The U.S. Saddle Seat Young Rider Team swept the competition at the U.S. Saddle Seat Invitational over the weekend against international teams from South Africa and Canada. The three teams met for the competition at William Woods University, and the U.S. young riders were excellent during the two days of Three- and Five-Gaited competition.
The format of the U.S. Saddle Seat invitational closely resembled that of the Saddle Seat World Cup. Riders from each country competed on unfamiliar horses and showcased not only their skill in Equitation, but in horsemanship as well as each rider completed a railwork and pattern phase on two different horses.
The U.S. Saddle Seat Invitational was the first competition that the newly formed U.S. Saddle Seat Young Rider team participated in, and the wins helped to solidify the program’s importance and showcase the Equitation talent in the United States. Coached by Barbe Smith and Mandy Martin, Marjorie Townsend, William Nalty, Emily Gutenkunst, Eleanor Rainbolt-Forbes, McGee Bosworth and Shelby Hader (Captain and Alternate) took the podium to receive their gold medals in the Five-gaited competition. The Republic of South Africa team won the Silver medal.
Riders Kristen Smith (Captain), Caroline Cherry, Lila Tatar, Courtney McGinnis, Allison Schuh and Mary Mag Wilson (Alternate) boosted the Three-Gaited team to a gold medal. The Three-Gaited silver medal went to Canada and the bronze medal went to the Republic of South Africa.
The U.S. Saddle Seat Young Rider team would like to extend special thanks to William Woods University for hosting the event, and to the parents of the team members and the team supporters who made it possible for this team to achieve such excellence.