After submitting their applications, complete with their show records, personal history and a tryout video (which included pattern and railwork on multiple horses), 20 riders were selected for the US World Cup trials held the first weekend of December in Fulton, Missouri.

The 20 riders selected for the trials randomly drew from a pool of ten pairings of 20 horses. Audra drew the same pair of horses as the impressive riding and highly decorated Reagan Webb, the current Pleasure Equitation Triple Crown Champion.

Everyone who has been through the World Cup process will tell you that a great draw can make you and a bad draw can break you. Audra, it would turn out, didn’t get a great draw on her first horse, and got a down right unfortunate draw on the second one. With everything riding on two rail works and two patterns on these two difficult horses, Audra and Reagan were in the same bad boat together on their drawn horses.

To illustrate just how much the quality of the horses determine the outcome of the team, we will note that of the top 6 who made the team, FOUR of them shared the same two pairs of very nice horses. Victoria Walz’ partnered paired rider also made the top ten. Audra’s pair rider ended up 20th. A great rider, and a highly decorated one, her finish was a reflection of just how tough and how bad a draw the girls got.

Audra’s depth of horsemanship, mental toughness and sheer physical strength was what enabled her score in the top 6 despite her undeniably bad luck of the draw. Audra may have lived on Advil for a while, but we were all blown away with how she pushed herself over the course of the trials, and we are so very proud that her efforts that have earned her a trip to South Africa to represent her country in the World Cup. Well done, Otter!! And thank you to Heart, Quiz, Lola and Larry for getting Audra here. (Anyone who remembers Larry knows why he makes this list!)