Del Mar, CA - The first of four Observation Events for the U.S. Olympic Show Jumping Team gets underway this weekend at the Del Mar National Horse Show, held May 1-6, 2012. Horses and riders on the USEF Long List for the U.S. Show Jumping Team for the 2012 Olympic Games will jump Friday in the $50,000 Surfside Grand Prix presented by ShowBiz Magazine and Saturday in the $100,000 Hermes Grand Prix of Del Mar presented by Intuit. Five combinations from the long list will contest these two classes along with other entries competing at the prestigious California horse show.
Rich Fellers will bring his 2012 Rolex/FEI World Cup Final winning partner, Flexible, to the Observation Event. Fellers and Harry and Mollie Chapman's 16-year-old Irish Sport Horse stallion broke a 25 year winless drought for the U.S. in Rolex/FEI World Cup Finals two weeks ago in 's-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands. The pair is ranked seventh on the USEF Long List for the U.S. Show Jumping Team for the 2012 Olympic Games.
Also competing this weekend is Lauren Hough. The 2000 Sydney Olympic Games and 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games veteran returns to her California roots riding Blue Angel. Hough and Robin Parsky's 10-year-old Anglo-European mare were third in the $50,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix at the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival in January.
Additionally, there are three up-and-coming riders in the field that have made a huge impact in the Young Rider ranks and are now making names for themselves at the highest-level.
Both 21-year-old Saer Coulter and 19-year-old Lucy Davis have already represented the U.S. twice in international competition; in 2010 at the CSIO4* Buenos Aires and at 2011's CSIO5* Falsterbo. Coulter will ride Copernicus Stables' Springtime, a horse she stands 14th with on the USEF Long List for the U.S. Show Jumping Team for the 2012 Olympic Games. While Davis is 15th on the Long List with Old Oak Farm's Nemo 119, a 13-year-old Holsteiner gelding.
Karl Cook is long listed on both Signe Ostby's Jonkheer Z and ASB Conquistador. The 21-year-old was part of the 2010 U.S. Show Jumping Young Rider Tour that spent much of the summer competing in Europe two years ago.
Coulter, Davis, and Cook are all former medalists at the Adequan FEI North American Junior and Young Rider Championships presented by Gotham North as part of the Zone 10 teams.
The $50,000 Surfside Grand Prix presented by ShowBiz Magazine will take place Friday, May 4th at 5pm PST and the $100,000 Hermes Grand Prix of Del Mar presented by Intuit will begin Saturday, May 5th at 6:45pm PST. Both events will be live streamed on the USEFNetwork.com presented by Smartpak.
For live streaming, news, photos and to follow the 2012 U.S. Show Jumping Team visit: http://www.usefnetwork.com/featured/2012Jumping/
For more information about the Del Mar National Horse Show including Order of Go and Results visit: http://delmarnational.com/hunter_jumper.php
Per the USEF Selection Procedures, in order to remain in consideration for the U.S. Olympic Show Jumping Team, athlete/horse combinations are required to compete at two of the following Observation Events listed below:
The Del Mar National Horse Show
Del Mar, California May 1-6, 2012
Kentucky Spring Horse Show
Lexington, Kentucky May 8-13, 2012
The Devon Horse Show
Devon, Pennsylvania May 29-June 2, 2012
Calgary, Alberta Canada June 13-17, 2012
Following the completion of these observation events, FEI Nominated Entries will be submitted to the FEI on June 17. Twelve athlete/horse combinations can be named to the FEI Nominated Entries. The USOC Final Entries will be submitted no later than July 6, 2012.
The 2012 Olympic Games will take place July 27 - August 12.
For more information, contact Lizzy Chesson, Director of Show Jumping High Performance Programs (908) 326-1166 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos: Rich Fellers and Flexible (Susan J. Stickle/PhelpsSports.com); Saer Coulter and Springtime (Sportfot).