Avery Glynn Gets the Win in the American Tradition of Excellence Equitation Challenge

Avery Glynn aboard Cocon 4. Photo by McCool Photography

June 23, 2021 – San Juan Capistrano, CA – Avery Glynn, 15, topped a competitive field of 81 entries to win The American Tradition of Excellence Equitation Challenge, presented by Whitethorne, on Wednesday, June 23.

Now in its fourth year, the two-day, three-phase event is held annually as part of the Blenheim June Classic III and attracts many of the West Coast’s top junior and amateur riders to the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park in San Juan Capistrano, CA.

Glynn and Cocon 4 kicked things off on Tuesday morning with a first-round score of 78.50 over the course set at 3’3” by Karen Healey. That score would put Glynn into 16th place at the conclusion of day one of competition, but the young rider returned on Wednesday to work her way straight to the top of the leaderboard with an overall score of 250.

 Avery Glynn emerged victorious in the American Tradition of Excellence Equitation Challenge, presented by Whitethorne.

Finishing in a close second place with an overall score of 249.25 was Kaitlin Perry riding Figaro, while third place went to Hawaii’s Rebecca Beall with a score of 247.25 aboard Calino G.

“This is the first year that I’ve been able to do this class, which I was really excited about,” said Glynn, who trains with Jim Hagman of Elvenstar Farm and her parents, Hope and Ned Glynn. “I love that there were two riding phases and a work-off. My goal was to try to get in that work-off. I thought it was set up really well so that I could do all the tests and try and move up.”

Amidst her climb to the top of the class, Glynn joined all of the riders at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel on Tuesday night for phase two: educational presentations and a Q&A session with the judges.

During the course of the evening, riders heard from mental skills coach Tonya Johnston, watched the EquestrianCoach.com educational video, Form Follows Function, and participated in a discussion with the judges and course designer about phase one, the course and what the judges would be looking for in the second phase jumping round, as well as in the work-off.

 The lap of honor led by an overjoyed Avery Glynn. 

On Wednesday morning, all riders were then invited back for phase three, where they competed over a new course designed by Healey and got to put into practice what they learned from the judges on Tuesday – something Glynn did particularly well.

“Avery didn’t give up; she kept fighting,” said judge Jimmy Torano who presided over the class alongside Emil Spadone. “She kept digging and clawing her way back.”
At the conclusion of phase three, a score of 83.5 had helped Glynn climb 10 spots up the rankings into sixth place. Perry meanwhile sat in first place on scores of 82.75 and 84.50 for a two-round total of 167.25, while Beall held second place on a score of 165.50.

With the top six returning for a final work-off, Glynn was the first rider back in the ring. In a well-executed final test, Glynn seamlessly landed and held the counter-canter to two fences and displayed a strong hand gallop to the final fence of the test before exiting the ring at a walk. The ride would earn her a score of 88 and ultimately the overall victory.

“The final testing really made the difference,” said Spadone. “Everybody really rose to the occasion today, but our winner, she walked in testing first and really laid it down. They just couldn’t quite catch her. She had an excellent day, but all the other competitors did as well. It was a great class today. In the top six, if you looked at their scores, they were only five points apart [after phase three]. It really could have been anybody’s day today, because I think they’re all quite good riders.”

Glynn in part credited the format of the class and the phase two discussions with the judges for the way she rode the final test of the class. 

“I have never successfully landed and held the counter-canter on that horse before,” Glynn said of Cocon 4, owned by Ned Glynn. “But last night, [after talking a lot about counter-cantering in the meeting], I felt like the meeting really inspired me. I knew I was going into the test in sixth, and it was basically all or nothing, so I decided to give it a shot. I’ve been practicing a lot at home, so I decided to try and land and hold the counter-canter on both jumps, and it ended up being successful so I was happy about that. I also really liked receiving the judges’ cards. I thought they were really helpful.”

Click below to watch the full press conference with the top six riders, the winning trainer, both judges, and our sponsor. 

For the win, Glynn was presented with a cooler from Valencia Saddlery and a Butet saddle, while her trainers were also presented with a $10,000 cash prize. In addition to the generous awards for her victory, Glynn was named the Equ Lifestyle Boutique Best Equitation Style Award winner and was presented with a $500 Blenheim horse show credit gift certificate and gift certificate from Equ Lifestyle Boutique. “I think this class is a great concept,” said Spadone. “We were discussing earlier that we hope this eventually makes it to the East Coast because we think it’s a great idea!”

The class is made possible thanks to the support of sponsors like Whitethorne, which was represented onsite by Georgy Maskrey-Segesman.

The American Tradition of Excellence Equitation Challenge, presented by WhitethorneResults
Place – Horse – Rider – Owner – Rd 1 Score/Rd 2 Score/Work-off Score*=Overall Score
*Only top six riders returned for work-off
 1. Cocon 4 – Avery Glynn – 78.50 / 83.50 / 88.00 = 250.00
2. Figaro – Kaitlin Perry – 82.75 / 84.50 / 82.00 = 249.25
3. Calino G – Rebecca Beall – 81.50 / 84.00 / 81.75 = 247.25
4. Quirin – Grace Belmont – 83.50 / 81.50 / 80.00 = 245.00
5. Clooney 62 – Elisa Broz – 80.00 / 83.25 / 78.00 = 241.25
6. Criminal Minds – Brooke Mostman – 77.00 / 86.00 / 74.00 = 237.00
7. Twizzler – Della Walker – 86.00 / 74.5 = 160.50
8. Edesa’s Cameroon – Ella Dyson – 81.75 / 77.75 = 159.50
9. Vondel DH Z – Stella Buckingham – 76.75 / 82 = 158.75
10. Just Cavalli – Gabrielle Sokolow – 83.25 / 74.25 = 157.50

All Photos: McCool Photography