Since the mid-1990s, the U.S. Equestrian Federation has used selection trials in some manner to select teams for major international championships—the Olympic Games and World Equestrian Games. The selection was done purely objectively for many years, based just on the selection trials results.
Former chef d’equipe George Morris re-introduced some subjectivity to the process in the last decade, adding the ability for a selection committee to name a team member or two independent of their trials results.
This year, for the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games show jumping team, the selection will be based both on the Rolex/USEF Show Jumping Ranking List and top-level competitions like CSIOs and the FEI World Cup Finals.
All of the decisions will be made by the current chef d’equipe, Robert Ridland, in consultation with the selectors (Anthony d’Ambrosio, Chris Kappler and Anne Kursinski) and the veterinary panel (Dr. Richard Markell, Dr. Rick Mitchell and Dr. Tim Ober). Those decisions will then have to be approved by the USEF Show Jumping High Performance Committee and the Board of Directors.
The first short list for the 2014 Alltech FEI WEG team has been named. On Dec. 17, the four highest-ranked athletes on the Dec. 6 Rolex/USEF Show Jumping Ranking List were named to the Phase I Short List. The top four riders on the Dec. 6 list are Beezie Madden, Kent Farrington, Reed Kessler and McLain Ward.
Riders named to the short list can include any horses they wish, but all horses are subject to approval. Horses named to the short list must undergo a baseline veterinary exam and riders must communicate with the chef d’equipe about their competition schedule and their horses’ fitness and preparation.
In the second phase of short list selection, Ridland will recommend a minimum of six additional athletes and their horses to be added to the short list by April 28.
One of these six will be the highest placed U.S. rider in the final overall standing of the 2014 FEI World Cup Final (France) on April 17-20, provided that rider finished in the top 10. If there is not a non-short listed rider in the top 10 of the World Cup Final, the spot will be decided based on the April 25 Rolex/USEF Ranking List.
Then, a minimum of three of the highest ranked riders on the April 25 Rolex/USEF Ranking List (excluding riders already on the short list) will be named to the list.
The chef d’equipe, selectors and veterinary panel will also be able to name two more riders to the list at their discretion.
The short list named on April 28 will not be in ranked order. Ridland, the selectors and the veterinary panel will also name up to five rider alternates for the short list.
Then, the short-listed riders and horses will compete at designated CSI and CSIO events. Those events haven’t been named or selected yet. The chef d’equipe and selectors will recommend the athletes for each designated competition. The selected CSI/CSIO observation events will be announced by April 1 on www.usef.org.
The chef and selectors can also add one rider/horse combination to the short list based on discretionary considerations.
After the conclusion of the observation events and before the not-yet-determined closing date for the FEI Nominated Entries for the Alltech FEI WEG, the chef d’equipe, in consultation with the selectors and the veterinary panel, will name between five and 10 horse/rider combinations to the FEI Nominated Entries.
Before the not-yet-determined closing date for the FEI Definite Entries, the final team of five will be named.