Tag Archives: USEF

First Members of Discover Dressage USEF/USDF Emerging Athlete Program Declared

Lexington, Ky. – US Equestrian (USEF) and the United States Dressage Federation (USDF) are pleased to announce the first members of the Discover Dressage USEF/USDF Emerging Athlete Program. USEF Dressage Youth Coach George Williams and USEF Dressage Assistant Youth Coach Charlotte Bredahl-Baker selected the following eight athlete-and-horse combinations for membership based on their evaluation at the Robert Dover Horsemastership Clinic January 2-5, 2018, as well as their likelihood of developing into future team athletes.

Aleyna Dunn (Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.) and Bivera, Dunn’s 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare

Benjamin Ebeling (Moorpark, Calif.) and Behlinger, Amy Ebeling, Elizabeth Meyer, and Ann Romney’s 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding

Isabel Linder (Kewadin, Mich.) and Elvis, Hai Wei’s 14-year-old Westphalian gelding

Tillie Jones (Lincoln, Neb.) and Apachi, Tillie and Tish Jones’ 13-year-old KWPN gelding

Rebekah Mingari (Depauw, Ind.) with Allure S, Kerrin Dunn’s 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare

Natalie Pai (Wellington, Fla.) and Unlimited, Melanie Pai’s 17-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding

Chase Shipka (Marshall, Va.) and Zigal, Chase, and Darcie Shipka’s 14-year-old KWPN gelding

Christian Simonson (Ventura, Calif.) and FRH Rassolini, Christina Morgan’s 15-year-old Hessen Warmblood stallion

“It is inspiring to see the up-and-coming young talent and exciting to think that through the [Discover Dressage USEF/USDF] Emerging Athlete Program we can help these athletes develop to their fullest potential, while at the same time incentivize others to continue to push to make their dreams a reality. On behalf of all of us involved, we are very grateful for the generous support of Discover Dressage, without which this would not be possible,” said Williams.

As participants in the Discover Dressage USEF/USDF Emerging Athlete Program, these combinations will receive access to resources such as score analysis, the USEF human sport science and medicine program, strategic planning meetings, possible financial assistance towards agreed-upon targets, opportunities to participate in USEF Training Sessions and clinics, as well as one-on-one coaching. Members are reviewed approximately every six months. In order to retain membership, athletes must meet their respective established targets within six months of their acceptance into the program unless the youth coaches grant an exception. In addition, athletes must continue to meet the minimum selection criteria of 68% through completion of three USEF Dressage National Championship/Adequan® FEI North American Junior and Young Rider Championships presented by Gotham North (NAJYRC) qualifying competitions and/or CDI or CDIO-Y/J/P/Ch events.

Membership to the Discover Dressage USEF/USDF Emerging Athlete Program is on a rolling basis following each Training and Evaluation session. Athletes in the U25 division who are not qualified for the USEF Dressage Development Program are also eligible for support and membership to the Discover Dressage USEF/USDF Emerging Athlete Program, as well as Children and Pony riders looking for educational opportunities. The next training and evaluation session will be at Hampton Green Farm in Wellington, Fla., March 6-7, 2018. The application deadline is February 21.

In order to participate in the Training and Evaluation sessions, athletes must submit an application and have competed at a minimum of three qualifying competitions for the USEF Dressage National Championships and NAJYRC and/or CDI or CDIO-Y/J/P/Ch events over the course of six months. Wild card invitations will also be considered. Athletes are welcome to reapply for Training and Evaluation sessions if not selected for a session or membership into the program.

Find out more about the Discover Dressage USEF/USDF Emerging Athlete Program online or contact Hannah Niebielski, Director of Dressage, National Programs at hniebielski@usef.org.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

US Equestrian Announces US Show Jumping Team for FEI Nations Cup CSIO5* Ocala

Lexington, Ky. – US Equestrian (USEF) has named the following athletes to the U.S. Show Jumping Team for the Longines FEI Nations Cup CSIO5* Ocala. As part of the new 2018 FEI Nations Cup series format, the competition will occur on Sunday, February 18, taking the place of the Grand Prix, which will move to Friday, February 16. The Longines FEI Nations Cup CSIO5* Ocala is the exciting finale to the Ocala Winter Festival running February 13-18.

Lauren Hough (Wellington, Fla.)
Laura Kraut (Royal Palm Beach, Fla.)
Beezie Madden (Cazenovia, N.Y.)
Devin Ryan (Long Valley, N.J.)
McLain Ward (Brewster, N.Y.)

Robert Ridland will serve as the Chef d’Equipe.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

HH Azur and Cuba Win 2017 Horse of the Year Titles

HH Azur (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

Lexington, Ky. – On a night dedicated to celebrating the horse, US Equestrian is pleased to share that HH Azur, owned by Double H Farm and François Mathy, has been voted the 2017 International Horse of the Year and Cuba, owned by John and Stephanie Ingram, LLC, has been voted the 2017 National Horse of the Year.

International Horse of the Year

HH Azur (Thunder van de Zuuthoeve x Sion van de Zuuthoeve/Sir Lui)
2006 Belgian Warmblood mare
Owners: Double H Farm and François Mathy

HH Azur’s raw athleticism and keen instinct for the sport was evident from the moment her hooves stepped into the show ring with her superstar rider McLain Ward at the reins. Known as “Annie” in the barn, her storybook year began with a win in the $380,000 Suncast Grand Prix CSI5* at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in February. Continuing to demonstrate her dependability and undeniable talent in a major championship, HH Azur delivered three perfect rounds to guide Ward to his first Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final title in April. Following the World Cup Finals, HH Azur returned to competition at Spruce Meadows in the prestigious $400,000 Queen Elizabeth II Cup CSI5*. From there, she and Ward anchored the U.S. team to a silver-medal tie in the Mercedes-Benz Nations Cup™ at CHIO Aachen in July and a silver-medal finish in the FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping Final in September. It should be noted that HH Azur has not had a single fault in team competition in 2017.

National Horse of the Year

Cuba (Namelus R x Ups-A-Daisy/Mermus R)
2007 KWPN gelding
Owners: John and Stephanie Ingram, LLC

Cuba, John and Stephanie Ingram, LLC’s 10-year-old KWPN gelding, had an impressive year in 2017. Having proven himself a successful hunter, Cuba started his campaign as a Derby horse just one year ago. With rider Victoria Colvin, the pair stood out at the United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) International Hunter Derby Championship in August, placing third in the Classic Round, winning the Handy Hunter Round, and finishing as the overall champion by a significant margin of 9.75 points. Cuba closed the competition year as the USHJA International Derby horse with most money won. Over the course of only five competitions, Cuba earned $55,853.

by US Equestrian Communications Department

US Equestrian Recognizes Janie Salisbury and Isabelle Parker with 2017 Vaulting Honors

Photo: Janie Salisbury (background) with Bridget Kiernan, pas de deux bronze medalists at the 2017 FEI World Vaulting Championships for Juniors (© Barny Thierolf).

Lexington, Ky. – US Equestrian (USEF) is pleased to recognize Janie Salisbury as the 2017 USEF Vaulter of the Year and Salisbury’s coach Isabelle Parker as the 2017 USEF Vaulting Coach of the Year. Salisbury, a two-time FEI World Vaulting Champion for Juniors Pas de Deux bronze medalist, stood out among the seven applicants for her competition success and extracurricular activity.

Salisbury (Atherton, Calif.) began vaulting when she was seven years old as a member of the Woodside Vaulters out of Redwood City, Calif., and amassed several top results with Parker’s coaching and training. In addition to her FEI World Vaulting Championships for Juniors bronze medals in 2015 and 2017, she was the 2012 USEF/American Vaulting Association (AVA) National Vaulting Champion, 2013 Region 2 Champion, and 2015 USEF/AVA Reserve National Champion, among others.

Outside of vaulting, Salisbury has been active in her community. In high school, she led the Baking for Charity Club, where she helped organize bake sales with proceeds going to Pencils of Promise, a charity supporting children’s education in the developing world. She also volunteered for fundraising benefits and worked in the barns at the National Center for Equine Facilitated Therapy, a therapeutic riding facility that helps children and adults with neurophysiological, cognitive, sensory processing, and psychosocial challenges. Currently, Salisbury attends the University of Southern California where she intends to graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and a minor in dance.

Other candidates for the 2017 USEF Vaulter of the Year award included Tessa Belardi (Aptos, Calif.), Audrey Kiernan (San Mateo, Calif.), Elizabeth Osborn (Menlo Park, Calif.), Luke Overton (Stanwood, Wash.), Ana Schult (Longmont, Colo.), and Haley Smith (Parker, Colo.).

Parker (Redwood City, Calif.), co-founder and coach of the Woodside Vaulters, represented the U.S. in international competition for five years and earned her AVA Gold Medal in 1992. Parker has coached four National Champion A Teams and the U.S. team that won the bronze medal at the 1998 FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Rome, Italy. She is a two-time United States Equestrian Team (USET) Foundation Trainer of the Year, the 2013 AVA Mentor of the Year, an AVA judge and Technical Committee member, an FEI steward, and a member of multiple USEF vaulting committees. She is the current Chief Financial Officer of Summit Public Schools. This is Parker’s second time receiving the USEF Vaulting Coach of the Year Award.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

US Dressage Festival of Champions to Host 14 USEF Dressage National Championship Titles

US Dressage Festival of Champions to Host 14 USEF Dressage Lexington, Ky. – The U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions has been named as the home for all 14 USEF Dressage National Championships in 2018. Hosted at the Lamplight Equestrian Center in Wayne, Ill. from August 21 through 26, the Markel/USEF Young and Developing Horse Dressage National Championships as well as the USEF Young Adult ‘Brentina Cup’ Dressage National Championship presented by Dressage Today will be hosted in conjunction with the other dressage divisions.

The U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions will host the following championships and divisions:

  • USEF Grand Prix Dressage National Championship
  • USEF Intermediaire I Dressage National Championship
  • USEF Young Adult ‘Brentina Cup’ Dressage National Championships presented by Dressage Today
  • USEF Young Rider Dressage National Championship
  • USEF Junior Dressage National Championship
  • USEF Pony Rider Dressage National Championship
  • USEF Children Dressage National Championship
  • Markel/USEF Young and Developing Horse Dressage National Championships for four-, five-, and six-year-olds, as well as Developing Grand Prix and Developing Prix St. Georges
  • USEF Dressage Seat Medal Finals for the 13 & Under, and 14-18 divisions

Previous years have seen the championships held at two separate locations. 2018 will be the first time that all 14 USEF Dressage National Championships are held under the same roof, at the same event, under the banner of the 2018 U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions.

“Previously, our USEF Dressage National Championships have felt splintered by having two different events, in different locations,” says Hallye Griffin, Managing Director of Dressage. “Holding the full spectrum of the championships in one location, over a weeklong period, will give us the opportunity to showcase the talented athlete/horse combinations across the full spectrum of the divisions. We hope that this will also prove to be an exciting event for spectators, sponsors, vendors, and supporters as we look to grow the event into something very special, while continuing to highlight our dressage competition pathways and programs in an effort to deliver continued sustainable success in our sport.”

Find out more information on the 2018 U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions or contact Kristen Brett, Director, Dressage Programs at kbrett@usef.org.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

US Equestrian Saddened by Loss of E. Hunter Harrison

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Wood Media.

Lexington, Ky. – US Equestrian mourns the loss of E. Hunter Harrison, owner of Double H Farm and a beloved leader, supporter, and friend of equestrian sport. Harrison passed away on December 16 at the age of 73, leaving behind a legacy in the horses he bred, the athletes he supported, and the sport that he helped to grow.

“Today we lost one of equestrian sport’s greats,” says US Equestrian President, Murray Kessler. “An iconic and beloved horse owner and patron of the sport, Hunter Harrison will be greatly missed for his enthusiasm, generosity, and dedication to his horses, equestrian sport, and most importantly, his family. Our deepest sympathy goes out to his family, the team at Double H Farm and all who had the chance to know him.”

Harrison gave the industry a chance to share in his passion by bringing great horses and athletes together, including McLain Ward and two-time Olympic team gold medal winning mare, Sapphire, and 2017 World Cup Final champion, HH Azur. US Equestrian is grateful for everything he gave to all who called him family and friend.

“My family and I are very sad that we have lost a huge presence in our lives,” says Ward. “Hunter was not only a wonderful supporter of my career, but also a guiding force in everything we did. I will miss him dearly, and my thoughts are with his family in this difficult time.”

Read more about the legacy of E. Hunter Harrison here.

Rutledge Gallops to CCI3* Lead at Fair Hill International Three-Day Event

Colleen Rutledge and Covert Rights (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

Smith’s Control of CCI2* Continues

Fair Hill, Md. – Spectators and competitors enjoyed a thrilling day of cross-country at The Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International Three-Day Event, where international pairs proved their mettle over Derek di Grazia’s challenging track. Colleen Rutledge held on to her lead in The Dutta Corp./USEF CCI3* Eventing National Championship with Covert Rights, and Tamra Smith and Sunsprite Syrius kept their lead in the The Dutta Corp./USEF CCI2* Eventing National Championship.

A fast cross-country round gave Maryland native Rutledge (Frederick, Md.) and her own Covert Rights the top position in the CCI3* division. The 11-year-old Thoroughbred cross gelding remains on his dressage score (39.8) after a fault-free performance.

“He gets every gold star I could possibly give him. He saved my butt when I got us into trouble, and he was foot-perfect at 90% of the course,” Rutledge commented, noting that she had experience on her side with four-star partner Covert Rights. “Luckily, I know that he’s got the experience behind him. He’s already done two four-stars. He reads the fences. He’s so much more mature now, and he’s so much more experienced now, where I could just gallop down and see the stride from six strides away and attack the fences. That was probably one of the most fun cross-countries that I’ve had in a long time.”

Overnight leaders Selena O’Hanlon (Ontario, Canada) and Foxwood High finished four seconds over optimum time to drop them into second place. John and Judy Rumble’s 14-year-old Canadian Sport Horse gelding picked up 1.6 time penalties to sit on a two-phase result of 41.

Will Coleman (Charlottesville, Va.) and The Conair Syndicate’s Tight Lines leapt from 13th to third after an incredible cross-country effort. The 10-year-old Thoroughbred gelding continues on a score of 46.3.

“He never lacks run or gallop. He’s just an animal out there. It was a hard course, but I thought it was a proper test. I think it’s a testament for the cross-country riding in this country,” Coleman commented. “It was a difficult three-star, and I’ve ridden a lot of three-stars around the world, and I would put Fair Hill at the very top, in terms of difficulty.”

Smith (Murrietta, Calif.) and Sunsprite Warmbloods’ Sunsprite Syrius were the first combination to come home clear within the time on Saturday’s cross-country. The nine-year-old Trakehner gelding made quick work of di Grazia’s course to remain on his dressage score (40.9) going into Sunday’s show jumping finale.

“I didn’t know what to expect. He hasn’t been in an environment like this before. He was super. He didn’t question one thing. He was spot on. You bring them here to the two-star at Fair Hill and know if you definitely have a three-star horse and beyond, and I definitely feel that,” Smith said of the young horse’s promise.

Following Smith’s lead, Cornelia Dorr (Manchester-by-the-Sea, Mass.) also remained in second place with her own Louis M, a 12-year-old Rheinlander gelding. Dorr piloted both Louis M and her own fifth-placed Sir Patico MH, an 11-year-old Zweibrucker gelding, to double-clear cross-country results.

“My first one, ‘Hugo,’ was amazing. He and I have a wonderful relationship. I felt super-confident with him. It was nice to go out and do all that with him, then be able to make tighter lines on Louis. They were both great and super-fit. I’m happy with them,” Dorr smiled.

Again in the CCI2*, Coleman climbed the leaderboard, this time with Off The Record, an eight-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by the Off The Record Syndicate. The duo completed the course penalty-free to move into third place on a score of 49.8.

“I was proud of him. He’s an eight-year-old horse, and he was second in [The Pedigree Bromont CCI2*] this year, and the last four to five times out he’s been in the top five. So he’s been consistent. That’s what we are going for, for all the horses this year, trying to build consistent performances throughout all three phases,” Coleman remarked. “I think it was a proper test with a pretty good group of horses here. [The Dutta Corp./Fair Hill International Three-Day Event] gets billed as a two-and-a-half-star, and I think people have a lot of respect for it and come ready.”

For further information on The Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International, visit www.fairhillinternational.com.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department/Classic Communications

Halie Robinson Wins USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals – West

Halie Robinson and Caracas 89 (McCool)

September 24, 2017 – San Juan Capistrano, Calif. – The third time in the top 10 of the Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals – West was the charm for Halie Robinson. Having placed second and fifth in years past, Robinson rode with precision, consistency and previous experience that earned her the top call in this year’s challenging four-phase competition.

USEF Talent Search judges, Andre Dignelli of Katonah, NY and Patricia Griffith of New York City, designed the courses with Anthony D’Ambrosio serving as Technical Delegate. Well-suited for their roles, Dignelli won the prestigious class in 1986, and has since taken countless riders to success at this level; Griffith was second under Dignelli’s tutelage in 1998 and has been a part of Dignelli’s Heritage Farm since 1997. D’Ambrosio has been a technical delegate as well as a course designer at venues all over the world.

Friday morning’s flat phase asked riders to demonstrate knowledge of the elementary principles of dressage training as they affect a show jumper’s performance. Divided into three groups, riders were tested with half-pass, counter-canter, flying lead changes and other exercises. The gymnastics phase asked riders to apply mastery of that flat work to jumping patterns, including the skills of shortening and lengthening the horse’s stride while riding the track, which proved challenging for many.

Aboard Caracas 89, owned by Elvenstar, Robinson earned high scores in the competition’s first two phases, the flat phase and the gymnastics phase. With her cumulative 217.5 score going into the jumping phase, she had 16-point lead, which helped her maintain a top position. However once the top four were named, they each started the Final Phase with a score of zero.

Jayme Omand, Emma Catherine Reichow and Natalie Dean joined Robinson in a work-off patterned like that used in the World Equestrian Games. The final four rode a shortened course on their own horse, then on each other’s horses. After the 16 rounds were complete, all handled the questions asked on the different mounts without major fault. To all who watched, including the judges, Robinson dominated this phase.

“It’s always nice when the winner is so obvious, even to the crowd,” commented Griffith. Dignelli concurred: “Our winner was clear and away the winner. She rode beautifully throughout all phases: accurate and she has a beautiful style.” An elated Robinson promised she’d be working on her pace. Currently studying abroad in Europe, she had flown home specifically for the Talent Search. She called Caracas 89 “the sweetest horse I’ve ever met and he tries his heart out no matter what.” He’s also a miracle. This was his third show back after having a 27-pound “artifact” tumor removed in February.

For her prestigious win, Robinson received the Denali Memorial Perpetual Trophy, donated by Mrs. Maya Z Hamburger. Caracas 89 earned the Gulliver Perpetual Trophy, donated by Karen Healey, as the best horse per the judges. Jim Hagman received the Leading Trainer Award, donated by Mr. Hugh J. B. Cassiday III. Hagman also credits all those who work at Elvenstar, including those not pictured in the presentation photo below, Kay Altheuser and Rachel Mahowald.

Reserve champion Jayme Omand topped the flat phase and recovered from challenges with the gymnastics exercises to finish in the top four. The 21-year-old credited her lifelong trainer Kelly Van Vleck for preparing her and her relatively inexperienced jumper, Zador, specifically for the USEF Talent Search. Schooling courses with S-tracks and striding options were the substance of their summer and it paid off. Regularly riding unfamiliar horses as a member of the Texas Christian University NCAA Equestrian Team was a big help in the horse-swapping final round.

The youngest of the final four riders by several years, 15-year-old Emma Catherine Reichow had never competed in this final and came into the competition with no expectations. She felt her spot as an alternate for the Zone 10 North American Junior Young Rider Championships and its difficult courses helped prepare her for this event. A student of Harley and Olivia Brown, Reichow likened the USEF Talent Search to the NAJYRC Championships because “you need to be consistent and get the job done.”

Both Reichow and fourth-place finisher Natalie Dean have aspirations to represent the United States in international jumping. Dean trains with Butch, Lu and Guy Thomas of Willow Tree.

U.S. Show Jumping Youth Chef d’Equipe DiAnn Langer commented that riders ought to target the USEF Talent Search early in the year and tailor their practice and show schedule to prepare for its unique tests. She emphasized that the program is a prestigious step in the pathway of the sport’s young athlete development program.

The format of the Talent Search has evolved considerably since it originated in the 1950s, but it has always been a method for identifying and helping prepare young riders aspiring to represent the U.S. in international jumping competition. McLain Ward (1990), Lauren Hough (1994) and California-born German rider Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum (1986) are among the Talent Search winners who went on to become show jumping Olympians. Several winners of the West Finals are major players on the Grand Prix circuit, Joie Gatlin (1982), Richard Spooner (1988), Kirsten Coe (1996) and Kasey Ament (2004) among them.

“It really gave me a leg up in my career,” said Dignelli, as it put him on a track to his current role as one of the country’s top hunter/jumper trainers.

From Blenheim EquiSports

Mills, McCutcheon, Reynolds Crowned at USEF Reining National Championships

Photo: Matt Mills and Wimps Cool Breeze (Waltenberry)

Lexington, Ky. – Three 2017 USEF Reining National Championship titles were up for grabs at the Tulsa Reining Classic at Expo Square in Tulsa, Okla. Matt Mills and Wimps Cool Breeze claimed top honors in the Adequan $10,000 Added USEF Open National Championship presented by Markel Insurance. In the $2,000 Added USEF Youth National Championship, Kalena Reynolds and Gun Whiz It won the 13 & Under division, while Cade McCutcheon and REF Sturgis were crowned the champions in the 14-18 division.

In the Adequan $10,000 Added USEF Open National Championship presented by Markel Insurance, Mills (Scottsdale, Ariz.) and Wimps Cool Breeze performed a great round across the board to impress the judges as they performed pattern nine. Mills and Janice Dickson’s seven-year-old Quarter Horse stallion earned a score of 221.5 to win the championship.

“I think the horse really circled well. It felt like a round where nothing stood out more than anything else. It was a really solid round from start to finish, but if I have to pick something, I would say the circles were very good,” Mills said of his ride on Wimps Cool Breeze. “I have had this horse going for quite a while, and he has always been good in the show ring.”

Mills last won a USEF national championship title in 2006 and was happy to add another accolade to his resume. “It feels great and feels great for the owners. This is their second experience with an FEI/USEF horse. … We are aiming for the WEG [the FEI World Equestrian Games] next year.”

Casey Deary (Weatherford, Texas) finished second and third after finishing one point apart on his two mounts. Deary and Reeboks Rerun, his son Owen Deary’s 15-year-old Quarter Horse gelding, took the reserve champion title with a score of 219.5, while he and Who Dat Hot Chic, Neiberger Performance Horses LLC’s seven-year-old Quarter Horse mare, finished third with a score of 218.5.

Fresh off his trip to the 2017 SVAG FEI World Reining Championships for Juniors and Young Riders, McCutcheon (Aubrey, Texas) rode REF Sturgis to the win in the 14-18 division of the $2,000 Added USEF Youth National Championship. He and Anne-Marie Burns’s five-year-old Quarter Horse gelding had a solid performance of pattern 12 to receive a score of 219.0.

“He was really good. Easy. His circles were good, he stopped well, and the whole round was pretty dang good,” McCutcheon said of his first-ever ride on REF Sturgis. “It feels good. This was my first time in this division, so it was fun to do something new.”

Dani Latimer (Marietta, Okla.) was McCutcheon’s teammate on the Platinum Performance U.S. Young Rider Team at the world championships, and she was not far behind him. She and Sparklin Nite, Elaine Latimer’s five-year-old Quarter Horse stallion, scored 217.5 to be named the reserve champion. Blair Thompson (Amarillo, Texas) and Whiz N Chica Dee, her own eight-year-old Quarter Horse gelding, finished third with a score of 214.0.

In the $2,000 Added USEF Youth National Championship 13 & Under division, Reynolds (Whitesboro, Texas) and Gun Whiz It laid down a good run of pattern 12 to finish atop the leaderboard. Reynolds and Tammy Reynolds’s six-year-old Quarter Horse mare won with a score of 212.5.

“It was very good; we were together on all maneuvers. She was really with me,” Reynolds said. “It’s really amazing! I’m very thankful. I haven’t had this mare very long, but we have gotten along well together.”

Carlee McCutcheon (Aubrey, Texas) and Whatta Royal Vintage, Tom and Mandy McCutcheon’s eight-year-old Quarter Horse mare, were the reserve champions with a score of 208.0.

Find more information at www.tulsareining.com.

By Kathleen Landwehr, US Equestrian Communications Department

McCormick and Roberts Headline Successful USEF/AVA Vaulting National Championships

South Jordan, Utah – The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF)/American Vaulting Association (AVA) Vaulting National Championships were held on August 24-27, 2017, at the Salt Lake County Equestrian Park in South Jordan, Utah. Leading the way were U.S. vaulting veterans Mary McCormick and Kristian Roberts, who won the Female Gold and Male Gold divisions, respectively.

Individual Competition

McCormick (Cañon City, Colo.), captured an astonishing seventh national championship in her star-studded career, which includes two top-five individual finishes at the FEI World Equestrian Games in 2010 and 2014. This week, she and Duke Wilhem, Sydney Frankel’s 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding, along with lunger Carolyn Bland, won the Female Gold division with a compulsory score of 7.700. She and RF Bentley, owned by Rick and Virginia Hawthorne, along with lunger Jill Palmer, scored 7.417 in the technical test, and in the freestyle she scored 7.247. Her final score was 7.455.

“Being crowned national champion is a tremendous honor that never gets old,” McCormick said. “I’m just as excited about this victory as I was with my first one. It takes a huge effort and the support from many to make it to the top, and I’m left feeling humbly grateful that I was able to do it again.”

McCormick revealed that she made a last-minute horse change when her horse pulled up sore before the competition. “It was by the grace and support of others that I was able to be successful at this competition!” she said.

While acknowledging her “good genes” with a smile, McCormick attributes her success at the top of the sport for more than two decades to her team, her training, and her mindset.

“I definitely consider my age when I’m thinking about the future, but I don’t let it get in my way,” she said. “I show up each year with an open mind, and as long as I feel like I am able to handle the physical demands and keep improving, I keep going! I love this sport and hope to compete in it for as long as possible.”

Second place in the Female Gold division went to Kimberly Palmer (Half Moon Bay, Calif.), who was on her and Jill Palmer’s Zygo, a 13-year-old KWPN gelding, with lunger Jill Palmer (7.200 compulsory/6.113 technical/7.578 freestyle/6.964 overall), while Bonnie Ubben (Gig Harbor, Wash.), finished third on Indiana Jones IV, Lorilie Robison’s 19-year-old Thoroughbred-cross gelding, with lunger Robison (6.150 compulsory/6.085 technical/6.975 freestyle/6.403 overall).

Equally dominating in the Male Gold division was Kristian Roberts (Moss Beach, Calif.), who won his fifth national championship. Roberts and Cypress Hill, Frankel’s eight-year-old Hanoverian gelding, along with lunger Carolyn Bland, had scores of 7.347 in the compulsory, and he vaulted with Palatine and Bland to a 5.852 in the technical test. With Duke Wilhem and Bland, Roberts scored 7.472 in the freestyle for a 6.890 final score.

“It was good competition,” Roberts said. “I’m excited to still be here and be at the top. This one especially means a lot to me.”

Roberts ended up competing on three different horses. His freestyle horse, Duke Wilhem, has only been vaulting for a year and he only had one week of practice with him. “He went the best he could have gone. I’m so grateful for that horse.”

Second place in the Male Gold division went to Kaleb Patterson (Stanwood, Wash.), who with Satie, Bethany Wilhelmsen’s 14-year-old American Warmblood gelding, and lunger Kelly Gee, scored 6.983 (compulsory), 4.217 (technical), and 6.108 (freestyle) for a final score of 5.769.

Team Competition

The A team division victory went to the F.A.C.E. team of Alena Hammond (Eagle Mountain, Utah), Shaina Hammond (Eagle Mountain, Utah), Madeline Lampard (Topanga, Calif.), Kalyn Noah (Calabasas, Calif.), Luke Overton (Stanwood, Wash.), and Alyssa Stoddard (Saratoga Springs, Utah), with their horse Maximillian, Gayle Glisson-Kuhlberg’s Holsteiner gelding, and lunger Devon Maitozo. Their compulsories score was 6.659 and their freestyle score was 6.778 for a final team score of 6.719.

Maitozo, one of the most well-known and decorated American vaulters, started the F.A.C.E. team in 2000. While he has always been a part of it, he returned to the team full-time in 2012 as the coach. The decision was made to take their junior team and compete at the A Team level after just missing the cut to qualify for the FEI World Vaulting Championships for Juniors.

“We decided that the Nationals would be our final competition and be our final goal [for the year],” Maitozo said. “It is a very nice way to end a very difficult and meaningful year for us. For me and the club, it’s always a step toward something else to see what else we can do with our momentum. We have hopes of looking to [the World Equestrian Games] next year and potentially putting a team together.”

The F.A.C.E. team is now based out of El Campeon Farm in Thousand Oaks, Calif. and Maitozo believes that has taken them to the next level. He said, “They’ve embraced us, and we’re just in heaven there. It’s helped us in the last month keeping our horses healthy and prepared. Our horses were really fit and ready. [El Campeon is] about high performance and showing the best at elite level. Now we come back as National Champions. It’s nice to do this and represent them well.”

The Mile-High Vaulters Club fielded the Rocky Mountain Team: Finding Neverland with vaulters Jace Brooks (Eagle Mountain, Utah), Calle Davis (Spanish Fork, Utah), Melanie Ford (Fort Collins, Colo.), Rhianon Hampton (Greeley, Colo.), Rachel Jensen (Provo, Utah), and Jim Roedel (Fort Lupton, Colo.). They had a compulsories score of 5.828 on their horse Hampton with lunger Jorden Hobbs. In the freestyle, with their horse Sampson, Jodi Rinard’s 19-year-old Percheron gelding, and lunger Rinard, they scored 7.262.They finished second in the division with a final team score of 6.545.

The B Team victory went to Mt. Eden Vaulting Club – Safari, who had a compulsories score of 5.784, a freestyle score of 6.757, and a final team score of 6.271. Second place were the “Guardians of Disco” team from Mile-High Vaulters, who scored 5.922 in compulsories, 6.215 in freestyle, and 6.069 in their final team score. The winner of the C Team division was Mt. Eden Vaulting Club – Toy Story, who had a compulsories score of 5.050, freestyle score of 5.107, and final score of 5.079.

In the Trot Team, OC Vaulting came away with the win on a final score of 5.716, while Mile-High Vaulters “Spy Kids” team was second (5.420) and Mt. Eden Vaulting Club – Peter Pan was third (5.363).

The Los Angeles Equestrian Vaulting Club “California’s Girls” won the Open 2-Phase Team division with a score of 7.374. Mile-High Vaulters “The Lost Boys” were second (6.592), and Oak Hills Vaulting was third (6.265). The Prelim 2-Phase Team division winner was OC Vaulting (7.031), Technique Equestrian Vaulting Club was second (6.433), and A Vaulting Connection/Therapeutic Horse Connection was third (6.086).

Junior 2* Vaulters Shine

In the Female Junior 2* division, the top placing went to Caroline Morse (Los Gatos, Calif.). She and Grasshopper AF, Jana Morse’s eight-year-old American Warmblood gelding, along with lunger and coach Samantha Matson had a compulsory score of 7.374 for a final score of 3.687.

Second place went to Hallie Dudley (Elizabeth, Colo.) on Briar Rose, Lee Dudley’s 12-year-old Clydesdale mare, with lunger Dudley (compulsory 6.468, final score 3.234). Helen Mills-Selch and Rembrandt, Connie Geisler’s nine-year-old Percheron/Thoroughbred gelding, with lunger Geisler, finished third (compulsory 6.016, final score 3.008).

Morse competed in her seventh national championship and has been vaulting for 10 years. This is her first individual national championship win. She and Grasshopper AF have been vaulting together for two years.

“He’s a pretty trusty horse, and I have a lot of faith in him. I know he’s going to do his job,” she said. “My coach [Samantha Matson] was the one who trained him and made everything happen for me and him.”

After competing at the FEI World Vaulting Championships for Juniors at the beginning of August, Morse came to the USEF/AVA Vaulting National Championships with a different attitude.

She explained, “When we came here, I just wanted to have fun and be stress-free. I was excited to go in and have fun and be relaxed. I think it helped my performance.”

In addition to her Junior 2* victory, Morse also won the Female Silver Individual division with scores of 7.253 and 7.082 for a final score of 7.168. Calle Davis placed second on a final score of 6.849, while Tessa Belardi (Aptos, Calif.) was third with a final score of 6.654.

The winner of the Male Junior 2* division was Jace Brooks. He and Satie with lunger Kelly Gee scored 6.549 in the compulsory for a final score of 3.275.

It was a family affair for Brooks, as lunger Kelly Gee is also his father. This was Gee’s, as well as his horse Satie’s, second competition ever. Brooks has only been working together with his father and Satie since February. It was also the first national championship for Brooks’ team, Wasatch Peak Vaulters.

“It means a lot more [to win] when it’s your dad and your own horse,” Brooks said. “I haven’t been on my own horse for two or three years, so to be with my own horse and my own lunger, it felt really cool.”

Brooks has set his next goal, to compete at the 2019 FEI World Vaulting Championships for Juniors with Satie and his father.

Brooks also placed second in the Male Silver Individual division on a final score of 6.722. The win went to Luke Overton who had a final score of 7.328. Christian Ramos (Cañon City, Colo.) placed third on a score of 6.560.

Pas de Deux Competition

In the Prelim Pas de Deux Freestyle, victory went to Sydney Schimack (Laporte, Colo.) and Jim Roedel (Fort Lupton, Colo.) of Mile-High Vaulters. With horse Sampson and lunger Jodi Rinard, they scored 6.362 to win.

Second place in the Prelim Pas de Deux Freestyle went to Caitlyn Mendik (Castle Rock, Calif.) and Hallie Dudley on Briar Rose with lunger Lee Dudley of Velocity Vaulters with a score of 6.015. The Mile-High Vaulters also placed third with the pair of Augusta Rose Lewis (Longmont, Colo.) and Emma Milito (Centennial, Colo.) on Shelby, Rinard’s 16-year-old Percheron mare, with lunger Rinard. They posted a score of 5.945.

The OC Vaulting Club vaulters Olivia Carlucci and Allison Binckes won the Trot Pas de Deux Freestyle with a final score of 6.156. Claire Jones and Hailey Williams (Great Falls Vaulters) were second on 5.895, while Persephone Brown and Calli Ann Kennedy (Mile-High Vaulters) were third with a score of 5.761.

Additional Individual Results

Schimack also took the Female Bronze Individual division on a final score of 6.732, while Marie Obeloer (Sunnyvale, Calif.) was second with a 6.640 final score and Dudley was third with a 6.294.

Charles Smith (Temple City, Calif.) won the Male Bronze Individual division with a final score of 5.549.

In the Female Copper Individual division, Maya Drusinsky (Cupertino, Calif.) won with a 6.522, Hayden Avakian (Costa Mesa, Calif.) was second on 6.460, and Augusta Rose Lewis (Longmont, Colo.) placed third with a score of 6.394. Marshall Collins (Fort Collins, Colo.) won the Male Copper Individual division with a score of 5.609, while Martin Valdez was second on 5.560, and third place went to Stefano Como with a score of 5.550.

Anna Sullivan (Rutherford, Calif.) won the Female Trot Individual class, while Bryan Sutherland was victorious in the Male Trot Individual class.

For more information about the USEF/AVA National Championships, go to americanvaulting.org.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department