Prep Work Now on the Schedule for U.S. Dressage Team for 2010 Alltech/FEI World Equestrian Games

Steffen Peters, Tina Konyot, Todd Flettrich and Katherine Bateson-Chandler Soon to Start Preparations for WEG

Gladstone, New Jersey – After scoring an 82 percent in Grand Prix competition in California on Saturday, Steffen Peters jumped on a red-eye flight bound for New Jersey to join newly-named teammates Tina Konyot, Todd Flettrich and Katherine Bateson-Chandler for the start of preparations for the upcoming Alltech/FEI World Equestrian Games. The new team already had meetings scheduled for Sunday and Monday with USEF Dressage Technical Advisor Anne Gribbons.
Those meetings will give riders insight into the preparation plan and their lives for the next month as Gribbons takes control of the new team. “They will be handed a big book that says, ‘This is your life until the WEG’,” Gribbons said. But first, she said, the riders and horses will get a short break. “They need it. I’ve done this myself and this is tough. Right now, everyone needs to chill out and relax.”

On September 4, team members – both riders and horses – will gather again at the U.S. Equestrian Team headquarters and begin some serious WEG preparation in closed sessions that will cover everything – mental and physical training for both horses and riders, sessions on proper behavior at WEG and on dealing with the media. A sports psychologist will be on hand to help with the mental training and veterinarians will be helping with the physical training of the horses. In addition, two test events will be held for the team at the USET headquarters with top FEI “O” judges doing the judging.

“We’ll do videos of the rides and talk about what we can do better,” Gribbons said. She also has videos from last year’s European championships, which she judged, and which had some of the best competitive rides she has seen. “We’ll watch those and see how we can beat them,” she said. The ultimate goal, Gribbons said, “is to make these horses peak at WEG, not exhaust them.” And on September 18, the team will load up and leave USET for the trip to the WEG in Kentucky.

Gribbon,s as well as all four of America’s new dressage team members, believe that when the dust clears at WEG, the U.S. will have a medal. Gribbons says she sees no major weaknesses among the U.S. team, just a few things that need some cleaning up. “Now it is about polishing the details,” she said. Team members agreed.

“I think that our combination is rather strong,” Konyot said. Although earlier this year many thought the U.S. could not field a strong team, Konyot said “things have changed now.” Most of the team members believe the U.S. stands a good chance to earn the Bronze medal. A Gold or Silver is likely to elude the U.S. “I’d say the Dutch are unbeatable at the moment,” Bateson-Chandler said, but Flettrich cut in saying “anything can happen.”

Bateson-Chandler is good friends with British rider Carl Hester, with whom she also rides, and said they often debate the question of whether the U.S. or British will grab a medal. “I think we have a good chance to beat the Brits,” she said. “If you look at the British scores and you look at our scores, it will be interesting.”

Flettrich said that all of America’s team horses “are capable of getting the Bronze medal and you never know what will happen. I think we are mentally strong riders and our horses are capable.” For his part, Peters said one thing he has learned as a seasoned international competitor, is not to watch the scores. “I’ve made that mistake before where I rode the score board and I didn’t ride my horse. That can work against you. I know exactly what my horse will be capable of that given day and that’s how I’m going to ride,” he said.


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