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Kappler Wins $50,000 Bayer/USET Foundation Wellington Cup

Gladstone, NJ—February 10, 2004—Chris Kappler of Pittstown, NJ, rode Kathy Kamine’s Royal Kaliber to the win in the $50,000 Bayer/USET Foundation Wellington Cup, February 8, at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club in Wellington, FL. A crowd of more than 5,200 spectators gathered at the show grounds on Grand Prix Sunday to watch two of America’s best hopefuls for the 2004 Athens Olympic Games – Kappler and McLain Ward – compete for the win.

Olaf Petersen, course designer for the 2004 Olympic Games, set a difficult 13-obstacle first-round course for the starting field of 37 horse-and-rider combinations. Only four riders went clear in the first round to qualify for the jump-off.

Petersen introduced two new fences for the nine-effort tiebreaker and set a time allowed of 69 seconds. Argentinean Federerico Sztyrle, 39, of Sagaponack, NY, led off on Who Knows Lilly owned by Sag Pond Farm, and finished with a time of 46.28 seconds and a four-fault score, ultimately finishing in third place. Kimberly Frey, 39, of Hume, VA, rode next, but went off course and was eliminated, and had to settle for fourth place.

Kappler and Royal Kaliber laid down the first and only clear round of the jump-off and finished in 44.28, which proved to be unbeatable. Last to go, McLain Ward, 28, of Brewster, NY, riding Sapphire, a mare he owns with Double H Farm and Missy Clark, had the second fence down and clocked in at 44.82 for second place.

Kappler made history twice in 2003 when, on consecutive weekends, he won the $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational and the AGA Show Jumping Championships. He was the first ever to sweep these two events back to back. Kappler was then one of two riders chosen subjectively for the show jumping team representing the United States at the 2003 Pan American Games in Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic. This marked the first time since 1990 that any places on a U.S. show jumping team competing at a continental or world championship or Olympic Games went to riders chosen subjectively. Kappler and Royal Kaliber confirmed the strength of the Selectors' recommendation by winning the Grand Prix at Devon in Devon, PA, at the end of May. He then went on to win a team Gold Medal and an individual Silver Medal in the 2003 Pan American Games. Following the Pan Am Games, Kappler and Royal Kaliber continued their winning ways by winning the American Gold Cup in Devon, PA.

“Last year was a fabulous season for me and Royal Kaliber,” Kappler said. “I am very thankful to be paired with this wonderful horse. I am thrilled with this victory as we start out this Olympic year. Hopefully with a little luck, we can continue the success that we had last year.”

U.S. Equestrian Inc., as the National Equestrian Federation of the U.S., is the regulatory body for the Olympic and World Championship sports of dressage, driving, endurance, eventing, reining, show jumping, and vaulting, as well as 19 other breeds and disciplines of equestrian competition. As the country’s largest multi-breed organization, the Federation has over 80,000 members and recognizes more than 2,800 competitions nationwide each year. It governs all aspects of competition, including educating and licensing all judges, stewards, and technical delegates who officiate at these shows.

The vision of U.S. Equestrian is to provide leadership for equestrian sport in the United States of America, promoting the pursuit of excellence from the grass roots to the Olympic Games, based on a foundation of fair, safe competition and the welfare of its horses, and embracing this vision, to be the best national equestrian federation in the world.

The USET Foundation fosters the highest ideals of horsemanship and excellence in equestrian sport while promoting international goodwill. The USET Foundation supports US Equestrian teams by funding International High Performance programs, athletes and coaches.


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