Summerland rider’s Olympic dream on hold

Olympic chance delayed for Summerland's Stephanie Rhodes-Bosch

Stephanie Rhodes-Bosch dreamed of competing in the 2012 London Olympics.

A ligament injury to her horse Port Authority led to that dream ending for the Summerland equestrian.

“Even though he is technically healthy and fit, his type of injury has a strong precedent for needing a longer process than what the games gives us to work with,” said Rhodes-Bosch. “We have made the difficult decision to withdraw him from selection for the Olympics, with the goal of bringing him back for future championship competitions.”

Rhodes-Bosch admitted it was tough because it means she doesn’t get to realize her Olympic dream this time around.

Port Authority sustained a ligament injury during a competition. Rhodes-Bosch said what likely led to Port Authority’s injury was losing his posture because of fatigue. While Rhodes-Bosch and her coaches [Canadian coach David O’Connor, couldn’t be reached for comment] were evaluating a rehabilitation strategy they changed their mind.

Asked if she could qualify for the Olympics using a different horse, Rhodes-Bosch said horses and riders must qualify together. She also doesn’t have access to another horse with the potential for that level.

“It costs a lot of money to purchase, produce and campaign these horses,” she said. “Riders in my sport are heavily reliant on patrons, sponsors and wealthy equestrian enthusiasts to provide us with our horses. I am in an incredibly rare situation with my family and I being the owners of an upper-level event horse.”

“It is the best decision from a horsemanship perspective and I have my growing business to focus on in the meantime,” she said.

Her business, SRB Equestrian Sports, produces horses for competition with a focus on eventing.

“I have five horses in training right now, including three ex-racehorses, a young sport pony, and a more mature event horse who is working on developing to his full potential,” said Rhodes-Bosch, adding that the ex-race horses both had top placings at beginner novice horse trials in their first four months of training. “Last year he scored a 15.7 in the preliminary dressage at the Waredaca fall horse trials in Maryland, which was one of the lowest dressage scores posted in any level nationwide last year.”

Meanwhile, the 23-year-old has been watching her teammates during qualifiers, which has been tough. While she is excited for them, she wants to be there with them.

“I am refocused on the young horses I am training and my goals of finding owners for future team horses,” she said. “I am focusing on training young horses and building a string to compete at every championship that I can in the future. Obviously the Olympics are at the front of my mind no matter where I am in the four-year cycle. Port Authority will likely be retired after the next World Championships in 2014, but I am going to do all that I can to have horses to campaign for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.”