SAUGERTIES, NEW YORK (August 3, 2011) — Sarah Milliren of Sapula, Oklahoma was all smiles when the number 515 – her number – was announced as the winner of Tuesday’s USHJA/Essex Classics Hunterdon Cup, the jewel of the equitation competition at the USEF National Junior Hunter Championship – East Coast at HITS Saugerties.
Milliren, trained by Bibby Hill and Don Stewart, rode to victory in the three-round class aboard Stewart’s War Eagle. According to Milliren, her smiles were both of joy and a little bit of shock as Lillie Keenan of New York, New York was pinned second aboard Catherine Cowie’s Vidarco.
“I was so surprised when we won the class – I thought Lillie had it,” said Milliren. “I have never won anything like this before, so it is really exciting.”
She finished the first round with a score of 85 to sit sixth, and then scored an impressive 90 points in the second round, which placed her in third with a total of 175 points going in for the final test.
Milliren posted a score of 89 points in the third-round test of eight fences. Per the specifications of the class, judges Hap Hansen and Russell Frey had riders switch horses, to serve as the deciding factor for the class. Milliren, therefore, rode Scott Stewart’s Vip Z to the blue, originally ridden in the class by Victoria Colvin of Loxchatchee, Florida. Milliren, however, couldn’t deny her original mount the credit he was due.
“[War Eagle] made the course seem simple,” she added. “He was amazing and I could not have asked for a better performance from him.”
Colvin entered the test in fourth and would ultimately finish third. Meg O’Mara of Rumson, New Jersey aboard Alexandra Pirro’s Rue Royale entered the test in second and finished in fourth, overall. Allison Toffolon of Bronxville, New York held strong to her fifth-place position and rounded out the final top five aboard her own Class Action. Keenan took reserve champion in the class, while Samantha Schaefer of Westminster, Maryland entered the third round test in the lead, but one canter stride before the trot jump would drop her completely from the top five. She finished sixth overall.
Hansen and Frey were pleased with what they saw from the riders in all three rounds, but they weighed their final decisions heavily on the third-round test, which included seven canter fences and one trot fence.
“This was a great class with some really good riders,” said judge Hap Hansen. “It is always fun to watch the riders go on different horses which makes them better, stronger riders.”
$10,000 USHJA Junior Hunter Task Force Trainer Award
Trainers of the winning riders were honored for their hard work with a $10,000 Trainer’s Award, sponsored by the USHJA Junior Hunter Task Force. Winning trainer Don Stewart received a grand prize of $4,000 after Milliren’s win, as well as $1,000 award for Meg O’Mara’s fourth-place finish. Second-place trainer Andre Dignelli received a $3,000 award and third-place trainer Scott Stewart won $2,000.
The USEF National Junior Hunter Championship action continues with the final champions being awarded for each division, along with a final awards ceremony on Wednesday.
2011 USHJA/Essex Classics Hunterdon Cup
|1||War Eagle||Donald Stewart||Sarah Milliren|
|2||Vidarco||Catherine Cowie||Lillie Keenan|
|3||Vip Z||Scott Stewart||Victoria Colvin|
|4||Rue Royale||Alexandra Pirro||Meg O’Mara|
|5||Class Action||Allison Toffolon||Allison Toffolon|
|6||Pioneer||Heritage Farm, Inc.||Samantha Schaefer|
|7||Coasting||Heritage Farm, Inc.||Schaefer Raposa|
|8||C’assino||Kate Pressman||Emma Kennedy|
|9||Zen L||Patricia Griffith||Brittany Hurst|
|10||Sierra||Heritage Farm, Inc.||Julia Fowler|