Edited Press Release
There’s a new face in the junior hunter ranks in Traverse City this summer, and she’s already dominating the division as the show season gets underway. Paige Walkenbach, of Paradise Valley, AZ, took the top honors in Saturday’s Common Good Bakery Junior Hunter Classic, securing the win with Princeton, owned by Walkenbach Equestrian LLC.
“His name is Prince in the barn,” she said of the 10-year-old Selle Français gelding. “I’ve been riding him for about two years now, since he won Junior Hunter Finals with Stella Wasserman. He’s been my rock for a while and I know him well.”
Walkenbach earned scores of 86 and 87 for a two-round total of 173, ultimately taking the win. Paige Jadick and Camelot BF claimed second and Walkenbach’s additonal entries, San Pedro 15 and Ever So Often, claimed third and fourth, respectively.
The young rider has her sights set on USEF Junior Hunter National Championships on both coasts, aiming different horses at different venues. “I have another Large [Junior Hunter] – San Pedro 15 or “Parker” – that I will do on the East Coast, and Princeton will go on the West Coast,” Walkenbach said of her master plan with her competitive horses. So far the luck in Traverse City has fallen in her favor.
“This is my first time in Michigan and at this show,” Walkenbach continued. “We normally stay in California because we are from the West Coast, but I am super excited to be here. It’s beautiful everywhere you look.”
Walkenbach is a force to be reckoned with in all rings and has top goals as a junior rider, but above all, she aims for consistency. “I want to be consistent with all of my hunters, and try to start learning them a bit better and same with my equitation horses. And just have a fun summer!” she shared.
Hunter action concludes Sunday with the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby and the awarding of the Platinum Performance Hunter Horse of the Week.
Original press release from Traverse City Horse Shows.