Greenwich, UK - The four American horses presented before the Dressage Ground Jury in the main arena at the 2012 Olympic Games painted a picture of healthy composure. A mixture of experience and youth will represent the United States when the Dressage competition gets underway on Thursday with the Grand Prix. Ten teams and 20 individual will be representing their countries. The U.S. has drawn sixth. The four grooms, veterinarian Dr. Rick Mitchell, Physio Tom Meyers and Todd Meister and Steve Teichman of Chester Country Farriers ensured that the horses looked sound and healthy for the 2012 Olympic Games. Eva Salomon is the Chef d'Equipe and Anne Gribbons serves as the Technical Advisor. The following three riders will represent the U.S. on the Team:
The veteran duo of Ravel and Steffen Peters (San Diego, CA) represented the U.S. in a Team and Individual fourth place effort at the 2008 Olympic Games. Now 14, Four Winds Farm and Akiko Yamazaki's Dutch gelding has two Bronze Medals from the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, an FEI World Cup title, and a sweep of CDIO Aachen to his name, he comes to the Olympics looking to add to his honors. Dawn White O'Connor is Ravel's groom.
Tina Konyot (Palm City, FL) was Peters' teammate at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games and rides her and John Byrialsen's beloved 14-year-old Swedish Warmblood stallion Calecto V in her first Olympic Games. Konyot and Calecto V were 2012 USEF Reserve National Grand Prix Dressage Champions in June. Laura Donahoo grooms for Calecto.
Rafalca has caused quite a media stir as one of her co-owners happens to be Ann Romney, wife of Mitt, in conjunction with Beth Meyers and her rider Jan Ebeling's wife Amy. The lovely 15-year-old Oldenburg mare was third at the USEF National Dressage Championships and has been a consistent performer for Ebeling (Moorpark, CA) over the last several years. They have been to FEI World Cup Finals together and have found their best form as of late. Sanne Vondel takes care of Rafalca.
The USA also qualified an individual and Adrienne Lyle (Hailey, ID) and Wizard scored that spot with a fourth place finish at the Selection Trials in June. Rueben Palomera, who groomed for Lyle's mentor Debbie McDonald at the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games, is in London to groom for Wizard. Peggy Thomas' 13-year-old Oldenburg gelding looked exceptionally well at the jog, gleaming with dapples.
"I think all the horses looked fantastic at the jog up and just to walk into that Olympic stadium with all of our Olympic gear on was really exciting. I think we are all ready to get going," said Lyle.
The Dressage competition begins at 11:00 AM GMT on Thursday August 2nd.