The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) has just announced its teams for London 2012. The US is sending over an interesting mix of riders of all ages and experience to compete in dressage, showjumping and eventing – and the 13 riders have 17 Olympics between them.
In the dressage team is the very experienced Jan Ebeling riding Rafalca. The pair has represented the US three times in the FEI World Cup, but Rafalca is better known in the States for being co-owned by Ann Romney (wife of Mitt Romney, Republican Presidential candidate) along with Beth Meyers and Amy Ebeling.
Joining Jan is the strong contender Steffan Peters who came fourth individually at the 2008 Olympic Games on Ravel. Since then the pair has won bronze at two World Championships and a World Cup title.
Steffen will get to ride with his teammate from the World Equestrian Games, Tina Konyot. Steffen is also Tina’s nemesis as he has beaten her to the top spot in the last two USEF National Grand Prix Dressage Championships, although she did win it in 2010 on Calecto V, on whom she will be riding in this summer.
Competing as an individual is Adrienne Lyle riding Wizard. Adrienne is trained by US dressage icon Debbie McDonald, who also produced Wizard, before handing the reins over to Adrienne.
Leading the eventing team is 54-year-old Karen O'Connor who already has team silver and bronze under her belt. She first rode for the US in Seoul 1988 and this year makes her fifth Olympics. Karen will be competing on Mr. Medicott, who was a regular on the German squad before he defected to the US team last year.
Another old-timer on the team is Philip Dutton, who has also competed in four previous Olympics. Three of which were on the Australian team, winning them won gold in 1996 and 2000. He became an American citizen after living there for more than 20 years and this will be his second games for the US team. Philip will riding fellow Aussie, Mystery Whisper.
Also from down-under is Boyd Martin, who arrived from Australia in 2006. He will be riding Otis Barbotiere – a horse that survived a massive fire at Boyd’s stables last year, which tragically killed seven of his horses.
Making up the third member of the US team is Will Coleman, who is the only American to win the under 25-year-olds at Bramham. He be will riding Twizzel, who took him to fifth place at the Rolex Kentucky.
Last, but by no means least, is Tiana Coudray and Ringwood Magister who won team gold at the 2008 FEI North American Young Rider championships.
On the showjumping team are two of America’s youngest and oldest riders, with thirty-five years between Reed Kessler and Rich Fellers. Reed, who turned 18 this week (9 July) is the youngest rider to represent the US. She will be riding Cylana, on whom she won the 2012 USEF selection trials.
Rich, who is the reigning FEI World Cup champion, will be riding fellow veteran Flexible. The 16-year-old has taken Rich to victory in every class but one since they won the World Cup.
Joining Rich and Reed are Beezie Madden and McLain Ward who have been on the last two gold medal winning Olympic teams. The Beezie and McClain also won team gold at the 2011 Pan American Games on Coral Reef Via Volo and Antares F, respectively.
McLain, who will be riding Antares F at London 2012, has made an impressive come-back since shattering his knee. Beezie will be riding Coral Reef Via Volo once again, who also helped her win individual silver at last year's Pam Amerian Games.