Golden Gait: Equestrian Olympic Hopefuls

Although the United States dressage, eventing, and show-jumping teams won’t be announced until July, Palm Beach County’s equestrian community is already buzzing over who will be trotting off to the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics, to be held August 5-21 in Brazil. While accumulated tournament scores, chef d’equipe picks, and even a horse’s health may contribute to the final selection, there is no shortage of local superstars. PBI spoke with four Olympic hopefuls—Ali Brock, Beezie Madden, McLain Ward, and Shelly Francis—about lucky charms, equine behavior, and bringing home the gold.

Allison Allison “Ali” Brock

Dressage rider Ali Brock discusses Dressage 101 and her top achievement.

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Beezie Madden - 2016 Rio Summer Olmpics hopeful - Show Jumping - Winter Equestrian FestivalBeezie Madden

Show jumper Beezie Madden discusses her biggest challenges and favorite competition memory.

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McLain Ward - 2016 Rio Summer Olmpics hopeful - Show Jumping Rider - Winter Equestrian FestivalMcLain Ward

Show jumping rider McLain Ward talks jumping advice and lucky charms.

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Shelly Francis - 2016 Rio Summer Olmpics hopeful - Dressage Rider - Adequan Global Dressage FestivalShelly Francis

Dressage competitor Shelly Franics talks Olympic prep and Rio itinerary.

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Olympic Facts

  • Riding was first included in the 1900 Olympics and reappeared in 1912.
  • Until the 1952 Olympics, only commissioned military officers were allowed to compete in the equestrian disciplines.
  • Equestrian and Sailing are the only Olympic sports where men and women compete on equal terms.
  • Olympic horses work out on treadmills and receive massage, physiotherapy, and acupuncture treatments.
  • Former Olympic equestrian events that are no longer held: horse high jump, horse long jump, vaulting, and polo.

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