USA SQUAD HEADS TO 1ST WORLD GAMES SELECTION TRIAL, JAN EBELING TAKES SPECIAL STEPS FOR RAFALCA

RafalcaJuly 1, 2014

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

The eight horses and riders battling for a place on America’s team at the World Equestrian Games were on the road Tuesday heading to the spectacularly beautiful Swarovski CDI4* show in the Austrian Alps for the first of two selection trials.

Seven of the Grand Prix horses that have been stabled in Belgium for the past week were making the 12-hour trek by truck but Rafalca ridden by Jan Ebeling was allowed to stay a relatively short distance away to limit stress on the 17-year-old Olympic team mount.

“She feels fine,” Jan told dressage-news.com before leaving Schloss Achleiten, the estate of Sissy Max-Theurer, an Olympic gold medalist, and her daughter Victoria Max-Theurer, who had hosted the American duo for the past several days.

“We felt it was really important to have some days to settle in as well as possible ahead of the competition in an effort to enable Rafalca to be at her best. We talked to the team about it. I know Robert (Dover) really wants us to be together to build team spirit but everyone said we should do what is best for the horses to perform at their best.”

Robert, whose official title is Technical Advisor/Chef d’Equipe, told dressage-news.com he and team veterinarian Dr. Rick Mitchell were with the other team riders and horse Tuesday morning loading up for the drive to Fritzens-Schindlhof.

In addition to Jan Ebeling of Moorpark, California and Rafalca, the other members of the U.S. squad are Shelly Francis of Loxahatchee, Florida and Doktor; Laura Graves of Geneva, Florida and Verdades; Tina Konyot of Palm City, Florida and Calecto V; Adrienne Lyle of Ketchum, Idaho and Wizard; Steffen Peters of San Diego, California and Legolas; Caroline Roffman of Wellington, Florida and Her Highness O and Lisa Wilcox also of Wellington and Denzello.

“I am looking forward to another great showing by our ever-improving United States squad,” Robert said.

The Americans aren’t the only riders and horses competing at the Swarovski show for a WEG appearance. Australians Hayley Beresford and Jaybee Alabaster; Briana Burgess and La Scala; Mary Hanna and Sancette; Kristy Oatley and Ronan and Louisa; Lyndal Oatley and Sandro Boy and Maree Tomkinson and Diamantina are using the show as the first of their country’s two selection events.

Great Britain’s Carl Hester, Germany’s Isabell Werth, Vici Max and others are also entered.

The squad of eight Americans were the top finishers at the United States national championships in Gladstone, New Jersey earlier this month.

After this event, a team of four horses and riders will be named for the Nations Cup at the World Equestrian Festival in Aachen, Germany, the premier horse show on the globe. The four not in the CDIO5* are entered to compete in the companion CDI4*.

Others lined up for Aachen are the four German team combinations of Matthias Alexander Rath and Totilas, Helen Langehanenberg and Damon Hill NRW, Isabell Werth and Bella Rose and Kristina Sprehe and Desperados FRH.

Plus, world No. 1 Charlotte Dujardin of Great Britain and Valegro that hold all three Grand Prix level records, and the top Dutch pair of Adelinde Cornelissen and Jerich Parzival.