Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Go Team USA: Great News from Mclain Ward!

Two months ago I posted news that broke my heart, about Mclain Ward's fall and subsequent injury at WEF.  I know that's just Horses, and sometimes we get hurt, and sometimes (even worse, if you ask me -- thankfully Oh d'Eole was not injured) our horses get hurt, but I was crushed to hear of it, nonetheless.

In case you live under a rock haven't heard the news, last week the USEF Ad Hoc Committee on Selection announced that it approved Mclain, and his mounts Sapphire and Antares F, for the long list in showjumping.  After the Ad Hoc Committee's consultation with Chef d'Equipe George Morris (you may have heard of him), Mclain was unanimously voted onto the long list for the U.S. Olympic Showjumping team.  (As it turns out, I guess I'm not his only fan.)  COTH has more on this story.

What does this mean exactly?  I was curious too.  The good news is I'm a lawyer (knew those skills would come in handy for something!), and I'm used to breaking down overly complicated rule systems into words that actually make sense.

According to the Selection Guidelines, the selection trials are held at the end of this month.  They'll take place in Wellington at the conclusion of WEF.  Based on how everyone does at the selection trials, the Long List is created.  Mclain is already on the list, despite the fact that he won't be participating in the selection trials.  Under the guidelines, the Selectors have the discretion to add up to five horse and rider combinations.  That discretion is guided by the horse and rider's ability to meet the current standards outlined in the Guidelines, and overall performance and soundness during the 2011/2012 Grand Prix season.  No wonder Mclain was a shoe-in.

Next, members of the list will participate in at least two out of four observation trials, which are held in May and June.  The trials are as follows:
The Del Mar National Horse Show
Del Mar, California; May 1-6, 2012

Kentucky Spring Horse Show
Lexington, Kentucky; May 8-13, 2012

The Devon Horse Show
Devon, Pennsylvania; May 29-June 2, 2012

Spruce Meadows
Calgary, Alberta Canada; June 13-17, 2012
After the observation trials, the Selectors (consulting with the Chef d'Equipe and the Team Vet), will then recommend a ranked list, known as the FEI Nominated Entries for the Olympics.  That list will be a minimum of five rider/horse combinations, or a maximum of twelve riders and twelve horses plus three reserve horses.  The nominations are then subject to approval by Show Jumping High Performance Committee, High Performance Working Group, and the USEF Executive Committee.  Whew. 

Once at the Olympics, the four horse and rider combinations that will actually compete are then selected. My fingers are crossed that Mclain and everyone's favorite chestnut mare will be part of the chosen few!

Mclain has announced that he expects to be back in the ring at Devon, which is very exciting news for this particular little Ward fan, since I may try to swing on down to Devon for the event.  HJU shared the story and a great video interview that Mclain did for Horse First Ltd.


Even if Mclain faces some unforeseen setback, there's still good news.  There's additional room for discretion under the Guidelines, and a rider (or horse) who has a medical, veterinary, or family emergency and cannot participate in the observation trials can ask for special consideration.

What's that saying? Where there's a will, there's a way? Let's go Team USA!

1 comment:

  1. I've always liked him, when we used to see him at shows he was just a nice polite guy. Love Sapphire, her owners actually live next door to one of my daughters. Beautiful place.

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