Madison Sellman aboard Clover.
Lexington, KY – October 24, 2020 – The 137th National Horse Show (NHS) continued Saturday, October 24, bringing top athletes to the Alltech Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park for another day of historic sport. In addition to naming its first round of champions, day two of the 2020 National Horse Show featured the highly-anticipated Taylor Harris Insurance Services (THIS) National Horse Show Adult Equitation Championship. Seventy-six adult equitation riders were called to order in the evening for the THIS National Horse Show Adult Equitation Championship, which challenged them to show their best position and style over a three-phase contest. Ultimately, Madison Sellman outshone the rest to ride to a standout victory aboard Clover.
A hefty start list of 76 exhibitors navigated course designer Bobby Murphy’s 12-effort track for the first phase of competition. The flowing course featured a series of lines, including two bending lines to fences at the far end of the ring, a question that repeatedly posed a challenge to riders and their equine partners. Following the conclusion of the first round, judges Keri Kampsen and Chance Arakelian invited 24 contenders back to the arena for the final two phases of competition, which consisted of a flat class in addition to another trip over fences. Whittled down to the best performers, the flat portion of the class was split into two sections, which saw the remaining challenger demonstrate all three paces. Following that, all 24 eligible partnerships advanced to the final phase, one more over fences trip to demonstrate their skill.
A new pattern, Murphy’s second course featured some familiar elements from the first track, but offered riders a few new opportunities to showcase their abilities. With the 24 rounds completed, judges Kampsen and Arakalien invited four finalists – Jessica Stone, Madison Myro, Madison Sellman, and Ashton Alexander – back to the ring for one final test.
Riding in that order, Stone tackled the track first, which consisted of counter-cantering fence 1, cantering fence 2, a halt, cantering fences 4a and 4b, trotting fence 5, cantering fences 6a and 6b, then returning to the line. She and her mount put the pressure on with an expertly-navigated work-off to set the standard for the remaining contestants, and Myro followed suit, managing to halt her horse earlier than her peer. Not willing to be outdone, Sellman performed admirably with another expert trip, hoping to add further success to her division championship won earlier in the day, leaving Alexander for last. Also a division tricolor winner Saturday, Alexander piloted her equine partner to a seemingly flawless execution of the pattern, leaving a tough decision for the judges to order the quartet of talented riders.
As the results were announced in reverse order, Sellman’s efforts over four phases were ultimately rewarded as the judges named her the 2020 Taylor Harris Insurance Services (THIS) National Horse Show Adult Equitation champion. Alexander was awarded reserve honors, followed by Stone in third place, while Myro rounded out the top four.
From Honeoye Falls, N.Y., Sellman is a recent graduate of the University of South Carolina, where she was named the 2019-2020 SEC Equestrian Scholar Athlete of the Year for the second consecutive year. In the competition arena, Sellman excelled as well, earning NCEA All-America Second Team and All-SEC honors as a senior for her work on the flat. Her catch-riding skills from collegiate equestrian came in handy Saturday, as the young rider navigated Clover, a horse that she does not normally ride, to a prestigious victory.
To learn more about the 2020 National Horse Show, click here.