Chantilly, France - The youngest rider to be selected for the 2012 Olympic Games clocked up a victory at the 5* GCT in Chantilly Sunday. Reed Kessler, only 18 years old, rode a stylish, fast clear on 57.71 in the early morning Prix Vicomte Arthur over 1m45 fences beating experienced show jumping stars, including fellow American Mclain Ward.
After the win on her horse Ligist - she will be riding Cylana at the London Olympics - Reed said: “It is my last show before I go to the Olympics so it is a great feeling to win here. It has been a dream. It has been without a doubt the best year of my life.”
Speaking about her forthcoming Olympic debut she said: “Our team has done really well here, Beezie Madden and Mclain Ward. I feel it is an amazing team of riders and horses. It is a lot of pressure to prove I deserve my slot. It has been a long trial process since about March. But I ride better when under pressure and there is no room for any mistakes. I have been riding my whole life. I started doing FEI when when I was old enough and this is my first year that I am allowed to do these classes. It has been a long time waiting for this year to be finally old enough.”
Reed, who is now based in Lexington, Kentucky, praised her team including her parents. Her father is a CEO in America and she added: “My mother looks after me and that is a full time job.”
In the class Jessica Kurten of Ireland was a close second on 57.87 and talented Syrian rider Ahmad Saber Hamcho was third on 60.03. Great Britain’s Nick Skelton rode his Olympic horse Big Star in the class as a final preparation for the Games. Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum - who will now join the German Olympic squad instead of Philipp Weishaupt whose horse is not fit - rode Bella Donna in her last preparation before the London Games.