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2004 Olympic Dressage Selection Trials Start This Weekend

by gaillardm | Jun 9, 2004, 12:00 AM

The 2004 Bayer/USET Foundation Festival of Champions, Presented by State Line Tack, Olympic Dressage Selection Trials, will be held over the next two weekends, June 12th and 13th and June 18th -20th, 2004 at the Oaks Blenheim in San Juan Capistrano, California. The USEF Grand Prix Championship at the Festival will serve as the Olympic Dressage Selection Trials to determine the “short list” for the rider/horse combinations for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

The following are the riders (three riders have qualified with two horses) who have qualified to compete in the 2004 Olympic Dressage Selection Trials:

*Debbie McDonald
Robert Dover
*Lisa Wilcox
Guenter Seidel
Tina Konyot
Robert Dover
Steffen Peters
Steffen Peters
*Lisa Wilcox
Arlene Page
Guenter Seidel
Leslie Morse
Carol Plough
Jan Brons
Cherri Reiber
*Susan Dutta
Gwen Blake
*Michael Barisone
Shelly Francis
*George Williams
Tami Crawford
FBW Kennedy
Nikolaus 7
Anna Karenina
Royal Diamond
G Tudor
Gumshoes DC
* not competing in Trials

To qualify for the selection trials, rider/horse combinations had to compete in a series of qualifying events held from August 2003 to June 6, 2004. Combinations were required to compete in a minimum of two qualifying competitions, completing the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special at one event and the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Freestyle in another one or more of these qualifying events. Rider/horse combinations also had to obtain FEI Certificates of Eligibility by competing in at least two CDI’s from January 2003 through June 6, 2004 and receive a minimum score of 63% from two foreign Olympic judges.

Debbie McDonald and Brentina finished the qualifying competitions ranked #1 with a score of 75.79%. The combination is not required to compete in the Trials because they were made a discretionary selection to the 2004 Olympic Dressage Team Short List. According to the USEF Dressage Athlete Selection Procedures, it is possible for a horse/rider combination to be named to the Short List by the selectors without competing in the Olympic Selection Trials.

To be considered as a discretionary selection, the combination must have been ranked in the top four in the USEF Grand Prix Rankings by June 6th, the conclusion of the qualifying period for the USEF Olympic Dressage Selection Trials. The Dressage Selectors, with the advisement of the Chef d’Equipe and coach must ascertain that by the combination not being named to the Short List as one of the top three, it would have a direct bearing upon obtaining the best qualified team for the Games. Debbie McDonald and Brentina are currently the ranked #2 in the world.

The top European qualified combination Lisa Wilcox and Relevant are ranked third in the top twelve qualifiers with a score of 73.46%. In accordance with the selection procedures for the 2004 Olympic Games Dressage Team, a combination may qualify in Europe and not return to the selection trials in the U.S. and still be named to the short list. Their qualifying score must be at least two percentage points higher than the fourth ranked combination at the conclusion of the trials. If Wilcox and Relevant’s score is higher than the fourth ranked combination from the trials, they will be named to the short list.

In addition to the Olympic Dressage Selection Trials, the Festival will also feature the USEF Intermediaire I Championship the final weekend of the trials, June 18-20, 2004.

To qualify for the Intermediaire Championship, rider/horse combinations had to compete in a minimum of two qualifying competitions held between late August 2003 and June 6, 2004. Combinations were required to compete in the Prix St. George and Intermediaire I at two events. They were also required to compete in at least one CDI and complete an Intermediaire Freestyle at any of the qualifying events.

The following are the top twelve qualified riders for the USEF Intermediaire Championship.

Steffen Peters - Marlando
Leslie Morse - Tip Top
Nicole Perry - Rubino Bellissimo
Heather Bender - Winwood
Michael Shondel - Wallaby
Catherine Morelli - Be Se
Courtney King - Lambada
Jennifer Hoffman - Petit Danseur
Silke Rembacz - Millennium
Gwen Blake - Nimbus
Heather Blitz - Arabella
Patricia Becker - Tsunami