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United States Equestrian Team Announces West Coast League Riders For Show Jumping World Cup Final

Gladstone, NJ—March 11, 2003—The United States Equestrian Team (USET) has announced that Richard Spooner of Burbank, CA; Nicole and Will Simpson of Westlake Village, CA; and John French of Menlo Park, CA have qualified to compete in Budweiser World Cup 2003, the FEI Show Jumping World Cup Final, April 16-20, 2003 in Las Vegas, NV. The four riders earned the right to ride in the Final after finishing as the top four riders in the U.S.A. West Coast League.

Finishing at the top of the standings were Richard Spooner and Nicole Shahinian-Simpson who tied for first place with 72 points. For Spooner, this marks his fifth trip to the World Cup Final in six years. He tied for fourth place in the Final in 1998.

Nicole Shahinian-Simpson and Will Simpson will be the first husband-and-wife team ever to ride together in a World Cup Final. In 2001, Shahinian-Simpson was one of ten riders representing the United States in the Show Jumping World Cup Final in Gothenburg, Sweden where she tied for 9th place. In 2002, she helped the U.S. team place 6th in the Show Jumping World Championship at the World Equestrian Games in Jerez, Spain. This will be her fourth World Cup Final appearance.

In 2002, Will Simpson won the U.S.A. West Coast League with a near perfect score of 91 points. West Coast riders were able to count their five best scores with a maximum potential of 100 points. Simpson’s score of 91 was the highest ever achieved in the U.S. West Coast League. This year, he ranked third in the West Coast League with 68 points to earn his third trip to the Final.

Finishing fourth in the League was John French who earned his first berth in the Final with 63 points.

In addition to these four riders, the U.S. will be represented by eight riders who will qualify from the East Coast League, plus Robert Chelberg, an American living in Prague who qualified from the Central European League, and Peter Wylde, the 2002 World Equestrian Games individual Bronze Medalist who received a special Wild Card invitation from the International Equestrian Federation (FEI).

The United States Equestrian Team is a non-profit organization that selects, trains, equips and finances equestrians of the highest possible standard to represent our country in major international competition, including the Olympic Games and the World Championships. To accomplish this, the USET seeks out and nurtures the development of talented athletes - riders, drivers and horses - and provides the support and guidance they need to help them attain their fullest potential. For more information on the USET, please call (908) 234-1251, or visit USET ONLINE at


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