United States Saddle Seat Equitation Team Wins Three-Gaited Gold

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Saddle seat equitationWhile the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games were in the forefront of the equestrian sports world this fall, another international competition was taking place at the nearby Shelby County Fairgrounds in Shelbyville, Kentucky. The tenth biennial Saddle Seat Equitation World Cup brought teams from five countries to compete from October 6-8, 2010.

Saddle seat riding is much more popular in the United States than in other countries, and the primary breeds represented in the sport are American breeds, including the Saddlebred, Morgan and National Show Horse. However, this discipline has a loyal following in South Africa, where Saddlebreds are popular, and is growing in other countries including Canada and Great Britain. This year’s World Cup included a team from Germany for the first time in the event’s history.

In World Cup competition, riders are randomly assigned to a horse they have never ridden before. They have 30 minutes to practice, and then perform both on the rail and pattern work. Patterns can include elements such as figure eights, serpentines, circles and riding without stirrups.

Since 1998, the World Cup has included a division for five-gaited equitation, where competitors ride five-gaited Saddlebreds that perform the slow gait and rack in addition to the walk, trot and canter.

This year, the United States three-gaited team earned gold for their division while South Africa earned silver. The two countries switched places in the five-gaited competition where South Africa’s team earned gold. Both of Canada’s teamed earned bronze in their divisions with Great Britain in fourth and Germany in fifth for both the three- and five-gaited World Cup.

To learn more about international saddle seat equitation competition, visit www.saddleseatworldcupusa.com

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