For the 2004 Olympic Games, the pendulum of objective selection began to swing back and allow an element of subjectivity. And when Chris Kappler and Royal Kaliberâ€”named to the team subjectively, without going through the trials processâ€”claimed individual silver, it was an indication that the balance worked.
So, the selection process for the 2005 World Equestrian Games, to be held in Aachen, Germany, in September, will again involve both the results of an objective set of trials, and an element of subjective choice, undertaken by a selection panel of three.
The selection trials will take place in Wellington, Fla., on March 21-25. There will be one round each on Tuesday, March 21, Wednesday, March 22, and Thursday, March 23. Friday, March 24 is a rest day, and on Saturday, March 25, the final two rounds will be held. All the rounds will be scored with no jump-off, just a time allowed. Horse/rider combinations will be ranked according to their total faults amassed over the five rounds. And there will be $20,000 in prize money for each round.
Within 48 hours after the final trial round, the selectors (who haven\’t been named yet) will choose 10 horse/rider combinations to put on a short list. The top six combinations from the trials will be ranked according to their final ranking in the trials. For places seven to 10, the selectors have a little bit of leeway.
The selectors could choose to name horse/rider combinations to the short list based on their demonstrated ability, previous international experience, and prospect to win an individual or team medal, regardless of their placing in the trials. The selectors\’ decisions must be unanimous, and if they don\’t fill a spot with a subjective choice, that spot will be filled by the next-highest-ranked combination from the trials.
The selectors could even name four combinations to the short list before the trials are completed.
Once the short list has been announced, the 10 horse/rider combinations will be under the control of chef d\’equipe George Morris and split into two teams, Group A and B, of five riders each. Group A will consist of the five combinations considered to be the strongest candidates for selection to the WEG team. Group A will compete at the CSIO La Baule (France) on May 5-9 and the CSIO Aachen (May 18-21). Group B will compete at CSIO Rome (Italy) on May 25-28, CSIO Lucerne (Switzerland) June 1-4 and the CSIO Rotterdam (the Netherlands) on June 15-18 (although their performances at Rotterdam won\’t be considered in the selection process).
No later than Aug. 22, the selectors will name the four horses and riders and one alternate who\’ll comprise the show jumping team for the WEG.