2008 USEF Junior Hunter National Championship East Coast Kicks Off at HITS Saugerties
RELEASE: August 6, 2008
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: Stacey Meier
Content provided by Horse Shows in the Sun (HITS)
Saugerties, NY— In the days between HITS-on-the-Hudson V and VI, HITS is hosting the 2008 USEF Junior Hunter National Championship for the East Coast. It’s the fourth consecutive year that the event has taken to the rings at HITS Saugerties and competition kicked off yesterday with the WIHS Equitation Classic, the USEF/Pessoa Medal and the ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship Medal.
Taylor Ann Adams and Miracle bested a field of 47 other pairs in the USEF/Pessoa Hunter Seat Medal to take home the blue ribbon for owners Paulexi LLC, while in the ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship Medal, Lauren Vogel and her mount Fidelity surpassed a field of 20 other pairs to take first. The WIHS Equitation Classic Hunter Phase was split into two sections. The winner of the First Hunter Section was Victoria Birdsall and her mount Cheyenne and in the Second Section it was Katherine Newman and Double Diamond. In the jumper phase, it was Chelsea Moss and Onatello VDL who beat out 32 other combinations to take top honors. The overall champions were Katherine Newman and Double Diamond and Victoria Birdsall and Cheyenne.
In the mid-afternoon, riders and trainers gathered for a rider’s meeting in the VIP pavilion where rules, regulations and special announcements were made concerning this year’s event, including news of a special $10,000 Top Trainer Award sponsored by Heritage Farm and HITS, Inc. The award will go to the trainers of the riders who place in the top four in today’s USHJA Hunterdon Cup with money divided $4,000 for first, $3,000 for second, $2,000 for third and $1,000 for fourth.
"I have been coming to this event for many years and I felt it was Heritage Farm's turn to give back,” said trainer Andre Dignelli. “It's nice to see 50 kids walking through the gate for it."
Other barns getting involved in the spirit of the Finals include Don Stewart Stables, Inc., SBS Farms, Inc. and Quiet Hill Farm who each will sponsor one of the three luncheons during the week. In addition, a special Groom’s Award, also sponsored by Don Stewart Stables, Inc., will award $500 to each Champion’s groom and $250 for each Reserve Champion’s groom in the four main divisions.
The USEF Junior Hunter National Championship is designed to encourage and promote the basic training and development of Junior Hunters. Divided into four sections, the Finals feature competition for Small Juniors 15 and Under, Large Juniors 15 and Under, Small Juniors 16-17 and Large Juniors 16-17. In addition to the USHJA Hunterdon Cup, today’s competition included the Handy Hunter and the Under Saddle Phases for the Small and Large Junior Hunters in both the 15 & Under and the 16-17 divisions, while Wednesday’s schedule includes the Classic Rounds and the awards presentations.
One trainer at HITS-on-the-Hudson for the finals is Cynthia Williams from New England Farm. Williams is a regular at HITS Saugerties and her up-and-coming student Sophie Cohen started things off in the 15 & Under Large and the 15 & Under Small Divisions on Tuesday morning.
“I like the feel of everything in Saugerties. Showing in the Grand Prix and Grand Hunter rings make you feel special,” said Cohen. “Coming to the Junior Hunter Finals is a great experience for me.”
Cohen is in Saugerties with her two mounts, Hero and Que Sera. Cohen and Hero have been a formidable combination for about three years under the guidance of Williams. “Hero is an amazing horse,” said Cohen. “He has taught me everything and at 14 it is incredible that he can still qualify for the finals.”
Her other mount is a new ride for Cohen and she is doing the instructing. “He is one of the most gorgeous creatures ever,” added Cohen. “He is really coming along nicely and thanks to all of the things that Hero taught me in the ring, I can be the teacher with Que Sera.” After today’s competition, Cohen currently sits in the top ten for both the Large and Small Junior Hunters in the 15 & Under divisions.
In addition to Cohen, some other riders to watch include Johanna Hyyppa, Katherine Newman, Jennifer Waxman, Taylor Ann Adams and Laura King-Kaplan. Both Adams and King-Kaplan were victorious in their respective sections last year and have their eyes focused on the Grand Championship. Results from the 2008 USEF Junior Hunter National Championship for the East Coast are available at www.HitsShows.com.
HITS, Inc. is a special events management company primarily focused on producing hunter/jumper horse shows. Based in upstate New York in the village of Saugerties, HITS produced its first horse show circuit in Gainesville, Florida in 1982. Since that time, HITS has grown into a nationwide company with world-class hunter/jumper circuits in California, Florida, Arizona, New York and Virginia.