February 25, 2010 -- The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) Ad Hoc Committee on Selection has approved naming the horse/rider combination of Sapphire/McLain Ward to the Show Jumping Long List for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Lexington, KY, September 25-October 10, 2010.
Per the USEF selection procedure for the show jumping team, the selectors have the discretion to recommend up to six of the 15 horse/rider combinations to the long list prior to the conclusion of the selection trials. The remaining nine combinations will be chosen according to their ranking at the conclusion of the selection trials which run February 25-March 7 at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, Fla.
The long list will travel to Europe and compete at CSIOs La Baule, Rome, St. Gallen, Rotterdam, Falsterbo, Aachen, Hickstead and Dublin before selection for the WEG is finalized in late September.
Ward and Sapphire, a 15-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare owned by Ward and Blue Chip Bloodstock, had an amazing year in 2009, winning three major events in Florida. They were runners-up in the Rolex/FEI World Cup Final and winners of the Devon Grand Prix, Hampton Classic and $1m CN International Grand Prix in Spruce Meadows, Canada. Sapphire and Ward won team gold medals at the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games and were on the silver medal-winning team in 2006 at the FEI World Equestrian Games in Aachen.