Edited Press Release
Tracey Gorin-Byrne claimed the championship title in the North American Adult Amateur Equitation Finals on Thursday, September 29, at the 2022 Capital Challenge Horse Show at Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. This major finals kicks off Equitation Weekend, presented by BIGEQ.com.
A field of 35 competitors contested the Joseph Carnicom-designed course, featuring several lines where riders could choose the striding that best suited their horse. Judges Bobbi Reber and Sissy Wickes scored each round individually with the average of their scores counting as the rider’s overall mark. The top 10 were then called back in reverse order for a second round judged in the same format, with the average from each round yielding the deciding two-round total. After earning the leading score of 86.5 in the first round, Gorin-Byrne was the last to return for the second round aboard Checker 69. Their stylish trip scored an 89 for a 175.5 total, making them the clear overall winner, and no further testing was needed.
“This is my favorite horse show of the year,” said Gorin-Byrne. “I’ve been coming here since I was a little kid, and even though I’ve enjoyed a lot of success and had a lot of fun, I’ve never actually won. Obviously, it means a lot to win anywhere, but to win here is particularly special.”
Gorin-Byrne trains with the team at Sweet Oak Farm in Wellington, Florida, but competes on catch -rides throughout the year to qualify for the finals at Capital Challenge. As an added difficulty, Gorin-Byrne balances her riding with work and being a mom, so she hadn’t ridden for a couple of months before swinging a leg over “Checker” for the first time. Originally, the plan was to arrive on Wednesday morning, but Hurricane Ian caused a change of plans, so Gorin-Byrne and Checker got to know each other in the Adult Equitation division classes ahead of the championship.
Checker also has limited experience in the equitation ring after transitioning from the junior jumpers with owner Reid Arani. Olivia Sweetnam took over the ride during the summer, and evidently Checker is now excelling in his new career.
Gorin-Byrne will get a chance to build on her success in the ARIAT National Adult Medal Finals on Friday, October 7, 2022, but the opportunity to compete in itself makes her emotional.
She expressed, “I’m just really thankful to all the people from all the barns who have helped me to be able to do the adult equitation. Over the years there have been so many people–Ali Sweetnam, of course, but also other barns like Beacon Hill and Ashland Farms have helped me too. It’s just really nice that everyone is so supportive and kind, and I really appreciate all the help from everybody.”
Second place went to last year’s third-place finisher, Anna Koenig of Hollywood, Florida, aboard her own Constantin, with a two-round total score of 170.25. Catherine Kramer of Indianapolis, Indiana, scored 169.75 to round out the top three, riding last year’s winner, Audi 2000 Z, owned by Kadley Farms LLC.
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