San Juan Capistrano, CA – August 22, 2021 – Junior rider Skylar Wireman and amateur Emily Williams emerged victorious following two days of competition in the California Professional Horseman’s Association (CPHA) Junior and Amateur Hunt Seat Medal Finals at the Blenheim Summer Classic.
The Finals, held August 20-21, welcomed 57 juniors and 16 amateur riders for their respective opening rounds of competition, held on Friday afternoon in the Olympic Sand Arena at Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park in San Juan Capistrano, CA.
From there, all riders returned for a second round on Saturday, which featured a slightly more challenging track set by course designer Scott Starnes. In each round, riders received scores from each of the three judges, Rusty Stewart, Virginia Edwards and Rita Timpanaro, with the top 10 amateurs and top 10 juniors each ultimately returning for a third and final round on Saturday afternoon.
Heading into the finale of the CPHA Junior Hunt Seat Medal Final, Wireman sat in fourth place aboard Hot Pants – which was just where Wireman wanted to be.
“Being on top is a lot of pressure going into the final round,” said Wireman, who trains with her mother, Shayne Wireman. “I was third yesterday and fourth today. That’s kind of perfect and where you want to be. It leaves room to move up and room to improve and really wow them in the last round. Being on top is a lot of pressure because you know you’re on top and you have to align everything. Then you debate whether you take the risk or not. I took some risks today because I was in fourth, and it paid off!”
Wireman took advantage of an inside turn option to help her earn scores of 88, 88 and 91 for a third-round total of 267 and the winning score of 791. Second place with a final score of 785.50 went to Bella Primavera riding Carrico Sun, and Zoe Brown rounded out the top three with a score of 781.75 aboard The Original. While Madison Nadolenco held the lead going into the final round, she would ultimately finish in fourth aboard Couer de Lion.
“Today they gave us a little bit harder test and trickier jumps, with Swedish oxers, and it was easier to have a rail down; they were a little bit spookier jumps,” said Wireman, 16. “I think the third round definitely asked good questions, and there were lots of options for different types of horses. Blenheim’s done such a great job. They did a great job in the Olympic Sand Arena, and it was really fun!”
For the win, Wireman was presented with an impressive array of awards, including a CWD gift certificate, a Valencia Saddlery leather halter, a cooler, a Kastel CPHA riding shirt, a CPHA belt buckle, DeNiro Salentos boots, Harlow Horse Cookies, a SmartPak gift certificate and more.
Emily Williams and Carlo Lead from Beginning to End in CPHA Amateur Hunt Seat Medal
While Wireman may have preferred not to hold the lead heading into the final round of the CPHA Amateur Hunt Seat Medal, for Emily Williams, the top of the leaderboard is where she thrives.
In 2018, Williams and Carlo won the CPHA Junior Hunt Seat Medal Finals, and this year, the pair returned to lead the CPHA Amateur Hunt Seat Medal Finals from beginning to end.
“I never thought that Carlo would still be the horse that I won the CPHA Amateur Hunt Seat Medal Finals on!” said Williams, who trains with Archie Cox. “He’s a really special horse. I think I said in 2018 that he was my dream horse. He still is my dream horse. He’s one of the most amazing horses that I’ve ever ridden.”
“He was out for a little bit. I never thought he would actually come back and especially to the 3’6”, so the fact that he was able to do that, it means more to me than anything,” continued Williams in speaking of the 15-year-old Warmblood gelding. “I’m just so grateful to this horse for everything that he’s done.”
With scores of 263.50 and 260 in the first two rounds, Williams was a far-and-away front runner heading into the final round, and she only further cemented her lead with scores of 90, 88 and 85 for an overall total score of 786.50. Second place with a score of 751.50 went to Stacey Bacheller riding Alalux, and a score of 731 earned the third-place honor for Catherine Westling and Rigoletto.
“I felt a decent amount of pressure across the whole class,” said Williams. “My horse is 15 this year, so I would really like this to be his last year doing the 3’6”. I really just wanted to do the best that I could for him and have consistent rounds. When I went into round three, I really just wanted to be the most consistent that I could over anything else. I just went out there and did what I know how to do. I didn’t try anything risky. I just rode my horse. I rode the horse that I have.”
For the win, Williams was also presented with a CWD gift certificate, a Valencia Saddlery leather halter, a cooler, a Kastel CPHA riding shirt, a CPHA belt buckle, DeNiro Salentos boots, Harlow Horse Cookies and a SmartPak gift certificate. Williams name will also be added to a perpetual trophy, sponsored by DiAnn Langer.
“I’m super grateful to CPHA for putting this on,” concluded Williams. “I love the ring that they used this year. All of the jumps looked great, and the courses were super fun. I loved all the bending lines that they incorporated. I just love how special they made it.”
In addition to Williams being honored as the winner, Westling was recognized with a special cooler, ribbon, sash and necklace as the top 36 and over rider.
The second and third place finishers in each division also received coolers, leather halters from Valencia Sport Saddlery, medals and CPHA belt buckles. All of the top ten finishers took home great prizes, including CPHA belt buckles, ribbons, medals and bouquets of flowers.
CPHA Junior Medal Finals Results
Place – Entry # – Rider – Horse – Rd. 1 / Rd. 2 / Rd. 3 / Final
1. 2625 – Skylar Wireman – Hot Pants – 264.50 / 259.50 / 267.00 / 791.00
2. 2071 – Bella Primavera – Carrico Sun – 265.50 / 259.50 / 260.50 / 785.50
3. 2360 – Zoe Brown – The Original – 261.75 / 260.00 / 260.00 / 781.75
4. 2123 – Madison Nadolenco – Couer de Lion – 263.75 / 263.00 / 254.00 / 780.75
5. 2128 – Gabrielle Sokolow – Just Cavalli – 263.00 / 253.00 / 257.00 / 773.00
6. 2230 – Elizabeth Gray – Quentino – 255.00 / 248.75 / 243.00 / 746.75
7. 2231 – Nicole McMillion – Milan – 252.00 / 262.25 / 229.00 / 743.25
8. 2115 – Brooke Morin – Efendi – 252.50 / 259.25 / 230.00 / 741.75
9. 2706 – Blair Conlan – Casiro – 264.00 / 260.75 / 194.00 / 718.75
10. 2114 – Kyle Cline – Cazz C – 262.50 / 259.25 / 130 / 651.75
CPHA Amateur Medal Finals Results
Place – Entry # – Rider – Horse – Rd. 1 / Rd. 2 / Rd. 3 / Final
1. 2404 – Emily Williams – Carlo – 263.50 / 260.00 / 263.00 / 786.50
2. 2062 – Stacey Bacheller – Alalux – 248.00 / 249.50 / 254.00 / 751.50
3. 2265 – Catherine Westling – Rigoletto – 250.00 / 238.00 / 243.00 / 731.00
4. 2703 – Caspian Ellis – Rahmannshof’s Bamiro – 237.00 / 238.00 / 240.00 / 715.00
5. 1994 – Katarina Ivanovich – Catch It – 237.00 / 228.00 / 234.00 / 699.00
6. 2057 – Blake Lindsley – Conrisiko – 240.00 / 238.00 / 213.00 / 691.00
7. 2195 – Belle Calkin – Davinci’s Bella Forte – 232.00 / 247.00 / 207.00 / 686.00
8. 2125 – Haylee Hall – Clearing – 230.00 / 247.00 / 184.00 / 661.00
9. 2595 – Taylor Loew – Cassini Jr. – 224.00 / 239.00 / 94.00 / 557.00
10. 1978 – Rollin Sykes – Canavarro – 251.00 / 263.00 / elim.
All Photos: McCool Photography