February 14, 2014--In preparation for the 2014 Saddle Seat World Cup on July 22-26, 2014 in the United States, the U.S. Saddle Seat Team attended its first training session February 7-9 at Cascade Stables in New Orleans, La. This training session was the first time the riders and coaches could all come together to work and train as a team. It also afforded riders the opportunity to prepare for World Cup competition by riding multiple horses unfamiliar to them, just as they will at the World Cup.
The training session got underway Friday with a trail ride and other team activities. Team practice, led by coaches Gary Garone and Nancy Becker, began early Saturday morning with both five-gaited and three-gaited sections doing rail and pattern work, along with other drills on multiple horses.
"I think the team practice went great," commented Kristen Smith, the three-gaited section Captain. "It is a great group and we all hit it off very well. I had a blast getting to know everyone better and bonding as a team. The coaches were amazing in giving us pointers and pushing us as riders to be the best we could be. Overall, it was a fabulous weekend with an amazing group of riders and coaches working together!"
Five-gaited section Captain McGee Bosworth felt the same way, saying “last weekend's World Cup team practice in New Orleans went so well! Every member of the team really got along great. We were like a family within the first hour. Nancy and Gary are the best, and I think the competition is going to be fun and exciting! Also, a great big ‘Thank You’ from the team to Lori Nelson, Barbe Smith, and the whole Cascade Stables team. They were awesome hosts. We all had such a great time!”
The following team members were in attendance and gained insight from coaches Garone and Becker:
Aleia Brown/15/Dayton, Ohio
Quinn Mercier/19/Auburn, N.H.
Macey Miles/14/Rockport, Ind.
Kristen Smith/20/Crestwood, Ky.
Nadine Van Zomeren/18/Leighton, Iowa
Brooke Boyer/17/Johnston, Iowa (alternate)
Maisie Benfield/13/Louisville, Ky.
McGee Bosworth/16/Greenville, S.C.
Emily Gutenkunst/18/Pewaukee, Wis.
William Nalty/15/Metairie, La.
Eleanor Rainbolt-Forbes/15/Oklahoma City, Okla.
Sydney Shaw/16/Scottsdale, Az. (alternate)
The athletes will meet again to practice prior to the Saddle Seat World Cup in July.
The USA Equestrian Trust and the United Professional Horsemen's Association have provided grant support for 2014. The team and competition are also supported by the following generous donors: 6D Ranch, the Brown Family and the Rainbolt-Forbes family. Contribution opportunities are still available for the U.S. Saddle Seat World Cup. If you are interested in supporting the team's efforts go to https://www.usef.org/documents/SaddleSeat_WorldCup_Donation_Brochure.pdf.
For more information about the U.S. Saddle Seat World Cup Team and the 2014 Saddle Seat World Cup, got to www.usasaddleseatworldcup.org.
For additional information or questions regarding the Saddle Seat World Cup, please contact Lori Nelson, USEF Assistant Executive Director, National Affiliates, by phone at (859) 225-6957 or via email at email@example.com.