(L to R) Emma Kurtz and Caldwell with USEF representatives Kelsey Shanley and Jennifer Mellenkamp (Cathrin Cammett Photo)
Devon, Pa. – The 2016 US Junior Hunter National Championship East Coast came to a close on Tuesday, following two days of competition in the historic Dover Arena at the Devon Horse Show grounds. More than 150 of the country’s top juniors headed to the championship to complete three phases in front of the judging panel of Linda Andrisani, Holly Orlando, and James Toon over Skip Bailey-designed Classic Round course and Handy Hunter courses, which both counted for 40% of the overall score. The final 20% was earned in Tuesday’s Under Saddle phase which was judged by Jeff Ayers, Rob Bielefeld, and Bill Ellis. Emma Kurtz and Caldwell posted the best overall score of the 3’6″ competition to earn the 2016 Grand Champion title. In the 3’3″ championship, Devin Seek and Dress Balou earned Grand Champion honors.
Kurtz (Hudson, Ohio) and Scott Stewart’s 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding, Caldwell, earned the 2016 National Title after scoring 99.2 in the Classic Round, 51 in the Under Saddle, and 102.8 in the Handy Round, to finish on an overall score of 253. The talented pair also earned the Large Junior Hunter 15-and-Under crown, taking home the USA National Junior Hunter Championship Perpetual Trophy donated by Mr. and Mrs. Donald Stewart, Jr.
Kurtz and David Gochman’s Dominik scored the Reserve Overall Grand Champion title. Kurtz and the eight-year-old Warmblood gelding earned scores of 102.8, 52.2, and 94.4 in the Classic, Under Saddle, and Handy Rounds, respectively, and an overall score of 249.4. The pair also posted the best score in the Small Junior Hunter 15-and-Under section, taking home the USA National Championship Perpetual Trophy donated by Geri and Whitney Roper.
Caroline Jones (Brownsboro, Ala.) and Century Performance Horses LLC’s At Last posted the top score in the Large Junior Hunter 16-17 section, taking home the USA National Championship Perpetual Trophy donated by Christina Schlusemeyer. Jones and the 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding finished on an overall total of 239.5 after posting scores of 92.5, 47.6, and 99.4 in the Classic, Under Saddle, and Handy Rounds, respectively. In Small Junior Hunter 16-17 competition, Eliza Bienstock (New York, N.Y.) and her own Playlist earned the top score of 241, taking home the USA National Junior Hunter Championship Perpetual Trophy donated by Pam and Wayne Baker. Bienstock and the 11-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding posted scores of 95.2, 50.4, and 95.4 in the Classic, Under Saddle, and Handy Rounds, respectively.
The top Owner/Rider for the 3’6″ section was MTM Hands Down, ridden by Annabel Revers and owned by her family’s Beechwood Stables, LLC, finishing with an overall score of 246.2.
Seek (Ridgefield, Conn.) and Donald Stewart’s Dress Balou topped the 3’3″ Junior Hunter 15-and-Under section A on their way to earning Overall Grand Champion honors in the 3’3″ section. Seek and the seven-year-old Warmblood gelding earned scores of 103.2 in the Classic Round, 50.8 in the Under Saddle, and 104.4 in Handy Round to finish on an overall total of 258.4.
Grace Boston earned Reserve Overall Grand Champion in the 3’3″ section with Donald Stewart’s six-year-old Hanoverian gelding, Spalding. The pair, which had the highest score in the 3’3″ Junior Hunter 15-and-Under section B, scored 91.6, 52, and 100.2 in the Classic, Under Saddle, and Handy Rounds, respectively, to finish on an overall total of 243.8.
“I am so thankful that Don Stewart gave me the opportunity to ride his fabulous horse, Spalding,” said Boston. “Spalding felt amazing throughout the weekend and at the end of my handy, I knew we had performed well enough to earn a good ribbon. I was ecstatic when I found out that I had won the class and earned Champion and Reserve Grand Champion. I had gone into the weekend with the goal of ending up in the top 10, but never expected to end up on top.”
“It’s still exciting for me to find and own such nice horses and be lucky enough to have students that can show them to their full potential,” said Donald Stewart. “I’m very excited about Spalding, as he is six and a newcomer, whereas I think Balou is one of the winningest hunters ever, having won over $350,000.00 to date at only seven years old. Special thanks to my team and Aaron Vale.”
Grace Hutson (Lancaster, Pa.) and her own 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding, Davinci, topped 3’3″ Junior Hunter 16-17 Section A competition after finishing on an overall score of 239.4. They produced scores of 96.3, 49.1, and 94 in the Classic, Under Saddle, and Handy Rounds, respectively. Additionally, Hutson was crowned top Owner/Rider in the 3’3″ section. Isabel Stettinius (Washington D.C.) and her own Balenciaga, a 10-year-old Oldenburg gelding, won the 3’3″ Junior Hunter 16-17 Section B with an 88.6 in the Classic round, a 49.2 in the Under Saddle, and a 99.0 in the Handy round, for an overall score of 236.8.
Sydney North’s Valentine, a nine-year-old Irish Sport Horse, was also honored as the Best Overall Mare and received the War Dress Memorial Trophy donated by Cleta S. Turbow and Pamela J. Rush after receiving an overall score of 241.
Visit usefnetwork.com for photos and videos from the 2016 US Junior Hunter National Championship East Coast.
From the USEF Communications Department