Eventing is an extraordinarily difficult discipline requiring horse and rider proficiency in dressage, stadium jumping, and cross-country jumping over natural and man-made obstacles. And some would say the toughest of all equestrian events. Few would have imagined that day at the MARS GMI CCI4*-S last month at Great Meadow would be a preview to the Land Rover U.S. Eventing Squad earning the team silver weeks later at the FEI Eventing World Championships in Pratoni, Italy.
Serving as the final mandatory outing to observe and prepare in the last stage of training before the World Championships, onlookers and fans spread about this beautiful course to cheer on their favorite pair. Liz Halliday-Sharp of Lexington, Kentucky, finished in first place with her stunning grey Cooley Quicksilver. Finishing second and third respectively were Tamie Smith of Murrieta, California, with Mai Baum and Will Coleman of Gordonsville, Virginia, with Off The Record. All five squad members, Team USA, along with the eight reserve and alternate combinations, completed the CCI4*-S at MARS GMI. Now off to Italy.
The team at Pratoni consisted of Will Coleman and Off The Record, Boyd Martin and Tserserleg TSF, Lauren Nicholson and Vermiculus, and Tammie Smith and Mai Baum. Ariel Grald and Leamore Master competed as an individual only. Though not fairing as well individually as hoped, team members pushed through to earn silver, ending a 20-year drought in the program and securing qualification for the Paris 2024 Olympic games. Years of hard work, dedication, and extraordinary fortitude finally paid off.
For the team and eventing fans alike, these next two years will undoubtedly be some of the most exciting in the sport. I’ll keep you posted!