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.
Interested in tapping into the audience of three-day eventing? Consider partnering with the United States Eventing Association (USEA) in 2022! The USEA is a non-profit 501 C (3), which serves as the national association for the Olympic equestrian sport of three-day eventing.
Whether you are a rider preparing for a move-up or a trainer looking to ensure your training program is well-rounded, the soon-to-be released USEA Eventing Handbook by the Levels is the go-to guide to assist you in navigating key decisions. Lucky enough, attendees of the 2022 USEA Instructors’ Certification Program (ICP) Symposium at Barnstaple South Farm in Ocala, Florida on February 8-9 will be the first people outside of the those involved in its creation to access this passion project that the ICP Committee has put two years of research and hard work into developing.
In 2021 Cynthia Smith recorded 536 hours and 59 minutes of volunteer time, setting the standard with the most amount of volunteer hours recorded in a single year since the creation of the USEA Volunteer Incentive Program in 2016. The record-breaking number of volunteer time earned Smith the 2021 USEA Volunteer of the Year title.
Tamie Smith’s year has been nothing short of action-packed as she packed up all 25 of her competition horses and made her way to the East Coast for the first part of the year before hopping on a jet to Tokyo where she served as the U.S. team reserve for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. She then stayed overseas and competed abroad for a little while before returning home to the West Coast. While this year has been full of opportunities to show, her aspirations are bigger than just competition. The 2021 Bates USEA Lady Rider of the Year has been full steam ahead chasing goals in both her riding career as well as in her impact on the sport’s future.