The list of riders and horses qualified to compete in June's Collecting Gaits Farm/USEF Dressage Festival of Champions is beginning to form and Lisa Wilcox is ever more confident that when the dust clears, she and Naomi will remain on that list.
Wilcox and Naomi have come a long way in a short time. Partnered for only a year, the pair steadily rose up ranks throughout the Florida winter season consistently earning scores in the 70s, including a 78.50 percent at the Wellington Classic Dressage Challenge III for a freestyle they had barely mastered before competing with it.
The pair's strong showing these last months has thus far earned them a spot on the coveted top-12 list – the list of horses and riders qualified to compete in this year's Collecting Gaits Farm/USEF Dressage Festival of Champions, which will also serve as the Olympic Selection Trials. With only two more CDIs scheduled in the Eastern U.S. before the June Selection Trials, Wilcox and Naomi are now quietly working at home, out of the limelight as they prepare to make their way west in June.
"Naomi isn't bothered by the atmosphere at shows. So, there's no need to get her out for show exposure," Wilcox said. Of the East Coast CDIs in May – Paxton Farms, Lamplight and Raleigh – Wilcox only entered Raleigh and she's hoping she won't actually have to show up.
"I don't really want to put her on that truck and go to Raleigh and back and then take her to California. I'd rather stay home," Wilcox said. The determining factor will be how other high performance riders score in the next month. "I just have to watch and make sure nobody bumps me off the top 12 list.
If they're all getting huge scores and it looks like I might get bumped down to the 12th or 13th place, then I'll need to go to Raleigh and get a solid score to get back on it. But, if after everybody goes out and rides, I'm still on that list, then I won't go to Raleigh. Then I'll just do a couple mock shows at home – travel to barns and practice."
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