August 24, 2012 -- A true championship test awaits some of the best endurance riders from around the world in Euston Park near Newmarket, Suffolk, UK for the Longines FEI World Endurance Championship. The 160-km race will take place on August 25 across the English countryside where riders will encounter heathland, forest tracks, river meadows, and open farmland. The United States will be represented by five riders, who aim to bring back both team and individual medals for their country.
The U.S. team will be compromised of John Crandell III, Valerie Kanavy, Heather Reynolds, and Jeremy Reynolds, while Margaret Sleeper will compete as an individual.
John Crandell III (West River, Md.) had a banner year in 2011 with John Crandell Jr.'s Heraldic and the pair hopes to continue their success across the pond. Crandell and Heraldic rode to an Individual Silver medal in last year's Pan American Endurance Championships in Santo Domingo, Chile and helped the U.S. team clinch the Silver medal.
The two-time World Champion, Valerie Kanavy (Fort Valley, Va.), will partner with Reach For The Gold in her attempt to win at another World Championship title. Kanavy brought home the Bronze medal from the 2011 Pan American Endurance Championships and hopes to secure another medal.
Having won a CEI2* 120km race at Euston Park in 2010, Heather Reynolds (Dunnellon, Fla.) wants to find her winning form again there, this time with Riverwatch who she co-owns with her husband Jeremy. In 2011, Jeremy rode Riverwatch to win the prestigious Tevis Cup where Riverwatch was named the Best Conditioned Horse. This year, Heather and Riverwatch were fourth at the U.S. Team Trial Race.
Rounding out the U.S. team is Jeremy Reynolds (Dunnellon, Fla.) and A Kutt Above, who he co-owns with his wife Heather. Jeremy has had a great year in 2012 finishing second at the Dupuis Piney Pig CEI2* event and then winning the U.S. Team Trial Race, both with A Kutt Above. With the pair in top shape, another big win is not far out of their reach.
Margaret "Meg" Sleeper (Frenchtown, N.J.) will be riding her own Syrocco Reveille as an individual. Sleeper was on the U.S. East Gold medal team in the 2001 Pan American Endurance Championship and the 2009 North American Endurance Challenge, so she knows what it takes to be part of a winning team. Last year, Sleeper and Syrocco Reveille finished second in CEI3* at the 2011 North American Endurance Team Challenge.
Early Friday morning Chef d'Equipe Emmett Ross decided to make a change to the squad of six U.S. horses and riders. Based on veterinary input, Ross replaced Becky Hart (San Juan Bautista, Calif.) and her horse No Repeat with alternate Meg Sleeper and Syrocco Reveille. Hart said, "Of course I am disappointed to not ride. But that's endurance. Now I will be actively crewing and cheering the riders throughout the race on Saturday."
Ross said, "We are lucky to have three time world champion Becky Hart's continued support and wealth of experience as part of the U.S. Endurance effort. We thank her for her dedication. Spirits remain high. We are ready to go. We are ready to race."
Hart went on to say, "I am thrilled we are fielding such a strong team of horses and riders. Thanks go to Emmett and the US Endurance Athletes Association recent fundraising that allowed us to bring Meg and her horse as an alternate."
The United States' second individual entry, Nicki Meuten (Zebulon, N.C.) and her own Not Tonight, were not accepted by the Ground Jury at the first horse inspection.
"As chef I am so pleased to have such a strong group of committed team players," said Ross. "This team includes a great amount of experience with two past World Champions and multiple Tevis Cup winning horses and riders. We have a great combination of experience and youth. All of us are very enthusiastic and eager for the challenge."
The race will begin 7:00am local time, 2:00am ET.
Live coverage of the race will be provided by FEI TV here.
View the competition website here: http://www.eustonparkendurance.co.uk/WEC
Follow the U.S. Endurance Team here: http://www.usefnetwork.com/featured/2012Endurance/