At the beginning of July, the best junior riders on the East Coast showed they could handle the high-pressure environment of the USEF Junior Hunter National Championships, and on July 22-23, the West Coast contingent had their chance to shine at the Sonoma Horse Park, in Petaluma, California.
Meet the young riders who left Sonoma with plenty of new prizes.
Overall Grand Champion: Jordan Allen and Small Occasion
“This is an accomplishment I’ve dreamt of for years, so it’s really exciting,” said Allen of West Bloomfield, Michigan. “[Small Occasion] obviously could do it, because she is incredible! Really, I just wanted to go in and ride well for her, because she could win with her eyes closed.”
Allen and Small Occasion, a 10-year-old Holsteiner mare owned by Elizabeth Reilly, Chris M. Iwasaki and Augusta Iwasaki, expertly navigated Scott Starnes’s courses with the help of trainers Chris Iwasaki and Elizabeth Reilly. They accumulated weighted scores of 107.20 in the classic, 102.60 in the handy, and 49.20 in the under saddle to earn the grand championship.
In addition to the grand championship, they topped the large junior hunter, 16-17, section, the same section they were reserve in last year. Small Occasion was also named 2019 Best Mare as the top-scoring mare of the West Coast competition, receiving the Small Collection Perpetual Trophy.
Watch Allen’s winning handy round, courtesy of USEF Network:
Capturing the reserve grand champion honor in the 3’6″ section was Emily Williams (Newhall, California) and Beach Boy, her 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding. Williams and Beach Boy earned the title with a total score of 254.80 points after their performances over two days of competition with the help of trainer Archie Cox. Williams and Beach Boy also earned the section championship for the small junior hunter, 16-17, earning the River Edge Farm Perpetual Trophy.
Overall 3’3″ Grand Champion: Grace McReynolds and Crowd Pleaser
McReynolds (Colorado Springs, Colorado) and Crowd Pleaser, Alexander Miller’s 12-year-old Selle Français gelding swept the 3’3″ large junior hunter, 16-17, section, earning weighted scores of 100.40 in the classic, 102.80 in the handy round, and 47.90 in the under saddle. The pair rode to a total score of 251.10 to clinch the title with the help of trainers Chris Iwasaki and Elizabeth Reilly. McReynolds and Crowd Pleaser received the Montserrat Perpetual Trophy.
The reserve grand title in the 3’3″ section was awarded to Ella Sherman (Agoura Hills, California) aboard Illusion, Elizabeth Reilly, Chris Iwasaki, and Augusta Iwasaki’s 20-year-old Hanoverian gelding. Sherman trains with Chris Iwasaki and Elizabeth Reilly. The pair also earned the 3’3″ small junior hunter section A championship title, riding to an overall score of 241.90.
Watch McReynolds’ winning round, courtesy of USEF Network:
The small junior, 15 and under, section champion title was awarded to Augusta Iwasaki (Calabasas, California) and Luscious, Sloan Lindemann-Barnett’s 10-year-old warmblood gelding. The pair earned a total of 253.80 points and was trained by Archie Cox.
In the large junior hunter, 15 and under, section, champion honors were awarded to Brooke Morin (Laguna Beach, California) and For Fun, Troy Christiansen’s 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding, with a total score of 252.80 points. The pair is trained by Lee Flick.
The championship in the 3’3″ large junior hunter, 15 and under, section was awarded to Avery Kalafatas (Ross, California) and Calendar Girl, her 12-year-old Swedish Warmblood mare, with a total score of 240.90. The pair is trained by Beverly Jovais.
Grace Russo (Los Angeles, California) and Eclair HBC, her 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, were awarded the section B championship title in the 3’3″ small Junior 3’3″ section on a score of 229.10. The pair is trained by Archie Cox.
USHJA Hunterdon Cup Equitation Classic—West: Sloan Lindemann Barnett
The USHJA Hunterdon Cup Equitation Classic—West brought 59 riders to vie for the equitation title at its exciting new location, Sonoma Horse Park, in Petaluma, California. Through two challenging rounds and a work-off of the top four riders, Violet Lindemann-Barnett riding her own Cantoblaco proved victorious. Stella Buckingham came in second on Calvatos Z, while Emily Williams was third on Beach Boy, and Breanna Bunevacz rounded out the final four riding Vondel DH Z.
“I was really excited; I have watched Stella’s horse before, and he looked like so much fun. I got to jump a little bit in the schooling ring on him, and he goes exactly like my horse, super light and uphill,” Lindemann-Barnett said of Calvatos Z. “He was a lovely horse, and I was so happy I got to switch on to him.”