Olympics just a month away

  • Eventing
    Leading American eventer Kim Severson topped the leader board at the final phase of the selection process for the 2004 Olympic Eventing Team. She led on Winsome Adante throughout the competition.

    “I’m thrilled today, right this second,” said Severson, “but there’s three more weeks,” she added referring to the Olympic Games in Athens.

    The United States Equestrian Federation are due to make a final announcement of their eventing team selections late tomorrow, following examination of the horses by vets, which will be completed today. The team will then leave for England on Sunday, where they will be until 10 August.

  • Canada is sending a full eventing team to the Olympics for the first time since 1996. Heading the squad is Bruce Mandeville, who competed as an individual at Sydney on Larissa, finishing 22nd. He takes the same horse to Athens. Joining him are Hawley Bennett (Livingston), Stuart Black (Fleeceworks Blackout), Suzt Pettman (Kilcotrim) and Michael Winter (Balista).
  • The impressive French line-up has the reigning World Champion, Jean Teulere (Espoir De La Mare), and reigning European Champion Nicolas Touzaint (Galan De Sauvagere) forming the basis of their attack. They are joined by Arnaud Boiteau (Expo Du Moulin), Didier Courreges (Debat D’Estruval), and Cedric Lyard (Fine Merveille).
  • There is an impressive line-up of Olympic hopefuls among the entries for Aston-le-Walls, which gets underway next Friday. A special advanced class is to incorporate a CCI**** dressage test for the benefit of the Olympic contenders. See HHO next week for a full preview.

    Show Jumping
    Michael Whitaker, who has gone so well on the Spruce Meadows Tour in Calgary, has finalised his immediate plans. After further talks with Californians Mr and Mrs David Saperstein, owners of his top ride Portofino, it has been decided to let the mare travel to Athens as Olympic reserve with her groom.

    Meanwhile, Michael, who arrived home from Canada last Monday, will compete at Chester this weekend, He will bypass the Royal International Horse Show at Hickstead next week, and will compete at the Spanish shows of La Coruna and Gijon.

    “If I’m needed to stand in at the Olympic Games, I’ll immediately change my plans and fly to Athens,” he says.

    England Team Manager Derek Ricketts, says: “It’s really good news that, if required, Michael will ride for Britain in the Olympics.

  • Although Britain has already announced its Olympic show-jumpers – because of British Olympic Association regulations – most nations are waiting until after this weekend’s Nations Cup competition in Aachen before announcing their final decisions.

    A notable presence in Germany at the weekend will be Ireland’s Billy Twomey with his Olympic prospect Luidam, who has been absent from the international circuit for most of the season following a Hobday operation earlier this year.

    Emma Hindle’s Wie Weltmeyer was sidelined from competition in Aachen this week through minor injury. The chestnut stallion received a minor knock in the eye area, which was treated with a topical anti-inflammatory. The withdrawal time would not have been sufficient for the combination to compete, and they will instead compete elsewhere before Athens.

  • If you’ve been toying with the idea of a last-ditch trip to Athens, good news. Only around half the tickets have so far been sold, so provided you can find accommodation, visit www.athens2004.com .
    Alternatively, there are still places available on the H&H reader trip (Tel: 01494 676568)
  • See this week’s H&H for a full look at Olympic news.
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