Teams from eight countries, including several world champion riders, will compete at the Kentucky Horse Park Thursday through Sunday as part of the vaulting test events for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.
Vaulters, who perform gymnastics on horseback individually, in pairs and in teams, will come to Lexington from Canada, Denmark, Italy, South Africa, Australia, Argentina, China and the United States. The riders will include U.S. riders Ali Davita, the 2008/2009 U.S. National Champion, Megan Benjamin, the 2006 WEG Gold Medalist in Aachen, Germany, and Mary McCormick, the 2007 U.S. National Champion.
The test events for each of the equestrian disciplines at the World Games are ways for organizers to see how the Horse Park facilities and organization work before the Games, which will be Sept. 25 through Oct. 10, 2010. The reining test event was last week at the newly opened indoor arena, where Kentucky Cup vaulting also will take place.
Lexington Gymnastics and Cheerleading will be a sponsor of the vaulting test event, providing safety mats and trampolines for the athletes to use while they warm up. Vaulters and gymnasts perform many of the same moves, but vaulting takes place on the back of a cantering horse.
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"Lexington Gymnastics has a great appreciation for the athleticism required in the sport of vaulting, and we look forward to seeing these athletes perform at the Kentucky Horse Park," said John Ireland, owner of Lexington Gymnastics Club.
The Kentucky Cup competition will feature one-star and two-star-level competition, with male and female compulsory and freestyle rounds.
Test events, now called Kentucky Cup competitions, are scheduled for other disciplines later in the year. Driving and endurance will be held in October, while eventing, jumping and dressage will be in April.