After impressive showings at the Saddle Seat World Cup Team Trials at William Woods University Saturday (Dec. 7), 12 riders were chosen to represent the United States at the 2014 Saddle Seat World Cup.
Thirty-two aspiring athletes, 20 in three gaited competition and 12 in five-gaited, from 26 states tried out at WWU. They rode two phases in a chilly, but snow- and ice-free atmosphere. Each phase consisted of one rail ride and one pattern ride on unfamiliar horses.
Aleia Brown, 15, Dayton, Ohio
Quinn Mercier, 19, Auburn, N.H.
Macey Miles, 14, Rockport, Ind.
Kristen Smith, 20, Crestwood, Ky.
Nadine Van Zomeren, 18, Leighton, Iowa
Brooke Boyer, 17, Johnston, Iowa (alternate)
Maisie Benfield, 13, Louisville, Ky.
McGee Bosworth, 16, Greenville, S.C.
Emily Gutenkunst, 18, Pewaukee, Wis.
William Nalty, 15, Metairie, La.
Eleanor Rainbolt-Forbes, 15, Oklahoma City, Okla.
Sydney Shaw, 16, Scottsdale, Ariz. (alternate)
These riders will represent the United States in July 2014 during the International Saddle Seat World Cup competition in Asheville, N.C.
The selection trails were judged by a four-judge panel of Donna Pettry-Smith, Gary Garone, Richard Wright and Cindy Mugnier. Riders were given only seven minutes to warm up before each rail phase and rode horses provided by William Woods University. Additional horses were provided by Stephens College, Glendale Stables and Fairview Farm. The horses were any breed or crossbreed suited for and trained in the Saddle Seat discipline.
Having the World Cup selection trials on campus offers a unique opportunity for William Woods University students who act as grooms for the riders and scribes for the judges. They hold the gates, work the concession stand and sell event t-shirts, as well as many other jobs behind the scenes.
“It is truly an honor to be able to host the USEF World Cup Selection Trials at William Woods,” Sarah Track, WWU Saddle Seat instructor, said. “These trials bring the Saddle Seat industry’s top riders and professionals to campus. It is great to see these current leaders
in the industry interact with our students who get a chance to watch them coach their riders through such a unique situation.”
She added, “The students were great, the riders and coaches were great, but most of all our wonderful horses (all donated school horses) were great … they are the real stars of the show!!! Without them there would be no competition at all!”
The trials were first held at William Woods University in 1996 and have been held there ever since. WWU was chosen because of its outstanding facilities, large number of saddle seat horses and students who are willing to help.
The inaugural World Cup competition was held in Louisville, Ky., in 1996. Gayle Lampe, WWU professor emeritus of equestrian studies, coached the U.S. team, which won first place. She also was selected as one of three judges for the competition in 2000.
The Saddle Seat World Cup is a bi-annual international competition originating in the early 1980s as an informal exchange of Saddle Seat riders between the United States and South Africa. Teams from as many as five nations now compete for the coveted World Cup titles.
For more information about the U.S. Saddle Seat World Cup Team and the 2014 Saddle Seat World Cup, go to www.usasaddleseatworldcup.org. For additional information or questions regarding the Saddle Seat World Cup, contact Lori Nelson, USEF assistant executive director, national affiliates, at (859) 225-6957 or firstname.lastname@example.org.