Eventing comes under the Tokyo spotlight
It’s the turn of the world’s best eventing athletes to stand under the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games spotlight over the next few days as all but one of the horses presented at this morning’s horse inspection at Baji Koen Equestrian Park were confirmed for action by the Ground Jury.
The Polish reserve combination of Jan Kaminski and Jard have been called up because Pawel Spisak’s gelding, Banderas, did not get through. Meanwhile, Castle Larchfield Purdy, competed by Lauren Billys from Puerto Rico, was sent to the holding box but was subsequently declared fit to compete. Canada’s Jessica Phoenix did not present her gelding Pavarotti, so the number of starters in the opening Dressage phase has been reduced from 65 to 63.
First into the arena tomorrow morning at 08:30 a.m. local time will be Thailand’s Arinadtha Chavatanont with Boleybawn Prince. The pair were on the bronze medal-winning team at the Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia in 2018. It’s a history-making moment because both Thailand and China are fielding an Olympic Eventing team for the very first time.
Also making his mark, and elegantly turned out in the inspection, is the first-ever Eventing athlete to represent Hong Kong, Thomas Heffernan Ho who will partner the stallion Tayberry.
There will be two sessions of dressage tomorrow and another on Saturday morning before the horses are transported for a sleepover at Sea Forest in Tokyo Bay where the cross-country phase will take place early on Sunday morning. They return to Baji Koen that afternoon and on Monday the final show jumping phase will decide the team and individual medals.
A brand new Olympic dressage test, taking just under four minutes to complete, will be performed for the very first time, and second to go tomorrow morning will be world number one Oliver Townend with Ballaghmor Class. The British rider will be aiming to put as much pressure as possible on reigning individual double-champion Michael Jung from Germany who will be second-last to go on Saturday morning with Chipmunk. France will be defending the team title.
There’s a 40-year gap between the oldest athlete in the field, 62-year-old Andrew Hoy from Australia, and the youngest, 22-year-old Lea Siegl from Austria. Every one of them will be hoping to hog the Olympic limelight, and you can keep up with all the results live at this link here.
James Alliston made out like a king earlier this summer at The Event at Rebecca Farm with wins in the CCI4*-L and CCI3*-L aboard Paper Jam and Nemesis respectively. We caught up with Alliston to chat about his horses, competing on the West Coast, his time in the States, and how it compares to competing in England.
Three clear show jumping rounds in the CCI4*-S at the Plantation Field International Three-Day Event have placed Allie Knowles in first, third, and sixth place with Ms. Poppins, Morswood, and Business Class all owned by Katherine O’Brien. Phillip Dutton and Quasi Cool, a 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Quo Vados I x B-Estelle) owned by Caroline Moran, kept their cool to put in a double clear round and move up to second from overnight third place.
It was a historic week for U.S. Eventing as American athletes achieved their best results ever in the CCIO4*-S at CHIO Aachen. The Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team of Will Coleman and Off The Record, Sydney Elliott and QC Diamantaire, Ariel Grald and Leamore Master Plan, and Tamie Smith and Mai Baum took second place in the FEI Eventing Nations Cup – the highest result by a U.S. team at the prestigious event.
Perhaps one of the best reasons to be a member of USEA is the opportunity to qualify for and participate in the USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) presented by Nutrena Feeds. This year there was a record 1,178 entries and a waitlist of over 150. There were 1,009 pinnies handed out and 939 horses started the competition. All combined it made for the largest horse trials in USEA history. Competitions ran in all USEA divisions and additional prizes were given for teams, incentive programs, amateur, and young rider divisions.