Emma Catherine Reichow, of Menlo Park, California, took home the win in the 2019 Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals—West aboard Campitello 5 on Sept. 22 in San Juan Capistrano, California. In a testament to her talent and ability, Reichow competed and captured the title aboard a catch-ride. Clearly suitable for the role, the 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding, owned by Highpoint Farm LLC, earned the Gulliver Perpetual Trophy, donated by Karen Healey, as the event’s best horse per the judges.
Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals —West judges, Lillie Keenan and Wendy Peralta, designed the courses with Anthony D’Ambrosio, who also served as technical delegate. In the rider’s meeting the afternoon before competition commenced both judges expressed that they were looking for the classic American style of a forward seat with connection, ridden effectively yet with compassion. Riders were informed that they would be judged upon entering, while exiting and that time allowed was important.
Friday morning’s flat phase was split into two groups as the riders were tested on their basic dressage movements such as the counter-canter, shoulder-in and extended and collected gaits with and without stirrups where 14-year-old Parker Cliff earned the highest score of 86 points. The gymnastics phase followed that afternoon, including a, trot-in one stride, rollbacks, a line requiring adjustability, a bounce, and a triple combination. Cliff maintained her lead in this phase with a score of 87 points.
Another pre-event note from judges Peralta and Keenan was about these two phases. “Our vision is that the course isn’t going to favor a specific horse—no matter what ‘type’ of horse you have you can succeed. Every exercise we included are exercises we do with our horses at home. We prepare our horses this way. That is true for both the flat and the gymnastics.”
Anthony D’Ambrosio’s track for the jumping phase was challenging, with several tests including a serpentine line up the diagonal of the grass field with the open water as the second element. A smooth, forward track within the time allowed was rewarded. The top score of 86 was earned by 14-year-old Skylar Wireman, who with the multiplier moved up several places. Reichow’s score of 81 moved her from sixth into the final four.
Reichow was joined by Grace McReynolds, Cliff and Wireman in the fourth and final phase of competition, where each rode their mounts over a shortened course, followed by a trip on each of the other three horses. Only being allowed a two-minute warm-up and two warm-up jumps aboard each horse, the riders were tested on their ability to ride a shortened track on a variety of mounts. They each entered into this final phase with a score of zero.
Reichow, whose final score was 327, has championed horses in the hunter, equitation and show jumping disciplines. She also recently made her debut in the FEI Jumping World Cup CSI-W classes in Langley, British Columbia, Canada.
Watch Reichow’s winning ride, courtesy of USEF Network:edit
When asked about the victory, Reichow noted, “I have competed in this final three times, and it’s always been a huge goal of mine to win.”
Earning a score of 321, reserve champion went to eighteen-year-old Grace McReynolds.
Rounding out the podium in third-place with a score of 307 was Cliff, who was competing in these finals for the first time with her own Fanadwest Rebel. Taking home the fourth-placed ribbon with a score of 305 was Skylar Wireman, who rode Haven Farms Hot Pants in the final.