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Chris Kappler and Royal Kaliber Named to Olympic Show Jumping Team Short List

by Ben Sledge | Apr 29, 2004, 12:00 AM EST

The Committee on Selections of the United States Equestrian Federation, Inc., has approved the unanimous recommendation of the Show Jumping Selectors, and of the Show Jumping High Performance Committee, to name Chris Kappler to the “Short List” for the 2004 Olympic Equestrian Team.

According to the USEF Show Jumping Athlete Selection Procedures, it is possible for one or two horse/rider combinations to be named to the Short List by the selectors without competing in the Olympic Selection Trials.

The Selectors must make this decision unanimously and must base it on numerous factors, including but not limited to soundness of the horse, previous international experience and success of the horse/rider combination in international competition, and prospect of the horse/rider combination to win an Olympic medal.

In January, Chris Kappler was named the USEF “2003 Equestrian of the Year” at the organization’s annual convention in Los Angeles , California . He has over 30 career grand prix wins in North America and Europe . Chris and his mount, Royal Kaliber, represented the United States on the 2003 show jumping team which won the team gold medal at the Pan American Games in the Dominican Republic . They also won the individual silver medal at that competition.

Kappler made history in 2003 when, on consecutive weekends, he and Royal Kaliber won the $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational and the AGA Show Jumping Championship, becoming the first rider ever to win these two events back-to-back. Last year they also won the American Gold Cup and the prestigious Grand Prix at Devon , both in Devon , Pennsylvania . So far in 2004, the pair have won the $50,000 Bayer/ USET Foundation Wellington Cup CSI*** in Florida and were second in the $60,000 Idle Dice Classic also in Florida .

“I’m pleased that the Selectors and the Executive Committee accepted my recommendation to make Chris a discretionary choice for the Short List,” said Frank Chapot, Show Jumping Chef d’Equipe for the 2004 Olympic Games. “ Chris and Royal Kaliber are definitely a favoriteto win a medal in Athens .”

The Olympic Selection Trials will be held May 14 th and 15 th in Del Mar, California and on May 22 nd and 23 rd in San Juan Capistrano , California . Joining Kappler on the Short List will be two horse/rider combinations which will be named according to their final ranking in the Selection Trials. A third combination may be named in the same way, however, the Selectors may, at their discretion, choose the third rider subjectively.