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US Selects World Cup Teams, Announces Coaches/Managers

The US Saddle Seat Equitation World Cup is pleased to announce the members of its teams for 2004. Twenty three-gaited and 10 five-gaited finalists competed for positions on the teams at William Woods University in Fulton, Mo., over the weekend of March 12-14. Five riders and an alternate were selected for each of the teams.

These outstanding riders will represent the United States at the 2004 International Saddle Seat Equitation World Cup event. The prestigious international competition will be held Oct. 6-9, 2004, in conjunction with the Kentucky Fall Classic Horse Show at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.

"I really think that this year's event was one of the most competitive yet. I think it went very well. Every time we do this we learn something new, which enables us to simply improve things for the next competition.

"It was a year for firsts – first time riders could try out for both teams, first time to use a new scoring system, and the first time to have a team member from the National Show Horse/Arabian community.

"We are so pleased to have such outstanding talent from which to select our teams. Any of the finalists would have made great representatives for the United States. We are thrilled with the teams that will represent us in October,” said Nancy Becker, executive director-US Saddle Seat World Cup.

The members of the 2004 US Saddle Seat World Cup Teams are:


Tate Bennett

Alaina Blake

Brooke Jacobs

Sarah Taylor

Dakota Willimon

Ashley Alden (ALTERNATE)


Mandy Martin

Tasha Rose Sandler

Lauren McMichael

Rachel North

Jessica Savinelli

Kendra Fisher (ALTERNATE)

The coaches and managers for the 2004 teams have also been announced:


Lisa and Bill Waller


Lisa and Michael Richardson

William Woods again served as the site for and provided the horses used in the trials. Gayle Lampe and her staff and students at William Woods, did their best to make sure that the competition was fair and went smoothly. The trials are designed to prepare riders for the atmosphere of the International event.

The Team Selection Trials consisted of two days of competition during which riders completed two rail sessions, two individual patterns and one personal interview. Each rider competed on a total of four different horses. Scoring was equally weighted among the riding portions to total 90 percent, while the interview accounted for the remaining 10 percent of each rider’s total score.

All finalists were honored at a dinner held Saturday evening and the teams were announced Sunday, the final day of the trials.

Riders from all Saddle Seat breed affiliations were eligible to compete for membership on the 2004 teams. The purpose of the Saddle Seat World Cup is to promote the discipline of Saddle Seat Equitation on an international level. The diversity involved in Saddle Seat Equitation in the United States creates the unique opportunity to draw from an expanded pool of top riders. Horses from the Saddlebred, Morgan, Arabian and National Show Horse breeds will be used in the competition.

For the three-gaited team, eight finalists earned their bids to the trials by winning one of several designated qualifying finals or by virtue of a breed association nomination. The remaining finalists for the three-gaited team were chosen from a pool of applicants. In addition, ten finalists competed for the honors of Five-Gaited Team membership. One automatic bid for this team was extended to the winner of the Five-Gaited Horsemanship event while the remaining nine finalists were chosen from a pool of applicants.

For the first time, riders were permitted to apply for both the three and five-gaited teams, but had to submit separate application materials and fees for each team. However, riders were asked to designate their team of preference prior to the competition. In the event that a rider qualified for both teams, they were assigned to their first choice team. US rules state that a rider may only represent the US on one team. A total of five finalists competed for membership on both teams.

For more information on the US Team Selection process or the 2004 international event - including sponsorships, contributions, horse donations and volunteer opportunities - please visit the official web site at or contact Executive Secretary Christy O’Donnell (e-mail at or telephone at 813-907-0736). The US Saddle Seat World Cup is a registered 501(c)(3) corporation.

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