Two William Woods University students are competing in the Saddle Seat Equitation World Cup this week in Lexington, Ky.
Lauren McMichael, a sophomore from Houston, Texas, and Jessica Savinelli, a senior from Newton, N.H., were chosen for the five-gaited competition during trials at WWU last spring.
Saddle seat equitation became a recognized international sport only a few years ago, and this year marked the fifth time a World Cup was held. William Woods University has hosted the trials for the U.S. team each time.
For the World Cup competition, the host country supplies a pool of horses and lots are drawn so that all riders are on unfamiliar, but well schooled, horses. The riders are judged on their performance on the rail, as well as on the execution of individual work-outs.
The World Cup Saddle Seat Championship is an outgrowth of the successful international equitation championships that were held between South African equitation riders and U.S. riders, beginning in 1993.
In 1995, representatives from American Horse Shows Association, the United Professional Horseman’s Association, the American Morgan Horse Association, the International Arabian Horse Association and the National Show Horse Registry met and expanded the concept to create the World Cup Saddle Seat Championship.
The inaugural World Cup competition was held in Louisville, Ky., in 1996. Gayle Lampe, professor of equestrian science at William Woods, coached the U.S. team, which won first place. Another competition was staged in Cape Town, South Africa, in 1998. Madison, Wis., was the site for the World Cup in 2000 and Lampe was one of six judges for that one. Robertson, South Africa, was the 2002 site.
This year, the World Cup is being held Oct. 6-9 in conjunction with the Kentucky Fall Classic Horse Show at Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Ky. In addition to the United States, four nations are competing–Canada, Great Britain, Namibia and South Africa.
For more information, go to www.saddleseatworldcupusa.com.