Lexington, KY- The Platinum Performance /USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2011 and this year's competition is a strong as ever. The championship style competition again hosts finals for the top up-and-coming junior and young riders on both the east and west coasts. This weekend all eyes will be on the U.S. Equestrian Foundation Headquarters in Gladstone, NJ for the Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Final - East. Two weeks ago Demi Stiegler topped a field of more than 40 riders judged by Sue Ashe and Molly Cawley-Ashe in the Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Final - West at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center.
Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Final - East
The Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Final - East will host 84 of the top young competitors from the hunter and jumper ranks. Making up the strong field that descends upon Gladstone October 7-9 are USEF National Champions, Adequan/FEI North American Junior and Young Rider presented by Gotham North (NAJYRC) medalists and highly decorated equitation stars. George Morris and Jimmy Lee will serve as the judges.
Lillie Keenan (New York, NY) heads to Gladstone on a mission after winning at nearly every turn this summer. At the beginning of August, she won both the Reserve and Grand Championship at the 2011 USEF National Junior Hunter Championship - East Coast. Three weeks later in Kentucky, Keenan brought spectators to their feet at the $100,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals as she piloted C Coast Z to a resounding victory. Learn more about the former USEF Pony Finals champion's win in Lexington here: http://usefnetwork.com/news/7489/2011/8/21/lillie_keenan_and_c_coast_z_win_the.aspx
Hayley Barnhill (Collierville, TN) looks to add a Talent Search title to her impressive resume; which includes winning Team Gold and Individual Bronze medals at the 2011 NAJYRC. In 2010, she was victorious at both the ASPCA Maclay Finals and the Pessoa/USEF Hunter Seat Equitation Medal Finals presented by Randolph College in 2010. Read more about the Pessoa/USEF Hunter Seat Equitation Medal Finals presented by Randolph College here: http://usefnetwork.com/news/6300/2010/10/18/hayley_barnhill_takes_top_honors_in.aspx
This year's Individual Junior Gold medalist from NAJYRC, Samantha Schaefer, will be striving to add another accolade to her 2011 season. The 18-year-old will make the trip to New Jersey from her home in Westminster, MD. Learn more about Schaefer's NAJYRC performance here: http://usefnetwork.com/news/7381/2011/7/31/katherine_dinan_and_samantha_schaef.aspx
The Platinum Performance / USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Program seeks to educate and test participants by encouraging Juniors and Young Riders to develop show jumping skills. The Program consists of classes held across the country and the Finals, held each autumn.
This program has produced some of the country's top jumping riders. Past winners include two time Olympic Gold medalist McLain Ward, winner of over 100 grand prixs Richard Spooner, Pan American Gold medalist Lauren Hough and Rolex FEI World Cup Finals winner Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum.
The Platinum Performance /USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Final is a four-phase competition which tests the fundamental skills and horsemanship in a unique format. The competition is made up of three phases: flatwork, gymnastics, and a jumping course which consists of grand prix styled fences (which may include natural obstacles). Using a format modeled after the World Championships' final ride-off; the top-four competitors ride their own horses, as well as the three other competitor's horses over a shortened course.
More information is available in the prize list: http://www.usef.org/documents/disciplines/jumper/TalentSearchClass/TalentSearch2011.pdf.
Photos: Lillie Keenan and Firework; Hayley Barnhill and Safari both taken erlier this year.