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Eight Horses Jump Clean in the first USEF Selection Trial for Show Jumping

Eight Horses Jump Clean in the first USEF Selection Trial for Show Jumping

Hough and Casadora win $30,000 WEF Challenge Cup Series - Round VI in the Process

Wellington, FL - Released: February 29 2008 - The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) Selection Trials for Show Jumping got underway at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL on Thursday February 28, 2008, on one of the coldest evenings in recent memory.

The weather certainly didn't deter the riders, 80 lined up to contest the $30,000 WEF Challenge Cup Series - Round VI which served as the first leg of the USEF Selection Trials for Show Jumping for 48 of the starters.

Sponsored by Equine Motorcoach and Hong Kong Tourism, the five selection trials run over the next 10 days. Following next Sunday's finale, a Short List of ten horse and rider combinations will be named. These 10 combinations will travel to Europe to fine tune their skills before the 2008 Olympics in Hong Kong.

Of the 48 horses entered in the Selection Trials portion of the competition - eight jumped clean in the first round and according to the USEF Selection Procedures these eight remain tied at the end of the first Trial regardless of the outcome of the jump off. Two horses entered in the Selection Trial portion of the competition provided the first and last clear rounds (of 14) in the first round and their two experienced riders - for two different reasons - choose to jump-off and finished the evening in first and second.

Lauren Hough, a member of the 2007 Pan American Games Bronze Medal winning team and Laura Mateo's classy veteran mare Casadora to put in a flawless performance and jumped the first clear round. The 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare then waited for more than two hours to return to the ring and put in another flawless performance, with a time of 46.57 seconds.

Riders wishing to save their horses were given permission by the Ground Jury to withdraw from the jump-off. Of those with first round clears, five elected not to come back because only first round scores for the selection trials will count. Hough decided to jump Casadora, who has shown lightly in 2008.

"There's a CSIO nest week and the best 18 Americans are invited to jump for prize money and I only had one placing so far this winter because I've been saving my horses," said Hough. "So I needed a little bit more prize money to guarantee a spot to jump for prize money next week. With Casadora in particular, it doesn't hurt her to go around and have a round with no pressure. I didn't go fast, I just went smoothly and it ended up working out my way which I didn't expect."

Clean rounds proved valuable in the jump-off of nine horses, and it wasn't until Laura Kraut, who was last to go on Cedric that anyone got close to Hough.

Kraut, 2000 Olympic Games veteran, who earlier in the evening had demonstrated her consistent form riding The Summit Syndicate's Anthem - the 17-year-old gelding looked nothing close to his age ¬with his fearless effort. Kraut then duplicated that feat on Happy Hill Farm's Cedric, the diminutive 10-year-old gelding jumped for fun around the challenging track. Kraut opted not to bring Anthem for the jump off - but Cedric and impressed the crowd with another dynamic round, finishing second with a time of 48.82.

"The first time I jumped him he was 6 years old and he jumped that high over 1.20 meters," said Kraut. "So I knew he was special but I thought whatever he turns out to be will be great."

Because Cedric is less experienced at this level, Kraut thought another trip in the ring would give him a confidence boost.

"I wanted to give him some confidence," said Kraut. "He hasn't jumped too many 1.60 courses so far in his career so I think that the more times he goes in and is confident and has good rounds the braver he gets. I just wanted to end on a positive note tonight."

Charlie Jayne jumped a clear round - the 21-year-old is taking part in his first selection trial after riding on his first Nations Cup team in 2007 - a winning one - in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Riding Thomas Edison, a 9-year-old Thoroughbred gelding owned by Alexy Jayne and Ira Schulman, he opted out of jumping in the second round. Danielle Torano followed suit, jumping a clear round on the Belgian Warmblood stallion 10-year-old Vancouver D'Auvrey owned by Sir Ruly Inc.

17-year-old Judgement and 2004 Olympic Games Team Gold Medalist Beezie Madden jumped clean and made light work of the track, showing the strength of their experience. And 19-year-old Brianne Goutal, in her first shot at team selection, put in a dynamite round with the 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Onira (owned by Cloverleaf Farm). She sat out of the jump-off, preferring to save her horse for the challenging selection trials to come.

Jefferey Welles and 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood Armani jumped clean for owners Kimmel Yeager Equine and Triton Venture and also opted to skip the jump-off.

After Trial #1 there is an eight-way tie for the lead and nine riders have 4 faults.

For complete USEF Selection Trials Standings, please see: http://www.usef.org/contentPage2.aspx?id=sjselectiontrials


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