In Ella Dyson’s second appearance at the Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals—West she improved upon her 2021 reserve championship by taking the overall title Sunday, Sept. 25, in San Juan Capistrano, California, riding Cetello.
The three-day, four-phase competition started with flatwork on Friday, followed by gymnastics on Saturday and show jumping Sunday. From the initial field of 23, the top four riders after three phases competed in a final work-off to determine the champion. Joining Dyson in the top four were Jake Endicott, Nicole McMillion and Lauren Kolbe.
“The course was set up really well because there was a big emphasis on time allowed,” said Dyson, 17, San Luis Obispo, California, of the jumping course in Phase III of this year’s final. “I think it really highlighted being efficient around the course. The most challenging part for me was definitely switching horses and getting used to them in such a short amount of time. But it was a lot of fun, and I’m very grateful for the experience.”
Dyson’s tactful riding on four different horses helped secure her top spot, according to judges Beezie Madden and Patricia Griffith.
“Seeing the way all four horses went for Ella was impressive,” Madden said. “She looked like she was able to click with them right away, and they even looked a little bit happier with her.”
“These four impressed us a lot, especially in the ride-off,” Griffith said. “Nobody had any major mishaps, and all were able to roll with the horse change rather well.”
Dyson finished on a final score of 345. Endicott earned the reserve champion title with 330 points. McMillion took third place with 324, and Kolbe rounded out the top four with 315. Dyson’s mount Cetello, a 15-year-old Holsteiner owned by Constance and Elisa Broz, earned the Best Horse award for being the best performing of the final four.
Watch Dyson’s work-off round Sunday aboard Kolbe’s mount Duc De Rhoan, courtesy of USEF Network:
See full results here.