Equestrian is a crucial event to Team USA's success during the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. The Americans are among the top contenders in London, and need to add a few medals in order to have the highest count of any country in the Games.
The 2012 Olympics could be decided by just a few points, and those medals could come in equestrian.
Many of the top contenders in the Games are proficient in equestrian and are looking to steal a few medals from other competitors, including Germany and the hosting country of Great Britain.
If the U.S. hopes to walk out of London with the highest medal count, they will have to win a few on the equestrian field.
Roster courtesy TheHorse.com
Jan Ebeling (Moorpark, Calif.) on Amy Ebeling, Beth Meyers, and Ann Romney's Rafalca
Tina Konyot (Palm City, Fla.) on her own and John Byrialsen's Calecto V
Steffen Peters (San Diego, Calif.) on Four Winds Farm's Ravel
Adrienne Lyle (Ketchum, Idaho) on Peggy Thomas' Wizard (Individual)
Will Coleman (Gordonsville, Va.) on Jim Wildasin's Twizzel
Tiana Coudray (Ojai, Calif.) on Jatial, Inc.'s Ringwood Magister
Phillip Dutton (West Grove, Pa.) on Jim and Arden Wildasin's Mystery Whisper
Boyd Martin (Cochranville, Pa.) on the Otis Barbotiere Syndicate's Otis Barbotiere
Karen O'Connor (Ocala, Fla.) on the Mr. Medicott Syndicate's Mr. Medicott
Rich Fellers (Sherwood, Ore.) on Mollie and Harry Chapman's Flexible
Reed Kessler (Lexington, Ky.) on her own Cylana
Beezie Madden (Cazenovia, N.Y.) on Coral Reef Ranch's Coral Reef Via Volo
McLain Ward (Brewster N.Y.) on Grant Road Partners' Antares F
Charlie Jayne (Elgin, Ill.) on Pony Lane Farm's Chill R Z (Traveling Reserve)
Rich Fellers (Jumping)
At 52 years old, Fellers is still an elite rider. He won the FEI World Cup earlier this year on his faithful horse, Flexible.
Fellers was the first World Cup Champion from the U.S. in 25 years, and now he's looking to add an Olympic gold to his name as well.
Age doesn't matter, as Fellers is still one of the best in the world.
Boyd Martin (Eventing)
A son of two Olympians, Martin has the best genes of any American in the field.
While neither parent went for equestrian, his mother, Toa Martin, was a speed skater, while father, Ross Martin, was a cross-country skier. Both competed in the 1968 Games.
Martin looks to top his parents and take home a gold medal in London.
Reed Kessler (Jumping)
The 17-year-old phenom of the U.S. equestrian team looks to help Team USA capture gold with the Show Jumping team.
This is the first year that she is eligible to become a senior jumper, and she is already looking to impress on the national stage. She split the National Show Jumping Championship with Margie Engle this year, proving that she is one of the best in the world.
She started her career on horses at just six months old, and it's paid off. She's now arguably the best athlete the 2012 U.S. Olympic equestrian team has to offer.
The Germans are always contenders in equestrian. They have been incredibly successful as a country, and while they have slipped slightly in recent years, they can never be counted out.
Led by Betina Hoy, the Germans could outshine the U.S. team in Eventing. This is where Germany shines, and a poor performance by the U.S. here could leave the door open.
Very similar to the Germans, Holland's chances to beat the Americans come in Dressage.
Anky van Grunsven leads the Dutch, and she is arguably the best in the world in this event. If she can grab gold and the rest of the team can do well in Eventing and Show Jumping, Holland could be a true contender.
Boasting a well-rounded team, the British have the ability to come close to the U.S. in every event, and beat them in one or two.
With Show Jumper Nick Skelton and a good Dressage team, Great Britain could compete for several medals.
As I said in the introduction, Team USA has a great chance to grab a few golds in equestrian, and I believe they will do so.
Steffen Peters has the potential to steal a gold in individual Dressage, and while I don't think he will, I do expect him to take silver, and the U.S. team will take silver in the team competition as well.
In Eventing I see Phillip Dutton riding Mystery Whisper to another individual silver, but helping the Americans take home the team gold.
Finally, Beezie Madden, Rich Fellers and Reed Kessler will combine to take home one individual medal, and a team gold in Show Jumping.
The U.S. will take home the most medals in equestrian of any country in London, adding to a total that could help them win the Games as a country.
Anything less than six medals in equestrian would be a shock for Team USA.