Cassidy and Kimberly Palmer to Compete in second CHI AL SHAQAB International Equestrian Competition in Doha, Qatar

RELEASE: March 3, 2014

Vaulting to be featured in the Middle East for the first time

Sisters Cassidy and Kimberly Palmer, who placed first in the pairs (pas-de-deux) Vaulting event at the 2013 German Masters in Stuttgart last November, will be among the roster of world-class competitors who will gather in Doha, Qatar in March for the Second CHI AL SHAQAB. The siblings are the first vaulters from the United States to win a World Cup event. 

The prestigious event takes place at AL SHAQAB, the Arabian Gulf’s premier equestrian center, where royalty, VIPs and more than 10,000 spectators will gather to experience luxury hospitality and world-class competitive horsemanship.

The CHI AL SHAQAB international equestrian competition, March 10 -15, will see some 170 riders and 200 horses from 30 countries come together to compete for a total of EUR 1.4 million in prize money.  Alongside jumping, dressage and endurance, the competition will feature vaulting for the first time in the Middle East.

AL SHAQAB is the only CHI-standard competition in the Middle East and Asia. Vaulters Cassidy and Kimberly Palmer, along with Alicen Divita, all from California, are the only Americans to compete in the prestigious event in the Middle East.
The Cassidy sisters made vaulting history with the first American win in FEI (Fédération Equestre Internationale) World Cup™ Vaulting. “It was the best feeling ever,” said Cassidy. “I couldn’t be more happy. When they raised the flag and played the national anthem, that was definitely an unforgettable moment for my sister and me.”

While in Europe, the sisters are lunged and coached by the prominent German Vaulting coach Wolfgang Renz.  In the U.S. they are coached by Carolyn Bland as members of the Half Moon Bay Vaulters club. 

Their winning performance in Germany led to their qualification for the FEI World Cup™ Vaulting Final in Bordeaux, France in February 2014, where they placed fourth in the competition. The pair also won the U.S. Nationals in 2013, as well as in 2010. 

Cassidy and Kimberly Palmer compete exclusively in pas de deux. Cassidy, 20, took up vaulting in 2000, with Kimberly, 18, not far behind her. The sisters were introduced to vaulting via gymnastics, and competed up to level 9.
Natives of Half Moon Bay, California, Cassidy and Kimberly have dedicated their lives to their sport. Their mother, Jill Palmer, vaulted as a child and introduced them to it.

“We had an old Quarter Horse named Peaches who was our first vaulting horse,” said Cassidy, who started vaulting at age 5. “We started our own club and called it Half Moon Bay Vaulters.”

The sisters vaulted on the same team for years before switching to pas de deux when the rules changed to allow female partners in addition to the traditional male-female routines.

Their parents run Long Branch Farms, a replica Western town used for weddings, corporate events and school educational trips in Half Moon Bay, CA, United States. The sisters and their brother Colton help with the running of the family business.
While well-established in Europe, particularly in Germany and Austria, vaulting is becoming increasingly popular in the United States, notably in the northeastern states and in California. The Palmer sisters are proud to represent the equestrian sport in their country, and are enjoying their success. 

Cassidy said her strengths are balance, standing on the horse, and basing, while Kimberly excels at strength, creativity and flying.

Date  Venue  Competition  Horse  Ind. Rank  Team Rank
21.06.2013 to 23.06.2013  CVIO3* Aachen (GER)  Pas de deux  LEON 364  4  
06.06.2013 to 09.06.2013  CVI3* Krumke (GER)  Pas de deux  SAN DIEGO 99 2  
18.07.2012 to 22.07.2012  CVI Lexington (USA)   Pas de Deux  CHEVAL  1  
25.05.2012 to 26.05.2012  CVI Menlo Park, CA, Portola Valley Training Center (USA) Pas de deux HUDSON 3  

“The inaugural CHI AL SHAQAB was a spectacular success, and this year will be even better,” said Fahad Saad Al Qahtani, Director of AL SHAQAB, at a recent press conference. The 2013 tournament was the first CHI event ever to take place in the Middle East and Asia.

CHI AL SHAQAB 2014 is sponsored by Exxon Mobil and Qatar Airways, and organized under the patronage of His Excellency Sheikh Mohammed Bin Hamad Al Thani and Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa Bint Hamad Al Thani.