Lexington, KY - Endurance competition heated up this weekend at the Priefert Ranch in Mt. Pleasant, TX as 45 of the nation's top horses and riders contested the 160km Selection Trial for a spot on the Long List for the 2012 FEI World Endurance Championship. In a close race to the finish Jeremy Reynolds guided A Kutt Above to the win in 8:16:03, narrowly beating out Wendy MacCoubrey and Reach for the Gold (8:16:05) and Becky Hart riding No Repeat (8:16:09).
Over a course designed to replicate the Championship environment, 19 of the 45 starters finished the race. The top finishers were strong all day and recovered well in the vet gates. Reynolds, of San Jose, CA and A Kutt Above (owned by wife Heather Reynolds), also earned the coveted Best Conditioned Award. A Kutt Above has been named to the Long List with both Jeremy and Heather, who finished fourth on Riverwatch. Reach for the Gold was ridden by Proxy Rider MacCoubrey and has been named to the Long List with owner Valerie Kanavy of Fort Valley, VA. Both Kanavy and Hart (San Juan Bautista, CA) will seek a chance to earn another World Endurance Championship title. Kanavy currently has two titles to her name and Hart will seek a fourth, this time with her own No Repeat.
"I am extremely pleased with the horses on the Long List. Three Young Riders completed the race and were named to the Long List, which is so encouraging for the future," said Chef d'Equipe Emmett Ross. "There are a few disappointing absences to the list, but overall this is a fantastic group of horses and riders who all have potential to be extremely competitive. Race day was hot and humid, but for one boggy area on the course which had to be repeated several times, the course rode well and the times were all good. I am very pleased with all the officials, staff and volunteers. Priefert Ranch was phenomenal and very supportive with both materials and staff."
Per the selection procedures all 19 finishers were named to the Long List. Ross may name up to three applicant athlete/horse combinations who did not compete in or complete the Selection Trial to the Long List in addition to the top 19. Ross has named John Crandell III with Heraldic and Deborah Reich to the Long List. Crandell elected to withdraw Heraldic after the horse passed the vet check at gate two, but before going out on loop three with concerns about deficiencies in the horse's metabolics. Reich, who was unable to compete in the Selection Trial due to injury, has been named to the Long List with DJB Juniper who finished seventh. Riders are listed on the Long List with each horse they applied for consideration with and that finished in the top 20. Please click here for the complete Long List.
The 2012 FEI World Endurance Championship will take place August 25, 2012 in Euston Park, Thetford (GBR). To find out more about the Championship visit: http://www.eustonparkendurance.co.uk/
Keep up with the 2012 U.S. Endurance Team here: http://www.usefnetwork.com/featured/2012Endurance/
Photo: Jeremy Reynolds and A Kutt Above (Photo by Donna Shifflette)