Reining First Round at WEG

September 18, 2002 – When Jolande
Christine Van Der Valk rode Whiz N Mist into the show pen at the World
Equestrian Games, her walk into Chapin Arena represented some giant
steps taken by the reining industry in recent years.

Jolande, representing The Netherlands, was the first
exhibitor to compete in the reining events and she scored a 212 on Whiz
N Mist by Topsail Whiz out of Misty May Morning. Though the reining
community is now international, it remains connected – not only by a
shared passion for the event, but by the horses. Topsail Whiz is an NRHA
Million Dollar Sire and Misty May Morning won the 1982 NRHA Futurity!

After her bridle check Jolande remarked, “It was really great
– really great! It’s always difficult to be the first one in because
you have to set the pace. The audience was wonderful. Everything was
organized very well. It was a great pleasure to be allowed to ride here.”

Team USA delivered the three highest scores of the afternoon.
Tom McCutcheon, riding Conquistador Whiz owned by George Shifrin, topped
the field with a 222. The crowd was enthusiastic throughout
McCutcheon’s precise, controlled run, but truly appreciated the bay
stallion’s last stop. It was textbook correct and perfectly punctuated
his rundown.

“We’re really thrilled to be here as a team,” said
McCutcheon. “We’re happy to see the turnout we had today – there was
standing room only. I speak for the whole team: it’s a great experience
for all of us.”

Shawn Flarida, riding San Jo Freckles, owned by Mike Harper,
to a score of 220, started his pattern with aggressive circles, and
solid speed transitions. His first rollback was exceptional as he
turned and loped off in his slide tracks “The ground was really good –
you could tell by the way the horses were stopping,” commented Shawn.

Scott McCutcheon, who rode Inwhizable for the Inwhizable
Partners, remarked before the competition, “I’m probably more nervous
than for anything else I’ve done because I’m draw number one for the
United States, but I have three good guys following me. I’m pretty
excited about my first WEG – the butterflies are flying.” But no
butterflies were apparent as Scott showed with the poise of the
experienced competitor he is. Scott started his pattern with incredible
circles showing tremendous control and finished big with stops and
rollbacks in the plus column. He scored a 219.5.

Craig Schmersal had excellent middle work and came out of his
rollbacks soft and controlled. He scored a 215 on Tidal Wave Jack owned
by B.S. Syndicate. After the competition, USA Chef d’ Equipe Jeff
Petska remarked, “We don’t assume anything. We’ve come here to do our
best and show our horses to the best of their ability. We’re obviously
happy to be sitting where we are right now, but we’re aware there are
excellent horsemen here and it’s a clean slate finals where anything can
happen. It’s going to be exciting down to the end.”

Team USA earned the highest composite score of 661.5. Team
Canada finished second with a composite of 641.5 earned by Patrice
St-Onge riding Slip Me Another Kiss owned by Veronica St-Onge; Francois
Gauthier aboard Ghost Buster Baby owned by Jack and Diane Fuller; Shawna
Sapergia riding her Pretty Much Eagle; and Jason Grimshaw aboard Listo
Pollito Lena, owned by Robert Thompson. Team Canada was consistent,
solid and showed with tremendous poise.

Team Italy had a strong showing ending up third in the team
standings with a composite of 638.5. Adriano Meacci rode Jodie Tamara
owned by Maurizio Silvestri; Marco Manzi rode Spanish Snapper owned by
Cecilia Frediani; Nic Cordioli showed RS Little Red Jaba owned by
Giampiero Isasca; and Dario Carmignani was aboard Frozen Sailor owned by
Angelucci Quarter Horses.

Rounding out the top five teams that earned a slot in the
clean slate finals scheduled for Sunday, September 22 are Germany and
Great Britain.

The Individual competition clean slate finals includes the
top five qualifying teams plus the top five riders from those teams that
did not qualify. Austrian Rudi Kronsteiner astride Jacs On Top, French
riders Alain Calbrix riding Cash Enterprise and Franck Perret riding
Boggies Uptown Girl, Brazilian Alexandre Lhamas Ramos showing Pocodo
Andy and the first draw in, Jolande Christine Van Der Valk astride Whiz
N Mist from The Netherlands will all be a part of the finals.