Santa Fe, N.M.—July 28, 2019—The USHJA Platinum Jumper Championship for Zones 7 and 8 wrapped up with a gold medal win for Mindy Coretz of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Café Crema. Silver went to Gianna Aycock with Flex A Tia, and Julie Cleveland Beam finished with bronze aboard Lancelot. Held at HIPICO Santa Fe July 25-18, the four-day championship featured 10 riders competing at 1.40/1.45m over four rounds, culminating in the Individual Final held as an overlay with the $30,000 Sonrisa Week Grand Prix.
After going fault-free in the first two rounds and having only a rail in the third, Coretz's four faults were tied with Aycock and Grant Seger, all heading into the final round in a three-way tie for first. Riding third to last, Coretz put in another clear round aboard Café Crema. When Aycock followed with a rail and Seger crossed the timers with two down, the gold medal was secured for the Zone 7 professional who owns Eighteen Acres Farm in Oklahoma.
"It really is an honor. I certainly didn't expect this at all," Coretz said after earning her win. "Every single person on the list is someone I have so much respect for and many of them have been idols of mine for many years. To compete among them at all is an honor and to come out on top is beyond my wildest dreams."
"I really have to give so much credit to [Café Crema.] There were instances where she could've pushed something out of the way and she fought so hard, she really dug deep and made it happen for me; I owe her," she said of the Oldenburg mare owned by Coretz's Eighteen Acres Farm and who also earned her third in the grand prix. "I didn't have any jumper experience before her. I ended up with her through a trade of sorts and decided to start getting my feet wet in the jumpers. We started in the .90m and she really taught me the ropes all the way up to my first grand prix."
Aycock's four faults earned her silver, but an eight-fault tie for bronze between Seger and Cleveland Beam resulted in a jump-off, in which Seger chose to save his horse, Catogi, for another day, giving the bronze to Cleveland Beam.
New for the 2019 competition year, the USHJA Platinum Jumper Championships are the highest level of the USHJA Emerging Jumper Rider Program. The Championships are open to qualified Junior, Amateur and Professionals, and offer team and individual competition at the 1.40/1.45m fence height.
"It came across my Facebook feed! I clicked the link, learned about it and enrolled pretty much immediately," Coretz said of her introduction to the program. "It's been a really cool experience. The combination of individual and team is really cool. I personally have never ridden in a team style event and to get that experience was really special."
All Individual medalists will be designated as USHJA Show Jumping Platinum Athletes and will be invited to the Platinum Masters Training Session in 2020, which will provide the athletes an opportunity to participate in advanced workshops and training sessions with top national and international clinicians and industry specialists.
"I'm looking forward to learning to new things. I'm 52 years old, but I still think I have things to learn and I'm super excited," Cleveland Beam said of the Training Session.
In addition to earning the Platinum Show Jumping Athlete title and a spot at the Platinum Masters Training Session, the Individual Gold Medalist received a variety of awards from Essex Classics and FITS Riding in addition to a medal, a ribbon and a cooler.
Other USHJA Platinum Jumper Championships held in 2019 include the USHJA Zones 9 and 10, November 6-10 at HITS Thermal in Thermal, California. The deadline to qualify and applyfor remaining Platinum Jumper Championships has been extended to the day prior to the start of each Zone's respective Championship.
Also taking place this week at HIPICO Santa Fe from Zones 7 and 8 are the USHJA Zones Jumper Team Championships. USHJA extends special thanks to Queenie Productions and the entire HIPICO Santa Fe team for hosting the Championships.
USHJA also extends its gratitude to official sponsors, Charles Owen, CWD, Parlanti and Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital, and Platinum Jumper Championships award sponsors Essex Classics and FITS Riding.
Platinum Jumper Individual Final Results
Rider / Horse / Hometown / Status / Zone
GOLD: Mindy Coretz / Cafe Crema / Tulsa, Okla. / Professional / Zone 7
SILVER: Gianna Aycock / Flex A Tia / Argyle, Texas / Professional / Zone 7
BRONZE: Julie Cleveland Beam / Lancelot / Argyle, Texas / Professional / Zone 7
4: Grant Seger / Catogi / Corpus Christi, Texas / Professional / Zone 7
5: Sarah Invicta Williams / Foxxy / Santa Fe, N.M. / Professional / Zone 8
6: Natalee Haggan / MTM Cravitz / Argyle, Texas / Professional / Zone 7
7: Ashley Stannard / Cincenetty GJ Z / Tuscon, Ariz. / Professional / Zone 8
8: Meghan Hurst / Biskit SDD / Baton Rouge, La. / Amateur / Zone 7