On Wednesday, June 29, 2016, the United States Equestrian Federation announced the four horse-and-rider pairs and one alternate who will be representing the U.S. at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil this summer. Fans of the sport will notice that the four riders are the same four who represented the U.S. at the 2014 World Equestrian Games (WEG) in France, where they won team bronze.
Lucy Davis and Barron at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France.
23-year-old Lucy Davis is the youngest member of this year’s show jumping team, but she has a long history with horses, having started riding at age 5. She’s a veteran of the North American Junior & Young Rider Championships, with an individual silver from 2009 and team gold from 2010 on her resume.
Barron, who is named after Davis’s grandfather, has been her top horse since 2013. Together, Davis and Barron have racked up an impressive series of grand prix wins both in the U.S. and in Europe. Barron was also Davis’s mount at the 2014 WEG.
Kent Farrington and Voyeur at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France.
Kent Farrington (Wellington, Fla.) and Amalaya Investments’ Voyeur, a 2002 KWPN gelding
Kent Farrington will be making his Olympic debut in Rio this summer after having represented the U.S. on several different teams. With Uceko, he was part of the gold medal team at the 2011 Pan American Games in Mexico and the bronze medal team at the 2015 PanAms in Canada with Gazelle.
Uckeko and Gazelle remain in Farrington’s top string, but it’s his 2014 WEG partner, Voyeur, who will be making the trip to Brazil this summer. This pair have wins at the 2015 Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix in Hamburg, the RBC Grand Prix at the Spruce Meadows National Tournament, the Pan American Cup at Spruce Meadows, and the FEI World Cup Jumping Lexington at the CP National Horse Show among their recent accomplishments.
Beezie Madden and Cortes C at the Lexington Classic Grand Prix in 2012
Beezie Madden (Cazenovia, N.Y.) and Abigail Wexner’s Cortes ‘C’, a 2002 Belgian Warmblood gelding
Beezie Madden will be heading to her fourth Olympic Games this year, hoping to add to her collection of hardware that includes team gold medals from the 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing Olympics and individual bronze from Beijing. With her horse, Simon, she won the sport’s top honor, the FEI World Cup, in 2013. Madden also won individual and team silver at the 2006 WEG in Aachen, Germany, and was the only American to medal individually at the 2014 WEG, where she and Cortes ‘C’ won bronze.
Cortes is also a seasoned competitor. Aside from the WEG in Normandy, Cortes was Madden’s mount when she became the first woman to win the King George V Gold Cup at Hickstead in England in 2014—the class had been restricted to men until 2008. The pair returned to repeat the victory in 2015. Cortes can also brag to his barnmates that he officially has the title of “Best Horse,” an honor given to the horse with the best result under four different riders during the final phase of Show Jumping at the World Equestrian Games.
McLain Ward and HH Azur at The Royal Horse Show in 2015
McLain Ward (Brewester, N.Y.) with Double H Farm and Francois Mathy’s HH Azur, a 2006 Belgian Warmblood mare
Like Madden, McLain Ward is no stranger to Olympic competition. He was also part of the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympic teams as well as the WEG teams in 2006, 2010 and 2014. With his 2014 WEG partner, Rothchild, Ward won team and individual gold at the 2015 PanAm Games in Canada.
HH Azur has the distinction of being the only member of this 2016 Olympic team who was not part of the 2014 WEG team. However, she has an impressive record with Ward already, including grand prix wins at the Winter Equestrian Festival, Spruce Meadows, and the Hampton Classic.
The following athlete-and-horse combination has been named as the traveling reserve:
Laura Kraut and Zeremonie at the 2013 Winter Equestrian Festival
Laura Kraut (Royal Palm Beach, Fla.) and Old Willow Farms, LLC’s Zeremonie, a 2007 Holsteiner mare
Laura Kraut is another Olympic veteran, having been part of the 2008 U.S. team with the great Cedric. Kraut and Cedric were also on the team for the 2010 WEG. Zeremonie is a relatively young up-and-comer at Kraut’s stable, but has already proved she can compete with the best as part of the silver medal winning team at the FEI Nations Cup in Wellington this winter.