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March 26, 2012

Harding Replaces Koford For Dressage World Cup

Jim Koford has chosen not to represent the United States at the 2012 Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Final after his mount Pharaoh suffered a minor injury.

Instead, Shawna Harding, 43, will ride for the red, white and blue at the competition on April 18-22 in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands, with her Come On III (Come Back II—Canna, Lantaan).

Pharaoh, a 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood owned by Hannah Holland Shook and Mitzi Presnell, hyperextended his front right leg just before going into the warm-up ring for the IHS Champions Cup CDI*** in Loxahatchee, Fla., on March 23 but Koford, 49, said it wasn’t an obvious lameness.

The gelding was hesitant to extend in the trot, an odd behavior that confirmed Koford’s suspicions that something was wrong. After examining the horse, the veterinarian said the the tendon sheath was inflamed and recommended four to six weeks of rest.

“The injury is really not that severe,” Koford said. The veterinarian told Koford he could push through to the World Cup, but resting will ensure a full recovery instead of risking further injury. “He’s just so, so special. Every effort is made to protect him for a long competitive career.”

“If we do (rest), we have a great horse for the rest of the season,” said Koford. “I have such respect for [Harding], and her horse is going so well.”

In addition to Harding, Jan Ebeling, 53, will compete in April on Rafalca, a 15-year-old Oldenburg mare (Argentinius—Ratine, Rubinstein) owned by Ann Romney and Amy Ebeling.