Team USA has again brought home the gold from the 2016 International Saddle Seat Equitation World Cup. The twelve U.S. equestrian athletes traveled to South Africa to compete in the 2016 competition, held at the Mistico Equestrian Centre, July 7-9, and delivered excellent performances against teams from Canada, Namibia, and South Africa. Coaches David Cater, Pam Roush, and Kent Swalla directed the Three-Gaited team to Gold and the coveted Three-Gaited World Cup trophy, while the Five-Gaited section won Silver.
Athletes were not permitted to bring their own horses to the event, and were required to draw the name of a horse they had never ridden before to compete with during the three-day competition. The athletes had two 20 minute training sessions to familiarize themselves with the horses they drew, making the competition a true test of horsemanship. During the competition, the amateur athletes competed for individual scores that would ultimately accumulate toward a total team score. The Three- and Five-Gaited sections rode in two phases held over three days: rail work, where the athletes competed as a group, and individual workouts.
The judging panel included Terry Johnson, of Surrey, British Columbia, Canada, Cindy Muggier, of Belchertown, Massachusetts, and Aretha van Rooyen, from South Africa.
“I thought the team performed very well under pressure in the 2016 World Cup. It’s not easy for the riders to perform on horses that they have hardly ridden, and our team did a fabulous job with the horses we paired them each with,” coach David Cater said. “We could not be more proud of the team as a whole and both the Three- and Five-Gaited teams had brilliant performances. More importantly, they came together as a team which made the whole event more meaningful.”
The three-gaited section of Team USA included Aleia Brown, of Dayton, Ohio, Cameron Kay, of W. Bloomfield, Michigan, Courtney McGinnis, of Santa Barbara, California, Faith Robbins, of Carmel, Indiana, Kasey Saccocia, of Halifax, Massachusetts, and Molly Codeanne, of Wethersfield, Connecticut.
Team USA’s Five-Gaited section included Allie Poovey, of Winston Salem, N.C., Ashley Brandies, of Jesup, Georgia, Ashley Stewart, of Pfafftown, N.C., Cailin Bridges, of Salisbury, Massachusetts, Catherine Wheeler, of Keswick, Virginia, and Rose Marie Wheeler, of Anchorage, Kentucky.