We've got another Team Talk update for you listeners this week! Nicole Brown is joined once again by USEF Eventing High Performance Director Erik Duvander and USEF Managing Director for Eventing Jenni Autry to talk about the U.S. eventing team's path forward to Tokyo.
The first training camp of the year for members of the USEF High Performance Training Lists took place in Ocala last month with Duvander and show jumping coach Peter Wylde. Prior to that in January, Duvander and Autry made visits to individual riders to formulate training plans aiming for the Kentucky Three-Day Event, Tokyo and the World Equestrian Games in 2022. The training session gave riders the chance to ride side-by-side with each other in a training setting and also allowed the team veterinarians and farrier to look at the horses before the start of the competition season.
Peter Wylde is new to coaching the U.S. team this year as the show jumping coach and Duvander said that he is excited to have Wylde on board.
Talk turns then to the Kentucky Three-Day Event, which it was announced earlier this month would not be running the CCI5*-L and then reversed the decision after a massive fundraising effort took place to help fund the event. Autry speaks about how important the Kentucky CCI5*-L is, not just from a big picture perspective, but also as a selection trial for Tokyo later this summer.
Duvander chimes in to comment on how lucky the U.S. is to be able to run events currently, under the USEF COVID-19 Action Plan, and that the quality of events in the lead-up to Kentucky is second-to-none. Riders are able to pick and choose what is going to be best for them and their horses.
Autry shares that Badminton Horse Trials and the Jersey Fresh International Horse Trials are also selection trials for Tokyo in addition to Kentucky, but that the majority of riders will be at Kentucky. USEF Network will be streaming the event for free, so even though spectators are not going to be allowed, people will be able to follow along from home.
Autry gives an update on the logistics being put in place to get horses and riders to Tokyo amid all the international travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including expectations for athletes and anyone else in attendance at the games. While this Olympic Games will be unlike any that's come before it, Autry reiterated the belief that eventers are a hearty, resilient bunch who will adapt in whichever ways are necessary to be successful.
Looking past Kentucky and towards Tokyo, Brown asks Duvander to talk about the final time schedule. The selectors will designate horses to be examined by the team veterinarian after Kentucky and Jersey, and then the team will be announced no later than June 1.
If you've missed any of the previous Team Talk episodes, check them out here, here, and here.