USEF Dressage Seat Medal Finals

USEF Dressage Seat Medal Finals

Text and Photos by Sheri Scott

The Murieta Equestrian Center in Rancho Murieta, California, (southeast of Sacramento) was the site of the fourth annual USEF Dressage Seat Medal Finals on July 29th, 2006. The finals were hosted by the Warm Up, Cool Down Dressage and Sporthorse shows on July 28-30.

Jayne Ayers, head judge of the finals and a veteran of all four finals was very impressed with the junior riders that attended the equitation finals. “I thought the kids rode particularly well,” said Ayers. “The standard is moving up. I think these are riders who will be able to go on and do a lot in the future.”

This was an apt prediction, as three champions and a reserve champion from this year’s and previous year’s medal finals competed at the North American Junior and Young Rider Championships in early August.

Riders had the option of bringing their own horses to the show or borrowing a horse. Ayers felt that they had exceptionally good borrowed horses this year. Comments from trainers and show management were very positive regarding the process of borrowing the horses, trying them out, and getting them matched up with the riders. Twelve of the 17 riders in the two finals were on borrowed horses.

USEF Dressage Seat Medal Finals

Rachel Campbell Wins 14-18 year old Division

Seventeen year old Rachel Campbell of Wylie, Texas won the 14-18 year old division. She rode Gibraltar, (Gold Luck – Pikante) a 17 hand Hanoverian gelding owned by Lydia Scaife of Los Altos Calif. and trained by Chelsey Sibley of Sonora, Calif. “Gibraltar was really, really good,” said Campbell. “He was really sweet. It was kind of like I’d think about it (a movement) and he would just do it.”

Campbell also won the warm up class on Friday, so she felt confident going into the finals. Her trainer, Kai Handt of the North Texas Equestrian Center in Wylie, Texas had her ride some of his sale horses this year to prepare her.

“I was able to learn little tricks on how to ride all kinds of different horses,” explained Campbell. “Bumpy ones, smooth ones, ones that you can’t get on the bit, just all kinds of horses. I think that really helped me prepare.”

Campbell has only been riding for 3 ½ years and riding dressage for 2 ½ of those years. This year she started showing her own horse and third and fourth levels, and qualified for the USEF National Jr. Dressage Team Championships and the North American Junior Championships.

USEF Dressage Seat Medal Finals

Mackenzie Pooley Wins 13 & Under Finals

Mackenzie Pooley, 13, of Coto de Caza, Calif. won the 13 & under finals riding her 7 year old, pinto Selle Francais mare Calypso’s Girl. Pooley qualified on another horse, but that horse was lame and Calypso’s Girl was brought to northern California as a last minute replacement. She has owned her mare for three years and has been showing her at first level. Pooley has been riding dressage for six years and has been training with Karen Ball of Coto de Caza, CA, for the last three years.

‘I was really nervous!” exclaimed Pooley. “It’s just nerve wracking sitting outside the arena waiting to start. I wasn’t nervous when I was riding.”

Pooley felt that the group portion of the finals went really well. The individual test was fun and her mare did everything that she asked of her.

Pooley’s favorite part of the show was the riding. She also liked the team aspect of the show, being in the barn with all of the other riders and them all being stabled near each other.

Pooley is a veteran of the California Junior Dressage championships. She’s now preparing her two mounts for the CDS Southern Jr. Championships at the end of the month.

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Canadian Conquest at Woodside CDI