Steffen Peters and Ravel at World Dressage Masters - photo by Justine Griffin

Today was the first of 4 tests which will determine the US Olympic Dressage Team.  Live on the net thru USEF Network anyone can watch it as it is happening.  Being able to watch these competitions live on your computer has been a fantastic development for our sport and getting it out to a wide audience.  All of us who are “armchair” critics can watch it from the comfort of our home!

So what happened today?  Well, I didnt actually see any of it because they had a nice and early 8am start on the East Coast,  meaning 5 am for us on the West Coast.  Since I am NOT a morning person, I will watch the videos later.

Thankfully, the USEF network puts a link for us to watch the top rides later.  So what I have seen is the results, or the numbers.   Of course, numbers do not tell the whole story, but in the end everything comes down to the numbers.  Besides, there is already a lot of articles on the net for you to see how it all played out.

If you haven’t already heard, top of the leader board was Steffen on (his other top horse) Legolas with 76%. With Tina & Calecto 72%, Jan & Rafalca 71% and Todd with Otto 71%.   You can see all the results here.   What I am amazed at is how many combinations scored over 70%!  What an amazing depth the US has for 6 combinations to score over 70% at these trials WITHOUT Steffen riding Ravel.  Not only that, the next few combinations have scored over 70% recently, and then the final 5 are all over 66%.  No small achievement!

And what a change from last year where at the US Festival of Champions only Ravel scored over 70% in the GP and the next riders were 69%-66.5% for 2nd to 7th place.  In the GPS 2 scored over 70% last year – both Ravel and Calecto.

Now I had predicted that the team would be made up of Steffen (easy guess) on Ravel, Heather Blitz on Paragon and Adrienne Lyle on Wizard with Tina on Calecto as Reserve (and potentially an Individual).    After today, well, hmmm,  the numbers are REALLY close!  1.1% between Rafalca in 3rd (71.5%) and Wizard in 6th (70.4%).  I would even say that Tina is not “safe” either with 72.7%.  Even Shawna is on their heels with 68%.   Leaving a few hungry riders with in the 67% range (placings 8th-12th) who will be looking for the 4th or 5th spot that will still go to Europe and might even get an individual spot.

Sunday bright and early 5 am my time…. doubt I will get up to watch.  But, might catch some of the last rides, maybe…