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U.S. Sweeps Gold Medals at 2014 Saddle Seat World Cup

from the USEF National Affiliates Department

Fletcher, N.C. - On Friday, July 25 the 2014 Saddle Seat World Cup concluded with the United States repeating their 2012 performance, sweeping the top podium positions in the competition, and taking home Gold Medals in both the Three-Gaited and Five-Gaited sections.

The Victorious U.S. Saddle Seat World Cup Team (Rachel Kelley)
Throughout the competition, held Tuesday, July 22 - Friday July, 25 as part of the Blue Ridge Classic Horse Show, riders performed rail and pattern work in front of the judging panel made up of David Brent (CAN), Michael Craghead (USA), and Hugo Visser (RSA). Three-Gaited riders rode on Tuesday and Thursday, with Five-Gaited sections competing on Wednesday and Friday.
The U.S. Three and Five-Gaited sections were stellar with their rail work, that momentum carried over to their pattern work which also produced very good scores. Though the team was confident after strong performances all week, and hopes were high that both the U.S. Three- and Five-Gaited sections would bring home the Gold medals, they had to wait until the official announcement on Friday afternoon.
The official results were announced at the Closing Ceremonies in the McGough Arena. Rail work scores for the second phases had not been posted, so there was plenty of anticipation as riders waited to be called to the ring. At the beginning of the Ceremonies, the crowd was treated to a presentation of, Silver Branch, one of the many donated horses for the event, owned by Mary Evans and ridden by Saddle Seat World Cup Alumni  Scooter Scheurich. Then, Friesians from Cheryl Baird's Friesian Marketplace elegantly entered the ring adorned with each country's flag to set the atmosphere for the teams' arrivals.

Friesians Carrying Team Flags
 (Rachel Kelley)
The announcer started with the Three-Gaited section, naming the Bronze, Silver, and then Gold. The team from Canada took the Bronze medal, the Republic of South Africa took the Silver and as the coliseum erupted, the announcer called the U.S. Saddle Seat Three-Gaited riders to the podium to collect the Gold medal. Under the direction of Nancy Becker and Gary Garone, the Three-Gaited section brought the numbers home to achieve this medal. Riders for this section are as follows:
Aleia Brown/15/Dayton, Ohio
Quinn Mercier/19/Auburn, N.H.
Macey Miles/14/Rockport, Ind.
Kristen Smith/20/Crestwood, Ky. (Captain)
Nadine Van Zomeren/18/Leighton, Iowa
Brooke Boyer/17/Johnston, Iowa
Next, the announcer called forward the winning teams for the Five-Gaited section. U.S. riders had a strong showing both days, but without having the rail scores for each day, the final outcome was uncertain until the announcement came. Once again, the U.S. Saddle Seat World Cup Team was awarded the Gold medal, with the Republic of South Africa earning the Silver and Canada, the Bronze.  U.S. Five-Gaited team members are as follows:
Maisie Benfield/13/Louisville, Ky.
McGee Bosworth/16/Greenville, S.C. (Captain)
Emily Gutenkunst/18/Pewaukee, Wis.
William Nalty/15/Metairie, La.
Eleanor Rainbolt-Forbes/15/Oklahoma City, Okla.
Sydney Shaw/16/Scottsdale, Az.
Special thanks to the Blue Ridge Classic Horse Show, Liz Holmes, EventMix, the officials, and countless volunteers that came out to assist with scribing, grooming, walking horses, at the gate and any other area where there was a need. Also, to the following list of horse donors as this event would not have been possible without them.
Absolut-Equine LLC
Alexandra Kipp
Allison Deardorff
Avalon Stables
Boone's Farm and Stables
Cascade Stables
Cassandra McGuire/Holly Nichols
Cater Stables
Chris and Erin Cleveland
Darnell Bludworth
David Osborne
DeLovely Farm, Inc.
Edmund Perwien
Emma Soucy
Felicia Elliott
Gleeson Bray
Glendale Stables LLC
High Caliber Stables
Irina Sherman
Kelly Kraegel
Landon Farm
Legacy Saddlebreds
Maddie & Jackie Mayer
Mary Evans
Morehead State University
Pine Haven Stables
Rainbow Princess Farm
Sarah Rodgers-McCarthy
Stephens College
Tiffany Finn
Tracey, Stewart & Sydney Beason
Vickie Byrd
Walden Bullard
Wingswept Farm
Zubrod Stables
The USA Equestrian Trust, the United Professional Horsemen's Association, and Barbara Goodman Manilow have provided grant support for 2014. The team and competition are also supported by generous donors 6D Ranch, the Brown Family, and the Rainbolt-Forbes family, amongst other supporters listed on our website.
Watch all phases of the 2014 Saddle Seat World Cup on-demand at
For more information, please contact Lori Nelson, USEF Assistant Executive Director, National Affiliates, at


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