July 10, 2008 -- Five American horses had their final preparation for the 2008 Olympic Games at the Barbury Castle International Horse Trials in Marlborough, England, July 4-6. A star studded field of over 100 horses graced the beautiful venue despite some less than ideal weather throughout the weekend. Olympic-bound riders from numerous countries were spotted making their final preparations in the CIC*** at Barbury Castle.
Californian Gina Miles was the highest placed American rider with Pan American Games and World Equestrian Games veteran, McKinlaigh. The Irish Thoroughbred gelding finished 22nd after a solid dressage test (40.6), two rails in the show jumping and a leisurely cross country round on a course over which no one got close to the optimum time.
Veteran rider Amy Tryon and her 2004 Olympic horse, Poggio II, were the highest-placed Americans after the dressage on a score of 47.7. The 16-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, owned by Mark Hart, Amy and Greg Tryon, scored a 47.7, put in a customary double clear show jumping round and also took their time around the cross country. Tryon's younger horse, Leyland, who most recently won the Jersey Fresh CCI*** in May to earn himself a spot on the U.S. Equestrian Federation (USEF) Eventing Short List for the 2008 Olympic Games, had his first experience overseas. Elizabeth Nicholson's 8-year-old scored 55.2 in the dressage, had two down in the show jumping and 32 time faults on the cross country. Leyland, like Poggio, is a former race horse.
Another Olympic veteran Karen O'Connor rode another relatively inexperienced horse at Barbury Castle. Mandiba, a 9-year-old Irish Thoroughbred gelding, owned by Joan Goswell, was also making his first overseas outing. He finished 32nd after scoring 50.8 in the dressage. He then had one rail down in the show jumping and added 26.4 time faults on the cross country.
Rounding out the quintet was Clark Montgomery. The 26-year-old rider has been based in England most of the spring with his 9-year-old Irish Thoroughbred Up Spirit. They maintained their poise after part of the dressage ring blew over in the blustery conditions. A run-out on the cross country course followed a beautiful clear show jumping round.
Australian Lucinda Fredericks won with the streaking Headley Britannia after scoring 30.8 in the dressage and adding only time faults on the cross country. British riders William Fox-Pitt was second, fourth and fifth while Fredericks husband Clayton was third. Both the Fredericks have been named to the Australian Olympic Team and Fox-Pitt has been named to the British team.
For complete results see www.bdwp.co.uk/bar.
The USEF will name the U.S. Olympic Team in Eventing on July 15 following the Mandatory Outing in the U.S., to be held in Norwood, N.C., at the Fork Stables. As per the USEF selection procedures riders were required to either participate at Barbury Castle or the U.S. Mandatory Outing. Nine riders and 11 horses will be taking part in the U.S. outing.