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United States Defends Title in Samsung Nations Cup Presented by CN
At Winter Equestrian Festival

WELLINGTON, FLORIDA—March 7, 2003—The United States successfully defended its championship in dramatic fashion in the Samsung Nations Cup Presented by CN at the Winter Equestrian Festival.

The U.S. finished with a score of 8 faults to edge Ireland who finished the two rounds with 9. Canada finished third with 38 faults.

After Ireland’s Kevin Babington rode fault-free in Ireland’s final ride at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club, Sydney Olympic veteran Margie Engle of Wellington, FL entered the ring knowing that she needed a fault-free ride on Hidden Creek’s Jones to clinch the win. One rail down would give the win to the Irish and one time fault would force a jump-off.

“Yes, I felt the pressure,” the seven-time American Grandprix Association Rider of the Year said. “I could have been the bum of Wellington real quick.”

That did not turn out to be the case. Exhibiting the skill and nerve that have gained her more Grandprix wins than any rider in U.S. history, Engle guided her 12-year-old Dutch-bred to her second clean ride of the day to allow the U.S. to win Wellington’s Nations Cup for the second straight year.

“I’ve been with Margie many times and she’s very good in pressure situations,” said U.S. Equestrian Team (USET) chef d’equipe Frank Chapot. “That’s why we put her in that position, we know she’ll come through.”

Matching Engle’s double-clean performance was her Sydney Olympic teammate Lauren Hough, also of Wellington. Riding leadoff for the U.S. team, Hough rode double clear on Windy City, an 11-year-old Holsteiner.

“I rested him this week, this was his only class,” Hough said. “By the third or fourth fence of the first round, he was in the groove and he felt just great the whole second round.”

Beezie Madden of Cazenovia, NY scored four faults in each of the two rounds on Conquest II and McLain Ward of Brewster, NY scored 8 and 4 faults in the two rounds on Rio.

Leading the way for Ireland, coached by Jimmy Doyle, was Darragh Kerins who had a double clean round on Riviera. Babington, who had the only double clean performance in the 2002 Nations Cup at Wellington, had one time fault in the first round on Carling King before going clean in the second round to force Engle’s dramatic performance.

Scoring two rounds of 4 faults for Ireland was Cian O’Connor on Green Card. Lt. David O’Brien scored 8 and 7 on Libera. All of the Irish except Babington competed on borrowed horses.

Tickets to the Winter Equestrian Festival are available by phone at 793-JUMP or at the gate. Admission is free on Wednesdays. Children 12 & under are free all days. Senior admission is $5 every day. Adult admission is $5 on Thursday and Friday, $10 on Saturday, and $15 on Sunday. Parking is free.

Winter Equestrian Festival Dates:

(Each week runs Wednesday through Sunday beginning at 8:00 AM daily)

Cosequin Wellington Finale – March 5 – 9
Zada Enterprises, LLC WEF Dressage Classic – March 13 – 16

After March 9, competitors move to Tampa to continue the Winter Equestrian Festival.

Dates for Tampa Winter Equestrian Festival

(Each week of competition runs Wed - Sun beginning at 8:00 AM)

Suncoast Internationale March 13-16
Tampa Bay Classic March 19-23 CSI***/W
Tournament of Champions March 25-29 CSI**/W

Budweiser American Invitational March 29 in Raymond James Stadium

Tickets for Winter Equestrian Festival at Tampa Fairgrounds are Wednesday through Friday $5. Children under 12 years are free. Saturday and Sunday Adult tickets are $10. Seniors and Students are $5 all days. For schedule, directions and information visit

Tickets for the Budweiser American Invitational, March 29 at Raymond James Stadium are available at Ticket Master (813) 287-8844 or at Stadium Jumping (877) 909-9436.


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