July 31, 2013 -- The U.S. Dressage Team heads to the Hickstead CDIO3* with high expectations this week as they look to continue the momentum that has been building throughout the summer. Four talented riders; Shelly Francis, Arlene "Tuny" Page, Kathleen Raine and Guenter Seidel compose the Nations Cup team, while David Blake will ride in Grand Prix competition as an individual. Katherine Bateson-Chandler and Francis will also ride exciting young horses in Small Tour competition.
The Hickstead CDIO3* will host many of the top combinations from throughout the world in Nations Cup competition and adding to the excitement the Team event will be held in a new format. Nations Cup results will be determined by Sunday's Freestyle rather than the traditional Grand Prix test.
Francis (Loxahatchee, Fla.) and Seidel (Cardiff, Calif.) bring a wealth of experience to Hickstead and will look to use experience gained at FEI World Equestrian Games to help propel the U.S. to a top finish. Francis will ride Patricia Stempel's Doktor in Nations Cup competition. The pair were awarded a USEF grant, funded by the USET Foundation, to compete in Europe in 2013 and have gained valuable experience throughout the summer. In June, Francis and the 10-year-old Oldenburg gelding were part of the U.S. team that finished third at the Aachen CDIO5*. Seidel is no stranger to podium finishes helping U.S. teams earn medals at Olympic and FEI World Equestrian Games. In Hickstead, he will ride Coral Reef Ranch's talented 13-year-old Westphalian mare Coral Reef Wylea. The pair who also received a grant collected two second place finishes two weeks ago at the Lingen CDI4*.
Rounding out the Nations Cup effort for the U.S. at Hickstead are Raine (Murrieta, Calif.) and Page (Wellington, Fla.). Raine, a member of the Bronze medal winning U.S. team at the 1994 FEI World Equestrian Games, will ride the Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage Program graduate Breanna this weekend in Nations Cup competition. Raine and Jennifer Mason, David Wightman and her own 13-year-old Hanoverian mare have also received a grant to compete in Europe and recently placed third in the Grand Special at the Lingen CDI4*. Page will ride her longtime partner Alina in Hickstead's Nations Cup. She will utilize the experience garnered at the 2006 FEI World Cup Final as she looks to earn a top finish this week with the 15-year-old Danish Warmblood mare. The combinations also competed in Lingen two weeks ago earning a third place finish in the Grand Prix for the Kur.
Blake (Encinitas, Calif.) has also been gaining valuable experience in Europe after receiving a USEF grant. In Hickstead, he will be aiming for top results with Melanie Pai's 13-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding Ikaros.
Future stars of U.S. dressage will also be on display over the weekend as up-and-coming American horses contest Hickstead's Small Tour competition. Bateson-Chandler (Wellington, Fla.) will ride Jane Clark's eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Alcazar and Francis will ride another talented horse of Patricia Stempel's, the nine-year-old Hanoverian gelding Danilo.
To learn more about the Hickstead CDIO3* visit; http://www.dressageathickstead.com/
Follow the 2013 U.S. Dressage Team here.