Thermal, Calif.—March 18
The feature equitation class of the Desert Circuit, the R.W. Mutch Equitation Championship, has never been a lucky one for Avery Glynn.
“The last time I did it, I was a lot younger and a lot greener,” said Glynn, 18. “I’ve probably done this class three times, and all three times I was really bad. This class was my enemy. …This year I was coming for blood. I was like, ‘This is my last junior year, I’m pulling out all the stops.’ ”
Glynn did just that, wowing the judges to rise to the top of the 32-rider class. She scored a decisive victory over Zoe Wolf, with Audrey Carmody taking third.
Riders had to qualify for the class through their placings in major equitation classes all circuit. But earning a ticket may have been the easy part. Before the first round of Saturday’s championship began, riders were sequestered from their trainers and had to hand over their cell phones, which were zipped in plastic bags and given to a steward. Riders had to walk the courses and warm up with no outside help. A warm-up judge awarded up to 2 points—or took away up to 2 points—according to the skill with which they prepared their horses. Competitors were allowed to have a groom set jumps for them at the riders’ instruction.
But those rules didn’t faze Glynn.
“I actually love that because I really think that it gives me time to focus, and I can just think about myself,” she said. “I think it’s a different test. I think all the other kids aren’t used to that [but walking a course alone is] something I’ve done a lot before. I’m used to sometimes figuring out things for myself, and I think it’s a great practice for everyone that they all get to do something like this.”
For the first round riders contested a tricky equitation course in the Grand Prix Ring set by Joey Rycroft. Riders trotted into a bounce, then continued to Fence 4, an oxer, then an oxer-vertical in-and-out three strides later. Riders also had to counter-canter through a turn to Fence 7. While the tests tripped up plenty of competitors, Glynn laid down a strong ride that put her on top with an average score of 90.
Watch their first round, courtesy of ShowGroundsLive.com:
During the two-hour break between rounds Glynn took her mount—Mackenzie Greer’s 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood (Cardento—Engy HDH), Zeren—for a short hack so she could keep her warm up for Round 2 to a minimum. Then she got away from the stress and energy in the barns by grabbing a snack and hunkering down in her car to relax and enjoy some air conditioning.
For the second round riders faced a jumper test, which suited Glynn just fine as she’s been competing in the high junior jumpers quite a bit this circuit.
“I really felt like this as a course I could go in and be bold,” said Glynn, Petaluma, California. “It’s a jumper-style course—you have a time allowed—and I really felt like when I walked the course, I could do the leave-outs in places where everything would just flow nicely. …They set a triple bar at Fence 1, which I liked because you could really push them up to the base of it. And I basically just picked up a gallop, and I felt like I kept it throughout the entire course, and everything just flowed so nicely off of that.”
The judges thought her course flowed nicely, too, rewarding her with marks of 92 and 96 to take the title.
Glynn has been getting help in the equitation ring from a slew of coaches that include her mother, Hope Glynn; her father, Ned Glynn; Jim Hagman and the team at Elvenstar Farms; and Zeren’s trainer Halie Robinson.
“I would say every trainer focuses on a different thing,” she said. “For me I’d say my position, I think about a lot. I think it’s easy to let that slip to the back of your mind. Even if it’s just a flat lesson, if I could have someone watch and give me their tips. I really appreciate it.”
Avery is boarding a plane today to head to Wellington, Florida, to prepare with her East Coast trainers at North Run for another equitation class: the WEF Equitation Championship that takes place March 24. That class follows a similar format to the R.W. Mutch, so Avery feels especially prepared.
“Hopefully I’ll be repeating this [win],” she said.
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