CPHA MEDAL FINALS
By Katie Kotarak
During the two days of tough competition, 54 junior and 18 amateur finalists saddled up to take on the first medal final challenge of the season in Blenheim Farm’s covered arena. Beginning on Friday afternoon riders earned scores from three judges over a hunter type course. Competitors returned on Saturday for phases two and three of the event, first negotiating a jumper type track and wrapping up by riding an advanced equitation course.
The Amateur Section:
Leading after rounds one and two and solidifying the win with a beautiful third round performance, was Adrienne Dixon aboard her entry, Vincezo (Julia Nagler, owner). Out of the nine scores possible, Dixon earned six in the nineties to win the amateur portion of the CPHA final, bringing her final score to 819. Congratulations to Adrienne and trainer Benson Carroll.
Earning scores in the eighties over the two days of competition, Shannon Davidson who rides with Jeni Brown, proved outstanding and took home second place honors. Caroline Ingalls piloted her trainer Hap Hansen’s Y2K to a third place finish. Elsa Horrigan, trained by Jim Hagman, rode Star Lane Farms’ Crimson Z and their third round scores moved up from fifth place to fourth.
The Junior Section:
Soon after the awards, the top ten junior competitors returned to the arena for their third round. With only two riders left to negotiate the advanced equitation course, spectators, parents, trainers and friends, watched anxiously as Morgan Geller trotted in. Aboard Katie Kelso’s Fabricio, Geller, who trains with Peter Lombardo, laid down an outstanding trip that earned her a high score of 90 and a pair of 89s, bringing the young rider’s two-day total to an impressive 779. But Geller didn’t have the competition in the bag quite yet. As the leader going into the third round, Julia Nagler, trained by Benson Carroll, was the last to negotiate the final course. In the tack of Utric (Hedge Hill Investments, owner), Nagler received 92, 87 and 83.75 from the judges, elevating her overall total to 781.75, just 2.75 ahead of Geller.
According to the CPHA rulebook, when final scores are within 3 points of one another, just as Nagler and Geller’s were, they are required work-off for the win. Both of the top scoring riders were required to drop their stirrups and re-ride the 3’6″ third round course. Geller was up first and effortlessly piloted her mount over the track of obstacles delivering a flawless performance. Nagler returned to a silent arena and also laid down a great trip. Adding to the suspense, the final decision of the work-off wasn’t announced until the end of the awards ceremony. The judges deemed Geller the winner with second place honors and a job well done going to Nagler.
Earning fabulous third round scores Killian McGrath, trained by Leslie Steele, rode Lucas (Rolling Oaks Ranch Inc., owner) to secure the third place ribbon. With consistent high scores from all three judges throughout the competition, both Gabbi Langston (Archie Cox, trainer) and Jocelyn Neff’s (Karen Healey, trainer) overall score totaled 761; therefore, the girls shared the honor of fourth place and demonstrated great sportsmanship. Hannah Goodson-Cutt and Chilara (Westar Farms LLC, owner) were awarded sixth place. She and trainer Kate Considine had a great week, kicking it off as Grand Champion of the USEF Junior Hunter Championships.