States Wins Reining Team Gold at World Equestrian Games
Riders Take Gold and Silver in Individual Competition
de la Frontera, SpainSeptember 22, 2002 The United
States Equestrian Team became the first in the history of the
World Championships to win a Gold Medal in the sport of Reining
on Sunday, the final day of the 2002 World Equestrian Games in
Jerez de la Frontera, Spain.
U.S. squad received a combined score of 657.5 points in the final
round. Canada captured their first WEG Medal with Silver scoring
650 and Italy took the Bronze with 646 points.
Shawn Flarida of Springfield, OH, riding San Jo Freckles, owned
by Michael Harper, was crowned the first ever World Reining Champion
with a score of 221.5. The Silver Medal was won in a run-off by
Tom McCutcheon of Pilot Point, TX, riding Conquistador Whiz, owned
by George Shifrin, and the Bronze went to Shawna Sapergia of Canada,
who also became the first and only woman to win a World Championship
other two U.S. riders performed well enough to finish in the top
ten. Craig Schmersal of Menifee, CA riding Tidal Wave Jack, owned
by the B.S. Syndicate, just missed the Bronze for a fourth place
score of 217. Scott McCutcheon of Whiteboro, TX, and Inwhizable,
owned by Inwhizable Partners, finished in eighth with 216.
top five teams from the Qualifier, plus five additional individuals,
moved on to Sundays World Championship final with a clean
slate. The U.S. went last as the highest place team.
the time the first U.S. rider entered the arena, Canada was in
first and Italy stood second with impressive team scores. The
pressure was on for the Americans.
Schmersal bested his ride from the qualifying round to give the
U.S. team a good start.
felt awesome, said Schmersal. I felt little pressure
because I knew the team would back me if something went wrong,
but my horse went great today. This experience was so much more
than I expected. We were treated so well and the support team
McCutcheon was second in the line-up and had a little trouble
when Inwhizable pulled a shoe early in the pattern, but still
received a good enough score to take some pressure off the remaining
wanted to turn Inwhizable loose and let him go, said McCutcheon.
If he was on he would win a medal, if not I had three great
mates to carry me. It didnt work because my horse pulled
a shoe and wasnt confident with his stops after that, but
it was fine. It was fun to see my brother do so well.
younger brother Tom went last for the U.S. as the highest place
rider but had a little mistake that cost him.
went a little hard and made a mistake, said Tom. If
I went softer I would have had second anyway and I would rather
go down trying. I had to push because Shawn just put in a great
Flarida went third for the team and could not believe his good
fortune. San Jo Freckles gave an outstanding performance to give
them the title.
still hasnt sunk in yet, said Flarida. I was
really pleased with my horse. It was a lot of fun out there. I
have been riding since a little boy, so something like this is
Chef dEquipe Jeff Petska was pleased with the team and with
his experience as a USET representative.
guys were a pleasure to watch, said Petska. Each one
did what he had to do and rose to the occasion even when the pressure
was on. I am so happy to be here to represent the U.S. Its
an honor to be a part of the experience, to see the U.S. flag
raised and to hear our anthem.
The United States Equestrian Team is a non-profit organization
that selects, trains, equips and finances equestrians of the highest
possible standard to represent our country in major international
competition, including the Olympic Games and the World Championships.
To accomplish this, the USET seeks out and nurtures the development
of talented athletes - riders, drivers and horses - and provides
the support and guidance they need to help them attain their fullest
potential. For more information on the USET, please call (908)
234-1251, or visit USET ONLINE at www.uset.org