Articles: Press Release
United States Wins Reining Team Gold at 2002 World Equestrian Games U.S. Riders Take Gold and Silver in Individual Competition
Marty Bauman, (508) 698-6810,
Jerez de la Frontera, Spain–September 22, 2002 – The United States
Equestrian Team became the first in the history of the World Championships
to win a Gold Medal in the sport of Reining on Sunday, the final day of the
2002 World Equestrian Games in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain.
The U.S. squad received a combined score of 657.5 points in the final round.
Canada captured their first WEG Medal with Silver scoring 650 and Italy took
the Bronze with 646 points.
Individually, Shawn Flarida of Springfield, OH, riding San Jo Freckles,
owned by Michael Harper, was crowned the first ever World Reining Champion
with a score of 221.5. The Silver Medal was won in a run-off by Tom
McCutcheon of Pilot Point, TX, riding Conquistador Whiz, owned by George
Shifrin, and the Bronze went to Shawna Sapergia of Canada, who also became
the first and only woman to win a World Championship medal.
The other two U.S. riders performed well enough to finish in the top ten.
Craig Schmersal of Menifee, CA riding Tidal Wave Jack, owned by the B.S.
Syndicate, just missed the Bronze for a fourth place score of 217. Scott
McCutcheon of Whiteboro, TX, and Inwhizable, owned by Inwhizable Partners,
finished in eighth with 216.
The top five teams from the Qualifier, plus five additional individuals,
moved on to Sunday’s World Championship final with a clean slate. The U.S.
went last as the highest place team.
By the time the first U.S. rider entered the arena, Canada was in first and
Italy stood second with impressive team scores. The pressure was on for the
Craig Schmersal bested his ride from the qualifying round to give the U.S.
team a good start.
“It felt awesome,” said Schmersal. “I felt little pressure because I knew
the team would back me if something went wrong, but my horse went great
today. This experience was so much more than I expected. We were treated
so well and the support team was awesome.”
Scott McCutcheon was second in the line-up and had a little trouble when
Inwhizable pulled a shoe early in the pattern, but still received a good
enough score to take some pressure off the remaining two riders.
“I wanted to turn Inwhizable loose and let him go,” said McCutcheon. “If he
was on he would win a medal, if not I had three great mates to carry me. It
didn’t work because my horse pulled a shoe and wasn’t confident with his
stops after that, but it was fine. It was fun to see my brother do so well.
Scott’s younger brother Tom went last for the U.S. as the highest place
rider but had a little mistake that cost him.
“I went a little hard and made a mistake,” said Tom. “If I went softer I
would have had second anyway and I would rather go down trying. I had to
push because Shawn just put in a great run.”
Shawn Flarida went third for the team and could not believe his good
fortune. San Jo Freckles gave an outstanding performance to give them the
“It still hasn’t sunk in yet,” said Flarida. “I was really pleased with my
horse. It was a lot of fun out there. I have been riding since a little
boy, so something like this is really special.”
USET Chef d’Equipe Jeff Petska was pleased with the team and with his
experience as a USET representative.
“The guys were a pleasure to watch,” said Petska. “Each one did what he had
to do and rose to the occasion even when the pressure was on. I am so happy
to be here to represent the U.S. It’s an honor to be a part of the
experience, to see the U.S. flag raised and to hear our anthem.”
Comprehensive coverage of all World Equestrian Games competition is
available on the USET website at
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 www.uset.org.