Thursday, June 14, 2012

Selection Trial Wrap Up and Photos!

(Photo credits Lisa Thomas & property of BHF)

Spend a day witnessing the US Para riders in action and you will spend a lifetime appreciating the beauty and uniqueness of their sport.  As able body riders, we have immense passion for our horses and our competitive endeavors, but the special relationship between Para and their partner(s) is truly remarkable.
I have had the wonderful opportunity to work with Blue Hill Farm since launching their website several years ago.  One of the perks of this role has been riding with Missy, trailering down to BHF when I can find the time to schedule a visit.  Both Missy and Jessica have such a wonderful way of coaching and their dedication to the Para riders within the barn is so evident.  When I share time in that environment I always walk away vowing to never complain again about a sore back or shoulder ever again!
Aside from my brief time with the Para team at the WEG, this visit to the Selection Trials marks the first time I’ve been able to spend the full day with the Para team watching all of the riders.  The amount of pre-show preparation and warm up is the result of a team of coaches, horse owners, grooms, riders and family members.

BHF Rider Line-Up

Grade 1b
Margaret McIntosh - Carlingford JD & Idalgo

Grade II
Becca Hart -  Lord Ludger & Carlingford’s Taldi
Elizabeth Pigott - One Night Stand & Whitney’s Willow
Kim Jones - Ghlenlivet

Grade IV
Mary Jordan - Sebastian & P. Sparrow Socks


Class #Entry #RiderHorseTeam - 40%Individual - 40%Freestyle - 20%Combined Total
Grade II26Hart, RebeccaLord Ludger71.825%73.968%75.917%73.501%
Grade 1b12Wentz, JonathanNTEC Richter Scale72.500%72.899%74.833%73.126%
Grade 1a5Ponessa, DonnaWestern Rose73.725%72.000%73.833%73.057%
Grade II22Dedrick, DaleBonifatius70.238%71.905%74.250%71.707%
Grade 1a4Ponessa, DonnaPG Ganda71.569%73.000%69.333%71.694%
Grade 1b11Wentz, JonathanSilvano72.727%72.101%64.917%70.915%
Grade IV43Jordan, MarySebastian68.438%67.204%69.833%68.223%
Grade II27Hart, RebeccaCarlingfords Taldi67.778%65.714%68.750%67.147%
Grade III32Fryke, WendyLateran67.469%65.389%69.750%67.093%
Grade II24Pigott, ElizabethOne Night Stand65.952%65.714%70.500%66.767%
Grade IV44Jordan, MaryP. Sparrow Socks64.531%63.763%67.250%64.768%
Grade IV45Brueckmann, RobinRadetzky64.479%63.441%65.667%64.301%
Grade 1b15McIntosh, MargaretCarlingford JD64.318%64.348%63.667%64.200%
Grade II23Pigott, ElizabethWhitney's Willow62.302%64.524%65.833%63.897%
Grade 1b13Oakleaf, LauriettaNiekele Fan Busenitz63.561%63.696%64.833%63.869%
Grade 1a2Decker, KimDashers Destiny63.725%63.417%62.083%63.274%
Grade II25Jones, KimGhlenivet62.937%59.841%63.583%61.828%
Grade II28Collier, SydneyOtto61.508%58.730%63.000%60.695%
Grade 1b14McIntosh, MargaretIdalgo60.985%57.754%64.667%60.429%
Grade IV41Yervasi, LiseBrendan Braveheart57.969%57.849%60.750%58.477%
Grade III30Brimmer, EleanorCarino H58.951%53.667%62.500%57.547%
Grade 1a3Goldman, LauraNTEC Willi Wesley63.039%64.000%0.000%50.816%

The BHF riders had an exceptional experience during the selection trials.  Becca, Elizabeth & Gigi made the short journey from BHF, but riders Kim and Mary made quite a bit longer journey to get ready for the trials prior to the event.  They have been at BHF for the past month prepping for this big event.  Mary traveled from Maine with her horses and in the case of Kim Jones, she came up from SC to start a new relationship with Ghlenlivet.  

I spoke with Missy after the event, while all the riders were celebrating their post competition efforts back at the stabling area.  “They all rode very well.  Kim and Gigi both came to this event with the least experience and made a great effort, considering the fact that Kim has a new ride & Gigi hasn’t competed under this level of pressure.  Elizabeth also has only been paired with One Night Stand since April and she was able to really excel in the Freestyle test.”
“Mary really had a successful weekend placing 1st and 2nd every day with both her horses.  Right now she is unofficially in 5th position as a substitute.”

On Wednesday I was able to observe Elizabeth’s lovely Freestyle test aboard One Night Stand, and followed her out of the ring with his gushing owner.  These horses all deserve a big round of applause for doing so well in (for the most case) their second careers.  As noted before, the relationship between Para and horse is remarkably special and while standing with Idalgo's owner Jan Smith she mentioned how watching him work with Gigi almost always brings tears to her eyes.
As per my prior post, Becca Hart had the weekend of a lifetime.  Missy felt this was the best ride Becca has given Lord Ludger (Lolu) to date, and her winning score reflected that!   “With each day her riding got that much better.”    Prior to being Becca’s newest mount, he was Missy's PSG horse with whom she was awarded her dressage silver medal 5 years ago  Danni Tuscano showed him until the fall 2010 when Becca took over the reins.  Taldi is Missy's ex event horse who Rachel has been showing in dressage for the past few years as well.

The "tentative short list" for the Para Team after this weekend's event are as follows:

Becca Hart - Grade II
Jonathan Wentz - Grade 1B

Donna Ponessa - Grade 1A

Dale Dedrick - Grade II

The US para team must have one lower grade rider (1a, 1b or II) and the team cannot have 3 riders from the same grade.  

The riders who finished this weekend in the 5th -12th positions will be listed as substitutes in the existing result order, pending approval of the Olympic committee, drug testing and the signing of  lease agreements from the owners.
July 16 the final entry will be submitted, so fingers crossed & ponies in bubble wrap until London!!!

Congratulations this past week to the entire team at BHF!!

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