Articles: Press Release
US Eventing Team Second; Holder Fourth Individually After First Day of
Dressage at 2008 Olympic Games
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 9, 2008
By Joanie Morris
Hong Kong, China - Becky Holder cashed in on a lifetime of preparation
today when she cantered down the centerline of the dressage ring of her
first Olympic Games. She put in a fantastic effort to lead the US
Eventing Team to a second place finish after three riders.The US Team
finished on a score of 121.50 behind the Australians who were on fire
with a three rider total of 102.8.
Riding the 13-year-old Thoroughbred Courageous Comet (whom she owns with
her husband Tom), Holder survived a few spooky moments at the beginning
of a test that got better and better as it went. The canter work
consistently scored eights and nines and her collective marks reflected
her best efforts highlighted by two eights and a nine for Holder's
The score shone on the Sha Tin scoreboard and 35.3 was good enough for
fourth place halfway through the dressage.
"It is very rewarding," said Holder. "It is my best score ever and to do
it at my first Olympic Games is really special."
Holder, from Mendota Heights, MN and 'Comet', a former racehorse did
excellent canter serpentines and flying changes, all four were equally
straight and expressive.
Holder's teammate, Gina Miles put in a personal best with McKinlaigh at
her first Olympic Games to go into third place after the morning
session. They ended up seventh halfway through the dressage.
The Creston, CA rider and the giant 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse (owned
by Thom Schulz and Laura Coats) had beautiful trot work, quality walk
and canter transitions. The pair received some nines, and would have
scored even better save for a couple of mistakes in their flying changes
at the end of their test to finish up on an excellent score of 39.6.
"I was very pleased with McKinlaigh," said Miles. "My personal goal has
always been to break 40. I'm thrilled that it happened today at my first
US pathfinders: Amy Tryon and Mark Hart's Poggio were the fifth pair in
the ring and put in their typical dependable performance picking up a
very respectable score of 46.5. This leaves them in 14th individually.
Tryon said she will likely retire the classy veteran from International
competition after these Games.
Hard-trying Poggio made every effort to pick up every point for Tryon
who consistently rides an accurate test. They were a stride late in one
flying change but aside from that, it was a very honest effort. The
16-year-old Thoroughbred gelding tuned up for his second Olympic
dressage test (team Bronze medalist in 2004) with a morning jump school.
The morning leader, Australia's Lucinda Fredericks, held onto her lead
with Headley Britannia on a score of 30.40.
Fredericks, who won Burghley last year with the diminutive chestnut
mare, doesn't have much trot to work with but rode a masterful test and
did not give a point away.
"She really didn't make a mistake," said Lucinda. "The more atmosphere,
the better she is. She's so trustworthy."
Belgium's Karin Donckers and Gazelle de Brasserie slipped into second on
a 31.70 as the second to last rider to go on the first day of dressage.
Fredericks' teammate Megan Jones who rode Irish Jester immediately
following Holder bested her score by .3.
Fredericks' husband and teammate, Clayton, ended up fifth on a score of
The final two US riders have eight Olympic Games between them and will
anchor the US effort tomorrow. Karen O'Connor who, at 50 years old, is
riding in her fourth Games will ride Joan Goswell's Mandiba at 6.58 am.
The 9-year-old Irish Thoroughbred gelding is the least experienced of
the horses on his team but he makes up for it in ability. His rider has
enough for both of them, having two team medals on her bookshelf already
(silver in 1996 and ronze in 2000).
Phillip Dutton will do his best to beat his former teammates when he
rides Bruce Duchossios' Connaught in the final spot of the US squad. The
former Aussie won two team Gold medals for his homeland in 1996 and
2000, this will be his first Olympics for Team USA. Connaught most
recently won the 2008 Rolex Kentucky CCI****, and at 15, continues to
improve. They go in the final rotation at 9.13 am.
Despite all the impressive dressage, the biggest story at the end of the
evening was the last minute scratch of France's Galan de Sauvagere by
Nicolas Touziant. One of the heavy individual medal favorites withdrew
in the warm-up because of a hind leg lameness.
A despondent Touziant didn't have a diagnosis, but his explanation
involved an accident in the stables during a thunderstorm that took its
time materializing. The French team was in shock and made the decision
to withdraw him in the horse's best interest.
For more information, please contact Joanie Morris at email@example.com.
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