One thing is clear: the Team is sending its riders to Rolex. In the past, the USET has sometimes elected to send horses to spring 3*’s, but if you want to ride in Kentucky this fall, it looks like you’re going to have to ride in Kentucky this spring. Even though the WEG track will look very different from Rolex (except for a few shared elements), it makes sense to give the horses a feel for the environment and setting. The WEG course will also be bigger than Rolex, so we might as well see who can handle 4* size and technicality now.
Will C. and Twizzel (5th Luhmuhlen CCI4* 09)
Buck and BallyNoe Castle RM (11th Burghley 09, 15th Rolex 09)
Boyd and Neville (9th Rolex 08)
Phillip and TruLuck (4th Burghley 09, 9th Rolex 07)
Phillip and Woodburn (12th Rolex 09, 9th Rolex 08)
Amy and Leyland (14th Burghley 09, 13th Rolex 09)
11 out of 14 B-listers are entered:
Stephen and Brandenburg’s Joshua (10th Rolex 09, 4th Rolex 08)
Phillip and Waterfront (24th Rolex 07)
Buck and My Boy Bobby (3rd Rolex 09)
Phillip and Connaught (7th Rolex 09, DQ Olympics, 1st Rolex 08, 2nd Rolex 07)
Phillip and Kheops du Quesnay (none, unless he did one before PD got him)
Will F. and Pawlow (none)
Kristi Nunnink and R-Star (none)
Karen and Mandiba (E Burghley, 44th Olympics)
Allison and Arthur (E Burghley 09, 14th Rolex 09, 13th Rolex 08)
Amy and Coal Creek (none)
Jennifer Wooten-Dafoe and The Good Witch (31st Burghley 09, MR Rolex 09, 7th Rolex 08, 11th Pau 07)
As a trivial experiment, taking the highest placed horses at 4*’s would yield a four horse team of Connaught (1st Rolex), My Boy Bobby (3rd Rolex), Brandenburg’s Joshua (4th Rolex), Twizzel (5th Luhmuhlen) because PD isn’t allowed to take 2 horses. Thankfully, that’s not how selection works…I think.
If riding around a four-star in front of tens of thousands of people isn’t enough pressure, consider that a team spot is on the line, a position which represents an incredible personal achievement, big sponsorships, recognition for the horse, and, most of all, that red jacket. The WEG selectors will take countless factors into consideration, but their memory of how each pair looked at Rolex, around the biggest course, on the biggest stage, on the WEG facilities, will surely have a huge impact on their selections.