Westerville, Ohio—Nov. 15
“First of all it’s an honor to be here and to ride with amazing riders,” said Danielle Roskens after claiming the 2015 Emerging Athletes Program National Training Session Championship. “I was really impressed with all the riders this weekend and the horses. To be chosen as the winner is a huge honor.”
“Dani is the all-around package,” said lead clinician Peter Wylde. “She’s an exceptionally thoughtful and talented rider. She’s astute; she is focused; she makes a huge effort.”
It was for these reasons and more that Wylde and his fellow clinicians named Danielle Roskens as the 2015 overall EAP champion on the conclusion of the three-day clinic. Ransome Rombauer claimed the reserve title and the second slot in the George H. Morris Horsemastership Clinic (Fla.) from Dec. 30 to Jan. 2.
“We had her here last year and were really considering her last year,” Wylde said. “I’m glad that she came back and was able to improve in every department and win this year. She’s a great kid; she’s another great ambassador for EAP in my opinion.”
Over the course of the weekend, Roskens was able to form a bond with Macintosh, a gelding owned by Stonegate Farms. Combined with the horsemanship skills Roskens displayed throughout the weekend, that helped the judges make their decision.
“She’s very skillful and the horse that she worked with got better and better and better,” noted Wylde, and he said he looks forward to watching her grow in the sport.
Roskens, of South Lyon, Mich., has a lot of practice riding new and different mounts. Never one to turn down a ride, the 19-year-old jumps at the chance to learn from as many different trainers as she can.
But when she first drew her horse, Roskens was unsure how the rest of the weekend would play out. Macintosh came out fresh on the first day of the clinic and seemed to defiantly stick his head high in the air during the flat portion.
“The first day honestly I thought he was going to be really complicated,” said Roskens. “He didn’t really want to come over his back, and he was just kind of doing his own thing and didn’t really want to take advice from me.”
“He actually turned out to be a really cool horse,” she continued. “He did everything that I asked; I couldn’t have asked for a better horse.”
On the final day Roskens used all her knowledge from the weekend, and she and Macintosh worked well together to show the judges the partnership they had formed. That included jumping two faultless rounds for her team in the Nations Cup style competition held at the end of the program.
A Different Type Of Competition
Each of the four groups in the program came together today to form teams named after the sponsors of the EAP. Riders were to jump the same course twice and be ready to jump off should there be a tie for first.
The course was by no means easy as there were several bending lines and two one-stride combinations set against the walls that tripped several people up with distances that led to rails.
Ashley Scott Armstrong and her mount Flynn had a refusal at the first one-stride, but redeemed themselves with a clear in round 2. Rosie Powers’ horse Thomas wanted nothing to do with the in-and-out; the two parted ways in the first round and were eliminated again in the second.
At the end of the day, Team Dover Saddlery (Quinn Larimer, Kendra Duggleby, Rachael Davis, and Roskens) claimed the gold medal as each of their horse-and-rider combinations delivered double clean rounds.
Team Charles Owen (Ransome Rombauer, Cary Hundley, Adelaide Toensing, and Mackenzie Haskell) and Team Standlee Hay (Ashley Scott Armstrong, Michael Williams, Megan Spitzer, and Abigail Lowin) tied on 4 faults, so in true Nations Cup fashion the judges determined second place based on the three fastest times of each team. Team Charles Owen just edged out Team Standlee Hay for the silver, and Team Rood & Riddle slotted into fourth.
Next came the ride-off, where the clinicians called back five riders—Roskens, Davis, Rombauer, Hundley, and Abigail Brayman—to compete for the title of EAP Champion. Each rider swapped to a different mount to ride a shortened track and show off her equitation skills on a different ride.
Roskens drew Lowin’s mount Josie, the only mare in the program this year. From watching Lowin ride, Roskens knew she would have to be bold to the lines as the mare was a smaller, short strided horse.
“The lines they picked for the ride-off were all of the longer lines of course,” laughed Roskens. “I had to ride the whole thing very positive. I knew that if I let myself pick a smaller distance that I wasn’t going to be able to jump out. I was happy that I made it down all the lines and didn’t crash and burn, so that was good.”
Roskens has no concrete plans for next year other than the George Morris Clinic but is excited for the opportunity, as she has never ridden at the Winter Equestrian Festival.
“It doesn’t even feel real yet. It’s just such a cool opportunity,” said Roskens. “I think that everything I’ve learned the two years I’ve done EAP is just stuff that is going to help me throughput my entire life.”
Other USHJA EAP National awards:
- Best turned out horse went to Megan Spitzer’s mount Pluto.
- Mike, an off-the-track Thoroughbred owned by Stonegate Farms, was named overall outstanding horse.
- Hannah Bentz received both the sportsmanship award and the award for outstanding stable manager
USHJA Horsemanship Quiz Challenge Finals awards:
- Alexandra Myers was this year’s overall winner of the Horsemanship Quiz Challenge
- The team representing the Pony Club—Alexandra Myers, Kiersten Pratt, and Alexis DiPasqua—finished in first place.
Read all about Day 1 of the EAP Nationals in “Back To Basics On The First Day Of EAP Nationals” and all about the second day’s lessons in striding and adjustability in “It’s All About Options On Day 2 At EAP.”