Articles: Press Release
Olympic Show Jumping Begins With Individual Qualifier
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA-September 25, 2000-A combination of a challenging course,
less than ideal footing and the distractions one generally finds at an
Olympic Games made it a tough day for the U.S. Equestrian Team (USET) and
many of the others competing in the individual qualifier of the Olympic show
Only four of the 74 horses in the competition completed the course with no
jumping penalties and each of those four had time penalties. Jeroen
Dubbeldam of The Netherlands on Sjiem and Bruce Goodin of New Zealand on
Lenaro had the best scor es of the day, 0.50 faults. Barcelona Olympic
champion Ludger Beerbaum of German y had the third best score, 1.25 faults,
on Goldfever 3.
Turning in the best round for the USET was Laura Kraut of Oconomowoc, WI who
had two rails down for eight faults on Liberty, a 9-year-old, Dutch
Warmblood mare owned by The Summit Group. Lauren Hough of Ocala, FL scored
12.50 faults on Clasiko, an 8-year-old, German-bred gelding owned by The
Margie Goldstein Engle of Wellington, FL had a score of 16 faults on Hidden
Creek's Perin, a 10-year-old, Westphalian gelding owned by Hidden Creek Farm
and Non a Garson of Lebanon, NJ was eliminated from the class after a fall
on a sharp right turn after fence 10 on Rhythmical, a 15-year-old,
Russian-bred gelding own ed by Garson and the Kamine Family.
"He slipped on the ground coming in at the first combination (fence 4ab) and
he got rattled. He's such a competitive horse that when he feels the ground
give way he fights forward a little bit more; he's trying to gain impulsion
on it," Garson said. "Then he started to make some mistakes. We've been
through stuff like this before though and we'll be fine. No one got hurt and
he'll be ready for Thursday. He's a tough guy."
Both Kraut and Hough said that their horses were a bit starstuck by the big
stadium, the huge crowd and the Olympic atmosphere. "Clasiko was looking at
the crowd rather than the fences," Hough said. "I didn't get him focused
enough. He jump ed well though and he'll be fine for Thursday."
Kraut said her horse also was distracted by the surroundings. "She was
looking a ll over the place at the big crowds," she said. "Finally I said to
her, 'Hey, Libby, pay attention'. She's still green and she saw a lot today
that she had never seen before. It should help her a lot on Thursday."
Engle didn't feel her horse was overly distracted but that he, like many of
the other horses, looked around a bit and that he also had some bad luck. "I
think even the experienced horses were looking around down by the in-gate,"
she said. " There was a lot to look at there. But it felt like Perin jumped
well. Two rails were pretty light and he galloped up to the water well; he
just barely hit the tape. It wasn't as nice as I had hoped for and I guess
I've got a little work to do before Thursday."
Several of the riders in the qualifier felt that the time was tight and the
footing could have been better. Only eight horses finished the course within
the time allowed. Course designer Leopoldo Palacios said that, "This is the
Olympic Games and the horses are expected to ride at a good pace."
Riders' scores in Monday's individual qualifier will be added to their
scores from the two rounds of Thursday's team competition to determine which
45 riders advance to Sunday's individual final. Monday's scores do not count
toward the team competition. The team medals are determined solely by the
scores turned in on Thursday. Although Monday's scores do play a role in
determining who qualifies for the individual final, they do not count in
determining who wins the individual championship as all riders will start
Sunday's two-round final with a score of zero.