The U.S. Saddle Seat Team Holds First Practice in New Orleans

New Orleans, LA - In preparation for the 2012 Saddle Seat World Cup Competition in South Africa, the U.S. Saddle Seat Team attended their first practice, May 18-19 at Cascade Stables in New Orleans, Louisiana. This first practice session afforded riders the opportunity to prepare for World Cup competition. Team members had the opportunity to ride multiple horses unfamiliar to them, just as they will in South Africa. Additionally, this was the first time the riders and coaches could all come together to work and train as a team.

The training session got underway Friday with a trail ride allowing riders to gain knowledge about the horses they would ride throughout the weekend. The remainder of the day was used for team members to get to know one another and build a team dynamic. Team practice was in full swing early Saturday morning with both five-gaited and three-gaited sections doing rail and pattern work along with other drills on multiple horses.

Five-gaited team member Nick Maupin believes that the weekends practice was beneficial to all involved.

"A main goal for this World Cup team was to have a one cohesive team, rather than two separate teams between three-gaited and five-gaited. I think we achieved that goal this weekend. We had the chance to ride multiple horses during the two days of practice, which displayed each rider's immense amount of horsemanship. I think every rider and coach found the practice to be a great first experience as Team USA."

The following three-gaited riders were in attendance and gained insight from coaches Cindy Mugnier and Kristen Cater: Abby Mutrux, Alexandra Lawson, Brooke Jacobs, Brooke Boyer, Emily Chapman and Kristen Smith (team alternate). 

While in the five-gaited section six riders were coached by Brent Jacobs and Sandy Currier. These riders were: Ali Judah, Angela Darrow, Drew Taylor Hewitt, Hunter Chancellor, Nick Maupin and Rachel Rafolski (team alternate). 

The athletes will meet again July 8 for an evening gala at Spindletop in Lexington, KY to raise team funds. They will then participate in another practice in September at William Woods University in Fulton, MO, before traveling to Parys, South Africa to compete in the Saddle Seat World Cup Competition in December. 

The Saddle Seat World Cup is a bi-annual international competition originating in the early 1980's as an informal exchange of Saddle Seat riders between the United States and South Africa. Teams from as many as five nations now compete for the coveted World Cup titles.

This program is generously supported by the USA Equestrian Trust, the United Professional Horsemen's Association, 6D Ranch, Equisure, Cape Cod Equestrian Center and Shelby Horse Supply. In kind donations also provided by Farnam, Platinum Performance and Becker Bros. Mod Jods has signed on as the official supplier of practice jods for USA Saddle Seat while in South Africa.

For more information on the U.S. Saddle Seat World Cup, visit the Saddle Seat World Cup web page online at