The 2012 United States Olympic Show Jumping Team has been named! After the selection trials finished in Spruce Meadows toward the end of June, the Selection Committee nominated the following horse and rider combinations, including a reserve that will travel with the team and compete in the event something happens to a member of the team which requires them to withdraw.
Rider/Hometown/Horse/Sex and Age of horse/Owner
Rich Fellers/Wilsonville, OR/Flexible/Stallion and 16 years old/Harry & Mollie Chapman
Beezie Madden/Cazenovia, NY/Coral Reef Via Volo/Mare and 14 years old/Coral Reef Ranch
McLain Ward/Brewster, NY/Antares F/Gelding and 12 years old/Grant Road Partners
Reed Kessler/Lexington, KY/Cylana/Mare and 10 years old/Reed Kessler
(Reserve Rider) Charlie Jayne/Elgin, IL/Chill R Z/Stallion and 9 years old/Pony Lane Farm
As you can see, all but one of the horses is owned by a farm or group of owners. The sport of equestrian, especially at the Olympic level, is quite expensive. Many riders have sponsors that invest in them to help them pursue their dream.
For the first time since equestrian debuted at the 1900 Summer Olympics, the youngest rider is competing on the team. According to the United States Equestrian Federation (the governing body for Equestrian in the United States), riders have to be 18 years of age before the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics and Reed Kessler only just turned 18 eight days before them!
Reed had done exceptionally well throughout the trials that she deserved a spot on the team. She consistently placed in the top 10 against some of the best riders in the country. There is pressure on her, but she has faced stressful situations before and performed remarkably so there is definitely a medal in her future.
Taking place in Greenwich Park, the equestrian events have the benefit of an amazing backdrop of the London skyline. Riders compete both as a team and an individual.
Show Jumping competition has already began. For the first time ever, NBC is doing a live feed of every sport. This means that you can watch all the rounds online happening in real time by visiting here.
Tomorrow was the first individual and team qualifier, Sunday was the first team round and Monday is the second and final team round where medals will be awarded. Tuesday is an off day and Show Jumping concludes Wednesday with the final individual round.
Hopefully, the United States will bring home the team gold medal for the third Olympics in a row and McLain and Beezie will be on their third gold medal winning team. Go USA!