Amazing Results at USHJA Zone Jumper Team Championships Zones 3 and 4

Tuesday, July 16, 2019
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Mill Spring, N.C. -  From jumping-off for medals in every section, to sisters celebrating gold and silver, to earning a birthday gold, it was an amazing final day for the individuals competing in the USHJA Zones 3 and 4 Jumper Team Championships at the Tryon International Equestrian Center.

From 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. the top contenders in five sections rode for a position on the podium and the competition was fierce. FEI Course Designer Bernardo Costa Cabral of Portugal set Championship-caliber tracks that were challenging but fair, resulting in a jump-off for medals at each height.

Webb, Teran and Butler Medal in the 1.30/1.35m Junior and Amateur Individuals

Coming into the final day of competition tied for second, Christina Webb (Bahama, N.C) and her Dutch Warmblood gelding, FVF Sailor Man, were the only pair to ride clear putting them into the top spot of the podium. With just four faults, veteran competitor Roberto Teran (Wellington, Fla.) earned silver with his Selle Francais gelding, Arnac Du Mazes. Two top riders were tied for the Bronze Medal: yesterday’s 1.30/1.35m Team Gold Medalist Judy Sutton aboard her horse Win a Date, and 2018 Gold Medalist Katlynn Butler riding MTM Farm’s Marvel. With a clear jump-off, Butler (Mechanicsville, Va.) secured the third spot on the podium.

Webb talked about her home-bred mount, known as "Oliver" in the barn. “We actually bred and broke him at our house. It’s a family affair. Maryanne Charles showed him and helped us to bring him along and did so wonderfully with him at the Grand Prix level. I’ve actually just started riding him again and was just so thankful that I got to show him here and he was perfect everyday and the courses were a lot of fun.”

No stranger to the championship format, Teran has jumped around the world. At 71 years young, he is happily still in the saddle, except for when Arnac Du Mazes bucks him off!

“Ahh, my little horse, he likes to jump and he likes to make me fall off! He has the record for most falls I’ve had in my life. He likes to play! He’s happy, sometimes if I’m not ready, off I go!” Teran said with a smile, “He’s almost 9 and a half years old, I’ve had him since he was 6. A friend of mine in France, he sent me the horse. I didn’t even go to see him. He just sent me the horse and I said, ‘Thank you!’”

The McGehee Sisters and Taylor Harpman Capture the Medals in the 1.20/1.25m Amateur Section

With a perfect score over three days, Mackenize McGehee (Jacksonville, Fla.) and her Belgian Warmblood mare, Fiona Van’t Paradijs, earned the Individual Gold Medal in the 1.20/1.25m Amateur Jumper Championship. Three riders, who after three days each had a final score of four faults, jumped-off for the silver and bronze medals. Mackenzie’s older sister, Ashley Ann McGehee (Jacksonville Beach, Fla.) aboard her Dutch Warmblood Mr. Snuffleupagus, were the only clear of the three to earn Silver. Rounding out the podium as the fastest four-fault ride in the jump-off, Taylor Harpman (Manakin Sabot, Va.) riding Kablesse V/D Donkhoeve, took Bronze.

The younger McGehee and her mare know each other well. “She’s been my trusted partner for about five or six years now,” noted McGehee. “Before college, she took me up to 1.40m, and then I went to college and slowed down, and she’s stayed with me as I’ve had to jump smaller and get back in the game. So she’s been a really great horse for me all these years.”

And the older sister was thrilled with her equine partner. “He’s a huge 11-year-old chestnut, and we’ve had him since he was 3, so he’s been my little project coming along,” she said. “I’m not the best at jump-offs, when I make mistakes, it’s usually during a jump-off. I’ve been a spastic mess all morning, but then we had a three-horse jump-off, and I just wanted to give him the best ride I could, and he was right there with me. We were both exhausted but he was such a good boy and has such a big heart.”

It was a big day for the two sisters, who couldn’t stop smiling. Ashley summed it up. “We do feed off of each other a lot! It’s a lot of mixed emotions, because I got really excited for Mackenzie, but then I knew I had to go into the ring and get back into that mindset. It was a very emotional roller coaster, but it was awesome!”  Both sisters train with Megan Wexler.

With No Faults Over Three Days, 14-year-old Addison Reed Wins Gold  

Riding Reed Training & Sales LLC’s Dutch Warmblood, Goliath, 14-year-old Addison Reed (Mechanicsville, Va.) had no faults at all over three days to capture the Gold medal in the 1.20/1.25m Junior Individual section. Tied at eight faults each, 17-year-old Madison Jones (Longwood, Fla.) on her Zangershiede mare Bijoux Z, and thirteen-year-old Natalie Pedley (Wellington, Fla.) riding her Thoroughbred mare, True Blue Mate, jumped-off for the Silver and Bronze medals. Pedley captured Silver with a clean jump-off ride, with Jones rounding out the top three.

Reed was reeling. “The last three days have been a bit of a blur. I woke up this morning and thought it was Friday!” said the young rider. “It’s gone by really fast. The week was organized really well this year and it's been a lot of fun.” She added, “The courses all week have been awesome and super fun. Bernardo is an awesome course designer.”

Reed is trained by her mother Sulu Rose-Reed. And Reed’s grandmother, Gail Thompson, also an accomplished equestrian, was one of the Zone 3 chefs d’equipe this week. “It’s in the blood,” Thompson said.

Both Pedley and her OTTB mare are 13 years of age and she says they “have an amazing connection.” The pair are preparing for another championship coming later this season.

“I watched my best friend ride in the Championship last year. I didn’t compete last year, but it was really interesting and that’s why I wanted to make an effort to participate this year,” she said. “And it was a perfect warm up for going to the Youth Championships in August.” Pedley trains with Diego Muyshondt.

Birthday Girl Gets Gold in the 1.10/1.15m Adult Section

Amateur rider Diana Harris (Creedmoor, N.C.) had a wonderful week piloting her Dutch Warmblood mare, Flair WS, to not one but two Gold medals. After helping to clinch the gold in yesterday’s team competition, Harris was leading as she went into her final round. Not folding under the pressure, she rode a smooth track to earn the top spot on the podium with a perfect three day score of zero faults. She was also celebrating not just her birthday, but her husband's as well. The couple were born on the same day!

The excitement didn’t end there for the Amateurs, as two riders tied with four faults jumped-off for Silver and Bronze. Earning Silver, Eileen O’Leary (Montverde, Fla.) and Bahama Boy buzzed around the shortened track a full second faster than Tinita Hughes (Athens, Ga.) and Proximo, who was also clean but not quite fast enough to finish a respectable Bronze Medalist.

Harris spoke fondly of Flair WS. “I bought her out of the 7 year olds a couple of years ago, and she is sweet, sane, safe, sound, and awesome! I love her, she’s just perfect. She always tries hard, and I can always count on her when I might mess up, which is a very important thing in the amateurs!”

When asked about how she handled the pressure, Harris said, “I felt great, I didn’t think about it at all, because I would’ve gotten it all in my head and screwed it up. I figured if I got the first jump, that’s always the hardest one for me, to get enough pace for the first jump, so I just made sure I did that, then just rode it one jump at a time.”  Harris trains with Harold Chopping, O’Leary with Natalie Johnson Russell and Hughes with Lee Hughes.

Four-way Tie Leads to Jump-off for Medals in the 1.10/1.15m Children’s Section

With four riders at four faults each, the competition for a spot on the podium was on in the 1.10/1.15m Children’s Individual Championship. Last to go proved fastest, as 16-year-old Ana Ramos (Ocala, Fla.) took a speedy track with inside turns aboard her Belgian Warmblood gelding, Jorno. Stopping the clock clean in 28.96 seconds, she was less than a second faster than 16-year-old Ella Domenicone (Alpharetta, Ga.) and her Holsteiner mare, S-Acorada Donaldson. Picking up a four fault score, 15-year-old Maggie Huffman (Mountain Brook, Ala.) and her Selle Francais gelding, Nightvale finished in the Bronze position.

Ramos watched Domenicone’s jump-off and knew what she had to do. “When I watched [her] do the jump-off and she did all the inside turns, I realized that I needed to do all the inside turns if I wanted to win.”

She went on, “It’s my first time doing the Championships. We’ve been to Tryon for three years now. iI’s always been memorable, but this year will be really memorable! I would certainly do it again, and I hope to move up after this. It’s a lot of fun and a new thing that you never really get to experience until you come here.”

Domenicone echoed that statement. “It’s my first Championships as well. It’s a lot of fun, the format was great - it’s just a really good experience.”

Huffman was equally enamored. “It’s also my first Championships. We come to Tryon a lot, but it’s my first time doing this. It was so much fun, the setup and layout, it was awesome.”  Ramos trains with Megan Wexler, Domenicone with Melinda Sise and Huffman with Michael Newman.

Awards, Sponsors and Gold Star Emerging Jumper Riders

Individual gold medalists received a variety of awards from Essex Classics and FITS Riding in addition to a medal, a ribbon and a cooler, and the Adult Amateur individual gold medalist received a pair of Parlanti paddock boots.

Individual medalists at the USHJA Zone Jumper Team Championships will be recognized as 2019 Gold Star Emerging Jumper Riders by awarding them an exclusive 2019 Gold Star Emerging Jumper Rider pin that can be worn at future competitions to distinguish them. At the same time, trainers of these riders will be recognized as 2019 Gold Star Jumper Coaches and receive specialized pins that denote their title. Riders and trainers who receive the designation are also invited to attend one of the USHJA Gold Star Clinics.

All Championship competitors will be recognized as 2019 USHJA Emerging Jumper Riders. During a special orientation session during the riders meeting on Wednesday, riders, trainers and parents received comprehensive information about how riders can advance through the sport to its highest levels. The session specifically discussed the Show Jumping Athlete Pathway, a joint USHJA-US Equestrian effort that identifies and nurtures Jumping athletes as they advance through the sport to enhance future success for Olympic and international teams representing the United States.

For more information about the USHJA Zone Jumper Team Championships click here. For more information about the USHJA Emerging Jumper Rider Program click here.

Photo Credit: SportFot.