The Three Day Teams begin their quests for medals in Rio this Saturday, August 5 with the first day of Eventing Dressage.
I spoke with each of the US riders from their Ocala training camp before they left for Rio. Here are some tidbits from our conversations.
Phillip Dutton, who will be competing in his 6th Olympics (3 for Australia and now 3 since becoming an American citizen in 2006) told me, “This team feels good to me. I thought this would be the right team earlier in the year.” Although Cubalawn suffered a minor tendon injury in his final gallop and has been replaced by Might Nice, Phillip says the two horses are very similar and equally strong contenders.
Boyd Martin says Blackfoot Mystery is the least experienced of the Team horses but definitely championship quality as he has the “WOW” factor. Boyd remarked, “The cross country is his strongest phase and if the course is long and tiring , BM’s thoroughbred blood will make a big difference.”
Clark Montgomery describes Loughan Glen’s most natural phase as the dressage. “Glen is a very soft mover and doesn’t mind the atmosphere. He actually picks up in atmosphere. Glen has an uncanny understanding of each of the three phases.”
Lauren Kieffer reports, “There is tremendous camaraderie among the four riders,” and being the only woman, “there had to be a little estrogen on the Team.” After hearing Lauren describe the personality of her feisty mare, Veronica, there may be a surplus of estrogen!
I know the riders are anxious for the Games to begin, and so are we. Best of luck to all horses and riders!!