April 5, 2017 – San Juan Capistrano – After months of careful planning, Whitethorne is pleased to announce the all-new American Tradition of Excellence Equitation Challenge. This unique, three-phase class is open to all riders of all ages, both juniors and amateurs, and will debut this summer at the Blenheim June Classic III. Prizes include a $10,000 cash prize for the winning trainer and a new saddle for the winning rider.
The American Tradition of Excellence Equitation Challenge will take place at Blenheim Equisports on June 20 -21, 2017. This class is open to junior and amateur riders, and features a three-stage extensive competition and educational event. Within a clinic-type environment with the added pressure of the show ring competition, riders will have the chance to not only compete in a prestigious class, but to gain critique from qualified judges. A forum for this event will be held at the Ritz Carlton Laguna Niquel on the evening of the 20th at 5:30 p.m.
Highly renowned professionals Bernie Traurig and Stacia Madden will judge, but there’s more. Mentors will be available such as Karen Healey, who will serve as Technical Delegate, and Tonya Johnston, who will provide Mental Skills Coaching.
Georgy Maskrey-Segesman of Whitethorne, who is responsible for the creation of the class, sought to bring more educational opportunities to the West Coast equitation world. After delving into competitive dressage herself, she noticed the lack of feedback available to equitation riders. She feels that the written comments received after a dressage competition detailing each movement and what needs to be improved are a priceless source of instruction and motivation. She aims to give West Coast riders a chance to explore what the judges are looking for and gain knowledge while competing.
“It is my gift to all the people that want to do equitation — whether it’s an adult-amateur who wants to learn more, or a junior that does plan to go east, or a parent who wants to know more about the discipline,” she said. “I’m looking for it to be something that’s enjoyable and educational and something that people can walk away from and say, ‘Wow, that was a great experience. I want to do it again.'”
Maskrey-Segesman noted that Healey was instrumental in discussing ideas throughout the development and in coordinating this first year’s high profile judges. Notably Traurig will be judging the ASPCA Maclay Medal Final in November at The National Horse Show.
Phase One will consist of a Hunter Derby type track set at 3’3″ designed by Healey and Mauricio Garcia. The two judges will produce one score that will be announced in addition to providing commentary that will be logged and shared with each competitor upon the conclusion of the phase. The second phase will be in the evening featuring a video presentation: “Equitation – an American Tradition of Excellence” followed by a Q&A between the judges, trainers, and riders. Tonya Johnston will also present “Mental Preparation for Medal Finals.” Scores of 60 or higher will be invited to Phase Three, in which they will once again jump a Hunter Derby style course. Johnston will be available to riders during the course walk and throughout this phase for psychological counsel and strategic planning. Similarly to Phase One, scores will be announced and notes taken.
Upon adding the scores from the first and third phases together, the top 6 riders will be called back for additional testing. Work-off scores will not be announced — simply noted on the comment card in addition to more comments. A press conference open to all will follow the additional testing during which the judges will comment on the final round, work-off, and final placings.
Blenheim EquiSports is thrilled to offer this three-phase opportunity to equitation riders and trainers. The Blenheim Summer Prize List will be online this month. Note that stalls will sell out quickly, so make your summer show plans soon!