Edited Press Release
The younger division of the THIS Children’s Medal class kicked off competition in the Van Kampen arena on Friday morning for winner Wright City, MO’s Emma Mechlin. Twelve young riders qualified to compete in the 14 and under division contested the first phase with the top four entries invited to return for a test. The questions asked for the test included a counter-canter direct from the ingate to an oxer, as well as a rollback to a trot fence where riders were then asked to halt immediately after before walking out of the ring on a loose rein. Mechlin topped the leaderboard on 21 Questions after posting a score of 83.
“My plan in today’s test was just to keep everything smooth,” said Mechlin, 13. “The pair that was in second place had a mistake so I knew if I kept myself and him calm then we could deliver a good test.”
The win is the first blue ribbon for Mechlin with the Brookside Pine Farms LLC’s five-year-old Warmblood gelding, who was only recently imported. “I have been riding him just shy of two months now, and he is still pretty young,” Mechlin added. “This is our first win together so it’s a big day, and I’m very proud of him.”
Mechlin has one more year competing in the 14 and under division and hopes to take her new partner to various equitation finals in the future.
The blue ribbon in the older section of the THIS Children’s Medal went to Emma Arnhols, 17, of Coral Gables, FL, and her own Spiros Z. Arnhols returned in the top position following the first phase which saw 13 entries, and she held her lead by earning the best score in the test phase. The older children’s section was asked to line up on the far side of the arena for the test, return in ascending order, and completed a course of several fences which included rollbacks, a counter-canter, and a hand gallop to the final fence before trotting back to the lineup.
“He was absolutely perfect today,” commented Arnhols of the 11-year-old Zangersheide gelding. “He is very handy and I think that really is what set us apart today. He is very responsive off of my leg so I know I am always able to make all of the inside turns, and I never have to worry about him spooking.”
The pair have already qualified in the top five for THIS National Medal Finals at The Capital Challenge Horse Show, but Arnhols hopes they will be able to earn themselves a spot at Maclay Finals as well. Most importantly, as her junior years come to a close, she just wants to make this final year memorable.
“I really want to just enjoy my last year as a junior,” she said. “To me, that is more important than anything!”