Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games

Introducing Team USA – Battle in the Saddle

July 10, 2010

The United States’ reining team for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games has been dubbed the “dream team.”

By Holly Clanahan of America’s Horse

2010 Adequan/USEF national open reining champion Shawn Flarida

It’d be hard to put together a more experienced group of horses and riders. It’s not a stretch to call them the dream team, which was a phrase bounced around more than once Saturday night after the Adequan/United States Equestrian Federation National Open Reining Championship, held as part of Battle in the Saddle in Oklahoma City. The championship also served as the selection trial for the U.S. reining team at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, which kick off in September in Lexington, Kentucky.

Shawn Flarida riding RC Fancy Step, a National Reining Horse Association Derby champion, took the gold medal with the highest combined score of two runs — a 223 and a 223.5. The silver medal went to Tom McCutcheon on Gunners Special Nite, a NRHA Futurity reserve champion. The bronze medal was hung around the neck of Craig Schmersal, who rode Boom Shernic, an National Reining Breeders Classic champion. Fourth place and the last spot on the U.S. team went to Tim McQuay on Hollywoodstinseltown, a finalist at both the NRHA Futurity and Derby. The team’s alternate is Casey Deary of Weatherford, Texas, riding Rootin Tootin Dunit. Jeff Petska is the veteran chef d’equipe (or “chief of team”), having served in that capacity in each of the World Equestrian Games of which reining has been a part (2002, 2006 and now 2010).

Casey, who has not previously qualified for a World Equestrian Games, can learn a lot from his teammates. Tom, Shawn and Craig all qualified for the 2002 World Equestrian Games in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, where the United States took team gold. Shawn won an individual gold medal and Tom won individual silver. Tim was a team gold medalist and individual silver medalist at the 2006 World Equestrian Games in Aachen, Germany.

To see photos from this Battle in the Saddle contests, watch the slide show below. Click on the photos to see the captions. To get complete results, go to www.battleinthesaddle.com.

It was fitting for the team selection trials to be held as part of an AQHA event, since AQHA is an official sponsor of the World Equestrian Games and is the official breed sponsor for WEG reining. All of the U.S. team members are riding American Quarter Horses.

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