Aussie has named its gold and green squads, as well as the Generation Next squad!
2016 Rio Olympics bronze medallists Shane Rose, Sam Griffiths and Chris Burton have been named in the Gold Squad. This is for horse and rider combinations who have achieved medal performances at the most recent World Equestrian Games/Olympics and are considered capable of a medal performance at the upcoming FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon and/or Olympic Games.
The Green Squad includes Sammi Birch, Emma McNab, Katja Weimann, US-based Ryan Wood and South Australian eventing legend Megan Jones. It is for riders whose results in the last six months (ie. CCI3*, CSI4*, CDI4* and above) demonstrate a capability of medal performances at WEG and/or the Olympics.
The Generation Next Squad (Andrew Barnett, Olivia Barton, Emma Bishop, Andrew Cooper, Isabel English, Shenae Lowings, Robert Palm, Amanda Ross, Katie Taliana, Gemma Tinney, Hazel Shannon and Emma Mason) is for riders who have not recently represented Australia at WEG or the Olympics, and includes emerging talent with proven performances and results (ie. CCI2*, CSI3* and CDI3* and above). These riders must be showing potential for medal performances at WEG or the Olympic Games.
A notable exclusion in any squads is the accomplished rider, Stuart Tinney, who was a member of the bronze-medal-winning team at Rio. However, his daughter Gemma is named in the Generation Next Squad.
Georgia Widdup, an Equestrian Australia Eventing Selector commended all riders on their inclusion. “This an important and exciting time… with just over six months until the FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon,” she says. “We currently have a very strong group of senior horse and rider combinations headed for WEG, which is a major milestone in the journey towards Tokyo 2020.”
Megan Jones, a seasoned Olympic rider who won team silver at Beijing in 2008, is listed on the Green Squad and says she has her sights firmly set on representing Australia at the highest level once again. “I’m very excited to be named on the Green squad. This is one step closer to being selected on the WEG team. I’m so proud of my mare, Kirby Park Impress, and all of her owners are very excited to be on the Green Squad,” says Megan, who recently added another horse to her stable – one from New Zealand! She has purchased Impeccable from Emily Cammock.
Equestrian Australia will announce its WEG Eventing Coaching Team next week. EA’s High Performance Director Chris Webb says that some highly respected names will be joining the team. “We are looking forward to introducing a formidable coaching line-up and I am confident they are the ideal people to bring the best out of our riders and their horses.”
NZ Horse & Pony understands that Andrew Nicholson has been in discussions with Equestrian Australia in regard to assisting with coaching in cross-country. He also helps the German team with their cross-country, and can often be seen walking the course at international events with the Germans.