|The goal: Representing one's country in international competition|
The fifteen horses and riders contesting the 2012 United States Equestrian Federation Grand Prix Dressage Championships (minus Steffen Peters' mount Ravel, who was granted a bye) are getting ready for the veterinary inspection (the "jog") as I write this. Assuming all pass, they'll get under way bright and early tomorrow, Saturday, June 9, at 8:00 a.m. EDT at United States Equestrian Team Foundation headquarters in Gladstone, NJ.
The contenders will ride the FEI Grand Prix test tomorrow and the Olympic Grand Prix Special (a different test from the FEI GP Special) on Sunday, June 10, also beginning at 8:00 a.m. New Jersey weekend temperatures are forecast to soar into the upper 80s, so I'm sure the competitors are thankful they'll be riding in the relative cool of the morning.
Although we won't be seeing Ravel at Gladstone, we'll most certainly be seeing Steffen Peters. His other Grand Prix-level mount, Legolas, is also an Olympic contender. (Can you imagine having not just one but two Olympic-hopeful horses?) And Steffen will also be riding in the Intermediaire I championship with rising star Sundance.
The USEF Network will be broadcasting both Grand Prix classes, which are part of the 2012 USEF Dressage Festival of Champions. Other championship divisions being held this weekend are the FEI Pony, Junior, and Young Rider. See the USEF Network link for a complete schedule.