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Three girls for the Grand Prix

They can muster only 59 years among them, but in the exacting field of dressage they are the newest medal-hunters for the U.S. at the Pan American Games

Capable practitioners of the classical art of dressage—human and equine—are as rare in this country as the whooping crane. It takes about five to seven years, according to most estimates, to produce a genuine Grand Prix horse. As for riders, few will forecast the time it might take to train them; but the trio of young ladies pictured above—Karen McIntosh, Jessica Newberry and Patricia Galvin—may well have set a new standard themselves. Young as they are, they have just been selected over three male rivals to represent the U.S. in the Pan American Grand Prix de Dressage tests.

Newest of the newcomers is Trish Galvin, a 20-year-old from Santa Barbara, the first American girl ever to finish a Three Day Event, that exacting combination of elementary dressage, cross-country riding and jumping (SI, Sept. 30, '57). But in international competition the Three Day team is not open to women, despite the fact that the girls have been finishing well up in the money at various regional tests throughout the country. Because the dressage team is wide open to any amateur of 18 or over, Trish "converted." Like her other two teammates, she has had the help of a ghost rider, an expert coach, who in Trish's case was Major Henri St. Cyr, the Olympic dressage winner in both 1952 and 1956. Furthermore, when Trish rode forth into the selection trials at Westport, Conn. she had two horses at her disposal: Juli, St. Cyr's medal-winning horse which Trish now owns; and Rath Patrick, an Irish horse which had been on the Canadian Olympic team. She finished first with Rath Patrick.

Jessica Newberry, a 20-year-old from Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y., had the benefit of equally high-powered coaching. For the past 14 months she has been studying in Germany with Mrs. Liselott Linsenhoff, bronze medal winner in 1956. Jessica, with her German stallion, Forstrat, and her Lipizzaner, Plutony, has been competing in the top European dressage competitions and on one occasion even placed higher than her mentor.

Karen McIntosh, the 19-year-old from Bedford Village, N.Y. who is the new team's third member, took her two German-bred horses home from the Fairfield hunt club for a final coaching session with Richard Waetjen, who was specially imported from Germany to instruct her.

The Three Day team, recently selected after the Pebble Beach trials, will also have its share of imported horses. Michael Page, the winner, rode The Grasshopper, a onetime Irish Olympic horse now owned by Trish Galvin's father, John Galvin. Walter Staley finished third on another of John Galvin's Irish imports, Sebastian, behind Claudia Frisbie (who, of course, was ineligible for the team). Bill Haggard and Michael Plumb, fourth and fifth, made up the rest of the team.

Jeb Wofford, the Milford, Kans. rider who has had so many disputes with the U.S. Equestrian Team members and mentors, did not qualify for lack of mounts. One of his horses broke its jaw just before the Pebble Beach event, and the other went lame after the first day. Wofford thereupon left for an indefinite stay in England.

The jumping team for the Games was already selected, of course, last fall. Since then, Billy Steinkraus, Hugh Wiley, Frank Chapot and George Morris have been doing well in Europe. Hugh Wiley covered himself with glory by winning practically everything—including the King George V Cup for the second year in a row and the Saddle of Honor—the first American ever to do so.