Horse News

U.S. Olympic Eventing Team Named for Rio

Two Olympic veterans and two newcomers make up this years 2016 U.S. Olympic Eventing Team.

Five-time Olympian Phillip Dutton and 2012 Olympian Boyd Martin lead the way for first-time Olympic squad members. Lauren Kieffer and Clark Montgomery round out the team that the U.S. has high hopes for.

Here is more about the riders and the mounts they will compete with in Rio this August:

Phillip Dutton with Fernhill Cubalawn

Dutton, 52, earns a starting position in his sixth Olympic Games. This will be his third for Team USA. Born and raised in Australia, he grew up with horses while working on his family’s sheep and wheat farm. He moved to the United States in 1991 to prepare for the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games, where he contributed to Australia’s Gold-Medal performance in the team event. He successfully defended the Gold in Sydney four years later. He received the Medal of the Order of Australia in 1997 and was inducted into Sport Australia’s Hall of Fame in 2001.

After placing 13th individually and sixth in team at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, Dutton rose to No. 1 in the 2005 FEI World Event Rankings. He became a U.S. citizen in 2006 and began riding for Team USA. He took second in the prestigious Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event in his debut as an American rider, adding team Gold and individual Silver from the Rio 2007 Pan American Games later that year. The following year, he won the Rolex Kentucky event.

It was announced last month that Dutton would work with Commanding Curve the runner-up at the Kentucky Derby as he transitions to a second career as an eventing horse. A founding member of the Professional Riders Organization, he served as its president in 2012 and 2013. He also lends his expertise to USEF governance as a member of its Eventing High Performance Committee and chairman of its Eventing Active Athletes Committee. He has been named the U.S. Eventing Association’s Leading Rider of the Year 13 times, including a streak from 2000-10.

Lauren Kieffer with Veronica

Kieffer earns her first Olympic team selection two weeks after celebrating her 29th birthday. She began riding at the age of 6, when she received riding lessons as a birthday gift. Born and raised in Mt. Carmel, Illinois, she competed in local 4-H and hunter/jumper shows before beginning eventing training at the age of 12. Her talent and passion drew the attention of Olympians Karen and David O’Connor, who took Kieffer under their tutelage when she was 18 years old. Their guidance paid off as Kieffer rose through the ranks, twice earning North American Young Rider championships medals.

In the past three years, she has enjoyed remarkable success. Aboard Veronica, she was the leading U.S. rider at Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event in 2014 and again in 2016, earning the Pinnacle Cup Trophy. The 2014 USEF national champion, she represented the United States on the international stage for the first time as part of the Gold-Medal team at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games. She also won team Bronze at the 2015 Aachen Nations Cup, where she finished 15th individually.

Boyd Martin with Blackfoot Mystery

It could be said the Martin was born to be an Olympian. His parents met at the Grenoble 1968 Olympic Winter Games, where his father, Ross, was a cross-country skier for Australia and his mother, Toy Dorgan, was a U.S. speedskater. Born and raised in Australia, he relocated to the United States in 2007 and worked as an assistant trainer under Phillip Dutton.

He began representing the United States in 2009 and quickly established himself, earning Rider of the Year honors in 2011 and again in 2014. A member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team, he helped the United States to a seventh-place finish in the team event. He will celebrate his 37th birthday on Aug. 20, the day after equestrian events conclude in Rio.

Martin’s wife, Silva, is a grand prix dressage rider for Germany. The couple operates a coaching and training business based in Cochranville, Pennsylvania.

Clark Montgomery with Loughan Glen

A native Texan, Montgomery, 35, moved to the East Coast in 1999 to further his eventing career. There, he has trained with top riders and coaches such as Karen and David O’Connor and Captain Mark Phillips, breaking onto the USEF Eventing High Performance training list for the first time in 2001. He relocated to England following the 2012 competition season and currently trains out of Silverwood Farm, located in the England’s Cotswold region.

Last year, he teamed with Loughan Glen to win three events, including the Belton and Blenheim Palace international horse trials. Since 2008, he has more than 60 top-five finishes, of which more than 30 percent were wins.