Two down. One to go. The U.S. Jumping squad for the upcoming Tokyo Olympic Games will be named by July 5, 2021—after one final observation event at CSIO5* Rotterdam (NED), July 1–4.

With a larger-than-usual Short List of 10 riders, Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland and his team of advisors have a difficult decision to make, particularly with the results that have come from the squad that has been brought to Europe to compete and test their form against the World’s best.

Who’s Heating Up

Brian Moggre and Balou du Reventon

Moggre, 19, received the coveted ride on Ann Thompson’s Balou du Reventon last fall, and the duo’s partnership has seemingly strengthened with every outing. The experienced and talented 15-year-old gelding possesses exceptional jumping style and is brilliantly consistent, jumping clear round after clear round.

This pair could be peaking at just the right time. Last week, they topped the CSIO5* Longines Grand Prix in Sopot, Poland, notably finishing just ahead of teammates Lucy Deslauriers and Hester. Undoubtedly an endurance test for the number of rounds they would jump in Tokyo, they followed that performance up with a 0/4 performance in the CSIO5* Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Poland two days later.

Balou du Reventon is a horse that any chef would want on their squad. After all, the bay was a part of two medal-winning Irish teams at the 2018 and 2019 Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Finals, including team gold in 2019, when he was ridden by Darragh Kenny. This year, Balou du Reventon was part of the winning U.S. squad in the CSIO4* FEI Nations Cup at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL.

Kent Farrington & Gazelle

While not at a designated Team USA observation event, Kent Farrington and Gazelle surely received some attention with their win in the CSI5* Grand Prix at Hubside Jumping in St. Tropez, France. The pair bested a 12-horse jump-off to claim their first international victory of 2021 and are visibly coming into form ahead of Tokyo. One can’t forget that Farrington is the World No. 5 and was the highest placing American at the last Olympic Games in 2016. Not to mention, Gazelle is the reigning USEF International Horse of the Year.

It’s also worth noting that Jessica Springsteen, also Short Listed, won the CSI4* Grand Prix at Hubside Jumping with RMF Tinkerbell just a week ago. Springsteen has certainly put her best foot forward this summer, finishing third in the ROLEX Grand Prix of Italy during Team USA’s first observation event in Rome at the end of May. Don Juan van de Donkhoeve has emerged as Springsteen’s top mount and has proven himself repeatedly to be the real deal.

Who We’re Waiting to See

After two observation events, there are two riders whom we haven’t seen in Nations Cup competition: Beezie Madden and Devin Ryan. Madden notably recorded two top 10 finishes, including an eighth place finish with Garant in CSI5* Grand Prix, at Hubside Jumping and is slated to compete in Rotterdam.

How can you not root for Madden, who for years has been an icon for Team USA? Madden was not on the gold medal-winning U.S. squad at the 2018 World Equestrian Games in Tryon, NC., and it has been widely publicized that Tokyo would be her final championship appearance before transitioning from high performance sport to developing the next generation of horses and riders.

Madden is Short-Listed aboard Garant, 2018 World Cup Champion Breitling LS, and Chic Hin D Hyrencourt, whom we have not seen jump at the international level since March. Rotterdam’s performance will have a great impact on whether we will get a chance to root Madden home for one last medal.

If the Team Were Selected Today…

At the moment, it appears as though McLain Ward and Laura Kraut have all but locked in their spots aboard Contagious and Baloutinue, respectively, which would leave one team spot and one traveling alternate opportunity (who could still potentially compete in Tokyo in the new Olympic format) available.

As it stands, expect two of these four to take them: Brian Moggre, Jessica Springsteen, Kent Farrington and Beezie Madden; how Robert Ridland assembles his team in Rotterdam will provide some valuable information. But in the sport of show jumping, it’s always anybody’s game, and Team USA fans should be thrilled with the quality of athletes currently representing the country.