By Melissa Welch for the New England Equitation Championships
THE BIG E – WEST SPRINGFIELD, MA
October marks the 40th anniversary of one of the longest running and most prestigious equitation finals in the country – the five day New England Equitation Championships.
The esteemed judging panel was made up of Chrystine Tauber (course designer), Ken Smith, Walter “Jimmy” Lee, Ellen Raidt, Daniel Robertshaw and Linda Andrisani. Fresh off designing for USET Finals, Tauber asked demanding questions throughout the week.
The 46 and over Adult Medal kicked off the week on Wednesday, October 14, with Tracy Hart just edging out Maryellen Sardella for the win. Devon Poeta won the 23-45 division. Christina Marchand took Reserve. The following day, Lauren Henry maintained her lead to win the 18-22 Medal, Emma Schauder was Reserve.
The 40th Anniversary Alumni Class was held in honor of beloved rider Lawrence “Rooster” Yacubian. A donation check was presented to The Wounded Warrior’s Family Foundation in Rooster’s memory. The class featured both a team and individual competition of previous winners. 42 riders teamed up in pairs, whose combined total determined placings. Linda Langmeier (1984 Junior Champion) and daughter McKayla (2014 Junior Champion) teamed up to sweep both phases of competition.
NEHC Junior Hunt Seat Medal Final Champion: Samantha Cohen owner/rider on Trump. Photo by Anne Gittins.
Junior Open sections ran Friday and Saturday. On Friday evening, over 100 Juniors took the written phase of the Horsemanship Class. Originating at the NEEC, the Horsemanship Class concept combines a rider’s written test score, practicum, and first round finals score to determine the overall top Junior Horseperson.
Family and friends then gathered for a fun-filled dinner and a commemorative video celebrating Juniors in their last year. Olivia van der Meer, Sunny Drescher and Falvey Brennan tied for the Sportsmanship Award. Judge Walter “Jimmy” Lee received the much respected Sue Brainard award for his dedication to the continued success of the NEEC.
Saturday afternoon held the much loved Challenge of the States team costume class. Juniors with top scores in the Open competed on teams of six to represent their home states with NO help from their trainers allowed! CT Team One won the Gold. Thanks to an anonymous donor, teams competed for money to donate to a charity of their choice. Gold donated to the Brain Tumor Alliance and Ride for Shannon.
On Sunday, the Junior Medal Final featured 197 riders. Between rounds, Claudia Tarrant was crowned overall winner of the Katie Battison Horsemanship Award. Top scoring Juniors who have never competed in a 3’6” final were eligible for a separate set of ribbons, the win went to Caitlin Doocy.
Kendra Gierkink won the High Point Junior Rider Award. Samantha Cohen laid down beautiful rounds to become the NEHC Junior Medal Champion. She trains with Val Renihan. Reserve went to Devon Macleod, trained by Sheryl Macleod, Mark Jungherr and Kristi Smith.
In the Winner’s Circle: NEHC Junior Hunt Seat Medal Final Champion: Samantha Cohen owner/rider on Trump. Left to right standing: Jay Sargent, Armand Chenelle, Linda Langmeier, McKayla Langmeier, Lila Pemberton, Val Renihan – trainer and Amber Henter – trainer. Photo Courtesy of Anne Gittins.
Lifetime Achievement: Mason Phelps
Adult Sportsmanship: Karen Salon and Hayley Anderson
Groom’s Award: Michelle Wentworth
Adult Judge’s Choice Award: Cyber
Junior Judge’s Choice Award: Trump
For more information, see www.NewEnglandEquitation.com.