Caen, France - With the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games underway, the world's best reining combinations from 24 nations prepare to vie for top honors in Team and Individual Competition. Looking to defend their Team Gold and Individual Gold and Silver medal performances from the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games held in Lexington, Ky., the squad is filled with talented athletes ready to put in strong performances. Led by Chef d'Equipe Jeff Petska, U.S. combinations will take to the Exhibition Centre arena beginning August 25 for the Team Competition which will also serve as the First Individual Qualifier.
All six combinations of the Adequan U.S. Reining Squad passed inspection, after being deemed fit and sound to compete. Andrea Frappani, Shawn Flarida, Jordan Larson, and Mandy McCutcheon will ride as part of the Team Championship and Troy Heikes and Tom McCutcheon will compete as Individuals.
Andrea Fappani (Scottsdale, Ariz.) will ride Silver Spurs Equine's Custom Cash Advance. The youngest rider to earn his NRHA million dollar status, Fappani has had a strong year so far with fourth- and fifth-place finishes in the Adequan/USEF Open Reining National Championship.
"Competing at the Games for the first time is very exciting," Fappani said. "I was one position short from making the team in 2010 so I put in extra effort to make it here this year. I am so proud and think we have a great team."
Shawn Flarida (Springfield, Ohio) comes in on strong form after a big victory, earning the U.S. Reining National Championship title. Part of the Team Gold medal effort in 2010, this time around he will be riding Spooks Gotta Whiz, owned by Michell Kimball.
Regarding any added pressure to defend the 2010 medals, Flarida noted, "I just think of this as a different competition. I have a different horse and we have a great team so I just can't wait to get started."
Troy Heikes (Scottsdale, Ariz.) will ride Denise Bixler and Steve Tarani's Lil Gun Dunit.
Scoring top performances in 2014, he said, "I am just enjoying the experience while here. I am very happy with my horse and hope we have a great week."
Jordan Larson (Whitesboro, Texas) riding Heritage Farm's HF Mobster looks to showcase the stallion's natural ability at his first World Games experience. Riding to an impressive third-place finish in April at the Adequan/USEF Open Reining National Championship, the combination is in top form entering the week.
Mandy McCutcheon (Aubrey, Texas) is making history as the first woman and Non Pro to ever represent the U.S. at a Reining World Championship. Riding Yellow Jersey owned by her parents, Tim and Colleen McQuay, she is the U.S. National Reserve Champion after taking home second-place honors at the Adequan/USEF Open Reining National Championship.
Walking out of the Horse Inspection, her first reaction was, "Whoo, I'm glad to have the first step over and now can focus on why we are all here, to ride."
Competing alongside her husband Tom, she joked, "He's shared some secrets of competing at the Games with me but this is more exciting then he could have ever described."
Tom McCutcheon (Aubrey, Texas) will ride Jennifer Marley's Dun Git A Nicadual. He enters Normandy's competition as the reigning Individual World Champion, after earning an impressive victory in Lexington in 2010. The pair have enjoyed an extremely successful 2014 campaign, including earning a seventh-place finish in the Adequan/USEF Open Reining National Championship against a talented field securing his position on the squad.
Heikes will be the first U.S. rider to compete drawing third in the order. Fappani will compete 13th, followed by Larson in spot 31, Mandy McCutcheon in spot 57, Flarida in spot 75, and Tom McCutcheon in spot 79.
Follow the 2014 Adequan U.S. Reining Squad here.