A team from the Woodside Vaulters equestrian vaulting club, of Woodside, has earned the right to represent the USA at the World Vaulting Championship in Le Mans, France in August. The athletes are Tessa Divita (age 14) and Kalyn Geisler (23) from Redwood City; Kathryn Jaggers (18), Portola Valley; Siddartha Kreaden (13), Sunnyvale; Katherine Salisbury (10), Atherton; and coach Samantha Matson (26), Scotts Valley. The team's horse Stanford is a Hanoverian Warmblood trained by Julie Divita. The Woodside Vaulters team is considered one of the top contenders to bring home a medal this summer.
The team placed first in all four United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) selection trials, which were held in April and May. The final selection trial was the Spring Fest, hosted by the Woodside Vaulters club May 25-26 at the Portola Valley Training Center. A second elite-level Woodside Vaulters team placed third at the Spring Fest and third overall in the selection trials, indicating the depth of talent in the club. The second Woodside Vaulters team, coached by Kenny Geisler, is composed of Alyssa Bonora (17), Portola Valley; Audrey Kiernan (9), San Mateo; Katrina Nibbi (18), Woodside; Julia Plungy (18), San Jose; Janie Salisbury (12), Atherton; and coach Geisler. The team vaulted with Woodside Vaulters' Hanoverian Warmblood, Caspar 128, trained by Krista Mack.
In the novice canter C-Team division, a Woodside Vaulters team also took first place at the Spring Fest. The vaulters are Sarah Dunn (15), Palo Alto; Ellie Gifford (14), Woodside; Christine Herrmann (18), Burlingame; Annika Malmstrom (11), Palo Alto; Rachel Polati (15), Woodside; and Holly Kuhn (12), San Mateo. They vaulted with the club's horse Pepper Jack, a Percheron/Thoroughbred cross, trained by Kalyn Geisler. The Woodside C-Team is coached by Gabe Aniello.
Athletes representing Woodside Vaulters also made a strong showing in individual competition at the Spring Fest. Gabe Aniello (21) of Redwood City placed first in the elite men's gold division. Katharine Wick (19) of Hillsborough, placed second among women in the gold division. They both vaulted with the club's Mecklenburger Warmblood Giovanni, trained by Krista Mack.
In the bronze canter division, Janie Salisbury placed first overall, while Sarah Dunn and Ellie Gifford placed third and fifth, respectively. They vaulted with Woodside Vaulters' Berlin-Brandenburg Warmblood, Agado, trained by Krista Mack. Kristin Kuhn (9), San Mateo, placed first overall in the copper (novice) canter division. Audrey Kiernan (11), San Mateo, placed second and Holly Kuhn placed fourth. Pepper Jack, trained by Kalyn Geisler,
carried the three copper level athletes from Woodside Vaulters.
In individual competition at the trot, Woodside Vaulters' Miki Yang (7), Los Altos Hills, placed third and Libby Horn (13), Palo Alto, placed fourth among the girls, while Alec Rodriguez-Stangle (10), Woodside, placed second for the boys. At the preliminary trot level, Chloe Rodriguez-Stangle (8) placed fourth. At the tiny tots trot level, Hanna Parker (6), Redwood City, placed first and Erin Welch (5), Portola Valley, took second place. The Woodside Vaulters' trot team placed second in the compulsory round, and wowed the crowd with their freestyle routine in a demonstration round. The trot team vaulters are Libby Horn, Chloe and Alec Rodriguez-Stangle, Miki Yang, Claire Schott (8) of Menlo Park, and Samantha Welch (9) of Portola Valley. Lisa Plungy coaches the Woodside Vaulters' trot vaulters, and trains their Welsh pony cross Isabella.
Equestrian vaulting combines gymnastics and dance performed on a moving horse. Vaulters perform compulsory moves and freestyle routines in individual, pas de deux (pair) and team events, choreographed to music. In the team freestyle event, up to three vaulters on a six-person team are on the horse at any one time. Vaulting is one of nine disciplines recognized by the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), the governing body of
The Woodside Vaulters equestrian vaulting club provides year-round instruction in recreational and competitive vaulting, emphasizing horsemanship, safety, team-building, communication skills, fitness and confidence between horse and vaulter.
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