Articles: Press Release
USET Announces Dressage Short List For World Equestrian Games
Marty Bauman (508) 698-6810, firstname.lastname@example.org
Gladstone, NJ—June 13, 2002—The United States Equestrian Team (USET) has
announced the list of horses and riders for the Dressage World Championships
at the World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Jerez, Spain in September. The list
was named following selection trials at the USET Olympic Training Center in
Gladstone, NJ, June 1-2 and 8-9.
The five riders and horses that will go to Europe for further training
before the WEG in September are: Debbie McDonald of Hailey, ID, and
Brentina, owned by Parry and Peggy Thomas; Guenter Seidel of Del Mar, CA,
with Nikolaus 7, owned by Dick and Jane Brown; Sue Blinks of Wellington, FL,
and Flim Flam, owned by Fritz Kundrun and Dressage Sponsor Corporation; Lisa
Wilcox of Thousand Oaks, CA, with Relevant, owned by Gundula Vorwerk and Dr.
Claus Crone-Munzebrock; and Christine Traurig of Carlsbad, CA, with Etienne,
owned by Kelly Trierweiler.
Consistent with the team selection procedures, the top three horses –
Brentina, Nikolaus 7 and Flim Flam – will ride as members of the team
assuming they maintain their soundness and preparedness to compete. The two
remaining horses – Relevant and Etienne – will compete in two shows in
Europe. The USET Dressage Selectors will then determine which of the two
will ride on the team and which will serve as team alternate. All five
horses will travel to Jerez for the Games.
Wilcox did not compete in the selection trials, but instead chose to qualify
by competing in Europe. Her score of 74.299% was the necessary 2% above the
fourth place competitor in Gladstone and therefore she made the short list.
Steffen Peters of Escondido, CA, with Grandeur, owned by Robert and Lila
Kommerstadt, qualified for the short list in sixth place but removed
themselves from the selection process leaving five riders to vie for the
U.S. team of four that will compete in Spain.
Three competitors—Tom Noone, Shelly Francis and Betsy Steiner—withdrew their
horses from the trials for various medical reasons.
The Dressage Trials consisted of four competitions and three tests, the
Grand Prix, the Grand Prix Special and the Grand Prix Freestyle. The Grand
Prix, held on the first day, counted for 30% of riders’ overall selection
trials score. The following day was the Grand Prix Special, which accounted
for 25%. A second Grand Prix was held on the following Saturday, again
representing 30%, and the remaining 15% of riders’ scores were taken from
the Freestyle which took place on the final Sunday.
Sue Blinks and Flim Flam took top honors in the first Grand Prix with a
score of 71.920%, edging out Guenter Seidel and Nikolaus 7, for second
70.440%. Third place went to Christine Traurig with Etienne with a score of
Blinks was very happy to take the lead on opening day. "I am really, really
pleased with our test," said Blinks of her 2000 Sydney Olympic mount. "He
was totally with me in the ring, more than ever. It's a remarkable thing,
he knows his job and still likes his job."
The first two overall places stayed the same after the second day of
competition with Blinks and Flim Flam in the lead and Seidel and Nikolaus 7
in second, but a win in the Grand Prix Special catapulted Debbie McDonald
and Brentina into third from a disappointing fifth on the first day.
McDonald and Brentina scored 73.400%, with 72.280% for Seidel and 71.560%
“Yesterday, Brentina was having trouble with the thicker air which affected
her,” said McDonald of her 1999 Pan American Games double Gold Medal mount.
“But she was more herself today, it all felt very smooth and responsive. I
was just really happy today. I knew I needed to do a good test today to be
in a good position.”
Remaining in peak condition until the following weekend had all the riders
feeling the pressure. “Both Saturdays are tough”, said Seidel. “You have
the whole week in between to think.”
It may not have been the pressure, but the pair came in third in the Grand
Prix test on June 8 with a score of 67.760, however, he was able to remain
in second for the overall placing.
“I wanted to go in and do a good ride,” said Seidel. “I was disappointed
with my own riding today, the horse needed a push and I didn’t do it.”
Although, McDonald was the one feeling the pressure, Brentina broke out in
hives. The mare was given a clean bill of health to compete, but McDonald
felt anxious. “I never felt so stressed in any competition,” said McDonald.
“I wanted a clean performance and then I noticed that my mare broke out in
hives two hours before the competition, but today’s test was much better
than last week.”
McDonald and Brentina won the Special with a 71.280% score. Traurig and
Etienne, her 2000 Sydney Olympic mount, had a good day finishing in second
with 68.960%. “I was really happy with my ride today,” said Traurig. “I
didn’t expect to be so close in the competition because Etienne and I have
been apart for a long time. I am so happy to have him back.”
On the final day of the trials, it was Blinks that had reason for
concern. Flim Flam colicked and was not sure they would be able to
participate, but the gelding recovered and was given the go ahead to compete
by the veterinarians.
“He was definitely not up to par the last two days,” said Blinks. “He didn’
t feel right yesterday, but he felt better today. I felt the test got
stronger and stronger.”
The pair placed third in the Freestyle with a score of 71.725%
Brentina was in top form, but still gave McDonald a scare when she took a
stumble down the diagonal finishing second in the Freestyle with a score of
“I didn’t know what happened,” said McDonald. “I found out later that she
spooked from a photographer. It was very scary, it was a very big stumble,
but then she felt fine.”
Seidel won the class riding Nikolaus 7 to a score of 74.275% and came in
second overall. Seidel was pleased with his final showing. “The test for
the most part lived up to my expectations,” said the two-time Olympic team
Bronze Medalist. “There were some parts that were a little disappointing,
that I need to work on, but overall, I am very pleased with my results.”
The Trials also served as the 2002 USET Grand Prix Championship and for
the second consecutive year the Grand Prix Champion was Debbie McDonald with
Brentina and the Reserve Champion was Guenter Seidel with Nikolaus 7.
For more information about the WEG Dressage Selection Trials or on the USET,
please call (908) 234-1251, or visit USET ONLINE at www.uset.org.
* qualified based on scores in Europe
- Debbie McDonald Brentina 71.216%
- Guenter Seidel Nikolaus 7
- Susan Blinks Flim Flam
- Lisa Wilcox Relevant *
- Christine Traurig Etienne
- Steffen Peters Grandeur
- Geunter Seidel Foltaire
- George Williams Rocher 64.830%
- Cherri Reiber G Tudor
- Susan J. Dutta Gumshoes- DC 62.261%
- Lynda Cameron Orion
Tom Noone Fresco WD
Shelly J. Francis Gala WD
Betsy Steiner Rainier WD
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 and
horses - and provides the support and guidance they need to help them attain
their fullest potential. For more information on the USET, please call
(908) 234-1251, or visit USET ONLINE at www.uset.org.