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Team Leslie Wins the 2024 USEF Futures Team Challenge at the Setters' Run Farm Carolina International CCI Horse Trials

by Leslie Potter/US Equestrian | Mar 16, 2024, 7:00 PM

Raeford, N.C. – After three days of exciting eventing competition at the 2024 USEF Futures Team Challenge, Team Leslie emerged victorious in the head-to-head competition with Team Bobby, finishing on a team total of 116.6 penalties to Team Bobby’s 132.2. The team competition was held within the CCI3*-S and CCI4*-S divisions at the Carolina International CCI at Setters' Run Farm.

Jenny Caras and Sommersby dropping into the water on the cross-country course
Jenny Caras and Sommersby had the best finish in the 2024 USEF Futures Team Challenge. ©Allie Contrad Photography

Led by Emerging and Development Coach Leslie Law, the winning team was made up of Jenny Caras and Sommersby, Emily Hamel and Corvett, Lauren Lambert and Biscotti, and Cassie Sanger and Fernhill Zoro.

Team Bobby, led by Chef d’Equipe/Technical Advisor Bobby Costello, produced solid performances by Christina Henriksen and Cisco’s Calor Z, Andrew McConnon and FVF Top Gun, Caroline Pamukcu and She’s the One, and Sharon White and Claus 63.

Team Leslie took an early lead after Thursday’s dressage competition with all team members posting scores in the low 30s. The Futures Team Challenge format factors in one drop score from the dressage phase, and the first day ended with 7.9 penalties separating the teams. Both teams produced solid results across the two jumping phases, but Team Leslie ultimately came out as the wire-to-wire winners.

Caras (Buckhead, Ga.) and Sommersby, the 2012 Holsteiner gelding she co-owns with Jerry Hollis, had the standout performance of the week, earning the best dressage score across both teams and adding zero penalties in cross-country and jumping to finish on a 30.8. Henriksen (Keswick, Va.) and her own 2015 Zangersheide gelding Cisco’s Calor Z had Team Bobby’s top score and the second-best finishing score in the competition with a 37.3.

The Futures Team Challenge was created to replicate the format of international team competition to provide up-and-coming athletes the opportunity to experience that environment to prepare for potential senior teams in the future. Law says this event was a success by that measure.

“We started on Tuesday and Wednesday doing some team trainings,” said Law. “I think it’s good for them to experience that. We talked to the athletes about what they feel their preparation should be going into competition and what is the best setup to get their horses ready for a competition that involved a team. We do trot-ups those first two days in the morning. It gives the athletes that whole experience of what it is to be on a team. I think that’s the highlight—getting as many people into that space as possible.”

The team members have the opportunity to get to know each other through training and competing as well as socializing at team dinners. Law says these experiences helped the team come together successfully.

“I think [Futures Team Challenge] has good value for these younger athletes,” said Law. “I think it can evolve and we can generate ideas and do more to make it even more team-orientated. I truly believe in Europe they have so much more access to getting that experience with teams, whether it’s the European Championships or the FEI Nations Cups, that allows them to get really comfortable. We don’t have that [in North America], so anything we can do to get our athletes better prepared for when they are on an Olympic team or a World Championship team can only be for the good.”

Law had high praise for the host competition, Carolina International CCI and Horse Trials.

“They put on a great competition in all aspects,” said Law. “It’s very well done, very professionally done. The cross-country courses were superb this year, absolutely perfect going, which was so good for the horses. I think they had great courses for the horses coming on this year, so riders and horses learned a lot and hopefully this will set them up to go on and be successful in whatever three-day they’re heading towards.”

Find out more information on the USEF Futures Team Challenge here.

Event Website | Results

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