Parker, Colorado. Langer Equestrian Group concluded its 2008 season of hunter/jumper shows at the Colorado Horse Park with the High Prairie Fall Classic (Sept. 11-14), and equitation was the theme of the show, highlighted by the ASPCA Maclay Region 6 Medal Finals. Nine horse and rider combinations contested the Chris Collman-designed course. In the end, it was Audrey Carlson (Michael Dennehy, trainer) and Charade that came out the Final winner and as such automatically qualified to compete in the national final later this fall. Sophie Onody (Randy Henry, trainer) rode Akadama to the red ribbon and Emily McCoy (tracye Ferguson, trainer) was third aboard Mr. Knightly.
Unlike some of her fellow competitors, Onody faced two obstacles on the way to her second-place finish in the Maclay Final. Not only was she fighting off a bad head cold but her equitation horse had taken ill as well meaning the Colorado junior rider had to press her jumper into service for the equitation ring. "I have been working at improving my flat work on my jumper," said Onody.. "It sure paid off for me in the Maclay."
Not only did Onody finish well in the Maclay Final, the sophomore at Regis Jesuit High School also won the Colorado National Junior Medal Final. "The courses overall were really fun to ride – challenging but fun," she noted. "There were several options that forced riders to pick the track that was best for their horses." Making her jumper move more like an equitation horse was a good test according to Onody. She credits her trainers with helping her understand how to do this by riding the turns and routes that showcased her horse’s skills without getting him into "jumper mode."
Junior Elizabeth Wilkins continued her winning ways in week two of horse showing by topping the Zone 8 Junior Medal Final. Wilkins, who is trained by Tracye Ferguson out of Meridian Riding Club, rode Repeat Rider’s Agassi to the championship. Barnmate Olivia Chowdry finished third aboard Nelis (Promise Hill Farm, owner).
In the Colorado National Children’s Medal, it was Paige Collins (Nicole Webb, trainer) in the irons on Bon Nuit taking the tri-color with Megan Macpherson and Brooke Kennedy in second and third respectively.
Finals action wasn’t just limited to junior riders. The adults competed in several equitation and medal finals as well. In the Colorado National Amateur Medal Final, Rachel Boggus (Michael Dennehy, trainer) earned the championship riding Wilhelm Tell. Trainer Karen Catov-Goodell’s riders were two-three in the event. Christen Tuxworth, on Kommander in Chief, was second followed by Sophie Chavanon and Havana in third.
The order was virtually reversed in the USEF Zone 8 Adult Equitation Final where Chavanon took the tri-color followed by Tuxworth in the reserve champion spot. Goodell was very pleased by the performance of her riders. "They both continue to do so well in the equitation divisions," Goodell said. "The courses at all the shows held at Colorado Horse Park this season have been somewhat demanding, and encouraging riders to really think their way around the course. It’s helped both Sophie and Christen improve." Goodell noted that while her riders always been great in the equitation ring, they’ve also been outstanding in the Amateur/Owner Hunters this year too, thanks in large part to the complexity of the courses they’ve negotiated throughout the season. "I only wish more adults would see the benefits of riding in the equitation and medals, and how it could make their hunter rounds better," she added.
Erica Strandberg (Cindy Cruciotti, trainer) rounded out the top three in the USEF Zone 8 Adult Equitation Final. She also won an equitation over fences class and the Dorothy Roberts Memorial Medal Class.
Leesa Carver (Tracye Ferguson, trainer) rode Reveille to the championship in the Colorado National Adult Medal Final by topping a field of nine entrants to take the top slot. Page Tredennick (Lindsay Kendall, trainer) was second aboard Blue Note, while Maggie Hanna (Ann Hanna, trainer) finished third on Spencer. Ann plays dual roles as both Maggie’s trainer and her mother, and obviously they have found a winning combination.
The jumper divisions were highlighted by the $3,500 High Prairie Mini-Prix and Lindsay Sceats topped the field aboard Waldi. Carly Devine was second with Grazioso 4, and Armando Hassey was third on Mac Blue. Devine also picked up fourth on her entry, Royal Saber. Sceats and Waldi also won the Junior/Amateur Owner Jumper Classic, followed by Krista Blew and Acordian, Armanda Hassey and Acordyno, and Carly Devine with Grazioso 4.
With double points on the line for the Colorado Trainer Incentive program, Michael Dennehy won a trip to Maui and a cash prize. The top five professionals all shared a $5,000 cash prize. Tracye Ferguson was in second, followed by Randy Henry, Kathryn Johnson, and Charlie Dennehy.
Complete results are online at http://www.langershows.com
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<a href="http://www.equestrianmag.com/article/equitation-finals-high-praire-fall-classic-09-08.html">Equitation Finals Rule the Day at High Praire Fall Classic</a> ~ EquestrianMag.com