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First - Jeremy Reynolds and A Kutt Above 8:16:03
Second - Wendy MacCoubrey and Reach For the Gold 8:16:05

Third - Becky Hart and No Repeat 8:16:09

USA Team Trial Results

(unnofficial)
1. #39 Jeremy Reynolds - A Kutt Above - 8:16:03

2. #32 Wendy MacCoubrey - Reach For The Gold - 8:16:05

3. #20 Becky Hart - No Repeat - 8:16:09

4. #38 Heather Reynolds - Riverwatch - 8:41:54

5. #33 Nicki Meuten - Not Tonight - 8:46:54

6. #6 Cody Boysen - Viktory Banner - 8:47:00

7. #2 Amy Atkins - DJB Juniper - 9:41:35

8. #46 Kim Tilsen - FYF Dutch - 9:48:03

9. #34 Ellen Olsen - SA Belshazzar - 9:48:05

10. #5 Melody Bittersdorf - Synthetic - 9:48:09

11. #47 Amy Whelan - Fury - 9:48:20

12. #28 Kelsey Kimbler - Cody Canuck - 10:04:21

13. #49 Jan Worthington - Serloki - 10:05:49

14. #44 Jennifer Stevens - Syrocco Cadence - 10:05:51

15. #37 Terry Rashid - Keen Sweep - 10:06:04

16. #14 Lisanne Dorion - Golden Lightning - 10:06:06

17. #43 Meg Sleeper - Syrocco Reveille - 10:06:07

18. #30 Christina Kimmery - DJB Jolly Roger - 10:21:05

19. #29 McCamey Kimbler - Elypitic - 11:06 (est)

2012 USA Team Trial

Saturday March 31 2012

It's something that hadn't been tried before: one 100-mile race pitting the best against the best, to see who's best. It's how Olympians are picked, pointed out head veterinarian Dwight Hooten, so it seemed like a logical method to choose the 2012 US Endurance team.

And while the finish rate of 40% was on par for an FEI international event, the results were at the same time predictable, disappointing, surprising, pleasing.


Chef d'Equipe Emmett Ross wanted to see speed, and better yet, negative splits (riding the last loops faster than the first loops), and above all, managing horses well throughout the ride. On a hot, humid day, on a deceptively challenging course, Ross saw it all: the good, the bad, and the unlucky.

Former World Endurance Champion Valerie Kanavy came to Mt Pleasant, Texas, the site of the USA Team Trial, with three horses and high hopes, and ended up with one finisher (proxy rider Wendy MacCoubrey on Reach for the Gold) and a broken rib (her own). Valerie's mount, My Wild Irish Gold, spooked on the first loop and dumped her. Seemingly fine, Valerie remounted after Jeremy Reynolds, riding A Kutt Above, caught her horse and helped her back on, but she came off again, and ended up going to the hospital with a possible concussion and broken ribs. "I should have used a stronger bit on that horse," Valerie said. "She was much stronger than usual!" Valerie was back at base camp later in the day, helping crew Wendy and Reach for the Gold to a second place finish...

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An impressive event

This event was not about 'racing'. It was about demonstrating the 'ability to race' - i.e. demonstrating speed on the trail and efficiency in the vetgate.

8:26 winning time = 11.86 mph = 19 km per hour - average speed. That's pretty darn fast .

The day was hot and humid - cloudy in the morning, but sunny all during the day. High temperature 86degrees, humidity ranged between 100% (start) and 45% at mid-day. So by these standards these were very impressive times.

The top three horses (and several others) looked fantastic at the finish, pulsed down quickly (as they did all day) and trotted out evenly and energetically. The impression was that they could have easily continued down the trail - which begs the question: how much faster could they have gone?

Most of the pulls were lameness - very few metabolic pulls (I'll have stats later). The course had some boggy areas, and soft 'punchy' areas through the woods - I heard several comments about the trail being tough and horses having some problems in the boggy areas. It was mostly flat, some rolling hills - a fast course.

Crandell elected to pull Heraldic after the second loop - he had lunged through one of the boggy areas and Crandell felt some strain in the horse's hind quarters - he came out of it ok, and vetted through with A's - but elected to withdraw Heraldic rather than aggravating any small injury Heraldic may have incurred.

Kanavy's horse spooked off the trail in the morning. She was riding talented younger horse that she was hoping to get qualified. Kanavy's fall resulted in a broken rib and minor concussion and the horse had some bruising but otherwise fine. The end of Kanavy's ride though.

There were many disappointments - but the overall attitude and energy of this event was exceptional. It felt calm, focused, very well run, and the riders seemed confident of their expectations. They knew why they were there, it was an even playing field, and they were entirely in charge of their own effort. The only absolute instructions from the USEF, with Emmett Ross at the helm as Chef d'Equipe, were: safeguard your horse.

From this group of horses, six will be shipped to England in August for the real race - the 2012 World Endurance Championship. The riders needed to finish in the top twenty to be on the USEF Training Team - but the trial was not about winning, it was about demonstrating the ability to win - when the stakes are much higher.

For those riders that had accidents, or elected to withdraw from the trial - it was a disappointment, but they can still be considered for the final USA team. Ross has three 'wild cards' in addition to the 20 member Training Team to draw his final team from. Kanavy and Crandell are top competitors with winning records, impressive crews and credentials. Even though they didn't qualify for the USEF Training Team they can still be selected as 'wild card' choices.

Those that did qualify for the Training Team will now be asked to manage their horses with the goal of representing the USA at the 2012 WEC in England. They will not have to attend any more races, though there will be a designated speed trial (approximately 30 miles, with 3 simulated veterinary holds) where the horse's fitness to race will be observed. The speed trials will be held within a few weeks, and in the vicinity of each rider so minimal traveling will be needed.

The USEF vets and selectors and Ross will be focused on this group of riders, with the goal of helping them be at their absolute peak of fitness and preparedness when it is time to select the final team. A group of 12 will eventually comprise the 'long list' - this will be the horses and riders that are submitted to the FEI for eligibility in mid-July. Ultimately six will be selected from this group to travel to England.

It was a good start!

Steph


USA Team Endurance Trial: The Drama Begins - Merri Melde

Friday March 30 2012

Just the gathering is a spectacle in itself: "It's the best collection of 100-mile horses the US has ever produced at one ride," said USA Chef d'Equipe Emmett Ross, at last night's party at base camp on the Preifert Ranch in Mt Pleasant, Texas. This extraordinary assembly of top endurance horses and riders is the CEI3* 160-km USA Trials, from which the 6-member team for the 2012 World Endurance Championships in Great Britain in August will ultimately be chosen. "The goal of all this," said Emmett, "is to have a place on the podium." 1998 in Dubai is the last time the US won a medal in the World Endurance Championships.

Final placing in tomorrow's race will be crucial: the top twenty finishers will be on the 'Long List' of riders from which the six team members will be picked. In addition, three 'Wild Cards' may or may not be chosen. One of those Wild Cards might be a good horse that has a bad day, or an up-and-coming horse or rider. Strategy will play a big part in the ride: How hard will you have to ride? Do you race as fast as you can, to assure a spot in the top twenty? Do you ride a more conservative ride and hope that the probable usual attrition rate of around 50% will push you up into the top twenty? "Ride to the best of yours and your horse's ability," said Emmett. "I want to see speed, but not speed at any cost. Think and ride professionally, manage your day well, don't succumb to race brain."

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USA Team Trial - The Movie!

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Stories:
The Drama Begins
The USA Team Trial
Videos

Yellow Rose

Deep in the Heart

  • Start video
  • Gate 1 video - Crandell
  • Gate 1 video - Crandell
  • Gate 1 video - Hart
  • Gate 1 video - Hart
  • Out on Trail #1
  • Water crossing on trail #1
  • Kimblers crewing Cody Canuck at vet check
  • Jeremy Reynolds & A Kutt Above and Becky Hart and No Repeat arrive at Vet Gate 4 together on the USA Team Trial
  • Jeremy Reynolds/A Kutt Above and Becky Hart/No Repeat going into vet gate 4 at USA Team Trial
  • Jeremy Reynolds & A Kutt Above and Becky Hart and No Repeat entering Vet Gate 4 on the USA Team Trial
  • Jeremy Reynolds & A Kutt Above and Becky Hart and No Repeat trotting out at Vet Gate 4 on the USA Team Trial
  • Front riders coming in off loop 5
  • Jeremy Reynolds and A Kutt Above out on trail