Edited Press Release
Lexington, Ky. – Oct. 28, 2021 – Competition at the 2021 National Horse Show (NHS) continued Thursday, October 28, bringing adult equitation athletes back to the Alltech Arena for the second day of top sport. A marquee event for the National Horse Show, the Taylor Harris Insurance Services (THIS) NHS Adult Equitation Championship is one of the most coveted titles for competitive adult amateur riders. For the first year ever, the prestigious class was split into two separate championships, one for athletes between the ages of 18 and 24, and one for athletes over the age of 25. In the Taylor Harris Insurance Services NHS Adult Equitation Championship 18-24, it was Madison Olvert aboard Green Book that rode to victory after two over-fences rounds and a flat phase.
A field of 45 horse-and-rider combinations put their names forward for the winning title. Bobby Murphy (USA) set the first-round track, which featured a first fence that rode directly past the in-gate and doubled back for a winding S-turn through the arena. The demanding course encouraged adjustability and fluidity throughout, while riders were challenged to maintain correct position and form as they met each fence. Of the 45 starters, only 24 would advance to the flat phase where riders were tested through the walk, trot, sitting trot and canter in order to determine their second-round order-of-go.
With all 24 riders set to return in reverse order of judges’ preference, Murphy’s second-round track upped the ante. Eleven fences made up the tie-breaking course that featured a series of bending lines set for riders to shorten and extend their horses’ steps in order to meet the fences in perfect stride. The winding pattern led to a number of errors for riders in the second round, causing a shake-up in the standings. As the 18th in the order of go, Amber Broder and her mount, Tip Jar, laid down a solid course, leaving the remaining competitors to match or beat her round. One round later, Owen Gajoch and Westeros showed their best, producing a respectable round that would keep him in contention for a top placing.
Tension increased as the top three made their way into the arena. Of the remaining three, Hannah Eddlemon and her mount Donatello would have an unfortunate error on course to knock them out of the running for the winning title. Immediately following, Olvert and Green Book expertly navigated the second round track, wowing the judges with their precision and accuracy. The final combination on course, Amelia Bergeron and Halouet, also incurred a luckless round to leave the top spot up for grabs.
With no additional testing to be required, it was Olvert and her 11-year-old Warmblood gelding Green Book who wore the championship tricolor for their consistency throughout the Taylor Harris Insurance Services NHS Adult Equitation Championship 18-24. Second place was awarded to Broder and Tip Jar, a 16-year-old Warmblood gelding that was champion with Broder in the irons during Wednesday’s Section A of the Pérez & Bennett Adult Amateur Equitation 18-24, presented by Cindi Pérez & Anne Bennett. Rounding out the top three was Gajoch and his 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding Westeros.
Olvert, who was the reserve champion of the Hamel Foundation 3’3” Equitation Championship in 2020, was thrilled with her win. The 19-year-old athlete and Green Book have been partnered together since November of 2019, and have seen great success in the equitation ranks. Olvert looks forward to continuing her partnership with “Booker” and potentially transitioning to a professional in the future.
THIS National Horse Show Adult Equitation Championship 25 & Over
In the 25 & Over Championship, a total of 51 horse-and-rider combinations tried their hand at the challenging 10-obstacle course for round one, and 24 pairs returned for round two. In the end, Claire Stevenson and Audi 2000 Z came out on top to claim the championship honors. Dominique Mungin and Rockingham were awarded reserve champion, while Kiera Phlipot and Red Roc rounded out the top three.
Stevenson is a seasoned adult equitation athlete, with her most recent accomplishment being placing in the top six in the Ariat National Adult Medal Finals at the 2021 Capital Challenge Horse Show. Stevenson had no issues maneuvering flawlessly throughout course designer Bobby Murphy’s (USA) challenging 10-obstacle course for round one. The course began with the first jump right out of the corner, and led into a long bending line away from the gate. Many riders found difficulty with the long bending lines that came up quickly out of the corner, but Stevenson stepped up to the plate and wowed the judges with her precision and ability to tackle the testing first round. The top 24 horse-and-rider pairs were welcomed back for a flat phase judged on their form and ability to demonstrate proper equitation under saddle.
Once again, the final round of testing welcomed back the same 24 riders in reverse order of their current standings, per the judge’s discretion. Mungin was the first of the top four riders to take her turn at the 11-obstacle course that included several bending lines that tested each rider’s ability to maintain a consistent pace. As the fourth rider to enter the ring aboard her mount Rockingham, a 20-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Dominique Damico, Mungin set the pace for the remainder of the top four riders as she once again proved to be a force to reckon with, laying down a beautiful final round and impressing the judges with her precision and skill to tackle the difficult course.
Stevenson was the second to last rider in the ring aboard Audi 2000 Z, an 8-year-old Zangersheide gelding owned by Kadley Farms LLC and North Run. The pair came into the Equitation Championship with the confidence from receiving champion in the Adult Amateur Equitation 25 & Over Wednesday, October 27. The newly acquainted pair impressed the judges during their first round and set themselves apart from the rest of the pack as they demonstrated a picture-perfect trip, putting them at the top of the group going into the flat phase and second round. After tackling the flat portion, the judges awarded Stevenson for her beautiful equitation and set her in second place going into the final jumping round. As one of the last riders to test, Stevenson again shone and maneuvered around the second round course with ease and grace, pushing them into the overall lead with one rider left to go.
Phlipot was the final rider to test aboard her longtime partner Red Roc, her own 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding, and was leading the pack after demonstrating consistency and perfect form throughout the first course and in the under saddle. With the pressure mounting and two riders already laying down jaw-dropping rounds, Phlipot had her eyes set on her plan, maintaining her consistency throughout the entirety of each round. After a great effort with a continued steady pace, Phlipot and Red Roc would ultimately claim the yellow ribbon.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Madison Olvert – THIS NHS Adult Equitation Championship 18-24 champion
On the course:
“My initial thoughts were that the course was beautifully set, the jumps were beautiful, and the greenery was amazing. I love doing S-turns so I was very happy there were two in there. The course morning rode absolutely beautifully, everything just flowed really nicely into the corners and everything was really forward. He’s a really good horse so it worked out really well.”
On Green Book:
“My horse’s name is Green Book, he’s 10 years old and I got him from Don Stewart in 2019. He is my whole heart, I couldn’t imagine not having him in my life. He’s there for me every day, no matter if I have a good day or a bad day he always makes it better. He loves cookies and he just has the best personality I’ve ever met.”
On competing in the adult equitation championships:
“For me, being able to compete at the National Horse Show in the THIS NHS Adult Equitation Championship means so much. I worked really hard all winter and summer just to get here and it’s just an honor. Everyone has been so happy and nice. This week was amazing.”
On being champion after earning reserve champion in the Hamel Family Foundation Equitation Championship last year:
“It leaves me kind of speechless. Last year was amazing, but this year I was the winner so I can’t even imagine it. It really feels good to have all my hard work throughout the year pay off.”
Claire Stevenson – THIS NHS Adult Equitation Championship 25 & Over champion
On Audi 2000 Z:
“Today I was partnered with Audi 2000 Z. He is owned by Kadley Farms, the Geirkink family and North Run. I feel super fortunate to be paired up with him. I rode him at Capital Challenge this year, in the Ariat Finals, and last minute we asked if we could use him here. We did not miss a beat. He came and met up with us here at the show. We had a great day yesterday, Kiera (Phlipot) and I duked it out in the age group division yesterday. I was really excited to come in with less pressure today because yesterday went well. Audi really rose to the occasion. He is young and this is his first time in this ring, as well as mine, and I could not be more thrilled with him. He is wise beyond his years for sure.”
On competing in an equitation championship as an adult amateur:
“I really want to thank the National Horse Show and Taylor Harris for having this class! It is so special to be able to compete in these types of classes post junior years when everyone thinks it’s over. I love that the National Horse Show and Taylor Harris make this class so important and it really feels special with all of the bells and whistles. Even to be able to stand in the line at the end and hear the names called out in reverse order, as nerve wracking as that is. I am an equitation junkie, even though I did not compete in those divisions as a junior, so to be in that line-up and get that same feeling was absolutely incredible. This is my first time here and I will definitely hope to be back because I have had an amazing time!”
On keeping her nerves in check for competition:
“Yesterday definitely took the pressure off but my trainer Brendan Williams encouraged me to keep some pressure on myself and ride like I wanted to win. I am thankful for that and thankful that I did not quit while I was ahead. I really wanted to have a solid first round and I am honored to be sitting next to these riders and everyone in the line. To know that we are banding into this competition together as amateurs and we are here to have fun helped the nerves subside a little bit.”
Michael Taylor – Taylor Harris Insurance Services President and Director
“Taylor Harris loves sponsoring these types of events. It is great to see the sportsmanship between competitors and the big smiles that are produced. We are really happy to be able to do this and love giving back to the sport that we love. In the first year of this event, the winner was giving her speech and burst into tears because she was so happy and so taken by her win. Mason Phelps, the President of the National Horse Show at the time, also burst into tears with her. It was a great moment and why we are so committed to supporting amateurs. This class today was a continuation of that spirit and I commend you all for your performances.”
RESULTS – 18-24 Championship
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner
1. Green Book / Madison Olvert / Maidson Olvert
2. Tip Jar / Amber Broder / Kimberly Griffiths
3. Westeros / Owen Gajoch / Owen Gajoch
4. Cashman / Texie Loyd / Carly Hoft
5. Nobel Laureate / Angela Calicchio / Barn Rat LLC
6. Konfessions / Abigail Tinsley / Brookside Pine Farms
7. Constantin / Anna Koenig / Brookside Pine Farms
8. Vidarco / Miela Gross / Holly Hill Farm
9. Merlot / Sarah Demczuk / Sarah Demczuk
10. Hakim Ourai / Dawson Amick / Singh Family Farms LLC
11. Romana Black / Autumn Janesky / Autumn Janesky
12. Casual Date / Shaney Enck / Shaney Enck
RESULTS – 25 & Over Championship
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner
1. Audi 2000 Z / Claire Stevenson / Kadley Farms LLC, North Run
2. Rockingham / Dominique Mungin / Dominique Damico
3. Red Roc / Kiera Phlipot / Kiera Phlipot
4. Checkpoint / Jessie Lewis / Finesse Sport Horses LLC
5. CF Cosmic / Shannon Davidson / Sofia Cady
6. Antidote / Sydney Smith / Sydney Smith
7. Photoshop / Alexis Apostol / Donald Stewart
8. Impossible Dream VM / Katelyn Ziggas / Sierra Roberti
9. Must De Lison / Miranda Lekacos / Princess Glitter Sparkles
10. Gambit / Brittany Kasprack / Brittany Kasprack