WWU to Host Saddle Seat World Cup Selection Trials

eqs-saddle_seatThe top saddle seat equitation riders in the country will assemble Dec. 6 when William Woods University again hosts the United States Saddle Seat Equitation World Cup Team Trials.

The trials, which are free and open to the public, will be held Dec. 7 in the equestrian studies UPHA indoor arena at WWU. The three-gaited trials will be held 8 a.m.-1 p.m., and the five-gaited trials will be held 1:30-6 p.m.

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.

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 International Saddle Seat Equitation World Cup is a bi-annual competition which originated in the early 1980s with an informal exchange of saddle seat athletes in the United States and South Africa.

Originally a three-gaited saddle seat equitation showcase, it has expanded to include a five-gaited component, as well. Teams from as many as five nations now compete for the coveted World Cup titles, and the goal is further growth and visibility for the saddle seat discipline on national and international levels.

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.

A rider competes for a spot on the 2012 United States Saddle Seat Equitation World Cup Team during trials March 31, 2012, at William Woods University.
A rider competes for a spot on the 2012 United States Saddle Seat Equitation World Cup Team during trials March 31, 2012, at William Woods University.

The event features amateur athletes 14 years of age and older who compete for individual scores that ultimately accumulate toward a total team score. The athletes compete on horses supplied by the host competition and horses they are not familiar with, which is a true test of their riding skills.

The competition consists of four segments to be completed in two phases held on different days: rail work where the athletes compete as a group, and then in individual workouts.

Every other year, the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) fields a team of 12 athletes (five for the three- and five-gaited sections, with two alternates respectively) and two coaches to represent the United States in the International Saddle Seat World Cup competition.

One goal of USEF’s involvement is to increase participation from multiple breeds and to partner with USEF Recognized Breed Associations in the promotion and support of this event.

The 2014 Saddle Seat Equitation World Cup will be held at the Blue Ridge Classic Horse Show in Asheville, N.C. in July of 2014.

For more information, contact Sarah Track, WWU saddle seat instructor, at 573-592-4575 or sarah.track@williamwoods.edu.