USEF Announces Riders for the North American Endurance Team Challenge

The Kentucky Cup Endurance Test Event for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games will bring Athletes from around the World to the Kentucky Horse Park October 14, 2009.

Along with the Test Event, the USEF is hosting the North American Endurance Team Challenge (NAETC). The NAETC features riders from five US Zones and two Canadian Zones competing against each other. Thirty US Athletes and 12 Canadian Athletes will compete along with Athletes from more than 20 other countries, for a total of field of 95 entries. For all of the Kentucky Cup Athletes – it will be their first look at a course that has been put together especially for the World Equestrian Games. The 100-mile course traverses some of the most beautiful equestrian estates in the world.

“Having the 2009 Kentucky Cup/Pre-Test event here in Lexington is a tremendous opportunity for both US riders and US horse owners,” said Athletes Committee Chair Kathryn Brunjes. “From a rider’s perspective, allowing the five U.S. Zones to field a total of 30 riders gains the U.S. the advantage of having more riders on the course than we would normally have the opportunity to field – this can only stand us in good stead for next year. The more of us on the course and gaining experience on that course puts us in great medal position for 2010. This course is also “one of our own” – this is the type of test we are accustomed to – this isn’t flat track racing – this will be a technical course over the type of terrain U.S. riders train on regularly.”

Brunjes also made the point that not only will the US have 30 horse/rider combinations representing the US Zones, but many of the foreign riders will be riding US-owned horses.

“For US horse owners, the ability to have US horses, who have been leased, loaned and/or otherwise contracted by foreign riders for this event, will show the World the quality of not just a few of our horses, but of upward to 40-60 of our horses,” said Brunjes.

The US Endurance Program had suffered a medal drought prior to winning the Team Silver at the Pan American Championship in Uruguay in April, and the Test Event is one more opportunity to fine tune the skills of Riders, Crews and Staff for next year’s World Games.

“Having the Test event in the U.S. also provides us an opportunity to further promote the U.S. endurance program, now under the leadership Chef d’Equipe and three-time World Champion Becky Hart,” said Brunjes. “Crew and groom training ­­– started in 2008 and refined in 2009 – will be put into practice at this Test Event, and this (again) can only help us in our medal quest in 2010.”

A complete list of Horse/Rider Combinations for each US Zone and for Canada can be found on the USEF Web site.