Valeggio sul Mincio, Verona, Italy – The Distance Depot/U.S. Endurance Team will compete in the 2017 FEI World Endurance Championships for Young Riders and Juniors on Saturday, September 23. Chef d'Equipe Mark Dial will guide the team, newly sponsored for 2017 by The Distance Depot, of Katelyn Baldino, Ragan Kelly, Ainsley Suskey, and Annie Whelan as they join 110 combinations from 33 nations racing towards top team and individual honors.
With the beautiful city of Valeggio sul Mincio serving as the backdrop, combinations will set out on a four-loop 120 km race across soft hills and country lanes and tracks alongside the banks of the Adige and Mincio rivers.
Baldino (Marietta, Ga.) returns to these championships after competing in the 2015 FEI World Endurance Championships for Young Riders and Juniors. She will ride Melody Blittersdorf’s Synthetic. She and the 17-year-old Arabian gelding started working together in May. In June, they placed first in the Fort Howes Endurance Ride CEIYJ2*. Baldino will use her experience to guide her teammates, who make their world championship debut.ain
Kelly (Waco, Texas) will compete on Tracy Kelly’s HK Kruizer, the team's reserve horse. She and the 12-year-old Arabian gelding placed third at the 2016 Broxton Bridge CEIYJ2* in April. Kelly originally was scheduled to compete on Tracy Kelly's Kharismas Grace, but the nine-year-old Arabian mare was withdrawn due to veterinary concerns.
Suskey (Iola, Wisc.) will team up with Julie Jackson’s Princess Deelites MHF. She and the 10-year-old Arabian mare placed second at the Fun in the Sun (FITS) CEIYJ2* in March 2016.
Whelan (Louisa, Ky.) will tack up Wallace Hill Leo, owned by her mother, Amy Wallace-Whelan. The younger Whelan took over the ride from her mom who competed the 13-year-old Half-Arabian gelding at the high-performance level. She and Wallace Hill Leo have earned three first-place finishes, including the 2017 FITS CEIYJ2* and 2016 and 2015 Broxton Bridge CEIYJ3* and CEIYJ2*, respectively.
Eilish Connor (Spring, Texas) and Darolyn Butler’s 15-year-old Arabian gelding, DJB Jolly Roger, were originally scheduled to compete but withdrew due to veterinary concerns. Connor will remain in Italy with the rest of the team to serve as a groom and support her teammates.
Find out more about the 2017 FEI World Endurance Championships for Young Riders and Juniors.
The USEF International High Performance Programs are generously supported by the USET Foundation, USOC, and USEF Sponsors and Members.