Parker, Colo. -July 1, 2018 – The 2018 USHJA Zones 7 & 8 Jumper Team Championships wrapped up at the scenic Colorado Horse Park in Parker, Colorado, on July 1. Riders competed in both individual and team competition to vie for championship medals and top honors.
June 28 kicked off the Championships with the official jog and a riders meeting. During the riders meeting, US Equestrian Youth Chef d’Equipe DiAnn Langer talked about the Emerging Jumper Rider Program and explained how these Championships are the beginning of the Jumping Athlete Pathway. The Jumping Athlete Pathway is a joint USHJA-US Equestrian effort that identifies and nurtures Jumping athletes as they advance through the sport to enhance future success for Olympic and international teams representing the United States. The Emerging Jumper Rider Program uses the Zone Jumper Team Championships as an entry point to that pathway.
First Individual Qualifying Class
On June 29, competition began with a First Individual Qualifying Class, which is run under Table II Section I, Faults + Time; riders’ scores from this class act as their base score for the individual competition.
The 1.10m/1.15m Children’s section was first to go. Sydney Stephenson and Oliver With A Twist completed the Jasen Shelley designed course in 80.678 seconds to win the class. She was the only rider in this section to navigate a clear round.
Kristina Matthews piloted Neolisto Van Het Mierenhof to the win in the 1.10/1.15m Adult Amateur competition in 76.253 seconds. Danine Summers rode Capriano to a close second in 76.816 seconds.
After a course rebuild, the 1.20/1.25m Jr/Am riders took on the challenge. Proving to be a technical course, only two riders finished with a clean round. Amateur rider Elise Van Damme and Bonjorno won the class with a time of 74.659 seconds.
The 1.30/1.35m Jr/Am riders were the final section to compete. Junior rider Spencer McKee and Galway Girl led the victory gallop. They navigated the course in a quick 70.369 seconds, the fastest time of the class by almost 7 seconds and the quickest of the both Jr/Am sections by 4 seconds.
Saturday, June 30, marked the team competition, which is run as a Table II Modified Nations Cup Format with two identical rounds. Sportsmanship, poise, composure and true horsemanship were on display on thischallenging day. With cooler temperatures and a bit of a breeze, riders from each section navigated the Jasen Shelley designed course in the morning and again in the afternoon.The teams with the fewest faults at the end of both rounds were dressed with gold medals, rider sashes, ribbons and championship coolers. Sashes, ribbons and medals were also given to silver and bronze teams.
The course proved technical, asking riders to ride a tidy yet challenging track. The 1.10/1.15m Children’s section went first with 12 riders competing for team gold, followed by the 1.10/1.15m Adult Amateur section to complete the first rounds of the day.
After a course rebuild, the 1.20/1.25 Jr/Am riders navigated the course followed by the 1.30/1.35m Jr/Am riders. The four sections then returned for their second rounds over the same track, beginning with the 1.30/1.35m Jr/Am riders. Samantha Cheung, Atkins Ward, and Olivia Parr of Team 2 from Zone 7, led by Chef d’Equipe Matt Cyphert, emerged victorious. After the official scores were tallied, Team 1 from Zone 7 earned silver while Team 1 from Zone 8 earned bronze.
The 1.20/1.25m Jr/Am riders returned for their second chance to earn a spot on the podium. Mackenzie Krieg, Lillie Parr, Madeleine WIlson and Stephanie Van Dreumel, of Team 2 from Zone 7, led by Chef d’Equipe Matt Cyphert, earned gold. Team 1 from Zone 8 earned silver and bronze went to Team 1 from Zone 7.
The 1.10/1.15m Adult Amateurs returned to the Kathy & Brad Coors Family Arena for their second round. Charlotte Seigler, Marilee Wilson, and Emily Straw of Team 1 from Zone 7, led by Chef d’Equipe Matt Cyphert, took the podium to receive gold. Silver was awarded to Team 2 of Zone 8 and bronze to Team 1 of Zone 8.
In the 1.10/1.15m Children’s section Alyson Ranucci, Amy Leonard, Kiley McCullough, and Sydney Stephenson, of Team 2 from Zone 8, led by Chef d’Equipe Laurie Grayson, had the fewest faults to receive gold. Silver medals were awarded to Zone 8 Team 1 and bronze medals were won by Team 1 of Zone 7.
The Kathy & Brad Coors Family Arena at the Colorado Horse Park was dressed and ready to host day 3 of the USHJA Zones 7 & 8 Jumper Championships promptly at 8:00 a.m. Riders who completed the courses on day 1 and day 2 returned to earn top honors in the Individual Championships. Faults from the first two days carried over to the Individual Championship round and all three days were added together for a total score.
The 1.10/1.15m Children’s section kicked off the day, navigating a Jasen Shelley designed course to vie for championship medals. Zone 8’s Sydney Stephenson and her mount, Oliver With A Twist had a single rail on course, her only faults of the week, maintaining her lead. In doing so, she stepped up to the podium to earn gold.
“I like how much Oliver tries for me,” praised Stephenson. “He makes everything so much fun.” The pair tactfully negotiated all four courses during the Championships, finishing the 3-day competition with just one rail in her Individual Championship round. Stephenson has plans to move up to 1.20m section soon.
Competitors from the 1.10/1.15m Adult Amateur section entered the arena next to pilot their mounts through a neat and tidy course. Marilee Wilson and Jamakin Me Crazy from Zone 7 proved victorious. This is Marilee’s second consecutive year competing in the Zone Jumper Team Championships.
“We did it [the championships] last year and we were fourth in the Individual and my team won the Team Championship,” the amateur rider recalled.
She went on to credit her mount for the win. “He’s very competitive, the minute you walk into the arena he is ‘game on!'” stated Wilson of her best friend’s 19-year-old mount, “Mikey.”
After a course rebuild and walk, 1.20/1.25m Jr/Am competitors jumped their way to top honors. Madeleine Wilson and her own Mozart’s Symphony from Zone 7 earned gold. Madeleine purchased her mount as an unbroke 6-year-old and, has successfully trained him to be competitive in this Championship.
“I participated in the EAP clinic in Katy, Texas, with Julie Winkel last week as preparation, not just for the riding portion but also the stable management portion because I came here on my own, I didn’t come with a barn” said Wilson.
She also credited her Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund/USHJA Emerging Athletes Program experience for a successful change of bit that she felt confident made a noticable difference in her ride.
The 1.30/1.35m Jr/Am riders entered the arena last. Putting in a fault free round captured the victory for Caitlyn Epperson and Camero. Epperson is a Zone 7 Houston, Texas, native.
“I didn’t know too much about this and my mom signed me up [for the championship]” stated Epperson. “We got here and I thought ‘Wow! This was a really good thing to do.'”
She added, “I thought the courses were so much fun! Yesterday, our course was a bit tougher but I thought with that many good riders in it, it needs to be a little tougher. I think the challenges were fitting- a lot of the riders in my section are competing at this height or up to 1.45m and I believe that if you’re competing at that level you should be able to jump a tough course.”
Other riders also believed the Championships and courses, while challenging, were fitting for a competition of this level.
“I really enjoyed the program last year and this year was even better,” praises gold medalist, Marilee Wilson. “I like the team competition. It’s fun cheering each other on and being supportive and to have that team camaraderie”
“I thought it was challenging, but if you stayed on your pace all the jumps came together. They were nice courses” continued Wilson.
Medals, rider sashes, USHJA Gold Star saddle pads, an invitation to participate in a USHJA Gold Star Emerging Jumper Rider Clinic, and Gold Star Emerging Jumper Rider pins were awarded to gold, silver, and bronze medalists. Their trainers also received recognition as Gold Star Coaches. Gold medalists also went home with Professional’s Choice Pro Performance Show Jumping Boots and championship coolers. The 1.10/1.15m Adult Jumper Individual gold medalist also received Parlanti boots for her efforts.
USHJA extends special thanks to Marion Maybank and the entire Colorado Horse Park team for hosting the Championships. USHJA also thanks Zone 7 Chef d’Equipe Matt Cyphert and Zone 8 Chef d’Equipe Laurie Grayson.
For more information on the USHJA Zone Jumper Team Championships, visit ushja.org/ZoneJumper.
For more information on the USHJA Emerging Jumper Rider Program, visit ushja.org/EmergingJumper.