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United States Finishes First in Reining Qualifier at World Equestrian Games 2002

Individually, U.S. Riders Placed One, Two, Three

Jerez de la Frontera, Spain–September 18, 2002 – The United States finished on top in the first qualifier for the first-ever Reining World Championship on Wednesday, at the 2002 World Equestrian Games in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain.

The U.S. squad combined for a score of 661.50 points. Canada came in second with a score of 641.50 and Italy finished right behind, scoring 638.50.

Three of the four U.S. riders finished with the highest individual scores. Tom McCutcheon of Pilot Point, TX, riding Conquistador Whiz, owned by George Shifrin, scored on top with 222. Shawn Flarida of Springfield, OH, riding San Jo Freckles, owned by Michael Harper, captured the next best score of 220. Scott McCutcheon of Whiteboro, TX, and Inwhizable, owned by Inwhizable Partners, finished with the third highest score of 219.50. The fourth rider on the squad Craig Schmersal of Menifee, CA riding Tidal Wave Jack, owned by the B.S. Syndicate, received a 215 for his ride.

The top five teams from the Qualifier, plus five additional individuals, move on to Sunday’s World Championship final with a clean slate. The start order is determined by the results of the Qualifier with the highest placed rider going last.

Scott McCutcheon made history Wednesday as the first United States Equestrian Team (USET) rider ever to compete at a Reining World Championship. McCutcheon liked being in that spot.

“It felt great to go first for the U.S. Team,” he said. “I wanted my horse to be real solid because whatever happened to me would carry out with the rest of the team. He was great and I was real happy with him.”

Scott’s younger brother Tom went last for the U.S., only three riders later. In the World Championship format, team order was determined by a blind draw with all the members of a team competing consecutively. As the anchor, with three solid scores already on the board, Tom felt little pressure.

“The team did so well before me, I didn’t feel too much pressure”, said Tom. “There was some, because you always want to show well and do the horse justice, especially in front of a large crowd. My horse felt great and did all that I wanted him to do. I didn’t want to shoot all my bullets in the first round; the medal round is where you want to do your best.”

USET Chef d’Equipe Jeff Petska was thrilled with the team and the World Championship experience.

“We’re just tickled to death to be here,” said Petska. “We’ve come here prepared to do our best and we are thrilled with how things have gone to this point. We’re happy with where we are, but it’s a clean slate in the finals so anything can happen. It’s going to be exciting right down to the end.”

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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