THE FIRST ROUND
I'll try and post every 25 riders or so, with updates on how the course is riding, who has done well, who hasn't, etc. Please don't expect an account of every rider's trip, but I'll try to keep you up to date!! Scroll down to see the most recent posting.
Disclaimer: I’m providing this as a service to those who are interested, and I'm just recording my observations. I’m not a judge, just a reporter who has watched the Medal Finals in their entirety for the past 11 years. You may not agree with my notes, and that’s fine—I’m not putting them out there as the authoritative word, but as information for those interested. That said, read on!
THE FIRST 25
Sydney Smith didn’t follow the course directions of proceeding directly to Fence 1, instead trotting to the end of the ring, then circling to the jump. She did the intermediate option at the turn from Fence 6 to 7. All in all, she had quite a nice round with no major mistakes.
Elizabeth Kenny trotted into the ring, then struck up and canter and went to Fence 1. She also did the intermediate turn to Fence 7, going around the straw bales but inside Fence 9. She had a very nice, flowing trip.
Christina Couper stuck off the ground at Fence 6 and wisely made the choice to swing wide to Fence 7, going around Fence 9. She squeezed three strides into 10AB. A fine round.
Allison Fithian cantered right down the ring and to Fence 1. She fit five strides to 4ABC, and stalled off the ground at A, putting two strides from A to B. She was the first to make the tighter option turn, through the gap, to Fence 7 and did it nicely.
Elizabeth Mahoney had a fine trip, with no major mistakes, but it had an overall tense feel to it. Olivia Jack had quite a lovely go, with confident decisions and a confident flow. She did the shorter turn option from 6 to 7.
Taylor Ann Adams was having a beautiful, flowing trip and was riding forward and positively, but she ran into trouble at 10AB. She jumped in quite definitely, but her horse wasn’t sure about the two strides and jumped out awkwardly.
Shawn Casady rode a decisive track and just had a few distances that were a hari close. Victoria Efird’s horse spooked at the end of the ring on her way to the first fence, but she got him going again. He then spooked at the ferns and straw bales after Fence 6 and she trotted the turn to Fence 7. He then stopped at the wall at Fence 8 and had a rail at Fence 9.
Abby O’Mara got a bit tight to 4A and got jumped a little bit loose through the combination. She then did the intermediate turn option to Fence 7. A rail came down at Fence 10. In all, not as organized as the judges are looking for.
Catie Verano did the wide turn to Fence 7, and then a more direct line to the wall at 8. But her horse slammed the brakes on at the Swedish oxer at 9, and then she added a stride in 10AB. Carolyn VanHouten chose the intermediate turn option from 6 to 7, but then got quite close to the coop at 7. A solid trip with just a few minor imperfections.
Navona Gallegos started with a bold, forward ride at the first jump and didn’t look back. She chose the tighter turn option to Fence 7 and it worked out well for her. I’d say this was the best round we’ve seen so far.
Piper Donnelly’s horse stopped three times at 4A, ending her day. Alison Rose’s horse spooked at the out-gate on her way to the wall at Fence 9, disrupting her line, but she rode the rest of the course quite nicely.
Michael Kocher rode very accurately and deliberately, negotiating the tighter turn to Fence 7 and then riding a bending three strides in 10AB, which worked well. There were a few tight distances, but an overall good trip.
Rebecca Sexton had a nice trip on her big-jumping horse. Kathryn Haley did the intermediate turning option to Fence 7, then chose to go around Fence 5 on her way to the narrow wall, which worked well. A workmanlike trip for her.
Gabrielle Bausano had quite a nice round. Hasbrouck Donovan turned a wonderfully, flowing trip on a big-strided horse. Her round had a hunter look to it, and she negotiated all the tighter turn options well. A round that should definitely put her on the stand-by.
Colby Wood had a rail at 4A, then added in the combination at 10AB. Emma Kennedy turned in a solid round, having chosen a wider turn to Fence 7. Olivia Clancy’s horse lost impulsion on the turn to 4ABC, and she did two strides in between each of the elements. But she completed the rest of the course just fine.
Tess Renker’s horse took exception to the birch rolltops at 4A and wouldn’t go near them, so she was excused. Haleigh Landrigan’s horse also looked hard and stopped at 4A, but jumped through after she re-presented. Another stop at 10B ended her round.
Riders 26 - 50
Breanna Mutzig lost impulsion on the turn to 4A and had a rail and added strides in the combination, then her horse stopped at the wall at Fence 8. Mutzig got unbalanced and circled again, and the judges excused her for two stops.
Chelsey E. Zulia’s horse seemed to trip upon landing from 4A and crashed through 4B. She pulled out of the combination, then jumped it perfectly on re-approach. Unfortunately, her horse stopped at 10B, ending her round.
Kimberly Sarrica had a few inconsistent distances and added a stride in 10AB. Larissa Laffey’s horse looked a bit tense, but she rode well. They had a rail at Fence 5. Haley Buchmiller had a few rails. Avery Waite lost impulsion on the turn to 4A and added a stride to 4B, then her horse stopped at 4C. She re-organized and completed the course.
Madeleine Stover chose the wide turn around Fence 9 to approach Fence 7, then added in 10AB. Andrea Robbins had a nice round, but a rail at the last fence. Molly Braswell's horse looked a bit at 4A, but she rode him positively and it worked out. She negotiated the tight turn to Fence 7 well, and rode a definite, decisive track throughout—a very nice go.
Miranda Travers-Cavill rode a nice round, choosing to go around Fence 9 on the way to Fence 7. Leah Chenelle turned in quite a solid round. Kristen Russomanno had a few less-than-organized moments, but did well. Olivia Dorey’s horse jumped with lovely extravagant efforts, and she rode him quite positively and quietly in a lovely trip.
Laura Baginski was having a nice trip, but didn’t get organized quite enough on the turn to the narrow wall at Fence 8 and her horse stopped. Callie Morgan Smith’s horse jumped over the flowers on the edge of the narrow wall at Fence 8 instead of over the actual wall, but her trip was quite nice otherwise. Kaelin Tully had a nice go, but had to muscle her horse a little on their tight turn back to Fence 7.
Lucy Davis rode the intermediate line from Fence 6 to 7 and did it well, then rode a beautiful track to the wall at 8. A very lovely round from this Californian. Cassandra Kahle rode a precise, forward and flowing round—she should make it to the stand-by.
Samantha Smith's horse had to reach a bit to get out over the oxer at 4C, but she had quite a nice and precise ride everywhere else. Rebecca Clawson found a forward distance to the first fence, then a bit of a close distance to Fence 2. She chose to go wide and outside turns to Fences 7 and 8, which worked out well for her.
Elizabeth Benson found a tight distance into the 10AB combination, but was obviously intending on doing the bending three strides in there, and got that done. Her round was otherwise quite tidy. Hillary Sapanski got tight to 4A and had the back rail down there. Then, her horse spooked at the Swedish oxer on the turn to the coop at Fence 7 and interrupted her flow a bit, but she finished well.
Kara Dunegan’s horse looked bright, and peeked quite hard at 4A, giving her some ballooning jumps through the combination. She rode an obviously wide-eyed horse quite tactfully and positively. Kylee Arbuckle had a solid round.
Riders 51 - 74
Elizabeth Wilkins had a bit of an awkward jump at 4A, and turned wide and outside to the coop at Fence 7 and the wall at 8, but completed nicely.
Jessica Springsteen is probably the most anticipated rider on course—last year’s ASPCA Maclay Finals winner. She had a few rubs, but rode the tight option turn to the coop at Fence 7 flawlessly, then serpentined to the wall at 8 just as well. A very nice trip that should put her close to the top of the next standby.
Saer Coulter was on her way to a lovely, flowing round, but her horse stuck off the ground at 1oA and had the rail down, then added a stride to 10B and had that rail too. Zazou Hoffman rode Ivy to a very elegant go. She did the intermediate turn to the coop at 7—outside the straw bales but inside Fence 9. A very nice trip.
Nicoletta Von Heidegger found a very deep distance to the first fence, but rode the rest of the course quite nicely. Hayley Barnhill rode a confident, round, but her horse toppled the blocks off the top of the wall at Fence 8.
Reed Kessler had a rail at Fence 6 and went the long way to the coop, around Fence 9. A very polished trip. Hannah Stevens had a sticky first fence, then stopped at 10B and fell off.
Taylor Harris, riding Kristy McCormack’s old equitation horse Sundance, took a long route to Fence 1 and then had a lovely round. She did have a few rubs, and a swap at the Swedish oxer. Brittany Hurst had an elegant round—very soft and quiet--but a rail at 10A.
Danielle Kaidanow turned in quite a nice trip. Madison Cameron cross-cantered on the turn to Fence 2, then had a sticky fence there. Her horse looked hard at the wall, but she completed just fine. Alexa Bayko wasn’t definite about the five strides to the last jump, and her horse kind of plowed through the last oxer.
Emma Roberts jumped in weak to the triple combination and stopped at 4B but finished just fine. Amanda Seelig’s horse stopped twice at 4A, ending their round. Arielle Cotroneo’s round was a bit disorganized, and she almost trotted on the turn to the coop at 7.
The last five strides got a bit tight for Jennifer Delman, but she had a nice, solid round. Jordan Santi jumped into the triple combination at 4ABC weakly, and stopped at 4B. Her horse stopped at 4C on her second attempt to end their day.
Kylie Anne Wright’s gray horse put the brakes on at 4A but jumped through just fine on the second attempt. He stopped again at the wall at Fence 8. Ryan Umberger had a sticky jump at 4A and then a rail at 10B. Lauren Powers’s horse ran out at the wall at 9, but jumped it the second time and she finished well.
Kendall Meijer also had a run-out at the wall but finished the course fine. Laura Griffith rode elegantly and precisely, having a nice round. Caitlin Ziegler was on her way to a very nice round, but her horse just didn’t focus on the narrow wall and ran past it. She also had a rail at the last oxer.
Ryan Sassmannshausen turned in quite a nice go. Hillary McNerney had a long distance to Fence 1, and a rail at 10B. Holly Dickinson had a bit of a rough ride to 4A, but a smooth trip otherwise.
Michele Petrilli ‘s horse made huge efforts over the jumps, but Petrilli rode him well. Madison Mckay wandered a little bit on the turn to the triple combination, but jumped through it fine and completed the course well.
Laura King had a rail at 4A. Kaitlyn Harrison had a good round, but found quite a long distance to the Swedish oxer. Catherine Pasmore rode very well, but a rail fell at Fence 11. Caroline Becker had spectators clucking for her in a few places, but a nice trip.
Elizbeth (Ali) Boone didn’t have the smoothest of turns to 4A, and then a stop at the wall at 8, but she finished just fine. Taylor Brown rode a beautiful round to much applause. Emily Abbruzzi’s horse ran out at the wall at Fence 8, but she finished well. Sybil Jane Rose had a quit at the second fence, but went on to jump well after that.
Quincy Hayes had a lovely round. Olivia L. Trueb rode nicely, but had a long distance to the Swedish oxer and coming out of the 10AB combination. Cassie Moffatt chipped to 10A and added a stride on the combination, which marred an otherwise lovely round. Madison Games’ horse looked strong and keen, and she had a rough ride around.
Zoe McGee found a deep distance to the Swedish oxer and had a rail at the last fence. Rachel Crown had a few rubs and her horse looked a bit keen, but had a good ride. Natalie Crane found a long one to the Swedish oxer, then jumped through 10A. She pulled out of the combination, then re-approached 10B and finished her course.
Kathleen Johnson had a wiggly ride to the narrow wall, and a rail down at 10A in an otherwise fine ride. Lilly Johnson took a bit of a flyer to the Swedish oxer, then had a rail at the last fence. Rachel Scnurr did a drive-by at the wall, but went on to complete the course. Rachel Bingham’s horse looked impressed and made some awkward efforts, then ran out at 10A.
Laura Hinsdale found a deep distance to the wall at Fence 8, but had a good rest of her trip. Jocelyn Neff finished the first 100 to go with an excellent trip.
THE STANDBY AFTER THE FIRST 100
Riders 101 - 125
Amber Henter rode positively forward and had flowing round, but dropped a rail at 10A. Catherine Cowie was having a good go until the triple bar at 11, where an awkward effort dislodged her and she fell off on landing. Heather Frymark’s horse was surprised by 4A and she had a bit of a rough ride through the combination, and then had rails at 10A and B and Fence 12.
Laura Pfeiffer rode an elegant, well-planned track, but her horse jumped over his front end at the wall. It was the only real flaw in an otherwise very polished trip.
Samantha Elser ended up a little tight in a few places and her mount fell off the track through the turn to the birch rails. She ended up having a rail at the last fence. Maggie Boylan also got a little tight to a few fences and had to run to get the broken lines done the way she wanted. But she settled by the end, with a few lovely fences. Baylor Wickes trotted before Fence 5, then stopped at the oxer at 6. She completed the course with no other major errors.
Jaime Steinhaus rode a great-jumping flashy chestnut horse very well and showed a good knowledge of track and pace. Madeline Turner was a bit under pace and had a rail at Fence 5. Audrey Carlson found a few long distances—at the wall and the Swedish oxer—but had an otherwise lovely trip.
Samantha Harrison went well, but misjudged the turn to Fence 11 and had to chase a bit to get there.
Kalvin Dobbs’s horse was quite dodgy on the approach to the triple combination, but they jumped through it fine and finished well. Britta Carlson rode well and jumped around without problem. Tess McMahon was a bit inconsistent about a few distances, but otherwise fine.
Tess Fortune’s horse looked a bit keen and quick, but she handled it well and rode quite a nice track.
Chase Boggio had a lovely go. He lost some rhythm on the turn back to the coop at Fence 7, but had a lovely flow and efficient turns. Sydney Callaway took a bit of a flier to the Swedish oxer, but had an otherwise good go. Alison Joyce had a run-out at the Swedish and then again at the triple-bar, ending her day.
Brandi Carpenter and her horse didn’t always agree about where to leave the ground, and had rails at 10A and B, but completed the course. Cori Reich had to lead her horse from the ring when he stopped at 4A, and then at 4B when she re-approached, and she popped off onto the ground.
Devon Wood had a rail at Fence 6 and again at the last fence. Samantha Kraus’s horse put the brakes on twice at 4A, sending her back to the barn early. Caroline Ingalls ran into trouble at the triple combination, jumping in a bit weak and adding a stride to the B element, then having to pull out before jumping the C element. She jumped through fine on re-approach, but then her horse did a drive-by of the wall at Fence 8.
Demi Stiegler’s horse was sticky off the ground at Fence 3 and toppled all the rails, then stopped at the wall. On by the in-gate the way to third fence, Emily Van der Walde’s horse decided he didn’t want to play today and stopped and spun twice, ending her day.
Riders 126 - 150
Olivia Esse turned in quite a nice trip with no major errors. Alicia Heberle’s horse required quite a bit of persuasion to even get in the ring, and then took a distinct dislike to 4A, stopping. She completed the course. Eliza Frankel was a bit rushed around the course and found a few deep distances.
Leah Curtiss’ horse was in a bit of a hurry around the course, and pulled a rail at 10A. Ashley Ann McGehee didn’t plan and execute her turns very deliberately, and her horse put the brakes on quite suddenly at the last fence. Rachel Roter got underneath a few of the fences.
Lauren Sogard put in a lovely go. Katherine Mirabito had a rail at Fences 3 and 5 and knocked the blocks off the top of the wall. Lacey Gilbertson kept the jump crew busy, replacing the blocks off the top of the wall. Kelley Levine as a bit inconsistent about distances and had a rail at 10A. Eirin Bruheim had a rail at 10B and a few distances that weren’t ideal.
Catherine Billings rode precisely and elegantly, but had a snug distance to the wall. Emily D’Alessandro made an abrupt, rough turn back to the coop at Fence 7, then had a rail at 10A. Nicole Pizzi had a rail at Fence 6 and a few less-than-ideal distances.
Lillie Keenan graduated from the pony ranks with a very nice trip. Schaefer Raposa's horse stuck off the ground a bit through the triple combination and then jumped the flowers next the wall instead of the wall. Nancy Vinal left one out on the way to the Swedish oxer, but had a good ride everywhere else.
Tina Dilandri rode with a lot of polish and style, turning in a lovely, huntery trip that should impress the judges. She breathed a big sigh of relief and smiled on the way out of the ring. Olivia Hupy rode a flowing round, but pulled a rail at 10B.
Emma Johnson (our resident Chronicle blogger!) had a few rubs, but executed the tight rollback to the coop very well and was very polished and elegant. Sara Green was looking great—very poised and confident, but she left a bit long to the Swedish oxer and had the rail down there. She and her horse seemed a bit rattled, and he stopped at 10B, but they went on to complete the course.
Rebekah Scharfe was a bit weak jumping through the triple combination and had the rail down at 4C. Her horse wiggled on the approach to the wall, and they had the blocks down there too. Karen Polle didn’t plan well on the turn after the coop and almost ran into the vertical at Fence 5 on her way to the wall. She had to stop, turn and circle and re-approach Fence 8.
Rachel Griffin’s horse was opposed to the idea of jumping 4A on their first approach and stopped, spun and reared, but jumped right through on the second try. They finished the course without further problem. Meg O’Mara didn’t have the smoothest of turns in some places, but rode confidently.
THE STANDBY AFTER 150
Riders 151 - 175
Catherine Tyree couldn’t quite get into a rhythm over the early fences and had some weak jumps. Christina Gellos is one of the few to do the tighter turn option to Fence 7 and she executed it very well. Her track and pace were very good throughout the course as well.
Hannah Williams didn’t have the smoothest approach to the triple combination, and then got deep to Fence 6. Kylie McMahon hit trouble at 4ABC, jumping in a bit weak, going through the B element, and pulling out. On the second try, they jumped through and completed the course. Carolyn Lee had a few sticky fences on their way around the course.
Mahala Rummell got deep to a few fences, but had a capable round. Colby Hassfurther was a bit weak through the 10AB combination, but completed the course without a major flaw. Evelyn Graff had to ride hard to the triple combination and added a stride between the first two elements, but kicked on an jumped out fine and finished up well.
Christy DiStefano's horse spooked hard at 4A and stopped. She circled and jumped right through it on the second try and had a beautiful rest of a trip. Alexandra Arute had a very nice go, but looked a bit under pace on some turns and had a rail at the last oxer. Rachel Thurman rode confidently and precisely for a good round.
Danielle Cooper chipped to the first jump, then stopped at Fence 2. Her day ended when her horse stopped again at 4A. Nicole Bellissimo stuttered a bit through the triple combination, then lost a bit of control and drove by 10B and had a run-out at 11.
Taylor Kain didn’t have a good ride through the triple combination, and had a rail at 4A. She recovered to finish the course well. Morgan Hale jumped around well. Christina Lin rode confidently and made no mistakes.
Linnea Nymberg got in weak and deep to the triple combination and added a stride in each element as well as having the rail at 4B down. She also had a deep distance and rail at the Swedish oxer.
Jacqueline Lubrano's horse peeked at the birch oxer at 4A and was a bit sticky through the triple, but she rode him strongly and got it done well. The rest of her course was precise and fluid. Samantha Schaefer turned in a round that should put her right into the mix—very flowing, precise and with a great rhythm.
Anders Keitz got a bit deep to Fence 2, then her horse overjumped a bit through the triple combination. She then found deep distances to the wall and the Swedish and had a rail at 10A. Selby Merritt’s horse took exception to 4A and stopped, but jumped right through on the second approach. He then stopped at the wall, ending her round.
Colleen Biemer got a bit snug to the wall, but had a solid round. Kelsey Thatcher had a fine round.
Riders 176 - 200
Kelsey Wickham had a bit of a sticky ride through the triple combination, then knocked the blocks off the top of the wall. Samantha Oliva stopped at 10A, but went on to complete the course.
Lydia Todd, who was scheduled to go 165th, was delayed by a lost shoe in the schooling area. Her round was nice, with a good turn back to the coop, but she got a bit disorganized at the wall and the Swedish oxer.
Christine Elizabeth Riddle left one out to the Swedish oxer, then lost a bit of her poise and rushed down the last line, having a rail at the last jump. Grace Rogers rode quite a lovely round, though she got a bit flustered and hurried at the end and had a rail at the last oxer.
Kelsey Bernini wasn’t as precise in her turns as approaches as she could have been, and had a rail at the Swedish oxer. Michael Hughes got a hair long to Fence 1, but rode the tight inside turn to the coop well and was forward and fluid for the rest of the course.
Caitlin Hope just couldn’t seem to find a rhythm and lost her stirrup through the triple combination. She had a stop at the wall, then a very awkward jump at 10B. Marlena Parker had a sticky ride through the triple combination and trotted the wall. Then, her horse lurched over 10A and she got dislodged and had to circle before jumping 10B.
Margo Lyons, mounted on an adorable big pinto, rode confidently and with poise, though the front rail of the last oxer came down. Julianna Richardson held the counter-canter through the turn from Fence 5 to 6, and executed her plan very well, but she had the blocks down off the top of the wall.
Kelly Lively had o give her horse a strong ride to get him through the triple combination, but she got it done. His wide-eyedness caused rails at the Swedish and 10A, though. Melena Smith rode quite competently but was just a bit rough around the edges.
Alexandra Cheng’s big gray horse came in the ring and started bouncing up and down. He looked green, but settled quickly. They were going well until he stopped at the wall, but she continued to ride him tactfully and completed the course. Samantha Pyle’s horse stopped at the first jump and then fell into it, ending her day before it began.
Isabella Meyer had a stop leading into the triple combination, then her horse jumped through well. Her horse looked a touch impressed at the course, but she rode positively and completed the course nicely. Kristen Mohr, last year’s NAL Children’s Medal winner, took the wider turn options but completed the course competently, with a cross-canter or two.
Caroline Gillen had a few rough moments in the turns, added in 10AB, and then had a rail at the last. Leney Roberts was a bit under pace and had the block off the top if the wall. Olivia Chowdry wasn’t precise about her turns and almost ran into Fence 9 on her way to the coop at 7. She also had a rail at the Swedish oxer and was unbalanced by an awkward jump at 10B, having to circle before completing the course. Bailey Hughes had a stop at 4A, but carried on and finished the course well.
Colin Quinlan was a bit weak through the triple combination and had the last rail down, but had a very nice round otherwise on a lovely dapple gray horse. Nora Laue rode forward and positively, with just a few inconsistent distances. Morgan Geller looked a hair rushed and got deep to a few of the fences.
Catie Staszak had problems containing her horse’s stride and had rails at Fence 5 and 10A and stops at the wall and Fence 11. Alexa Anthony almost ran into Fence 9 on her way to the coop, and had the block off the wall.
THE STANDBY AFTER 200
Riders 201 - 239
Kristin Amichetti had some control issues and a rough ride around the course. Casey Freedman’s round was a bit helter-skelter, with some rough turns, but she completed the course without major error. Carly Corbacho had difficulty establishing a rhythm and didn’t release in the air, and her horse ran past 10B twice to end her day.
Erica Polle lost some of her poise and polish after leaving long for the Swedish oxer, but had a nice round. Leylan Gleeson had an awkward jump at the wall, having the blocks down, and a few inconsistent distances.
Cayla Richards found a long distance into the triple combination, then had trouble establishing a forward rhythm. She had the blocks off the top of the wall. Jennifer Waxman didn’t put a foot wrong, and rode the serpentine from the oxer at 6 to the coop and the wall just right. I’d expect her to be appearing in the second round.
Sophie Verges didn’t execute her turn to the coop well and had to dodge Fence 9 on the way, but was nice everywhere else. Reid Rickett’s horse quit at 4A on the first approach, but jumped through on the second try. He then stopped again at the Swedish oxer. Katherine Schmidt was having a lovely go, but didn’t have quite enough gas in the last line and had the back rail of both Fence 11 and 12 down.
Parker Schooley’s horse’s eyes popped out at 4A and he stopped twice there, ending her round. Nicki Alexander got jumped a bit loose over some of the jumps, but had a nice pace and track.
Gabbi Langston rode a very deliberate track and had a lovely rhythm, but the blocks on top of the wall came down for her. Maggie Meathe trotted on the turn to the coop and looked a bit underpaced. Her horse then stopped at the Swedish oxer and at 10B.
Julianna Fischer had trouble established a good rhythm and had a few rails. Genevieve Zock rocked the rail in the cups at Fence 4, but had a lovely and fluid trip otherwise. Unfortunately, the last back rail fell for her. Grace Carucci had a helter-skelter ride through the triple combination, but rode the rest of the course with aplomb and a lovely pace. The last rail came down for her, too, though.
Anna Becker rode the approach to the triple combination very positively and well, and had good control of pace and track throughout the track. A long and weak distance to the Swedish oxer was her only real problem. Kelsey Hart was having a very nice round until she sort of skidded into 10A and had a rough time in that combination.
Samantha Ramsay had a very nice trip, despite a bit of a long one to the Swedish oxer. Carolyn Lichtenberg rode a lovely hunter-type pace with a soft touch. Liza Finsness’ horse did a drive-by of the wall twice, eliminating her.
Caroline Spogli was a bit under pace coming into the triple combination and had to ride hard to get it done. She had a rough ride to the Swedish and an awkward jump through 10AB, having to circle before Fence 11. Victoria Birdsall had a lovely round, except for a long distance to the Swedish oxer.
Abigail McArdle had a rail and Fence 5 and then a quiet distance to Fence 6, but was quite elegant everywhere else. Charlotte Jacobs’ horse whinnied as they trotted into the ring, causing the crowd to giggle a bit. She rode quite confidently and accurately with a lot of polish and style.
Emily White had rails at Fence 6 and 12, but rode well. Megan MacPherson didn’t have the smoothest of turns, but completed the course without any major problems. Emma Schauder had a few accuracy issues and a rail at the last fence, but rode well.
S. Michael Millon stopped at the second fence and then had a bit of a sticky ride through the triple. He finished up well. Julia Fowler had a rail at Fence 5 and a few other hard rubs, but a nice, fluid trip otherwise. Alexandra Carlton’s horse spooked and got strong after Fence 6 and she had to ride him pretty obviously in a few places, but she gave him an encouraging pat after they were done.
Jillian Celestino got deep to the wall and had the blocks off the top, then had an awkward jump at the Swedish oxer. West Coast phenom Theo Boris, who won the USEF Show Jumping Talent Search-West Finals, had a surprising stop at 4A after he didn’t seem to make a decision about a distance and again at Fence 6, ending their bid.
Kathleen Mahoney’s horse took strong exception to 4A and stopped a few strides out, but she represented riding very positively and jumped through it fine. He then stopped again at the wall, however. Sarah Van Der Walde stuttered a bit through the triple combination and had a rail at Fence 5, but completed the course just fine.
Kelly Tropin got deep to the Swedish oxer, but had a very nice trip other than that. Paulena Johnson rode with authority and made a distance that was a shade long to the Swedish work quite well. All in all, a very polished performance. Katie Tyler finished up the first-round activities with a nice start to her trip, but didn’t make enough of a decision about 10A and had a stop there.
THE FINAL STANDBY (this order is reversed from previous standbies--it's in reverse order of preference)