Hunter Riders Compete for Medals at USHJA Hunter Team Challenge - East

Saugerties, N.Y.—Aug. 13, 2021—The USHJA Hunter Team Challenge - East was held August 4-8 at New York Horse and Pony Show at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York. Eight teams of riders competed for medals at the second Hunter Team Challenge of the year, and Team Green came out on top earning gold with riders Sophie Cohen (Pittsfield, Massachusetts), Evelyn Hanley (Water Mill, New York), Maren McLaughlin (Farmington, Connecticut) and Hayley Wyman (Cambridge, Massachusetts).

"I was so proud of my team and thankful for the experience," Wyman said about earning gold. "It was surprising, and I was incredibly excited and happy—lots of cookies for my horse."

Wyman heard about the Hunter Team Challenge through her trainer, Monica Hunt, who was also the liaison for the event. Wyman enjoyed the camaraderie of the team competition.

"It was a unique way to compete, and it was fun to walk around the show and see other riders with the colored armbands for their designated teams," she said. "I enjoyed watching my teammates' rounds and cheering them on. It was very sweet when I recognized my teammates watching me too."

Team Lavender with Sarah Flaherty (Andover, Massachusetts), Megan Major (Fort Salonga, New York), Kailey Paul (West Sand Lake, New York) and Kenzie Smith (Shoreham, New York) working together earned silver, and Laurie Barna (Dallas, Pennsylvania), Maryanne Low-Haviland (Schenectady, New York), Madison Pageau (Plaistow, New Hampshire) and Jaiden Palazzo (Simsbury, Connecticut) made up Team Hot Pink that earned bronze.

Teams were each made up of riders competing in different sections including 2'6" Children's, 2'6" Adult Amateurs, 3' Children's, 3' Adult Amateurs and Children's Pony sections.

For the first day of competition, riders competed in their regular division classes, where their scores were also calculated separately earning points for the Hunter Team Challenge. On the second day of competition, riders competed in the Final Round, a Classic-style over-fences round in the Outside Course at HITS-on-the-Hudson.

Michele Morosky, Jeff Ayers, Irving Evans and O King Hackley were the judges on Saturday, while Cynthia Hankins judged the final round on Sunday. Ken Okker and Kevin Holowack designed courses on Saturday and Holowack designed the Final Round course.

"I think it was very well received," Hunt said about the Challenge. "I think it worked great to do the overlay, and I think it was great to start the next day in the Outside Course. It's a fun, bigger ring where they do the derbies; the course can be a lot different. It was very unique and gave them something to look forward to."

Members of the gold medal team received coolers, ribbons and medals. Silver and bronze medalists also received ribbons and medals. All medalists were invited to participate in a special awards ceremony at the end of the Final Round. Team members also received arm bands with their team colors to wear during the competition.

The USHJA sends special thanks to New York Horse and Pony Show and HITS Horse Shows for hosting the Challenge, as well as to official sponsors CWD, Nutrena, Parlanti and Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital.

"I want to thank HITS for accommodating these programs to get them started, and hopefully we can see them grow and get stronger and better every year," Hunt said.

The final USHJA Hunter Team Challenge will be November 9-14 at National Sunshine Series II at Desert International Horse Park in Thermal, California.

To learn more about the USHJA Hunter Team Challenge, visit

Photo by ESI Photography