Gilroy, Calif. – The US Equestrian (USEF)/American Vaulting Association (AVA) Vaulting National Championships were held on August 2-5, 2018, at Gilroy Gaits in Gilroy, Calif. Claiming the Female and Male Gold Individual championship titles were Elizabeth Osborn and Kristian Roberts, respectively. In the Open Pas de Deux, the championship win went to Haley Smith and Daniel Janes of Pacific Coast Vaulters, the same team which also claimed the A Team championship.
Osborn (Menlo Park, Calif.) has been named a reserve national champion four out of the six times that she has contested the USEF/AVA National Championships, but this week, Osborn, 28, finally claimed her first championship win.
She and Atterupgaards Sting, a 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding owned by James Bibbler, along with longeur Krista Mack, topped the Female Gold division with a compulsory score of 8.250, a score of 8.165 in the technical test, and a freestyle score of 8.380 for an 8.265 total.
“For sure my best event was the technical test,” said Osborn. “I was super happy with how that went. I feel like I’m in a great place in that routine. It was the best feeling when I dismounted from that routine. It felt like, ‘Yes, this is where I want to be.’
“It’s really exciting,” continued Osborn, who had taken nearly seven years off from vaulting during and after attending the College of Wooster in Ohio. “I was in retirement for a few years, and this championship was always something that I felt like I had missed and never totally achieved. I was 12 years old the first time that I got a reserve, so it’s really cool to have finally achieved this.”
It was Osborn’s winning mount this weekend, Atterupgaards Sting, that brought her back into vaulting competition in 2016 and that she will now compete at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ (WEG) Tryon 2018 in September in Mill Spring, N.C.
“I started training him to be a vaulting horse, and he kind of sucked me back in!” said Osborn, of Woodside Vaulters. “He was doing so well with his training, that we ended up competing.”
“I’m really excited to go possibly represent the U.S.,” said Osborn. “Twelve years later it will be a huge difference for me than when I was 16!”
Second place in the Female Gold division went to seven-time national champion Mary McCormick (Cañon City, Colo.) who earned a compulsory score of 8.087, a technical score of 7.650, and a freestyle score of 8.045 for a 7.927 total. Third place with a compulsory score of 8.060, a technical score of 7.480, and a freestyle score of 7.893, for a 7.811 total went to Emily Rose (Santa Cruz, Calif.)
In the Male Gold division, Kristian Roberts (Moss Beach, Calif.) claimed an impressive sixthnational championship title. Roberts and Sir Charles, Sydney Frankel’s 14-year-old black Hanoverian gelding, along with longeur Carolyn Bland, claimed scores of 7.893 in the compulsory, 5.882 in the technical test, and 8.160 in the freestyle for a 7.312 final score.
“Winning 2018 right before WEG is just so awesome,” said Roberts, who first partnered with Sir Charles, a.k.a. Charlie in 2013. “This summer, Charlie had a sore foot from a bruise; I had to switch horses midway through the season, but he came back and was fine right before nationals. I thought, ‘I’ll try it on him and see how things go.’ He was a little fresh coming back, but he really got himself back together extremely well for the freestyle round. He was absolutely fantastic.
“The freestyle round was really fun,” continued Roberts. “I changed my music up a little bit back in February to help the interpretation and the expression of the routine, and that’s really working out well.”
Second place in the Male Gold division went to Daniel Janes (Moss Beach, Calif.) who earned a total score of 7.231 after riding to scores of 7.867, 6.270, and 7.55 in the compulsory, technical test, and freestyle, respectively. Rounding out the top three was 17-year-old Jace Brooks (Lehi, Utah) with scores of 7.057 (compulsory), 4.943 (technical), and 7.198 (freestyle) for a final score of 6.399.
The A Team division victory went to the Pacific Coast Vaulters team, consisting of Roberts, Janes, Cameron Brown (Santa Cruz, Calif.), Audrey Kiernan (San Mateo, Calif.), Margaret Long (Seattle, Wash.), Emily Rose (Santa Cruz, Calif.), and Haley Smith (Parker, Colo.), with their horse Diva 506, a 15-year-old Oldenburg mare, owned by the Pacific Coast Vaulting Club, and longeur Carolyn Bland. Their compulsory score was 7.378, and their freestyle score was 8.327 for a final team score of 7.853.
While Roberts may have claimed his sixth Male Gold Individual championship, being a part of the winning Pacific Coast Vaulters team was what stood out to him as the special part of the weekend.
“It’s really special winning the team competition because I’ve never competed with an A Team at a national championship before; it’s fantastic,” said Roberts. “We’ve had the freestyle in the works for a while now. This week, it was the cleanest, most well-performed freestyle that we’ve done all year long. I couldn’t be happier. I felt pretty emotional after we did that routine.”
Pas de Deux Competition
In the Open Pas de Deux Freestyle, victory went to Haley Smith (Parker, Colo.) and Daniel Janes (Moss Beach, Calif.) of Pacific Coast Vaulters. With horse Diva 506 and longeur Carolyn Bland, they scored a 7.873 overall final score for the win.
Second place with an overall final score of 7.465 went to Katie Keville (Cotati, Calif.) and Florence Rubinger (Santa Rosa, Calif.) of Vintage Vaulters with horse Revlon and longeur Mary McCormick.
Finishing in third were Abigail Archibald and Calle Davis (Spanish Fork, Utah) of Oak Hills Vaulting, who earned an overall final score of 6.754 with horse Peterbuilt and longeur Emily Howden.
For more information on the USEF/AVA National Championships, go to americanvaulting.org.
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