There were a few last-minute dramas at the first horse inspection for the Tokyo Olympics which took place in the main equestrian park at Baji Koen Equestrian Centre at 9:30 a.m. JST today.
While all three U.S. team members - Boyd Martin (Tsetersleg), Philip Dutton (Z) and Doug Payne (Vandiver) - and alternate rider Tamie Smith (Mai Baum) were accepted without hesitation, Polish team rider Pawel Spisak’s horse, Banderas, was not accepted and will therefore not take part in the competition.
Banderas, a 14-year-old gelding, failed the second horse inspection at the Rio Olympics in 2016 and did the same at the 2017 European Championships in Strzegom. However, he and his experienced rider, for whom this would have been a fourth Olympics, won twice at CCI4* level in 2019.
Puerto Rico’s individual contender Lauren Billys’s Castle Larchfield Purdy was sent to the holding box and asked to trot again, but passed on reinspection.
Jessica Phoenix withdrew 19-year-old Pavarotti, a veteran of the past two World Equestrian Games, meaning that Canada will be represented only by Colleen Loach and Qorry Blue D’Argouges in Tokyo.
The USA is drawn third of the 15 teams, one behind Great Britain. Thailand is the first team to go, while the Germans are second-last, with only Brazil behind them. The home nation, Japan, is sixth to go.
The full team draw is as follows:
The first session of dressage commences on Friday, July 30 – 8:30 a.m. JST (Thursday, July 29 – 7:30 p.m. ET), with a second session on Friday, July 30 – 5:30 p.m. JST (Friday, July 30 – 4:30 a.m. ET), and a third on Saturday, July 31 – 8:30 a.m JST (Friday, July 30 – 7:30 p.m. ET)The ground jury comprises president Nick Burton (GBR), Christina Klingspor (SWE) and Jane Hamlin (USA), and they will be judging the new, short Olympic test, specially written for this competition, which takes just 3minutes and 50 seconds to complete.
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