Jacksonville, FL - May 30, 2014 -Southeast Medal Finals management is pleased to announce the judging panel for this year's competition, to be held September 18-21, 2014 at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center. The 2014 judges will include Linda Hough, Susie Schoellkopf, Tucker Ericson, and Ron Smith.
Linda Hough, of Wellington, FL, will be one of two judges for the ASPCA Maclay Regional Finals forthe Southeast Region. Hough brings with her over 35 years of experience judging hunt seat equitation, having made her mark as one of the most well respected professionals in the country. Her equitation judging history includes the ASPCA Maclay Finals and the USET Medal Finals, in addition to countless other prestigious shows.
"I'm looking forward to having a really good quality class of good riders. I think the equitation absolutely creates a good foundation for future professionals. I will be looking for classic form, execution of the aids, and a rider that shows natural talent."
For over two decades, Hough ran Sutton Place, a highly successful hunter/jumper barn in Northern California. Her top hunter Bavaria was named the 1990 Chronicle Horse of the Year, and later that year she was she was awarded the California Horsewoman of the Year.
In 2004, she was presented with the WCHR Lifetime Achievement Award and the Daniel P. Lenehan Perpetual Trophy. In 2005, she was inducted into the National Show Hunter Hall of Fame. Her experience and professionalism have made her one of the most popular and highly rated hunter judges in the United States.
"I've judged the Maclay Finals, and the USET Medal Finals three times. I haven't been to the Southeast Medal Finals, but I am looking forward to it."
Joining Hough in judging the ASPCA Maclay Regionals is Susie Schoellkopf of Buffalo, NY, who has judged at the Southeast Medal finals for the past two years. Schoellkopf is the owner of SBS Farms, Inc, one of the top show barns in the country. She has trained several equitation riders with major wins. She brings with her many years of judging experience.
"I just think that it's great to see the kids that have qualified. I am judging with Linda Hough who is a great friend of mine so it will be a really nice situation to be in, we both respect each other and we both are looking for the same thing - good riding and good horsemanship. I think the equitation is a big part of creating a good foundation for our future professional riders. James Lala has a real interest in this class so I think it will be a really nice weekend."
Her dedication to the sport is evident though her involvement with the USEF and USHJA. Schoellkopf is Chairman of the Zone 2 Hunter Committee and the USEF Hunter Task Force.
"I've been on committees for a really long time. I think it is important to have a national group that is really aware of what is going on. We all work together to make the sport better."
"I am honored that not just one, but two of the country's most sought-after and highly-regarded judges will be gracing us with their judicial expertise," said James Lala, producer of Southeast Medal Finals. "Linda and Susie have the equivalent of their Masters and PHD in equitation judging."
Southeast Medal Finals is becoming one of the most prestigious and important shows in the U.S. The inaugural show in 2012 got the attention of the equestrian audience when Meg O'Mara, trained by Don Stewart won the ASPCA Maclay Regionals. O'Mara went on to win the Pessoa/ US Hunter Seat Equitation Medal Finals that same year.
Tucker Ericson of Ocala, FL is an esteemed R-rated judge who has judged equitation and hunters at the country's top shows, such as Devon, HITS Ocala, Upperville, and Old Salem Farm.
Ron Smith will judge the Phelps Media Group Southeast Junior Medal Final and Southeast Adult Medal Final. Smith hails from Jacksonville, FL and will round out this year's judging panel.
Southeast Medal Finals is hosted by one of the premier equestrian facilities on the east coast, the Jacksonville Equestrian Center. It is centrally located for USHJA Zone 4 and Region 3 competitors. The complex includes a network of adjacent trails, available to explore and enjoy for a casual hack during horse show down times. With some of the top riders in the country competing, Southeast Medal Finals is the perfect preparation for the fall indoor circuit. To learn more about Southeast Medal Finals check out www.southeastmdalfinals.com.