Team USA and Canada Riders React to Selection to FEI World Championships Squads

On Tuesday, news dropped that the teams for the upcoming FEI World Championships for Eventing were selected for the United States and Canada. As the riders make their preparations for the Championships, happening at Pratoni del Vivaro in Italy September 14-18, we rounded up their reactions to the selection.

We will continue to bring you more news from #Pratoni2022 as the clock ticks closer, including profiles on riders tackling the Championships as individuals, spectator guides, more team announcements, and much more. Be sure to bookmark our Ultimate Guide to the FEI World Championships for Eventing to keep up with all the latest in one spot.

Team USA:

Will Coleman Off the Record. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Will Coleman:

“It’s an honor to be selected for the World Championships. I try not to view selection as something to celebrate, but rather as an opportunity to represent my country and compete at the highest level in our sport. I look forward to the challenge of that. Pratoni will be the ultimate test, and we are busy doing our very best to arrive prepared and in great condition. I owe so much to my owners of Off The Record and Dondante, and I am so happy for them to receive the recognition that comes with this opportunity. To Katie, my family, my staff, and all our support team of farriers, coaches, vets, and sport science specialists, thank you for helping us get to this point. Now let’s keep it going — Go USA!”

Ariel Grald and Leamore Master Plan. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Ariel Grald:

“I’m thrilled and honored to be named to the U.S. Eventing Squad for the FEI World Championships. It’s a privilege to represent the USA along with an amazing group of riders and horses. I’m incredibly grateful to owner Annie Eldridge, who has always believed in me and Simon. And a huge thank you to groom Meredith Ferraris who takes great care of him. We’ve had an amazing journey so far and I look forward to competing in Italy.

There is plenty of preparation to do leading up to the World Championships and I’m eager to put in the hard work to produce our best performance possible. I have immense faith in Simon and we will be ready to go storm around Pratoni! Go Team USA!”

Captain America a.k.a. Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg. Photo by Abby Powell.

Boyd Martin:

“What a heroic effort for Thomas to be on his fourth Championship team and a testament to his longevity. His soundness and toughness has been phenomenal. He’s never missed a day of work and vetted this year better than he ever has.

I think this particular competition really suits him. Every WEG I’ve gone to, my gut feeling is that they call it a four-star, but it’s always a five-and-a-half star and Thomas’ strength is when its long and tough and big and demanding physically. He’s such a trier and a pure athlete, so I think it’s a perfect competition for him.

This year there was a bit of a hard team to pick — I think there were eight or nine horses all striving for the top spots. In America there were so many horses on or about the same score [in the qualification events] — some were better in dressage, some were better on cross country and others had a pole or two down but it left everyone on a relatively even field. So I’m sure the selection was very difficult this year, where usually the team picks itself and this is one of the years I’ve felt we had a lot of depth to select from and I’m proud to have made the cut.”


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Lauren Nicholson and Vermiculus. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Lauren Nicholson:

“I’m so honored to have been selected and even more thrilled for Ms. Mars and our “village”. There is such a phenomenal group of people behind Bug and I that spend as many sleepless nights as myself and Sally [Robertson] thinking of every little thing we can do to improve, and we wouldn’t be here without them.

I’ve been very fortunate to have been on various championship and Nations Cup teams with my other teammates and I can’t wait to do it again. We’ve still got a lot to do before Pratoni, but we will just continue doing what we have been, focusing on getting better at what we do every day and arriving in the best form possible to represent the USA.”

Tamie Smith and Mai Baum. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Tamie Smith:

“I am super excited and honored to represent my country at the World Championships, especially with the group of amazing people on the team. I know we’re all hungry to bring home an outstanding performance for Team USA!”


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Team Canada:

Hawley Bennett-Awad and Jollybo. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Hawley Bennett-Awad:

“Just like the Olympic Games, the World Championships happen every four years for the best in the world! To be selected is a massive achievement.

I am so proud and excited to say I have been selected not for my first, not my second, not my thirds, but my FOURTH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS!!! What makes this even more special for me is that Jollybo is finally getting the recognition she deserves and she has been selected to her second world championships!!

Looks like I need to learn some Italian and brush up on my red wines because we are going to Italy! THANK YOU TO EVERYONE that has believed in us through good days and bad. I have a pretty remarkable support team!!”


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Holly Jacks-Smither and Candy King. Photo by Abby Powell.

Holly Jacks-Smither:

“I am so excited to go represent Canada at the World Championships in Italy along with 4 amazing other Canadian pairs and 2 fabulous alternates! There are way too many people to thank.

Vets, farriers, body workers for me and my horse! My ankle surgeon who put me back together last November. My current coaches Buck, Tom, Hyde and Margie. My staff past and present who have been by my side through some pretty tough times the last 24 months. HUGE thank you to the new syndicate members who kept this horse in my barn. My friends who ARE my family. My dad who always told me to work hard at what I love and my dreams would eventually come true! Bill who got me riding, Jinny who took me on as a kid and is still there for me today.

Every experience got me to this point. Jeanine, Penny for the working student opportunities, the times at the track spent with amazing horseman and horsewoman including Bruce. The times with Frankie chasing cows and jumping show jumps.

The new HPAG, thank you for all your volunteer hours, fundraising and turning the Canadian program around the last few months. I am so excited to be part of this!!!

Thank you to my Sponsors, many who have sponsored and believed in me for years through out all the ups and downs of this sport. Bernadette and Liz, thank you for all you guys do to keep things ticking.

My amazing students and past horses who have shaped me into the rider I am today. I’m sure I have forgot people but please know I’m so humbled and blessed by this opportunity and I promise we will go out there ready to compete and kick on for Canada 🇨🇦.”

I am so excited to go represent Canada at the World Championships in Italy along with 4 amazing other Canadian pairs and…

Posted by Holly Jacks-Smither on Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Colleen Loach and Vermont. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Colleen Loach:

“I’m very excited to be chosen to represent Canada. I feel lucky to be introducing a new horse to the Championship level and I’m very excited for his future. I’m very grateful for the support team around me that helped make this happen! I think it’s going to be a real fitness test, and I think [Vermont] is suited to that.”

Karl Slezak and Fernhill Wishes. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Karl Slezak:

Mike Winter and El Mundo. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Mike Winter:

“Getting the call up to be part of a Championship squad is always very exciting for the whole team. From owners, family, yard staff, coaches, breeder, vet, physio, farrier, etc. It’s the culmination of lots of hard work and credit goes to all involved. Now it’s time to focus on this very important task of producing the result that is expected of us and we expect of ourselves.”