Developing Rider Chef d’Equipe Anne Kursinski has selected a young scrappy and hungry group of riders to represent the United States at the Nations Cup event in Samorin, Slovakia. Get to know these fierce competitors with some quick rundowns below.
Michael Hughes, Allendale NJ: 21-year-old Michael has gotten a lot under his belt in his first two-ish decades of life: He came up through the Equitation and Talent Search ranks (he won the East Coast Talent Search in 2014) and following his junior career, has racked up nearly 500 FEI classes, a five-star premiere in 2015, and a handful of CSI 3* victories. His appearance next week will mark his second Nations Cup team, as he also competed on the developing team last year in Bratislava.
Michael is currently a rider for Ashford Farm in Bocholt, Belgium, and was previously trained by Missy Clark and John Brennan at North Run.
Jennifer Gates, Medina WA: Daughter of Microsoft Founder Bill Gates, Jennifer is building a reputation all her own. The talented 21-year-old has been making appearances on the Global Champions Tour, tackled her first five-stars last season with good results, and has been applying herself across the pond and playing with the best around Europe – hard work that has resulted in her Nations Cup debut in Samorin.
Wilton Porter, Wellington FL: From Europe to Spruce Meadows to the CSI 5* classes at Wellington, Wilton has seen it all. He spends a solid chunk of his year on the Europe tour, which is why we don’t often see the 23-year-old’s name in these parts, but he’s most certainly a force for the future. He had one Nations Cup appearance in 2014 with a developing team, and looked great this past week in Samorin’s four-star show, taking second in the Grand Prix. Wilton rides for Sleepy P Ranch along with his brother Lucas and parents Suzanne and BG.
The team was excellent this week in Samorin, Slovakia! Caletto and I finished 2nd in the Grand Prix, while Delinquent JX and Cula Lou jumped great in the other ranking classes. As always, thanks to the Sleepy P Team and Stal de Sjiem! #teamAnimo @animo_is @usanimo @passioneqboots @equifit1 @veredus_horseridingequipment @samshield_official @havens_horsefeed
Chloe Reid, Washington DC: 20-year-old Chloe is arguably the most experienced of the group – while she only got her red coat for the first time earlier this year, they were for CSIO 5* events in Sopot and Falsterbo, where Chloe performed admirably. She was the only American to go double clear in Falsterbo, and had just one rail in Sopot. It also seems the Samorin venue suits her, as she won a CSI 4* class there at the end of July aboard Adamo.
For the past year, Chloe has been riding with Ludger Beerbaum stables and the training abroad has really reflected in her results.
The event will be Friday, September 1, and will be broadcast on FEI TV. We’ll be sure to give you more details as the event draws closer.