Lexington, KY - The fourth and final USEF Observation Event for the 2012 US Show Jumping Team highlights this week's schedule at Spruce Meadows in Calgary. Eleven riders from the USEF Show Jumping Long List have one more chance to prove their mettle as they vie for a spot on the 2012 Olympic Team.
Thursday's Husky Energy Classic serves as the first of the two classes designated by the USEF for observation, and the second is Saturday's CN Performance Grand Prix. Both classes are held at 1.60m height.
Both classes will be shown live on www.usefnetwork.com, Thursday June 14th at 8 PM Eastern and Saturday, June 16th at 4:30 PM Eastern.
The leader of the Long List, based on her victory of the USEF Observation Event classes in March, is 17-year-old phenom Reed Kessler (Lexington, KY). The reigining co-National champion has been racking up clear rounds from Florida to Kentucky to Calgary. She arrived in Canada two weeks ago and already claimed the top honors in the 1.60 meter Spectra Energy Cup last week with her top ranked horse Cylana. It was her first win at the prestigious Spruce Meadows tournament. She will compete the 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare and Mika, a 12-year-old Selle Francais gelding, both owned by her family.
Beezie Madden is looking to make her third Olympic team, 2004 and 2008 were both Gold-medal winning efforts. Her horse who picked up those Gold medals is retired but she will ride her Gold medal mount from last year's 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara. Madden (Cazenovia, NY) and Coral Reef Via Volo were outrun for Individual Gold by 7/100ths of a second in Mexico, and most recently jumped two immaculate rounds at the Devon Horse Show (the third Observation Event). The 14-year-old Belgian mare is owned by Coral Reef Ranch. Madden also has Abigail Wexner's Simon at Spruce Meadows, the 13-year-old Dutch gelding jumped in Kentucky and at Devon. A new ride for Madden at the end of 2011 - their partnership continues to grow.
Mario Deslauriers (New York, NY) and Jane Forbes Clark's Urico are jumping in their third Observation Event, they represented the US at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. They have had several strong Grand Prix performances this year, including the $75,000 Commonwealth Grand Prix in Kentucky. He also rides Cella, with whom he won the $200,000 Gene Mische Invitational in Tampa.
The reigning Rolex/FEI World Cup Champion, Rich Fellers (Wilsonville, OR), and his superstar 16-year-old Irish Sport Horse stallion, Flexible, head to Spruce Meadows after sweeping the Del Mar Observation Event in May. Flexible, who is owned by Harry and Mollie Chapman, stormed to victory in s'Hertogenbosch in April to bring the World Cup title home to the US for the first time since 1987.
Madden's teammate from the last two Olympics, McLain Ward (Brewster, NY), battled back from a shattered kneecap in January and returned to the ring in force at Devon in May. He won the Grand Prix of Devon in a heroic effort with Antares F, who he will ride in Spruce Meadows for Grant Road Partners. The 12-year-old Wurtenburger gelding is making his second trip to Spruce Meadows, but he too was part of the Gold medal effort in Mexico.
Kent Farrington (Wellington, FL) and Uceko were another force on the Gold medal-winning team in Mexico - and the 11-year-old KWPN gelding also had a major international victory winning the 2011 Longines Grand Prix at Hickstead.
Team and Individual Gold medalist from the 2011 Pan American Games, Christine McCrea (E. Windsor, CT) brings Romantovich Take One to Canada to try to get him to his second consecutive championship. The 12-year-old KWPN gelding jumped in Kentucky and at Devon.
Two young Californians continue their Olympic sojourn together - Saer Coulter and Lucy Davis came up through the Young Riders' program together and jumped on last year's FEI Top League team in Falsterbo together. They are ranked 14th and 15th on the Long List. Coulter rides Springtime and Davis will ride Nemo 119.
Ward's student Katie Dinan (New York, NY), who is only 19, rides 11-year-old Nougat de Vallet through her Olympic bid. Owned also by Grant Road Partners, Nougat de Vallet and Dinan have been gaining valuable miles throughout the process.
Charlie Jayne (Elgin, IL) rounds out the field with Pony Lane Farm's 9-year-old Zangershide Chill RZ - they most recently won the $50,000 Idle Dice Open Jumper Stake at Devon with a great clear jumping effort.
Follow the U.S. Show Jumping Team here: http://www.usefnetwork.com/featured/2012Jumping/
Photo: Reed Kessler and Cylana (Sportfot)