Devon, Pa.—July 9, 2019—The fifteenth USHJA Hunterdon Cup Equitation Classic – East, presented by Intermont Equestrian at Emory & Henry College, brought 101 riders to the Brandywine Valley Summer Series on July 8, 2019, all vying for the top honors. After three rounds, Madeline Schaefer claimed the competition aboard Correndo with a score of 266.5. Second went to Ava Sterns on Colando, and Addison Piper rode Charisma to third.
A rainy start to the day didn’t keep the junior equitation riders at bay as they tackled Skip Bailey’s first round, hunter classic course with 12 jumping efforts judged by Keri Kampsen and Rachael Kennedy. Going into the ring in the forty-sixth spot, Schaefer, 18, of Westminster, Maryland, laid down a score of 92, with Samantha Schaefer’s Correndo, which shot her to the top and kept her there.
With a cut off score of 77, the top 20 riders were called back for a handy round, riding in reverse order. An 84.5 kept Schaefer in the lead by half a point as she and the rest of the top four–Hannah Hoch, Piper and Stearns–prepared to return for the third and final round that included swapping mounts, a limited warm-up time without trainer help and a shortened test.
Aboard Heritage Farm’s Charisma, Piper’s mount, Stearns took to the ring first, followed by Piper on Stearn’s ride owned by Nevergreen Farm LLC and North Run, Colando; Hoch on Schaefer’s Correndo; and Schaefer riding Hoch’s mount, Carlson 83, also owned by Heritage Farm. In the end, Schaefer’s textbook riding on the unfamiliar mount secured her the win.
“I was pretty confident in the first round. Second round went okay, and I got to switch onto Hannah Hoch’s horse in the final round, which was a lot of fun. We were talking in the warm-up ring, telling each other about the horses, and she was like, ‘Honestly, he’s really easy and straight forward.’ That was really helpful to know and gave me confidence,” said Schaefer. “It’s a great honor [to win].”
“As I got to go towards the end of the handy round, I noticed [the judges] were really rewarding the [right lead] hand gallop, so I compromised other inside turns for the hand gallop to make sure that was ideal. My horse doesn’t exactly love his right lead, he’s very left leaded, but he worked for me today–he was perfect,” she continued.
Stearns, 18, of Chilmark, Massachusetts, moved up from fourth to claim reserve with a horse that is new to equitation finals. “Today went really well. I was so happy with the way my horse went. I believe this is his first final and he really stepped up to the plate,” Stearns said. “He’s a little bit new to the equitation, he’s been doing it for about a year, and so he’s a little bit new to me, too…he just never disappoints.”
Finishing third in her first time competing in the Hunterdon Cup Equitation Classic was Piper, 18, of Wellington, Florida. “I felt really good about today–my horse was great and I couldn’t have asked him to be any better,” Piper said. “I had so much fun. I have never actually done this class, it’s my first year doing it, and I couldn’t have asked for a better team and a better horse to do it on my first year.”
Named in honor of George Morris and his farm, Hunterdon, the USHJA Hunterdon Cup Equitation Classic, presented by Intermont Equestrian at Emory & Henry College, is a three round class that combines the precision of equitation and handiness of hunters over a course set at 3’6″.
The top two finishers were recognized with prizes from the class’s generous sponsors, and riders were pinned through 10th place. The champion received a pair of Parlanti tall boots, an Essex Classics riding shirt, a Charles Owen helmet, a certificate for FITS Breeches, a CWD leather halter, a cooler, and a keeper trophy donated by Diane Carney and Lynn Jayne. The reserve champion earned an Essex Classics riding shirt, a Charles Owen helmet and a certificate for FITS Breeches. All top 10 riders sported colorful sashes.
Carlson 83, owned by Heritage Farm and ridden by Hoch, was named Best Equitation Horse by the judges.
Thank you to all our sponsors: Intermont Equestrian at Emory & Henry College; Essex Classics; FITS; Charles Owen, Inc.; CWD; Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital and Pharmacy; and Parlanti.
PLACE – NAME – HORSE – FINAL SCORE – TRAINER
Champion – Madeline Schaefer – Correndo – 266.5 -Stacey Weiss
Reserve – Ava Stearns – Colando – 259.5 – John Brennan
3rd – Addison Piper – Charisma – 250.5 – Andre Dignelli
4th – Hannah Hoch – Carlson 83 – 176 – Andre Dignelli
5th – Alexandra Pielet – Common Sense – 169 – Andre Dignelli
6th Alexander Alston – Ecuador – 167 – Lindsay Yinger
7th – Abigail Lefkowitz – Top Saint Aubin – 166.5 – Vanessa Roman
8th – Grace Debney – Quimby 162 – Stacey Weiss
9th – Katy Merchant – Capitain Krutzmann – 161.5 – Michael Dowling
10th – Hallie Grimes – Boldly Stated – 160 – John Brennan