September 17, 2002 -- The United States team
finished fifth in the Endurance competition on Monday at the 2002 World
Equestrian Games in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain.
The Gold Medal went to the French team, Italy won the Silver and the
Bronze was earned by the 2000 World Endurance Champions of Australia.
Individually, Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed al Maktoum of the United Arab
Emirates (UAE) was crowned the new World Champion riding Bowman in a
ride time of 9:19:29. The Silver went to Antonio Rose of Italy on Alex
Raggio Di Sole finishing in 9:35:23. The Bronze winner was Sunny Demedy
of France on Fifi du Bagnas it the time of 9:38:47.
Individual U.S. riders Valerie Kanavy of Ft. Valley, VA, and Heather
Bergantz-Reynold of San Jose, CA did not complete the 100 mile (160km) ride.
Chef d' equipe Art Priesz was disappointed with the results, but pleased
with the efforts of all the riders and the support crew.
"We have made many friends here and I am not going to be upset about the
friends that beat us," said Preisz. "I am proud of us for finishing a
healthy and happy team and of the work that our crews put in for us and
even other teams."
The three riders that completed on the team were Beverly Gray of Park
City, Utah on Regalidon in a ride time of 11:05:20, Cia Reis of
Pennsdale, PA riding Catch A Wave, owned by Alex and Cia Reis, in
11:43:05 and Stephen Rojek of Woodstock, VT on Finally in a ride time of
11:43:06. The fourth member, Kathy Brunjes of Bethel, ME, riding Ali
Darkness, owned by Kathy and Janet Brunjes, was eliminated after the
The first loop was bad luck for the U.S. two-time World Endurance
Champion, Valerie Kanavy and Shahdon, owned by Larry and Valerie Kanavy,
who did not complete the forty plus kilometers and was only on the trail
for about forty five minutes.
"I got a flat tire," said Kanavy. "Shahdon lost a shoe and putting a
new one on turned out to be very complicated out on the trail, so I
thought it was in the best interest of the horse to retire."
The 2001 Pan Am Endurance Champion also retired on the first loop due to
a lost shoe. Bergantz-Reynolds had a new one put on Crystals Charm,
owned by Skip Lightfoot, but it didn't take well and they withdrew the
From then on things went well and a medal was possible. Priesz and the
team had a strategy that they hoped would work.
"We were down to only three horses very early," said Priesz. "So, we
made the decision to work hard on the second and fourth loops and let
the horse recover in the third. It worked for a while, we made up a lot
of time in the second loop and the horses recovered well in the third,
but the strategy just didn't hold up. Our team did really well,
though. I am really proud of them."
For comprehensive coverage the 2002 World Equestrian Games, please visit
the United States Equestrian Team's website at www.uset.org.
The United States Equestrian Team is a non-profit organization that
selects, trains, equips and finances equestrians of the highest possible
standard to represent our country in major international competition,
including the Olympic Games and the World Championships. To accomplish
this, the USET seeks out and nurtures the development of talented
athletes - riders, drivers, vaulters and horses - and provides the
support and guidance they need to help them attain their fullest
For more information on the USET, please call (908)
234-1251, or visit USET ONLINE at www.uset.org.