Robert Costello The Carolinas Equestrian 01 Robert Costello
ROC Equestrian and Chairman of the Selection Working Group for the Land Rover US Eventing Team

TCE: The minimum requirements to be considered for a place on the U.S. team consists of being a U.S. citizen, being registered with the FEI and basic age requirements for horse and rider (horses must be at least 8 years of age; riders must have been born before December 31, 2000).  Aside from these requirements, what is the committee looking for in eventers and their horses to be chosen to represent the U.S. at WEG? 

RC: All Consistency of results would be a high-priority when selecting … but not necessarily “winning” every-time out.  The team needs to be composed of horse-rider combinations that have a proven record of consistent results in international competition over a significant period of time.  Soundness of the horse is also a vital factor in selection.

TCE: How many horse/rider combos and alternates will the U.S. send the WEG?

RC: This year, we will be sending the maximum number of athletes … 4 team members and 1 individual. Most likely one or two “reserves” will be named.

TCE: What scores must be received at the selection events to be “in the running” to be selected?

RC: There are “minimum qualifying results” that a horse/rider combination must achieve to satisfy FEI requirements to even be considered.

TCE: How many events does a rider need to compete at to be considered for selection and what scores do they need to receive?

RC: Each rider is free to compete in a many selection trials as they wish, but only 1 qualifying result during the qualifying period is needed to be considered (not necessarily selected, however.)  Note: According to FEI regulations, riders must receive a dressage score “with no more than 45 penalty points”; a clear cross-country round with “not more than 75 seconds exceeding the optimum time (100 seconds for 4* competition)”, and a stadium round with “not more than 16 penalties at the obstacles”.

TCE: What make TIEC a good location for this event?

RC: Though TIEC still has a lot to do to get ready for a competition of this magnitude, the existing infrastructure is superb.  Having been to the venue several times for competitions over the last few years, there is no doubt that no detail was spared in the creation of the site.  It’s also in a beautiful setting which is a bonus.

TCE: Is there a difference in stature among the selection events?

RC: Results in USEF designated CCI 3* and CCI 4* (long format) selection trials carry the most weight.  CIC 3* (short format) are used when determining overall consistency, but they are not considered “selection trials”.  One can think of CIC’s as the “10k’s” that you might do several of to get ready to compete in the CCI, or “marathon,”

TCE: When do riders find out if they are chosen?

RC: The “squad” of 5 horse/rider combinations, plus reserves, will be announced in late June.

TCE: Are riders/owners responsible for getting horses, gear, people, etc, to the event?

RC: Since the WEG is in the U.S. this year, riders will most likely be given the option of shipping their horses/equipment to the competition, but I’m sure the “Team” will offer any assistance necessary to secure the timely and safe arrival for all equine and human athletes!

TCE: Who is on the selection committee?

RC: There are 5 individuals, all with extensive international Eventing experience, I am Chairman of the committee with Jan Byyny, Phyllis Dawson, Derek DiGrazia, and Debbie Furnas.

TCE: Does the team practice and work together at WEG?

RC: Team athletes will train individually with Coach Erik Duvander, Performance Manager for the Land Rover US Eventing Team.  Most recently Duvander saw success as the coach of the New Zealand Eventing team.  Throughout the summer and will all come together for final team training approximately 1 week to 10 days before the start of the competition.

TCE: Any advice for young riders hoping to make it to WEG in the future?

RC: The commitment needed to make a team is immense on so many levels.  I would say 1st: get yourself to the WEG this year to see what the standard is, then 2nd: get to work!