It was very scary, it was a very big stumble, but then she felt fine.”
Seidel won the Freestyle class riding Nikolaus 7 and came in second overall. Seidel was pleased with his final showing.
“The test for the most part lived up to my expectations,” said Seidel. “There were some parts that were a little disappointing, that I need to work on, but overall, I am very pleased with my results.”
Lisa Wilcox and Relevant, chose to qualify by competing in Europe. Her score of 74.299% was the necessary 2% above the fourth place competitor in Gladstone and therefore made the short list.
Three competitors withdrew their horses from the trials due to various medical reasons. Tom Noone, Shelly Francis and Betsy Steiner.
Images copyrighted: Mary Phelps