from the Lake Country Reporter -
Local rider to represent U.S. in World Cup
By Melissa Graham
The announcement comes after impressive showings at the Saddle Seat World Cup Team Trials at William Woods University, Dec. 7. Only 12 riders were chosen from the 32 aspiring athletes, who came in from across the nation — 20 in three gaited competition and 12 in five-gaited.
They rode two phases in a chilly but snow-and-ice free atmosphere. Each phase consisted of one rail ride and one pattern ride on unfamiliar horses. The horses were chosen randomly, out of a hat, and riders had only seven minutes to warm up and get acquainted with their horse.
"We are very proud. She rode her heart out," her mother, Kathy Gutenkunst, said.
Emily says she was surprised to learn that she had qualified. "I knew I had ridden well but I was surprised because the whole day I did not want to know my scores."
"I was really surprised. I came with the mind-set that this is just a great opportunity, I never thought I'd make it," she said.
Emily's been riding for seven years and originally picked up the hobby after seeing her older sister ride horses. Now she has her own horse, "CH Callaway's Where There's A Will" (but known simply as Garth) and finds time to ride in her busy schedule. She says Garth is her best friend,. "I don't know what I would do without him."
Emily is a freshman at the University of Dayton, majoring in marketing. She's also active on her campus activities board.
She trains with Scott and Carol Matton of Knollwood Farm in Hartland and will practice saddle-seat riding whenever she's home. Emily also plans to fly out to World Cup team practices — paying close attention to her departure and arrival times so she doesn't miss class or extracurricular meetings on campus.
"For the past four weekends ... It's gotten to the point where I don't unpack anymore. I just swap everything out," she explained.
Emily will join the other riders on 2014 U.S. Saddle Seat World Cup Team, five per team plus one alternate. Three gaited riders include Aleia Brown, 15, from Ohio; Quinn Mercier, 19, from New Hampshire; Macey Miles, 14, from Indiana; Kristen Smith, 20, Kentucky; Nadine Von Zomeran, 18, from Iowa; alternate Brooke Boyer,17, from Iowa. Five-gaited riders include Gutenkunst; Maise Benfield, 13, from Kentucky; McGee Bosworth, 16, from South Carolina; William Nalty, 15, Louisiana; Eleanor Rainbolt-Forbes, 15, from Oklahoma; alternate Sydney Shaw, 16, Arizona.
"It was intense. We all knew we were good enough to make it at that point and it was hard because you're all friends at that point," Emily explained.
These riders will represent the United States in July 2014 during the International Saddle Seat World Cup competition in Asheville, N.C.
For more information about the U.S. Saddle Seat World Cup Team and the 2014 Saddle Seat World Cup, go to USASaddleSeatWorldCup.org.
"It was never really my thing but after watching my sister ride and just taking it all in ... Well, I loved it once I got started," Emily said.