By Randolph PR for Pennsylvania National Horse Show
The USEF/NCEA Hunt Seat Medal Final – East kicked off competition in the Keystone Arena on Saturday, October 22, the final day of the 2022 Pennsylvania National Horse Show. Thirty-one top equitation riders from across the country had their place in the order of go, determined by a draw the day prior. Schuyler Dayner, of Odessa, FL, had a plan to maintain a top position throughout the medal, and she did just that, executing flawless rounds until she emerged as the eventual victor by a single point with a final score of 92.
“My plan was just to go in and have a solid first trip to be in a good position heading in to the flat phase,” Dayner explained. “After the flat, the goal was to qualify for the bracket phase and to continue having consistent, solid rounds on each horse.”
The USEF/NCEA Hunt Seat Medal Final is unique in that it tests its top-four contestants by having them draw a new horse to compete over the final two phases. Called the ‘Bracket Phase,’ the top four are split into Section A and Section B brackets to complete another over-fences round. The highest-scoring rider from each bracket is then set to go head-to-head in one final round. Both riders complete their last course on the same horse, who is randomly selected in a draw, and the individual to earn the highest score of the final round emerges the champion.
“This is my first time doing this final, but it is a great way to set up for going to D1 colleges,” said Dayner. “With multiple phases, you have to really be consistent all the way through.”
Dayner is only a sophomore in high school, but with her sights set on riding for a D1 college, she has hopes to commit to a university by the end of this coming year. For many competitors, the task of catch riding is a daunting one, but for Dayner it’s just another day in the saddle.
“I’m actually a trainer’s kid so I ride a lot of different horses,” she admitted. “I show a lot of horses, and a lot of new horses, so this really wasn’t that different from what I normally do.”
The reserve honors went to Emma Arnhols, of Miami, FL, who rode consistently well-placed rounds to the very final phase where she scored only one point below Dayner with a 91. For full results, click here.