With three selection trials left to go, the WEG picture for Team USA is anything but clear, and there’s a lot riding on Bromont, Bramham and Luhmühlen as pairs look to earn a ticket to Normandy. Which riders have already put themselves on the map this season? And which still need a good go to be considered for the team? Let’s break it down.
Nothing Left to Prove:
Sinead Halpin and Manoir de Carneville: Pack your bags, Tate. A fourth-place finish at Rolex and a proven record in Europe means their spot on the team is all but certain. Kudos to Sinead for showing that patience is a virtue when it comes to making a championship team.
Buck Davidson and Ballynoe Castle RM: Buck and Reggie can do no wrong this season and have been incredibly strong with every outing. A third-place finish at Rolex shows they are on a hot streak in a year that counts big time.
Marilyn Little and RF Demeter: The show jumping record leaves some doubt as to whether they can jump clear on a day that really matters, but Demi’s four-star dressage scores are improving with every outing, and she’s a lock to go clear on cross country.
Lauren Kieffer and Veronica: The mare has just one four-star under her belt, but she made it a memorable one by placing second at Rolex on a very internationally competitive score of 46.7. Lauren and Troll are unproven in Europe, but you can’t argue with their performance in Lexington.
Trading Aces: The horse has proven himself over and over this year, most recently finishing eighth at Rolex with Phillip Dutton in the irons. But Boyd Martin hasn’t competed the horse since March, which makes the situation a bit muddled. Technically the selectors could name either Boyd or Phillip to the long list with the horse. Now things are getting interesting.
Kim Severson and Fernhill Fearless: Sparky did everything right in his four-star debut at Rolex, and he’s now been successfully vetted twice in consideration for the WEG team. With Kim in the irons, this pair is right in the hunt for Normandy.
Jan Byyny and Inmidair: They’ve kept the hot streak alive since winning Fair Hill CCI3* last fall, and a seventh place finish at Rolex shows Jan means business. The only mark against them is they’re unproven together in Europe.
Doug Payne and Crown Talisman: Saumur counted as a selection trial, and it would be unwise to discount Doug and Tali’s sixth-place finish there. While the horse is unproven at the four-star level, remember it ultimately comes down to which horses are sound at the end of July. They’re definitely in the hunt.
Need a Good Go:
Phillip Dutton and Mighty Nice: Phillip announced earlier today that he’s withdrawn Mr. Medicott from WEG consideration to give the old tendon injury time to heal up properly. That leaves Mighty Nice as his sole ride for WEG, Trading Aces not withstanding. Happy just finished second in the Virginia CIC2* as his final prep run for Luhmühlen.
Boyd Martin and Otis Barbotiere: Boyd and Otis have already been named to one championship team at the London Olympics, but the horse hasn’t competed at the four-star level since then, making Luhmühlen do or die. Otis also isn’t qualified for WEG due to not competing last year, so Germany is all important.
Boyd Martin and Shamwari 4: Shammie is also not qualified for WEG due to just coming into Boyd’s program at the beginning of this year. They’re partnership is still pretty unconfirmed due to Boyd cracking his leg in half at a very inopportune time, but a solid showing at Luhmühlen could change everything. No pressure, Boyd.
Clark Montgomery and Loughan Glen: Clark and Glen showed just how good they can be with a knockout 33.3 dressage score at Badminton. But the grueling course there did nothing to help answer the questions about Glen’s fitness, so they’re looking to settle the score once and for all at Luhmühlen.
Clark Montgomery and Universe: Clark is re-routing Buzz to Bramham CIC3* after retiring at Badminton, and this event is also considered a selection trial. Considering Buzz’s proven track record at four-stars in the past, they’re one good finish away from being right in the mix.
Lynn Symansky and Donner: After a stellar season last year, Lynn has had nothing but bad luck so far this spring, and she needs a good go in the CIC3* at Bromont to be in serious consideration for the team. Unfortunately, she’ll be riding with a very sore leg after Donner stepped on her when they parted ways at Jersey Fresh.
Tiana Coudray and Ringwood Magister: Certainly one of our more experienced combinations, Tiana expected to make her case for the WEG team at Badminton. And in a way she did, ending the weekend as one of the pairs just lucky enough to finish the course. But that likely wasn’t the outcome the selectors wanted to see. Finn is not on the entry list for Bramham.
What other horses and riders would you put on the list for WEG consideration? Weigh in with a comment below.
Update: Allison Springer and Arthur are not currently qualified for WEG, as they did not compete at any of the selection trials last year and did not receive a qualifying score at Rolex due to a runout on cross country. Arthur is not entered in any of the three remaining selection trials, though Bromont entries close today, May 27.