Todd Flettrich, Coatesville, PA, and Cherry Knoll Farm’s Otto finished in sixth place at the USEF Selection Trials in Gladstone, NJ in June. The pair chose not to attend the Olympics as alternates, due to the stress of transatlantic travel and the improbability that they would compete. Instead, Otto will retire. Credit Susan J Sickly
After qualifying as the alternate for the US Olympic Dressage team, Todd Fletterich, Coatesville, PA, announced June 16 that his partner, Otto, would not compete and would instead retire.
Otto, a 16 year old Danish warmblood, had placed sixth in the US Equestrian Federation Olympic Selection Trials, which were held in conjunction with the Festival of Champions at the US Equestrian Team headquarters in Gladstone, NJ June 8-10 and 13-14. The Olympic format allows riders to compete only one horse. Steffen Peters ended the trials in first place with Legolas 92, and also qualified with Ravel, who had received a bye from competing for a place on the team. Peters will compete Ravel in London, with Legolas 92 as an alternate if needed.
Second in the trials went to Tina Conyat and her own Calecto V. Ravel, who did not compete at Gladstone, was placed third. The final US Olympic team member will be Jan Eberling and Rafalca, who placed fourth. Rafalca had drawn national media attention as he is co-owned by Mitt Romney’s wife Ann along with Beth Meyers and Amy Ebling. The fifth place horse, Wizard, ridden by Adrienne Lyle of Ketchum, ID, will likely compete as an individual in London.
Otto and Fletterich finished in sixth place at the Festival of Champions – good enough for a trip to London as an alternate, but unlikely to compete once there. Reports said that owner Margaret Dupree did not want to put Otto through the rigors of two transatlantic flights when there was little chance he would compete.
Helped Qualify Team
Flettrich has been riding Otto for three and a half years, and their performance as part of the US dressage team for the 2010 World Equestrian Games qualified the US for the London Olympics. Todd, 42, and Otto finished the four competitions at the Festival of Champions, two Grand Prix and two Olympic Grand Prix Specials, with an average of 71.870 percent. The pair fell less than one percentage point of winning a place on the US Olympic team.
Owner Margaret Duprey said Otto is headed for a life of turnout and relaxation.
"I am giving back to him what he has given to us," she said. "We made a decision before the trials that we would retire him after the games. We think it's time now."
“In my eyes he is a superstar,” Flettrich said.“"He has been a Grand Prix horse for so many years. Where else can he go? What else can he do? He rose to the occasion of the Olympic trials. There is nothing else for him to prove.”
Otto was trained to Grand Prix by Heather Blitz, who competed him in Europe before selling him to Margaret Dupree’s Cherry Knoll Farm at the end of 2010. Ironically, Blitz and her own Paragon, will act as alternates for the US Olympic team with Otto’s retirement.
Otto achieved a career-best Grand Prix Special score to improve from fourth place to third place midway through the selection trials.
Otto will spend time with his equine buddies at Duprey’s Cherry Knoll Farm in West Grove, PA with pasture mates including well-known horses like Amadeus, Chappell, Dueling Oak and Cooper, her retired jumper. Cherry Knoll Farm also owns Cedric, who as of June 17 was ranked eighth on the USEF Short List for the US Olympic Show Jumping team with rider Laura Kraut.
Flettrich said he is going to enjoy spending some time in Pennsylvania helping Duprey and other students get ready for the fall show season. He plans to return to Wellington in November.
As for her future plans, Duprey said they will consider their options. “We need to take a deep breath and regroup,” she said. “We need some time.”