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USET Foundation Awards Jacqueline Mars Training Grant to Jennie Brannigan

Gladstone, NJ - February 10, 2009 - The USET Foundation is pleased to announce that the Jacqueline B. Mars International Competition and Training Grant has been awarded to 21-year-old Jennie Brannigan of San Diego, CA. The grant is given to an Eventing rider who has been identified and recommended by the USEF Eventing Selectors, with an impressive record and potential to represent the United States in future international competition.

Brannigan began competing in three-day eventing when she was 11 years old with Allison Springer. She later became a working student for Canadian eventer Mike Winter. Brannigan was named to the Developing Rider List in 2007 with Cosmo and in 2008 with Cooper. She has a list of national awards from the past year with Cooper. They won the Intermediate Gold Cup Series, Brannigan was named Young Rider of the Year, and Cooper was the Intermediate Horse of the Year.

Perhaps Brannigan's biggest and most meaningful win, however, was at the 2008 North American Junior Young Riders Championships. She drove cross-country back to California months before the summer event to help her team raise funds to travel to the championships. "I was really involved to help get sponsorship for our team and was active in our area," she said. "The young rider program is very important to me. In my last year, I really wanted to give it my all." Brannigan and Cooper helped their team win the gold medal, and they were the individual gold medalists in Three-Day Eventing.

Brannigan has worked with Cooper for more than three years, bringing the now eight-year-old up through the levels from Beginner Novice to Advanced. "Cooper is a phenomenal young horse. He's been a pleasure to bring up through the levels," she noted. While he is owned now by her family, Brannigan is in the final stages of setting up a syndicate for the talented young horse.

Brannigan is currently working for Olympic gold medalist Phillip Dutton. She plans to use the grant to travel with Cooper to the Bramham CCI*** in England in June, which will be her first international competition. The grant will help pay for the airfare for Cooper and can offset expenses like entries, fuel, accommodations, and more. She hopes to represent the United States in future competitions as well with the experience that she gains from this trip.

Of winning the grant, Brannigan said, "It's amazing. I'm really honored because a lot of amazing people have gotten this grant. I'm thrilled to go to England hopefully and get international experience on a horse that's as talented as Cooper. It means so much to me, and I'm so excited. I don't financially have the backing to do this alone; I definitely wouldn't be going to Bramham this spring if I didn't get the grant. It's huge."

The United States Equestrian Team Foundation (http://www.uset.org) is the non-profit organization that supports the competition, training, coaching, travel and educational needs of America's elite and developing international, high-performance horses and athletes in partnership with the United States Equestrian Federation.

For more information on the USET Foundation, please call (908) 234-1251, or visit USET ONLINE at http://www.uset.org.

Photo Credit: Jennie Brannigan and Cooper were individual and team gold medalists at the 2008 NAJYRC and were named the Jacqueline Mars Training Grant winners by the USET Foundation. Photo Brant Gamma. This photo may be used free of charge only in relation to this press release.


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