With their double-clear round today, Rich Fellers and Flexible earned the U.S. passage to the second round of team competition tomorrow.
Breed: Irish Sport Horse by the famous ISH stallion Cruising, bred by Edward and Catherine Doyle of Ireland. [Pedigree]
Owned by: Harry and Mollie Chapman
Ridden by: Rich Fellers, age 52, has had the ride on Flexible for over 10 years. After his win at FEI World Cup Final in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands, earlier this year, Fellers told The Chronicle of the Horse, “It’s difficult to describe. It’s a unique, very special feeling… I love him and he loves me. We have a great relationship and we know each other very well.” [COTH]
Home base: Whip ‘n’ Spur in Wilsonville, Oregon. [Website]
Age: 16. Horse Sport Ireland chairman Joe Walsh remarked after his World Cup win, “…It is a testament to the soundness and longevity of the Irish Sport Horse that a horse like Flexible can not only continue to compete and the age of 16, but also beat the world’s best in the very toughest of competitions.” [Horse Talk NZ]
Height: 16 hands. In an FEI press release following the 2012 Rolex FEI World Cup Final in Geneva, Fellers remarked, “He’s quick, he turns well and he’s fast across the ground even though he’s a much smaller horse than a lot of the others–he’s able to make the same strides as the bigger horses and once we got that first fence right we were thinking forward the whole way around.” [FEI press release]
Career low points: Flexible suffered two potentially career-ending injuries in 2004 and 2006.
Career high points: Fellers, riding Flexible, was the first American in 25 years to win the World Cup (2012).
How they made the team: The pair was ranked seventh on the USEF Olympic long list after tying for third at the selection trials, but their results at the World Cup and domination of the observation events boosted them to the top of the list. This will be Flexible and Fellers’ first Olympic Games.
Fun facts: Flexible’s sire, Cruising, was runner-up at the FEI World Cup Jumping Final 13 years ago in Gothenburg, Sweden. Flexible was second at the same venue in 2008.
Stallion information: Frozen semen from Flexible is available for a stud fee of $2,500. [Breeding contract]
Official website: http://www.flexiblegrandprixjumper.com/