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Armonk's Kessler Ready To Ride At Olympic Games

ARMONK, N.Y. -- Armonk native Reed Kessler, the youngest rider in Olympic history in the show jumping event at age 18, arrived Tuesday in London for the 2012 Games after training in the Netherlands.

Kessler and her teammates, McLain Ward, of Brewster, 36, Rich Fellers, 52, and Beezie Madden, 48, begin the first first phase of competition Saturday. The teen star will partner with 10-year-old horse Cylana for the Olympics.

"We missed opening ceremonies," Kessler said in a message to the Daily Voice Wednesday. "We were completing our final training in Holland. Attending the opening would have meant missing almost two full days of training, which we couldn't afford. Too bad. I really wanted to go. But the horses come first."

Kessler, who turned 18 in July, qualified as an equestrian Jan. 1 since riders must turn 18 in the calendar year before being allowed to compete in the Olympics.

The Kesslers recently sold the family farm in Armonk – Kessler Show Stables, LLC. -- and have relocated to a new spread in Kentucky’s horse country. Reed’s mother, Teri, operates the farm and still competes along with her husband, Murray, and Reed, the family’s Olympian.

Murray Kessler said the family would be together in London this week for the Games.

In show jumping, each horse and rider team is required to complete a course of 10-13 jumps including verticals, spreads, water, walls, and double and triple combinations within a set time. Riders are eliminated for going off-course (taking the jumps out of order), if their horse refuses to jump two times or if they fall off. They incur penalties for knocking rails down on the fences or for finishing over the time limit.

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