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October 14, 2012

2012 Pessoa/USEF Medal Finals Commentary

Meg O'Mara really impressed the judges with her confidence in all three of her rides today and won the 2012 Pessoa/USEF Hunter Seat Equitation Medal Finals! Lillie Keenan took reserve with Sydney Shulman in third.

FINAL ROUND

Meg O'Mara, last to ride, made a statement with her hand gallop to the first jump. She had a bit of an awkward second fence, but she landed on both of her counter-canters. She did struggle a bit to keep the first counter-canter, but she cracked another smile on her closing circle.
Lillie Keenan got a bit deep to 2, but got the halt. She landed on the counter canter after 3AB, but had to do a flying change for the second counter canter, which resulted in an awkward turn.
Sydney Shulman landed on the counter canter after 3AB and on the counter canter toward #5. A very slick round.
Hasbrouck Donovan had a beautiful halt and back and did flying changes to the counter canter, but had trouble keeping the first counter canter. She finished with a great hand gallop.

The judges have called back four for further testing, Hasbrouck Donovan, Sydney Shulman, Lillie Keenan and Meg O'Mara. It looks like Meg's brilliant round gave her a bit of an edge over Lillie, and Sydney's round really moved her up.

The riders, on their own horses, have to perform an opening circle, then hand gallop to and away from #1, canter #2, halt and back, canter 3AB, counter-canter #9, counter-canter #5 in opposite direction from previous round, trot #10, canter #11, perform a closing circle, and then exit through out gate. 

ROUND 2

Final rider of the second round, Lillie Keenan, turned in a solid round that should keep her close to, if not on, top.

Meg O'Mara cracked a big smile after putting in a beautiful round, including a dramatic hand gallop to the final.

Lydia Ulrich made things interesting with an absolutely beautiful round.

Hasbrouck Donovan had a bit of an awkward jump at fence 8. But she had a lovely hand gallop to the last.

Sydney Shulman, 24th to ride in the second round, turned in a lovely, consistent round.

Chelsea Huss didn't have the best ride through the oxer line and chipped out.

Anna Cardelfe had a lovely round, but  she made a last minute decision for a big spot a the last fence.

Charlotte Jacobs had a bit of a conservative pace and was a shade long to the last jump.

Hannah Von Veidegger really showed off on the way to the last fence with a big hand gallop to a great distance after a lovely round.

Liza Finsness rode nicely but had a quiet distance to the last jump.

It was hard to find fault in Jacob Pope's second round.

Victoria Colvin rode with her usual soft, elegant style, but her horse caught a rail. 

Hunter Holloway was pretty flawless in her second round and has a very fluid style.

A very solid round for Abigail McArdle, and she gave the horse a confident ride.

Reily Rieker got a little close to 2 and had some rubs, then had a stop in the line of oxers. 

Elizabeth Benson rode an excellent round. She was in control every step of the way and kept a lovely rhythm.

Twelfth on course, Lilly Ulrich had a beautiful round with just a few minor rubs.

Megan MacPherson rode very accurately and had a solid round.

Caitlin Boyle had a rail at the second jump.

Abigail Johnston's horse jumped badly over his front end over an oxer and had awkward fence at the gate.

Sarah Milliren rode a lovely round but was just a shade quiet in the gallop to the last jump.

Madeline Placey's mount was sticky to the first jump, and they had a rail in the final element of the triple combination.

Emily Reynolds, sixth to ride, had a stop at the first oxer in the line.

Meredith Darst forgot a turn and went off course.

Morgan Geller was lovely, but perhaps a shade conservative in her pace.

Shawn Casady rode a solid round with no flaws.

Allison Toffolon, second on course, rode beautifully and was very impressive.

Lauren Tyree, first to go, was off to a good start, but her horse spooked in the line of oxers and stopped.

 

THE ORDER FOR ROUND 2 (in reverse order of preference!)

28 Lauren Tyree

115 Allison Toffolon

50 Shawn Casady

109 Morgan Geller

18 Meredith Darst

90 Emily Reynolds

79 Madeline Placey

189 Sarah Millerin

218 Abigail Johnston

240 Hayley Waters

8 Megan MacPherson

107 Lilly  Ulrich

31 Elizabeth Benson

81 Riley Reiker

104 Abigal McArdle

179 Hunter Holloway

41 Victoria Colvin

73 Jacob Pope

103 Liza Fisness

214 Hannah von Heidegger

149 Charlotte Jacobs

93 Anna Cardelfe

30 Chelsea Huss

236 Sydney Shulman

156 Hasbrouck Donovan

161 Lydia Ulrich

221 Meg O’Mara

130 Lillie Keenan

 

Sara Nordstrom talks about her ride in the first round and why "Spot" is the perfect horse for the Pessoa/USEF Medal Finals:

4:19 p.m.

We're so close to being done with Round 1! And it's at a relatively decent time, too. 

Geoffrey Hesslink's horse stopped at the in-and-out at #6AB, then had a bit of a temper tantrum and bounced in place for a moment. Hesslink got him going forward again and completed the course well.

Hayley Waters, who rode in 248th, was mounted on the venerable El Campeon's Danish, who is 25 this year. Danish was Eva Gonda's equitation mount in the '90s and has been a consistent performer for many riders since.

3:31

Martha Ingram made the crowd hold their breath and then laugh and applaud. She got jumped loose in the final triple combination and landed with no stirrups and jostled out of position. She quickly found her stirrup and popped herself back in the tack and completed hr courtesy circle to much applause.

McKayla Langemeier had a lovely round!

2:52

Both Hannah von Heidegger and Matthias Tromp had lovely rounds. 

Add Meg O'Mara to that list of pretty trips. She was quite nice. 

Catherine Tyree had a nice trip, but a rail at #7.

So, the spots where riders come to grief are... not shaping the turn from the oxer at #3 to the narrow gate at #4 and overshooting the curve. Or, they hurry the turn. Quite a few horses peek at the gate, so a turn that dosn't prepare them well invites a stop. A lot of riders aren't keeping the impulsion around the rollback turn at #5 and having either a refusal, a rail or a deep distance there. 

The turn from #5 to the in-and-out at #6AB has proven highly influential. Riders can hold out for six strides in a bending line, or ride a more direct line in five strides. The five-stride option only works if the rider is able to keep the impulsion and allow the horse to get his eye on the combination. If they let the horse drop behind their leg, the one-stride distance gets long. The long gallop to the hogsback is another place where riders can get caught over-thinking and hand-riding too much.

Most riders have opted to flow forward in the five strides to the next vertical, but the turn that comes up next requires quite a bit of balance and impulsion, rolling back to the Swedish oxer. Some riders let their horses lag, and don't find a forward distance to the Swedish oxer. The same is required of the turn to the triple combination. The distances in the triple are a bit long, so the combination rides scopey and a weak ride in gets a rider in trouble.

2:33 p.m.

In one of the cuter episodes of the day, Christina Frost came off over her horse's head at the fifth fence and pulled her horse's bridle off. He made a quick tour of the ring with it dragging behind him until he broke the reins and then was loose. His groom caught him quickly. Frost earned some applause for helping the jump crew to rebuild the fence she'd knocked down when she fell into it. She then kissed her horse on the nose. What a great show of sportsmanship.

STANDBY AFTER 200 HAVE GONE

The judges have definitely shown that they're judging rides, not names. The 150-200 section saw just a few changes to the standby, but they're big changes, with Lydia Ulrich moving into second place and Hasbrouck Donovan going into third.

130 Lillie Keenan

161 Lydia Ulrich

156 Hasbrouck Donovan

30 Chelsea Huss

93 Anna Cardelfe           

149 Charlotte Jacobs

103 Liza Fisness

73 Jacob Pope

41 Victoria Colvin

179 Hunter Holloway

104 Abigail McArdle

81 Reily Rieker

31 Elizabeth Benson

107 Lilly Ulrich

8 Megan MacPherson

189 Sarah Milliren

79 Madeline Placey

90 Emily Reynolds

18 Meredith Darst

109 Morgan Geller

50 Shawn Casady

115 Allison Toffolon

28 Lauren Tyree

2 Geneveive Zock

6 Ashton Alexander

1:49 p.m.

The real standout of the section was 2011 ASPCA Maclay Finals winner Sarah Milliren, who turned in a really lovely round.

We've reached that point—200 riders in—when things get a bit tedious. We all know the mistakes that are common to make, and it seems like the truly special rounds are few and far between. We've seen a few stellar rounds, so the rounds with minor mistakes, like inconsistent pace or an awkward distance or two, weed themselves out of the running.

1:22 p.m.

Michael Hughes had a very smooth, consistent trip, but there haven't been any real stand-outs in the 157-175 range. Less than 100 rounds to go!!!

12:39 p.m.

Kristen Mohr was having a lovely round until her horse suddenly refused at the last element of the triple combination. 

Hasbrouck Donovan rode a really lovely round, and I'd bet we'll be seeing her ride again today.

STANDBY AFTER 150 HAVE GONE

130 Lillie Keenan

30 Chelsea Huss

93 Anna Cardelfe           

149 Charlotte Jacobs

103 Liza Fisness

73 Jacob Pope

41 Victoria Colvin

104 Abigail McArdle

81 Reily Rieker

31 Elizabeth Benson

107 Lilly Ulrich

8 Megan MacPherson

79 Madeline Placey

90 Emily Reynolds

18 Meredith Darst

109 Morgan Geller

50 Shawn Casady

115 Allison Toffolon

28 Lauren Tyree

2 Geneveive Zock

6 Ashton Alexander

87 Ali Tritschler

40 Caroline Becker

118 Thea Chafee

72 Margret Collins

12:17 p.m.

Charlotte Jacobs just rode right into contention with an absolutely lovely round. She was very fluid and elegant. 

11:40 a.m.

I think Lillie Keenan just rode into the top of the class. Her ride was beautiful. Her horse's long, slow stride let her make subtle adjustments and she found each jump perfectly. You know when the judges stop marking their cards and just watch that it's something special.

11:12 a.m.

Luke Olson had a nice round. Did you know that Luke Olsen recovered from a horrific accident last year? He was hit by a car and broke two bones in his leg, five ribs, and had more than 100 stitches in his face. He was out of the saddle for six months. He recovered in time to secure a working student position with Susie Schoelkopf and Jenn Alfano. He's one of those kids who will be wrapping his own horse tonight!

10:46 a.m.

Abigail McArdle just had a lovely round after the break, as the 104th to go. Her horse did have a rail in the in-and-out, but she was consistent and fluid everywhere. 

Morgan Geller also stood with with a lovely trip with a very consistent pace and obvious control of her track.

STANDBY AFTER 100 HAVE GONE

30 Chelsea Huss

93 Anna Cardelfe           

73 Jacob Pope

41 Victoria Colvin

81 Reily Rieker

31 Elizabeth Benson

8 Megan MacPherson

79 Madeline Placey

90 Emily Reynolds

18 Meredith Darst

50 Shawn Casady

28 Lauren Tyree

2 Geneveive Zock

6 Ashton Alexander

87 Ali Tritschler

40 Caroline Becker

72 Margret Collins

77 Taylor Clark

92 Sarah van der Walde

68 Jenna Santi

61 Allison Haupt

53 Michael Janson

33 Alexandra Carlton

54 Kelcie Brophy

25 Vivian Yowan

10:21 a.m. 

This section of riders has taken quite a toll on the narrow gate, with quite a few of them stopping at it and having last-minute chips there. One horse plowed through it, scattering the ferns decorating it.

Ashley Foster ran into trouble at the in-and-out, having weak jumps and adding a stride. Her horse jumped the next jump very awkardly and then she pulled up and left the ring. Her horse looked quite sore behind. 

9:35 a.m.

One of the most hotly anticipated rounds, that of Jacob Pope, winnner of this year's USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Final-East, went very well. Pope rode very confidently and boldly and had a beautiful trip. The winner of the 2011 USHJA Emerging Athlete Program National Session last year, he has made a big name for himself very quickly. He's been ridng with Andre Dignelli and Heritage Farm this summer and fall.

Kalvin Dobbs had a nice trip, very positive and forward. Ali Tritschler was also quite good.

9:14 a.m.

Kelcie Brophy had a nice round on the most adorable paint horse, but she caught a rail at the Swedish oxer. 

Michael Janson had a lovely smooth round, with just a bit of a gappy distance to the in-and-out.

Alexandra Efird was fine, but she was a bit under pace and weak to a number of jumps.

Keeping your horse balanced and in front of your leg is definitely the key to this course. It's not a test of jumps so much as it is of track and turns.

Alliy Moyer was having a beautiful round until she made a bad decision to the hogsback at #8 and found a but of a deep distance there. 

Caroline Johnson had a rough ride through the triple combination, with a stop and then an awkward jump on re-attempt.

FIRST STANDBY

30 Chelsea Huss

41 Victoria Colvin

31 Elizabeth Benson

8 Megan MacPherson

18 Meredith Darst

50 Shawn Casady

28 Lauren Tyree

2 Geneveive Zock

6 Ashton Alexander

40 Caroline Becker

33 Alexandra Carlton

25 Vivian Yowan

44 Sydney Callaway

10 Isabelle Caccamise

17 Sydney Smith

8:44 a.m.

Tori Colvin, who dominated the junior hunters and was named Best Child Rider on a horse, just turned in a beautiful round. You can nit-pick about her leg slipping back in the air, but she's a master at track and pace, and her round looked lovely. I'd expect to see her jump again today.

David Oberkircher also turned in a lovely trip.

Reid Patton rode nicely, but was a bit underpaced and was deep to the gate jump.

Shawn Casady had a spectacular trip as 50th to go.

8:05 a.m.

Lauren Tyree was having in a brilliant trip, very forward and aware and in control of her track. She had a few rubs, but then had a rail at the last element of the triple combination. I’m not sure how the judges will interpret that rail, but I ’d expect to see her on the standby.

Maggie Ridenour had a stop at the one-stride 6AB. It seems that the real tell-tale spots on this course are how riders shape the turns from #5 to the combination at #6AB, the rollback turn to the Swedish oxer, and the turn to the final triple combination. Riders have to be very sure of their track and make sure thier horse stays in front of their leg. 

Elizabeth Benson had a beautiful go, very definite in her lines and with a lovely rhythm. She was perhaps a shade deep to the triple combination, but I expect we’ll see her jump again. 

7:52 a.m.

Luisa Coutinho’s horse looked really impressed by the day. His eyes were almost popping out of his head and he looked hard at the jumps. She did a GREAT job to get him around well, and rode him very positively and sympathetically. She won’t be on the standby, but I’ll remember her. I always feel bad for the riders whose horses so obviously are overwhelmed. Frequently, if they handle it correctly, they show the most horsemanship skills, but they won’t be in the final results. 

Jesse Fortier had a refusal at the gate, then a dramatic stop at the in-and-out at 6AB, where the horse stumbled into the jump and Fortier almost pushed his bridle off. Unfortunately, the second stop eliminated them

7:38 a.m.

Taylor Schmidt obviously tried to swing wide on the turn to the Swedish oxer, but it backfired when her horse got unbalanced and cut in.

Michael Renker didn’t have quite the best line into the in-and-out and had a rail there, but he’s a lovely rider.

Riders have the choice of staying out and really shaping a turn from the vertical at #5 to the in-and-out at #6AB, or riding a more direct line. Many are choosing a more direct line.

Sydney Smith’s horse looked a google-eyed and impressed, but she did a lovely job of getting him around and turning in a solid round.

Maddy Darst had a really lovely round, riding with a lot of decisiveness. I’d expect her to be on the standby, for sure. 

Kendall Casaccio made a really awful mental error and went off course, jumping #9 instead of #4.

Kaitlyn Alsup's horse was quite reistant around some of the turns, which detracted from her ride.


7:26 a.m.

The first on course, Lauren Alofsin, completed the course competently with no major errors. Genevieve Zock, as second on course, turned in quite a nice round. Caroline Schock had an unfortunate refusal at the first jump, but went on to finish fine with a later rail, too.

Megan MacPherson was quite impressive, though she got a bit snug to the red oxer at #7. She was elegant and in control of her horse’s step each stride.

Hanaa Khan also had an unfortunate refusal at the first jump, and another later in the triple combination.

This course might not be overtly complicated, but it is demanding that the riders be definite and accurate.  Emma Heise was an example of this, with some nice riding, but a few tight distances and a major distance error to the triple combination. And some horses seem to not want to play today, as Kayla Patregnani’s horse stopped twice at #6AB. 

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