Kerrigan Gluch’s European Tour of “First Times”

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Kerrigan Gluch, Lauren Asher and Barbara "Bebe" Davis with US Youth Coach George Williams in Europe.
Kerrigan Gluch, Lauren Asher and Barbara “Bebe” Davis with US Youth Coach George Williams in Europe.

HAGEN, Germany, June 12, 2016–Kerrigan Gluch as one of three Americans compering as a team at the Future Champions Young Rider Nations Cup experienced what the 19-year-old college student described as a lot of “first times” competing in Europe.

Competitions by Kerrigan of Wellington, Florida with team mates Lauren Asher of San Diego, California on De Noir and Barbara “Bebe” Davis also of Wellington for the first time in Europe began at Compiègne, France and wound up at Hagen, Germany.

The second year of a European tour by American young riders took an unexpected twist early on when torrential downpours at Compiègne that led to the senior Nations Cup being decided by the Grand Prix after the Special and Freestyle legs were called off also impacted performances by the young Americans.

Bebe’s Feivel Mouskewitz on which she is No. 4 on the world young rider rankings became so footsore the horse had to be pulled from Hagen and the 18-year-old rider was given a loaner by a family business associate.

Kerrigan, originally from Mount Pleasant, Michigan, had not known what to expect in riding Vaquero HGF, the nine-year-old stallion bred and owned by Hampton Green Farms in Wellington, at Compiègne but looked on it as a “learning experience.”

“I had to deal with issues in the ring that I have never had to deal with before,” she said. “I was grateful for that because everyone must learn to live with the ups and downs eventually. Overall, the environment, horses and riding was so inspirational.”

In the three weeks between Compiègne and Hagen, Kerrigan focused even more on her riding of Vaquero at the German training center of Jean Bemelmans, the French team coach who was familiar with the horse and rider from lengthy visits to Florida.

She focused on her training and preparation with Jean until her full-time coach, Oded Shimoni, returned from his Wellington base. He found that Kerrigan had “made huge progress.”

“Kerrigan doesn’t like to repeat mistakes,” Oded said. “She conducted herself as both a rider and a team member immaculately, both during the success at Hagen and the hard time in Compiègne.”

Her reinvigorated training showed at Hagen where the best young riders in the world were on teams from the powerhouse nations of Germany, Netherlands and Denmark.

Kerrigan and Vaquero led the U.S. team to fifth place in the Nations Cup.

“Being in the show atmosphere made me concentrate and strive to be the best competitor I could be,” she told dressage-news.com. “I think the overall talent in riders really stood out to me. Every competitor was focused and in control of their riding. It was such a great feeling to be in the company of everyone.”

In the individual and freestyle competitions, the duo posted personal best results that accounted for two more of the “first times” she experienced.

She and Vaquero will continue training in Florida over the summer working toward the Under-25.

“I am also very excited to compete the other stallion I ride for Hampton Green, HGF Brio, in multiple U-25 competitions this fall.”

Oded said, “I see a great future in the sport for this girl.”

Kerrigan will also head back to Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton as a sophomore studying business.