2015 U.S. Saddle Seat Invitational Welcomes International Teams

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Excitement is building for the 2015 U.S. Saddle Seat Invitational getting underway this week at Cascade Stables in New Orleans, La. Teams from Canada, South Africa, and the United States will compete for Gold medals in three- and five-gaited saddle seat equitation. Team practice will start on Wednesday, June 24, with competition to be held June 26-27. Judges Cecile Hetzel Dunn of Weirsdale, Fla., Donna Pettry-Smith of New Lenox, Ill., and Terry Johnson of Surrey, British Columbia, Canada, will officiate the competition.

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The event features amateur athletes who compete for individual scores, which ultimately accumulate toward a total team score. The athletes compete on horses they are not familiar with that are supplied by the host competition – a true test of their riding skills. The competition consists of four segments, to be completed in two phases held over two days: rail work, where the athletes compete as a group, and then individual workouts.

In addition to the team competition, an individual competition will be featured for the first time. Each country has the ability to provide one athlete for the three- and five-gaited sections to compete for individual medals.

The Canadian Team consists of the following athletes:
Brittany Blanchard
Skye Davies
Catriona Kozijn
Sara Sheppard
Caiden Varasteh
The Canadian team is managed by Dave Brown and coached by Pam Zimmerman and Archie Hurst.

South Africa will send their traveling Protea Team with the following athletes:
Nicole Bester
Delise Botha
Denielle Dercksen
Madine Dercksen
Liza Gerber
Marlé Hoft
Allie van Schalkwyk
Ingemar Snyman
The South African team is managed by Lynette Gerber and coached by Adriaan Odendaal and Jaques Wiggens.

The U.S. Saddle Seat Young Rider Home team consists of:
Ashley Brandies (Jesup, Ga.)
Katelynn Cox (Custer, Mich.)
Courtney McGinnis (Santa Barbara, Calif.)
Anne Pateman (New Orleans, La.)
Alice Rowland (Kansas City, Mo.)
Kasey Saccocia (Halifax, Mass.)
Zoe Schaffel (Tampa, Fla.)
Ashley Stewart (Pfafftown, N.C.)
Madison Stringer (Scottsdale, Ariz.)
Emily van Duren (Bedford, N.H.)
Victoria Walz (Ranco Santa Fe, Calif.)
The team is coached by Melissa Smith (Kansas City, Mo.) and Kent Swalla (Columbia, Mo.). 

For more information about the event, visit the U.S. Invitational Home Team page.