Reagan Upton and Oh Night Divine (Howard Schatzberg)
Lexington, Ky. – A field of 19 competitors, the largest field in the class’s history, vying for the 2016 USEF Saddle Seat Adult Amateur Medal Final title, kicked off the evening session at the Lexington Junior League Charity Horse Show on Wednesday, July 6. Following the competitive field’s display of equitation skills, 27-year-old Reagan Upton was named the unanimous 2016 USEF Saddle Seat Adult Amateur Medal Final Champion. Upton (Birmingham, Ala.) rode St. Simons Island Saddlebreds LLC’s Oh Night Divine to top honors under the tutelage of her mother, Courtney Huguley.
When asked how it felt to be the Gold medal winner, Upton said through tears, “It’s surreal. I’m 27 years old, a poor trainer’s kid. I never had a nice horse when I was a kid. You always have to have a nice horse as a kid and I could never compete with everybody else. At 27, to finally be able to do it is so cool.”
Upton was confident in her test, but didn’t expect to be the unanimous winner.
“I felt pretty good. With 19 in there, I felt like every pass counted,” Upton said. “I felt the rail work was ribbon-worthy, but I didn’t know everyone else kind of had tough patterns. After my pattern I thought I had earned a ribbon, but I wasn’t sure because I had a couple things I could have done better.”
The talented group of riders from across the country performed on the rail, and completed an individual pattern created by the judging panel of Rodney Hicks, Raymond Krussell, and Donna Pettry-Smith.
The Reserve Champion and Silver medalist in the Final was Kristen Dull (Apple Valley, Minn.) riding In Your Sights. The Bronze medal was presented to Cecelia Hoffmann (Bolingbrook, Ill.) riding Kamunyak.
The American Horse Shows Association (AHSA) equitation medal was established in 1937 by the fourth President of the AHSA, Adrian Van Sinderen, as part of his strategy to connect horse people across the United States.
In 2001, the tradition of the medal program was extended to the adult amateur exhibitor by offering the USEF Saddle Seat Adult Amateur Medal Final. The Final was created for adult amateur riders to continue to participate in the discipline of saddle seat equitation. Since its inception, the event has been held at the Lexington Junior League Charity Horse Show.
The 2016 USEF Saddle Seat Adult Amateur Medal Final was supported by Zubrod Stables, Cindy Mugnier, and past Zubrod Stables champions of the USEF Saddle Seat Adult Amateur Medal Final Dr. John Stutts and Deveau Zubrod.
Results from the 2016 USEF Saddle Seat Adult Amateur Medal Final:
Champion: Reagan Upton (Birmingham, Ala.) on Oh Night Divine instructed by Courtney Huguley
Reserve Champion: Kristen Dull (Apple Valley, Minn.) on In Your Sights instructed by Sarah McClintock
Third: Cecelia Hoffmann (Bolingbrook, Ill.) on Kamunyak instructed by Jonelle Chovanec
Fourth: Jennifer McGowan (Louisville, Ky.) on The Toy Soldier instructed by Melissa Moore
Fifth: Morgan Wolin (Chicago, Ill.) on So Smitten instructed by Erin Boggs-Richey
Sixth: Avis Van Zomeren (Leighton, Iowa) on Absolutely Got It instructed by Renae Van Zomeren
Seventh: Elizabeth Cagle James (Winston-Salem, N.C.) on The Cover Story instructed by Evan Orr
Eighth: Rachel Griffis (Baxley, Ga.) on Cabernet’s Will Command instructed by Caitlin Jarriel
Ninth: Lexie Bragg (Charleston, W.V.) on CHThe Muffin Man instructed by Stephanie Lilly
Tenth: Sara Szychlinski (Genoa, Ill.) on The Princess Dianna instructed by Jessica Moctezuma
For more information about the Medal Final, contact Jennifer Mellenkamp, USEF Director, National Affiliates at firstname.lastname@example.org or (859) 225-6955.
From the USEF Communications Department