Several local riders were included on the U.S. Equestrian Federation's short list for the 2004 Summer Olympics three-day eventing team.
Three-day event equestrian competition consists of dressage, cross-country jumping and show jumping. According to the federation's rules, 15 horse-and-rider combinations may be named to the short list and a rider may be named with more than one horse.
Riders must attend a competition at the Horse Park of New Jersey in Allentown on July 13. After veterinary inspections, the five-member team and five alternates will be announced July 16.
David O'Connor of The Plains, who won an individual gold and a team bronze medal at the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney, is on the list with Outlawed, a New Zealand thoroughbred gelding.
His wife, Karen O'Connor, a member of the 2000 bronze medal team, was named as an alternate for the short list with Upstage, a thoroughbred gelding. She has been the U.S. Eventing Association's female equestrian athlete of the year a record nine times.
Other local residents and horses named to the short list are Stephen Bradley of Leesburg and From, a Russian thoroughbred gelding; Holly Hepp of Middleburg and Damien, a Trakehner gelding; Abigail Lufkin of Middleburg and Kildonan Tug, an Australian thoroughbred gelding; John Williams of Middleburg and Carrick, a gelding; and Jan Thompson of Purcellville and Task Force, a thoroughbred gelding.
Those named as alternates to the short list, in addition to Karen O'Connor, are Lufkin on Better I Do, a gelding; Thompson on Shared Dreams, a thoroughbred gelding; and Williams on Sloopy, a thoroughbred gelding.
The equestrians will arrive in Middleburg on July 6 to begin training with USEF chef d'equipe Mark Phillips, the former husband of Britain's Princess Anne and gold medal winner in the three-day equestrian event at the 1972 Games and silver medallist in 1988. Sandy Phillips will serve as dressage instructor, and George Morris will be the show jumping trainer.
The selected team will travel to Britain on July 18 to train before heading to Athens for the Summer Games.
-- Vicky Moon