Rolex in Retrospect: Beverly Equestrian Toasts Allison Springer, Karen O’Connor & Marilyn Little-Meredith
Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event provided the first major step in the US team selection process for the 2012 Olympics. Several riders made incredible bids for their ticket to London and on May 6 Beverly Equestrian Center (The Plains, VA) celebrated the three eventers for their rides ’round Rolex.
Allison Springer & Arthur – they broke through several years of bad luck and misfortune to finish second overall and the best of the Americans to win the USEF National Four-Star championship. In the event that Allison & Arthur make the team, this will be their first Olympics. Arthur won Best Conditioned Horse and that means a lot in terms of horse power and will work in their favor over the next couple of months.
Karen O’Connor & Mr. Medicotts – the multi-titled rider has been eventing for 35 years and won her first ever title as Best Dressed Female from the traditional competition of the first veterinary inspection at Rolex: the Dubarry of Ireland Style Award. She still gets a bit moved by its significance: Karen has worked her bum off literally in what might be her final bid for a berth on the 3-day Olympic team. She’s going all-out, looks fit and trim and youthful – plus, she’s riding better than ever in all three phases. A dip in the water eliminated Karen and Veronica, who will be back as a four-star steed, the horse gods willing! Karen partnered with Mr. Medicott with a brilliant cross-country and one rail in show jumping to claim fourth place overall, and third best of the US riders. This will be her fifth Olympics and a lot is riding on the next couple of months, especially if she retires from active competition because of husband David O’Connor taking over as US Chef d’Equipe.
Marilyn Little-Meredith, a seasoned grand prix show jumper, burst into the eventing world a few years ago and has scorched a path up to the four-star level. In her first ever four-star, coached by the O’Connors, Marilyn and RF Demeter had an amazing Rolex, considering the competition and the three testing phases. In second place after dressage with her more seasoned upper level horse, RF Rovano Rex, a glance-off on the cross-country prompted Marilyn to withdraw Rex before the show jumping. Not to worry: the duo took out three costly rails for 12 faults – nobody ever said show jumping, especially at the Rolex level, was easy – not even for a show jumper by experience – and finished in 9th place overall.
So, a lovely crowd gathered at Beverly Equestrian where Allison Springer Eventing moved recently and toasted the trio of eventers with champagne and had a lovely time watching videos and catching up with friends and kindred enthusiasts.
The process continues through June – several riders who declared for the Olympics had “byes” with certain horses from contesting Rolex. Keep in mind that the field is uber-competitive with Boyd Martin & Neville Bardos & Otis Barbotiere, who finished 3rd and reserve National 4-star champion at Rolex; Sinead Halpin & Manoir du Carneville; Buck Davidson & Titanium & Absolute Liberty. Plus, do not forget Phillip Dutton and his vast experience and Olympic mileage. Others will be making bids at Jersey Fresh CCI*** – another cog in the selection process; some are going to Bromont CCI*** (CAN). By the end of June the shortlist will be packing to cross the big puddle for Luhmuhlen and then to Barbury Castle, billed as the clash of Titans where everyone headed to Greenwich Park in London for the Olympic 3-day will make that final outing an all-star dress rehearsal that might be as exciting to watch as the Olympics.
Special Thanks to Eventing Nation for two mentions with two live links during Rolex – if you haven’t visited the EN site, treat yourself today.
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