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It seems like just yesterday that I sat among a packed crowd in an indoor stadium in Holland, holding my breath as Rich Fellers and Flexible speed-raced over the jumps at the 2012 World Cup Final. It seemed, and had proven nearly impossible for an American to win this prestigious individual championship, and yet, on that day last April, Fellers and Flexible’s thrilling victory unfolded before my eyes like a perfectly written script. By winning the 2012 Rolex FEI World Cup Final, Fellers broke a quarter-century long drought for the United States at the World Cup, and his win infused new energy in show jumping all across the West Coast. While the East Coast gets more qualifying spots (seven to the West’s three) to send American riders to the World Cup Final, last year Fellers proved that the West was home to the best of them. This year, an even bigger field will travel from their home bases in California and Oregon to contest the 2013 Final. As last year’s winners, Fellers and Flexible receive an automatic bye. Because he qualified under the banner of his home country of Egypt, FEI World Cup Western League leader Nayel Nassar will attend as well. That leaves space for three U.S. riders who qualified based on their points throughout the season. And that makes it a very exciting year for West Coast riders, who send five of their own to the 2013 World Cup Final, to be held on April 24 – 27 in Gothenburg, Sweden. Get familiar with them now and be ready to cheer them on from afar. As proven possible last year, one of them just might return home with the win.

Best of the West by Erin Gilmore

Nayel Nassar

22 years old Palo Alto, CA

The Next Big Thing

Just one year ago, Nayel Nassar was a relative unknown. He was first introduced to horses while growing up in Kuwait and gravitated towards show jumping early on. Taking advantage of its on-campus stables, the 22-year-old rider brought horses with him when he moved to California to attend Stanford University in 2009. After last season, when he swapped coasts in the wintertime to compete in Wellington, Florida (winning the 2012 Artisan Farms Young Rider Grand Prix Series for his efforts), Nassar made the West Coast his full time base this winter. In the past he trained with Olympian Laura Kraut, and still picks up tips from Markus Beerbaum, who was on the ground all season long at HITS Thermal if Nassar needed him. But for the most part, Nassar runs his own show, operating his own program with his two top horses, the 15-year-old Belgian Warmblood stallion Raging Bull Vangelis and Lordan, a 9-year-old Hanoverian gelding. Vangelis

is his top horse, and played a crucial part in helping him rise to the top of the FEI Western League World Cup Qualifying Rankings. Nassar, who won the $50,000 Grand Prix of Los Angeles World Cup Qualifier last November, and has notched steady results since, will head to the World Cup Final representing Egypt, and taking with him a laid back, quiet confidence that has served him well in his quest to become one of the best.

I hope to represent Egypt in the Mediterranean Games (to be held in Turkey in June), and the World Cup Final will be good preparation for that. What’s next for Nayel this summer?



Profile for Horse & Style Magazine

Horse & Style Magazine April/May 2013  

From high couture to high goal polo, Horse & Style's April/May issue is hot, hot, hot! We profile the West Coast's top grand prix riders, in...

Horse & Style Magazine April/May 2013  

From high couture to high goal polo, Horse & Style's April/May issue is hot, hot, hot! We profile the West Coast's top grand prix riders, in...