How did the ’16 riders to watch in 2016′ perform during the Olympic year?
Last year, Eventing Connect highlighted “16 Eventers to watch in 2016”. These 16 riders had some interesting results in 2015 and were vying for a coveted 2016 Olympic team spot. Six out of these 16 riders did make it all the way to Rio and two even won Olympic medals. Although not all 16 riders made it to the Rio Olympics, they all had impressive 2016 seasons and are certainly 2018 World Equestrian Games material. Keep your eye on these riders this year because they did not disappoint in 2016.
1) Waylon Roberts (CAN) – In 2016 Waylon caught the Canadian team selectors’ attention with a 9th place finish at the 2016 Bromont CCI3* with Kelecyn Cognac. They were the alternate pair for the Canadian team at the Rio Olympics. He competed five different horses at FEI events in 2016, earning four top 10 finishes. He earned an impressive 2nd place finish at the Morven Park CIC2* with Lancaster in September. Unfortunately, his season was cut a bit short. He broke his foot badly in a fall while schooling a young horse in October, just days before the Fair Hill International. However, he appears to be on the mend has been keeping busy building jumps. We are looking forward to seeing Waylon out competing again this winter.
2,3) Tim and Jonelle Price (NZL) – These two were the only married couple to compete in Eventing at the Rio Olympics. They fielded half of the Olympic New Zealand event team, which finished just outside the medals in fourth place. Tim was eliminated in Rio with Ringwood Sky Boy after falling on a turn between fences (talk about rubbish luck!). Jonelle placed 17th with Faerie Dianimo. Together, Tim and Jonelle had too many top ten finishes at FEI events to count. Jonelle finished 10th at the 2016 Badminton CCI4* with Classic Moet and then they went on to place 3rd at the Burghley CCI4*. Tim finished in 4th with Ringwood Skyboy at the Luhmuhlen CCI4* and the Burghley CCI4*. It would not be a surprise to see them both on the 2018 WEG team.
4) Will Coleman (USA) – Will has a very exciting string of immensely talented up-and-coming horses in his string. Last year, he won the Richland CIC3* with the 9-year-old gelding, Tight Lines. They also finished 11th at the competitive Plantation Field International CIC3* and 24th at the Fair Hill CCI3*. Will also placed 10th in the Fair Hill CCI3* with Soupcon de Brunett. He did not disappoint in the Fair Hill CCI2* division the same weekend, finishing 4th and 9th with Boris O’Hara and Gideon, respectively. Surely the US selectors will be watching Will on the lead up to 2018.
5) Holly Woodhead (GBR) – At only 21-years-old, Holly was short listed for the 2016 Rio Olympics with DHI Lupison. They had a stellar spring season, placing 4th at the Burnham Market CIC3* and 8th at the Bramham CIC3*. However, DHI Lupison was injured on the lead up to Rio. Shortly afterwards, Holly broke her ankle and was also sidelined. She was able to end her 2016 season with some competitive results on young horses including a 7th place finish on Parkfield Exclusive at the Aldon CIC1*. It will be exciting to see Holly and DHI Lupison back at the top of the sport in 2017.
6) April Simmonds (CAN) – April successfully completed her first CCI3* at the 2016 Bromont, with Quebec NZPH. They finished in 8th place adding only cross-country time penalties to their dressage score. At 19-years-old, she was the youngest Canadian eventer to qualify for the Rio Olympics. April was also the highest placed Canadian at the Carolina International CIC3* where she placed 23rd. This young eventer is certainly one to watch.
7) Gabriel Silva (BRA) – After a successful finish at the 2014 World Equestrian Games and the 2015 Badminton CCI4* with Grass Valley, Gabriel was a front-runner for the Brazil Olympic team. However, Grass Valley was euthanized at the 2016 Belton Horse Trials CIC3* after breaking his fetlock on cross-country. Everyone in the Eventing world was heartbroken for Gabriel and his team. Hopefully we will see Gabriel riding for Brazil once again in the near future.
8) Tamie Smith (USA) – Tamie gained some international experience in 2016 by training and competing in the UK for the fall season. Overseas, she delivered respectable results including a 23rd with Dempsey in the Blenheim CIC3* for 8 and 9-year-old horses, 4th at the Gatcombe Park CIC2* with Twizted Sister, 32nd at the Boekelo CCIO3* with Dempsey, and 24th at the Le Lion CCI2 Young Horse Championships with Fleeceworks Royal. Tamie is now back in the United States and will likely be a force this season.
9) Clark Montgomery (USA) – Clark represented the US at the Rio Olympics with Loughan Glen. They had a flawless lead up to Rio, finishing 2nd at the Bramham CIC3* and winning the Great Meadow CICO3* Nations Cup event. However, things came a bit unhinged at Rio on cross-country and they retired after two refusals. Clark has been competing and living in the UK since 2012, but now he is back home in America, where he will continue to train and build his business. It will be exciting to watch Clark at shows in North America in 2017.
10) Ryan Wood (AUS) – Ryan Wood dominated the North American Eventing circuit in 2017, winning multiple three-stars. He won the Jersey Fresh CCI3* with Powell and went on to win the Bromont CCI3* and CIC3* with Woodstock Bennett and Frankie, respectively. He also cleaned up at the American Eventing Championships, finishing 1st and 2nd in the Advanced with Powell and Woodstock Bennett, respectively. He also completed the Rolex CCI4* with Fernhill Classic and McLovin. This man is in hot contention for a spot on the 2018 WEG team for Australia and the Americans must be begging him to change citizenship.
11) Claas Hermann Romeike (GER) – At the 2015 Pau CCI4* Claas finished in 5th place with Cato 60 at his first four-star, catching everyone’s attention. Claas’ father, Hinrich Romeike, won the individual gold medal at the 2008 Olympics and Claas seems to be working to follow in his dad’s footprints. This year he finished 18th at the Luhmuhlen CCI4* with Cato 60 and this pair also finished 7th at the Milano CCI3*. Claas is only 23-years-old so he still has plenty of time to represent Germany on the world stage.
12) Emily King (GBR) – After a 4th place finish at the 2015 Pau CCI4* with Brookleigh, Emily set her sights on the 2016 Badminton CCI4*. They had a strong lead up to Burghley, which included a 10th place finish at the Burnham Market CIC3*. Late on course at Badminton they had a fall, which sidelined Brookleigh for the remainder of the season. However, Emily went on to compete at numerous international events on five different horses. Her season highlights include a 2nd place finish at the Houghton Hall CCI2* for Young Riders with Dargun and placing 4th at the Lignières CCI2* with Cooley Currency. Emily is only 20-years-old and it is only a matter of time before she represents Great Britain on a senior team.
13) Christopher Burton (AUS) – In 2016, Chris proved that he is undoubtedly one of the world’s greatest eventers. He finished 5th individually at the Rio Olympics on Santano II, helping Australia secure a team bronze medal. Prior to the Olympics, Santano II had never competed at a four-star and only had one CCI3* under his girth. Chris made history at the Burghley CCI4* with Nobilis 18, winning the event despite knocking down four rails. To end his 2016, Chris won the Le Lion CCI1* Young Horse Championship with Fire Fly. The only question really is, how many four-stars will Chris win in 2017?
14) Astier Nicolas (FRA) – Astier made France proud by bringing home individual silver and helping the French team win gold at the Rio Olympics with Piaf de b’Nevllie. Astier also finished 14th at the Badminton CCI4* with Quickly du Buguet and 17th at the Pau CCI4* with Molakai. He also earned countless other top finishes at various FEI events on multiple mounts. Astier is definitely a rider who is going to be at the top for a long time.
15) Cathal Daniels (IRL) – At only 20-years-old, Cathal Daniels is well on his way to becoming an elite rider. He was the youngest rider on the Irish team’s Rio Olympic short list. He also made his four-star debut at the 2016 Pau CCI4* with Rioghan Rua where they finished 12th. In 2016 he had 32 starts at FEI events with 12 different mounts and racked up ten top ten finishes. Cathal has international results that are well beyond his years and in 2017 he could easily deliver a top ten four-star finish.
16) Ingrid Klimke (GER) – Ingrid was a member of the silver medal winning German team at the Rio Olympics with Horseware Hale Bob. They finished 14th individually at Rio, despite having an uncharacteristic runout on cross-country. Interestingly, Ingrid did not compete at any CCI4* events in 2016. However, she did win the prestigious Le Lion CCI2* Young Horse Championships with Weiesse Duene. She also won seven other FEI events from the one to three-star levels. Ingrid is 48-years-young with a well-rounded string of horses so she will likely be a force at major games to come.
Stay tuned for Eventing Connect’s list of riders to watch in 2017…