Eighteen-year-old Armonk native Reed Kessler became the youngest rider to compete in equestrian show jumping when she and her horse, Cylana, jumped for the U.S. Olympic team in Saturday's qualifying round at Greenwich Park in London.
Kessler showed remarkable poise and worked through her first round of individual qualifying to reach Sunday's second round and help the U.S. team's seeding. She and Cylana received just a single time fault and cleared all jumps without a miss.
"Cylana was just amazing, only one time fault," Kessler tweeted Saturday. "I have the best horse at the games."
Sunday's round of jumping left the U.S team in seventh place and still in medal contention going into Monday's competition.
"Reed was obviously excited to see Cylana jump so well yesterday," Kessler's father Murray Kessler said from London. "The team scoring starts today. Yesterday was an individual qualifier. Reed is right in the hunt for the individuals. Yesterday's top three scores per team did set the start order for today. So, yesterday's strong USA showing has them coming back 10th out of 15 teams, which is an excellent starting position. Wish us luck."
Kessler qualified for the Olympic Games when she turned 18 in July (show jump riders must turn 18 in the Olympic calendar year). The youngest equestrian in Olympic history is Luiza Almeida of Brazil, who competed at the 2008 Beijing Olympics when she was just 16 years old in the dressage events.