Devon, PA - All eyes will be on the Devon Horse Show this week as 13 of the top jumping combinations in the U.S. compete in the third of four 2012 U.S. Show Jumping Team Observation Events. Horses and riders on the USEF Long List for the U.S. Show Jumping Team for the 2012 Olympic Games will jump in Thursday's Wells Fargo Grand Prix of Devon and Saturday's Open Jumper Stake.
Beezie Madden will be extremely busy this week as she brings her three long listed horses to compete at the Devon Observation Event. Madden will compete Coral Reef Via Volo in the mare's first Observation Event classes this week. The 14-year-old Belgian Warmblood and Madden teamed up to win Team Gold and Individual Silver medals for the U.S. at last year's Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.
She will also ride Abigail Wexner's talented geldings Simon and Cortes 'C'. Both horses had strong showings at the Observation Event in Lexington, KY earlier this month. Simon jumped to victory in the $50,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic and collected third place honors in the $75,000 Commonwealth Grand Prix. While Cortes 'C' finished fourth in the latter.
Madden was also on the Gold medal-winning team at the 2008 Olympic Games, and she will be joined by two of her teammates from those Games in the Observation Event classes. Laura Kraut brings her ride from 2008, Cedric, to Devon. Cherry Knoll Farm's 14-year-old Holsteiner gelding jumped in Lexington as well, placing fourth and eighth in the two classes respectively. McLain Ward has recently returned to competition after being sidelined for three months with a broken patella. He will ride Grant Road Partners' Antares F in his attempt to represent the U.S. at a third consecutive Olympic Games. This pair was also part of the Gold medal-winning U.S. team at the 2011 Pan American Games.
The second-ranked combination on the USEF Long List for the U.S. Show Jumping Team for the 2012 Olympic Games, Margie Engle and Garber, Griese, Hidden Creek and Gladewinds' Indigo, will look to showcase the form that propelled them to joint National Champion honors in March. Joining Engle this weekend in Devon is Team and Individual Gold medalist from last year's Pan American Games, Christine McCrea. She will ride her winning partner from Mexico, Windsor Show Stables' Romantovich Take One.
Mario Deslauriers heads into the Devon Observation Event on good form after jumping to top placings two weeks ago in Lexington with Jane Clark's exciting horses. With his 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games partner, Urico, Deslauriers won the $75,000 Commonwealth Grand Prix. While with Cella, with whom he won the 2012 $200,000 Gene Mische Invitational presented by G&C Farm in April, he was sixth in the $50,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic.
Youth will be on full display this weekend as some of the rising stars of the sport will square off with the veteran riders. Two former champions from the Adequan FEI North American Junior and Young Rider Championships presented by Gotham North, Jessica Springsteen and Katie Dinan, will compete in Devon. Springsteen will ride Stone Hill Farm's Vornado Van De Hoendrik and Dinan will ride Grant Road Partners' Nougat Du Vallet.
Charlie Jayne will ride his third place finisher from the $50,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic, Pony Lane Farm's Chill R Z. Jimmy Torano will also ride his own Walk About at Devon this week.
The Wells Fargo Grand Prix of Devon will take place at 8pm ET Thursday May 31 and long listed riders will jump again Saturday June 2 at 4pm ET in the Open Jumper Stake.
The Devon Horse Show is the third of four Observation Events, with competition having previously been held at the Del Mar National Horse Show and the Kentucky Spring Horse Show. Learn more about the previous Observation Events here:
Del Mar Observation Event
Lexington Observation Event
For live streaming, news, photos and to follow the 2012 U.S. Show Jumping Team visit; http://www.usefnetwork.com/featured/2012Jumping/
Per the USEF Selection Procedures, in order to remain in consideration for the U.S. Olympic Show Jumping Team, these 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.
Photos: Beezie Madden and Coral Reef Via Volo (Shannon Brinkman) and McLain Ward and Antares F (Isabel Kurek)