The Woodside Vaulters A Team captured the championship in the "Prize of Sparkasse" equestrian vaulting competition at the World Equestrian Festival in Aachen, Germany, this summer. The Woodside team earned top marks for its freestyle routine performed to a medley of music from "The Lion King."
The Woodside team members are Gabe Aniello, 19, from Burlingame; Alyssa Bonora, 16, Portola Valley; Tessa Divita, 12, Redwood City; Yvonne Greenen, 15, Los Altos; Siddartha Kreaden, 12, Sunnyvale; Samantha Smith, 24, Saratoga; and Katharine Wick, 17, Hillsborough.
The team is coached by Isabelle Parker, and co-coached by Samantha Smith. Krista Mack is the equestrian trainer.
At the Aachen competition, the Woodside team vaulted on "Forrest Cump," a chestnut Hanoverian trained by Agnes Foerst of the Lingen Riding Club, Lingen, Germany, where the team practiced in the week leading up to the competition.
"I am extremely pleased with the team's performance in their international debut at this prestigious invitation-only event," said Coach Parker. "This group has worked hard and bonded in an exceptional way, which really showed in their performances in Aachen. They have made their mark in the international arena representing the USA."
In individual competition, Woodside Vaulters' Ali Divita, 21, from Redwood City, placed 11th overall in the women's group, and Patrick Stevens, age 18, from Martinez, finished 13th among the men.
Equestrian vaulting combines elements of gymnastics and dance on the back of a cantering horse. Vaulters perform compulsory moves and freestyle routines choreographed to music. The athletes are judged on form, performance, level of difficulty and harmony with the horse.
Woodside Vaulters, founded in 1990, provides year-round instruction in recreational and competitive vaulting, emphasizing horsemanship, safety, team-building, communication skills, and confidence between horse and vaulter.
Go to woodsidevaulters.org for more information.