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Team Order of Go Confirmed for First Samsung Super League Event in La Baule

La Baule, France – May 4, 2006 – In a press conference this afternoon, the Chefs d’Equipe of the eight teams competing in the 2006 Samsung Super League Series gathered with Michael Stone, the FEI Sports Director, and Jaehoon Lee, the Samsung Sports Director, for the team draw. The draw confirmed the order of go for the teams for tomorrow’s competition, which is the first Samsung Super League event of the year.

The order of teams for the Nations’ Cup competition is as follows:

1. Great Britain

2. Netherlands

3. Switzerland

4. United States

5. Germany

6. France

7. Ireland

8. Sweden

Lee, who is the representative of the generous sponsor Samsung, was very pleased to announce that the contract between Samsung and the FEI has been extended for another three years and that their support will remain constant and/or increase each year.

Lee also announced the new award given to the best rider of the series for a sum of 50,000 Swiss francs (almost $40,500 U.S. dollars). The award will be based on clear rounds throughout the series. Samsung has also increased the prize money for the series-winning team by 25,000 Swiss Francs (a little over $20,000 U.S. dollars), making the total 125,000 Swiss francs, which is over $100,000 U.S. dollars, for the winners. “We would like to motivate riders for the best possible competition,” Lee pointed out.

The Chef d’Equipe of each participating country contributed a few words about their team, their World Equestrian Games (WEG) selection process, and how they felt about this year’s series.

U.S. Chef d’Equipe George Morris stated, “This is a historical departure for us because it’s been many, many years since we’ve used European horse shows and subjectivity to help select our teams.”

He explained the subjective byes given to Beezie Madden and McLain Ward for the WEG Selection Trials in the U.S. and that the top riders that placed well in the trials made up two teams that will compete in the first five Samsung Super League events. After the event in Lucerne, Switzerland, the final U.S. team for WEG, which will be held in Aachen, Germany, on August 20-September 3, 2006, will be chosen.

“We had a very tragic episode of litigation in the ‘90’s, and that set us back years,” Morris remarked. “This has been quite an evolution, and I’m very proud of the American people to accept this system. We’ve gone back to much more subjectivity with horses.”

After Thursday’s classes, Morris chose the four riders that will represent the United States in Friday’s Nations’ Cup competition: McLain Ward and Sapphire, Margie Engle and Hidden Creek’s Wapino, Jeffrey Welles and Armani, and Lauren Hough and Casadora.

After last year’s fantastic victory in La Baule with four female riders, Morris is looking forward to a repeat performance, albeit with a different team, but the same amount of talent.

 

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