Despite a very impressive winning Grand Prix season, Hoag revealed that the highlight of her 2006 tour in Florida was being an integral part of Purina’s Team USA for the Cadillac Challenge of the Americas benefit.
The Challenge of the Americas competition was held at the International Polo grounds at night, under lights, before an enormous audience.
Photo Credit: Susan J Stickle
Hoag riding Coco Chanel performed a dazzling Pas de Deux with coach, Betsy Steiner riding Feliki at the spectacular event. What the audience didn’t know was that Hoag and Steiner were asked at the last minute to step in to replace other USA team members who were unable to perform. Hoag and Steiner had only 3 days to prepare . With the help of musical freestyle specialist, Terry Gallo, they were able to pull off the nearly impossible. Hoag and Steiner with Hoag’s two mares pulled out all the stops and literally danced through an intricate Pas de Duex performed to tunes from Chicago. Their performance wowed the audience and the judges alike. The ride scored a whopping 98 % and clinched them the win in the Pas de Duex competition and secured the USA teams overall win in the Challenge.
When asked how this amateur rider (the only amateur rider in a group of the sport’s elite professionals) felt about being half of the dynamic duo that carried the US team to victory, a humble Hoag said, “What a special night. It was so much fun to ride with Betsy and to show off my girls. And the horses loved it. Each kept trying to outdo the other.” With Feliki and Coco Chanel putting forth their all, there proved to be little chance for the other teams to match them!