The American Tradition of Excellence Equitation Challenge by Whitethorne LLC


By Mackenzie Shuman


Georgy Maskrey-Segesman of Whitethorne LLC, trains top hunter, jumper, and equitation horses and riders out of Somis, California. However, she did not start in the hunter-jumper world. She grew up competing in dressage, and she learned the basics of horsemanship, sportsmanship, and lifelong horse skills that she carries into her training program today.


As Georgy was growing up in the dressage world, she noticed two key things. One was that as she would go to shows and perform her tests, she would always look forward to those judges cards explaining the basis of her scores, what she did well and what she needed to work on. She would study and learn from them, thereby improving her test scores.


Georgy saw none of this methodology in the hunter jumper world The most feedback given from the judges is the occasionally announced score after a round in specific events. Seeing this as a detriment to her students and riders around the country, Georgy went to the drawing board.


She endeavored to create a unique class on her home turf in Blenheim, CA that would be highly competitive, but also have a feedback aspect built into it. Equitation is one of the most challenging  disciplines in our sport. Georgy believed that riders in the equitation ring would most benefit from this format of head-to-head competition and real time feedback from judges.


She designed a class called the American Tradition of Excellence Equitation Challenge to 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.


The jumps will be set at 3’3” in order to make the class accessible to riders from many different levels of riding. The course will be designed in a hunter derby format with the jumps decorated accordingly and  judged on equitation style and execution. The judges are renowned professionals Bernie Traurig and Stacia Madden, both of whom are pleased and excited to be giving feedback and advice to the riders who participate in the class.


“The more educated we are, the more we can understand what the judges are looking for,” said Georgy in a recent Plaidcast episode. “You can take [the comments given] and learn from them, and it gives riders the opportunity to grow in their riding.”

Georgy Maskrey-Segesman. Photo by Sara Jorgensen

Not only will riders be able to learn from their rounds during the competition, but there will also be a video presentation on “Equitation – an American Tradition of Excellence,” a Q&A session between the judges, riders, and trainers, as well as a mental health coaching symposium by Tonya Johnston on preparing for the stress and rigor of Medal Finals.


This opportunity comes at just the right moment. Riders and trainers will be able to dive into the two-day competition with high-expectations of learning valuable information and attaining new skills for the upcoming Medal Finals in the fall. To take part in this outstanding event put together by Georgy Maskrey-Segesman of Whitethorne LLC, check out Blenheim Equisport’s page here.