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US Team Selection Application Deadline Approaches



The deadline for applications for the 2004 US Saddle Seat World Cup Team Selection is approaching fast! Applications are now available for riders interested in pursuing an opportunity to qualify for the teams that 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.

Riders from all Saddle Seat disciplines are strongly encouraged to apply for the 2004 team. The purpose of the Saddle Seat World Cup is to promote the discipline of Saddle Seat Equitation on an international level. The diverse breed affiliations involved in Saddle Seat Equitation in the United States create 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.

“The World Cup competition is unique in that it challenges top equitation riders to ride a group of different types of horses. A rider who has shown many types of horses will often find success in the World Cup arena because of the ability to quickly evaluate and present the horse they are assigned. Whereas we tend to think of equitation as an individual sport, World Cup instead asks riders to think with a team mentality. Sometimes riders may be asked to ride the most difficult horse in the best interest of the team. Some of the qualities of a good candidate are exceptional riding skills, ability to remain calm under pressure, a positive attitude and a basic knowledge of World Cup and the countries that will compete,” says Victoria Gillenwater, assistant executive director of the US Saddle Seat World Cup.

A total of 20 finalists will compete to become one of five team members or an alternate for the US Three-Gaited team. Up to 11 finalists will have 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 will be chosen from a pool of applicants.

In addition, 10 finalists will compete for the honors of Five-Gaited Team membership. One automatic bid for this team will be extended to the winner of a designated Five-Gaited equitation event while the remaining nine finalists are chosen from a pool of applicants.

Riders may apply for both the three and five-gaited teams, but must submit separate application materials and fees for each team. In addition, in the event a rider qualifies for both teams, they may only represent the United States on one team.

Complete details, selection guidelines and application materials are available for download at the official USWC web site located at www.saddleseatworldcupusa.com. Deadline for receipt of completed application packets is 9 p.m. EST Dec. 1, 2003. Interested applicants must submit completed applications, a $100 non-refundable application fee, an essay, letters of reference, videotape and two photographs. Applicants must be 14 years of age by Jan. 1, 2004, but there is no maximum age for applicants. In addition, all riders must maintain current amateur certification by USA Equestrian to be eligible.

The US Team Selection Trials are slated for March 12-14, 2004, on the campus of William Woods University in Fulton, Mo. William Woods graciously provides the horses used for the trials, which is designed to prepare riders for the atmosphere of the International event. The Team Selection Trials will consist of two days of competition during which riders will complete two rail sessions, two individual patterns and one personal interview. Scoring will be equally weighted among the riding portions to total 90 percent, while the interview will account for the remaining 10 percent of each rider’s total score. Teams will be announced on the final day of the trials.

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 or contact Executive Secretary Christy O’Donnell (e-mail at TRCJODonn@aol.com or telephone at 813-907-0648). The US Saddle Seat World Cup is a registered 501(c)(3) corporation.

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