Perhaps Sat., Oct. 11 at Pennsylvania National should have been dubbed “California Day.” Mitchell Endicott was honored with the Pony Rider Sportsmanship Award. The young rider seems to be following in the footsteps of his talented parents. His father Michael is a successful Grand Prix rider, who has also been tapped several times to assist with various United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) show jumping selection trials in determining subjective members to the team. His mother Christa has earned her share of accolades in the hunter ring, and has a keen eye for a talented young horse.
Endicott was not the only Californian to receive a special award. After strong performances in the Junior Hunter section, Lucy Davis was honored as the Best Child Rider for the 2008 Pennsylvania National Horse Show. Davis was characteristically
understated about the honor, but her trainer Archie Cox more than made up for it with his enthusiasm. Davis has developed into a very talented junior rider. She was a member of the gold medal Zone 10 Junior team at the North American Junior and Young Riders Championship (NAJYRC) this past summer and also jumped to the individual gold medal. She will likely be a strong competitor in the USEF Hunter Seat Finals as well.
Junior Jumpers concluded tonight with the Adequan USEF National Junior Jumper Individual Championship. After competing in a speed round, and a two-round Nations Cup style competition for the team awards, 15 riders competed in the final round in front of a packed audience.
“The course for the final round of competition was a true test of the horse’s scope and the rider’s accuracy,” said Ali Ohringer who is at the Pennsylvania National for her first time to compete in the USEF Medal Finals. “The 15 effort course in the small indoor arena started with an oxer to a bending seven strides to a vertical.” Riders could not let up as they faced an oxer-vertical three stride, followed by a bending seven strides to a vertical with two round liverpools underneath it.
There was no margin for error at the top of the standings among Taylor Land (Zone 4), Mavis Spencer (Zone 10), and Clementine Goutal (Zone 2). Land went into the final round with a score of 2.07, followed by Spencer and Goutal with 4.0 and 4.91 respectively. Land, who was fourth after the first round posted two clear rounds on the team night and took the lead from Spencer.
For the final round the riders rode in reverse order, and the top three had the advantage of watching the other riders, yet the pressure of waiting. Pressure only mounted as Victoria Birdsall (Zone 1), Saer Coulter (Zone 10), and Samantha Schaefer (Zone 3) all posted clear rounds. Goutal kept her cool and heated things up for Spencer and Land by posting a clear round. Goutal was assured of the bronze and just had to wait for the final two riders. Spencer, determined to not lose any ground, also posted a clear round, and now all the pressure was on Land. However, Land posted yet another clear round and clinched the individual gold medal. Spencer earned the silver and Goutal the bronze.
Coulter’s clean round moved her up from 10th to fifth. Unfortunately Sophie Benjamin had three rails, yet she still finished ninth overall. Benjamin is fresh off her win of the USEF Platinum Performance Talent Search Finals East where she is the first West Coast rider to win the East Coast finals in recent history.
On Sunday morning, 274 junior equitation riders vied for the 2008 USEF/ Pessoa National Hunter Seat Equitation Medal Final. While California sent a number of its top riders, unfortunately, a number of riders that normally find themselves among the top places had a tough day. Normally accurate, highly competitive riders like Tina Dilandri, Shelby Wakeman and Michelle Morris all made mistakes.
The only California rider to make the top 10 was California Riding Magazine columnist and junior rider, Zazou Hoffman. Hoffman dropped a rail in the final round and finished seventh overall; she rides most of the year with trainer Missy Clark in Florida.
For complete results visit the Pennsylvania National Horse Show website: www.ryegate.com.