Emma Friedman, 15, from Chiloquin, Oregon, returned to the podium at the 2022 USHJA Horsemanship Quiz Challenge Nationals, earning the title of champion this year after coming in second overall in 2021. The University of Findlay’s James L. Child, Jr. English Equestrian Center in Findlay, Ohio, hosted the competition Nov. 11-13 alongside the Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund/USHJA Emerging Athletes Program National Training Session.
“This win means the world to me. I have been in a small barn in the middle of nowhere all of my life, so having the opportunity to get my name out and having people know who I am just incredible,” said Friedman. “I really want to go as far as I can in this industry.”
Having been in the Top 3 the previous year, Friedman felt the pressure to improve and bring her best effort forward this year. Knowing where her weak spots are, she took extra time to make flashcards, listen to podcasts and watch YouTube videos on those subjects to prepare for Nationals. Her extra study efforts paid off, as she received the highest practicum score of 99.5 out of 100.
“I have over 1,000 flashcards that I wrote by myself and I looked through them one more time. Whenever we are in the car or I can listen to something, I listen to recordings from the rules and I read the guidelines every day,” Friedman said. “I worked a lot on the identification as that was my weak spot last year and so I tried so hard to just improve myself. I watch hundreds of YouTube videos and talked to everyone at my barn [on different topics in the study guide].”
“Right from the start, Emma was just one of the most unique kids we have had come through this program. She is smart, talented and empathetic with the horses,” commented HQC Committee Vice Chair Cricket Stone. “Not only did she do a great job on the written test, she did a wonderful job in the identification room which is a very difficult test, especially for our young riders. Her practicum was almost letter perfect and she displayed incredible horsemanship [through the competition].”
As the winner of HQC Nationals, Friedman received a Charles Owen helmet; a SmartPak gift card; an internship with Spy Coast Farm in Lexington, Kentucky; and a $2,000 training and education grant from the USHJA Foundation.
Ruthie Ruhl, 19, from Ocala, Florida, earned silver after placing individually in the Top 4 in all testing phases. She received a pair of Parlanti paddock boots, a SmartPak gift card, and a $1,500 training and education grant from the USHJA Foundation.
For the second year in a row, Alpine Griffin, 15, of Fort Collins, Colorado, took home bronze. For her placing, she received a handwoven belt from Boy O Boy Bridleworks and a $500 training and education grant from the USHJA Foundation. Fourth-placed finisher, Ariana Schneider, 17, of Clarksville, Tennessee, was awarded a handwoven belt by Boy O Boy Bridleworks.
Kylie Cohen, 20, of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, earned the Sportsmanship Award, which was decided by the Nationals participants. She received a gift card from SmartPak.
Participants were able to learn and audit from special presenters Danny and Keli Warrington with LandSafe Equestrian; Dr. Ryan Zimmerman, a veterinarian on equine reproduction; and Heather Fatzinger with Tribute Equine Nutrition on the importance of nutrition. The participants were also able to audit the Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund/USHJA Emerging Athletes Program National Training Session, featuring clinicians Peter Wylde and Colleen Reed.