Syracuse, NY - Today marked the final day of competition at the 2010 Syracuse Invitational Sporthorse Tournament featuring the 127th National Horse Show. The highlight event at the Oncenter Complex in Syracuse, NY, was the 2010 ASPCA Maclay National Championships. Riders worked all year to qualify for this event and after three phases of competition and it was 17-year-old Hayley Barnhill of Collierville, TN, leading the victory gallop and taking home the championship honors.
In the first round of competition, 153 riders were tested on a course designed by the judges, Scott Hofstetter and Melanie Smith Taylor in cooperation with course designer Richard Jeffery. The fences included a vertical-oxer-vertical triple combination, a natural fan jump off of a sharp left turn and then a sharp right turn to the ASPCA fence. Riders then continued to a tall vertical on the left lead before making their way to a triple bar double combination. While some riders had difficulties during the first round, the course was very inviting overall and gave riders many opportunities to show-off their horsemanship.
The riders who rode the course smoothly, out-of-stride, and with style were the ones called back in the top 30 to test on the flat. Three groups of 10 were tested, and from there the judges called back the top 18 riders for a second round over fences. The top 18 returned in the following order, Barnhill with called back on top.
1. EMILY REYNOLDS
2. AMBER HENTER
3. CHASE BOGGIO
4. LUCY DAVIS
5. DEMI STEIEGLER
6. KAREN POLLE
7. AUDREY COULTER
8. SYDNEY SMITH
9. HASBROUCK DONOVAN
10. CATEHRINE TYREE
11. OLIVIA JACK
12. SAMANTHA SCHAEFER
13. SCHAEFER RAPOSA
14. THEORDORE BORIS
15. TAYLOR ANN ADAMS
16. LILLIE KEENAN
17. MICHAEL HUGHES
18. HAYLEY BARNHILL
The second round of today's competition began over a large triple bar followed by a bending line. Riders then continued to three fences next to one another where they had to make a figure-eight shape before a bending double combination. One of the final tests was a three-fence line that riders had to canter in and then trot the middle fence before cantering the third fence. After watching all 18 riders compete the judges did not require further testing.
Barnhill was aboard Podest today, owned by Emily Gardner of Carmel Valley, CA. The pair had a solid first round despite a one lead swap and the judges invited her back to the flat where she truly shinned. Barnhill was called back on top for the final round and despite the pressure that was on her she remained calm and flowed through her course with ease.
"It was a great course for my horse and it came out exactly how I wanted it to," explained Barnhill, who was also victorious at the USEF/Pessoa Hunter Seat Medal with Podest. "You can't ever expect to win but you always hope you can. After the first round I wasn't sure and we had to work a little harder to get there."
Judge Scott Hofstetter added, "Hayley was very close in the first round but the swap was why she was called back second. She chose to hold the right lead, and then her horse shifted slightly off the ground. Other than that it was a solid course; we liked her style and her position around the course. She moved up to the top in the flat because we thought she looked really strong. Under the pressure we really liked the second round because she came in on top and that seemed to be their best round."
Earning the reserve championship honors during today's event was 13-year-old Michael Hughes of Morristown, FL. He was aboard Co Co Pop owned by Brigadoon Shaw of Ridgefield, CT. The duo stayed soft and consistent throughout the day, showing maturity beyond Hughes' young age. He commented, "I was a little worried after the first round because we had a couple of errors. When I was called back third I was really happy."
"Michael was very soft and he never looked rushed," said Hofstetter. "He looked like he really knew his horse and trusted him. In the second round, he started with a very long distance from one to two and where everyone else really worried about it, I liked that he trusted his horse. He very softly asked and his horse gave it to him. This shows that they have a good partnership. The second round was hard with the tight turns and the track to stay consistent and not make it too quick and fast. Even to the last line he was very smooth and soft and the horse just lofted off the ground."
Placing third during today's championship event was Catherine Tyree of Chicago, IL, with her own Triple Lutz. The pair was very elegant during all three phases of the competition and quickly rose to the top of the rankings. "Today I wanted to go in and follow my plan exactly how I walked it. In the flat he was great and he's easy to wrap my legs around. I goal was to try to move up a couple of spots."
Today's win was very special for Barnhill who has worked very hard to achieve her goals. Next year she plans to spend more time focusing on the jumper divisions while continuing to compete in the equitation. She hopes to someday become a professional rider and trainer.
Barnhill spent the year training for the equitation with Tom Wright and Missy Clark. "She has always had amazing talent," noted Wright. "It has been key getting her in a structured program that could really take her to different levels. We are just so lucky that this really has been a group effort between the David Pellegrini, Missy Clark, John Brennan, the Goguens and myself. We were trying to get a real program for her where could be mounted well. The horse that Missy provided has just been a doll. This is one of the hardest times during the year for the horses to be structured and sound. It really came together for her during the Indoor circuit."
For her win today, Barnhill was presented with the ASPCA Horsemanship Trophy, donated by the late Alfred B. Maclay, Esq. Barnhill's mother was on hand to be presented with the Gordon Wright Perpetual Trophy, donated by the late Mrs. Kenneth Wheeler to the family of the winning rider. Barnhill's trainers won the ASPCA Maclay National Championship Trainers Award, as well as the Maclay Trainer Award, a perpetual trophy donated by the family of John Y.G. Walker Jr. in memory of Victor Hugo-Vidal.
In a presentation before the final round, Gabbi Langston of Irvine, CA, was awarded the Iris McNeil Perpetual Trophy, donated by Susie Schoellkopf, David Distler, and Walter J. Lee. The award is given to a junior rider who has made a contribution to the sport.
Today marked the conclusion of the 2010 Syracuse Invitational Sporthorse Tournament featuring the 127th National Horse Show. As the rider's day comes to a close they will now focus on qualifying for next year's ASPCA Maclay National Championship and their hopes for the future.
The ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship class has been held since 1933, and it is one of the most prestigious competitions for junior riders in the United States. From each Regional Final a percentage of all winners will advance to the year-end National Championships. Its winners are some of the biggest names in equestrian sport. Previous winners include: William Steinkraus (1941), Frank Chapot (1948), George Morris (1952), Leslie Burr Howard (1972), one of today's judges Scott Hofstetter (1986), Stacia Klein Madden in 1987, and Nicole Shahinian Simpson in 1992. The 2008 ASPCA Maclay National Championship winner was Jessica Springsteen of Colts Neck, NJ, and in 2009 Zazou Hoffman, of Santa Monica, CA, was named the winner.
The National Horse Show was founded in 1883 at the original Madison Square Garden, the National Horse Show is America's oldest indoor horse show and as a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit organization, provides financial aid to many worthwhile charities. For more information on the National Horse Show, please visit www.nhs.org.
Final Results: 2010 ASPCA Maclay National Championship
1. HAYLEY BARNHILL -PODEST
2. MICHAEL HUGHES - CO CO POP
3. CATHERINE TYREE -TRIPLE LUTZ
4. TAYLOR ANN ADAMS - FENWAY PARK
5. LILLIE KEENAN - UNO
6. THEODORE BORIS - W.C. SWING
7. SCHAEFER RAPOSA - ASTEN
8. LUCY DAVIS - PATRICK
9. AMBER HENTER - TRIUMPH
10. SYDNEY SMITH - CALIMERO
Photo Credit: Hayley Barnhill was victorious with Podest during the 2010 ASPCA Maclay National Championships. Photo Credit: Rebecca Walton/PMG.