Crete, Ill.—July 22, 2019—Four days of competition culminated in a gold medal and a USHJA Platinum Show Jumping Athlete title for Lisa Goldman-Smolen of Hawthorn Woods, Illinois, in the USHJA Zones 5 and 6 Platinum Jumper Championships. HITS Balmoral Park in Crete, Illinois, played host to the second Platinum Championship of the year from July 18-21 and held the Individual Final as an overlay to the $35,000 HITS Grand Prix.
Seven competitors contested the 1.40/1.45m Individual Final track designed by Florencio Hernandez. As the only rider going into the final round of the four-day, four-round competition with no faults, a rail would've sent Goldman-Smolen into a jump-off for gold with Summer Hill. But penalty-free was the name of the game, and aboard Hindsight, the Zone 5 professional hung onto her lead to finish first.
On the podium in the silver position was Hill, of Lexington, Kentucky, with four faults on Light Show, who had a double payday after also taking third in the Grand Prix. Taylor Flury, of Minooka, Illinois, rode Calano Z to bronze with 16 faults.
Having won the team competition as a member of Team 1, Goldman-Smolen brought home two gold medals at the end of the event. "It was pretty amazing. It’s a totally different type of pressure you are under. [This week] was my first [Platinum Jumper] team experience, so we are pretty lucky to get a different level of experience here," she said.
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.
"I learned about the Platinum program from a fellow young professional who told me about the program and the opportunity it afforded to young professionals or professionals with green horses, and I have a lot of young, up-and-coming horses myself so this program was a great opportunity for both of us," said Flury. "[The horses] are just now getting to the age where they can jump those [1.40m/1.45m] classes and it gave them an opportunity to do a Nations Cup format, which they would never have before."
"I really enjoyed the program as well as the opportunities and benefits it afforded not only me but also my horses. I think it's a great avenue for young professionals to gain experience to hopefully be upper level competitors," she concluded.
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 really excited that I am now going to get an invitation to the Platinum Masters Training Session I think it'll be a really good chance to learn a lot of things that will help farther my riding career for people who have already gotten to that point," said Hill. "I'm really fortunate to have gotten a spot."
In addition to earning Platinum Show Jumping Athlete titles and a spot at the Platinum Masters Training Session, Individual Gold Medalists 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 USHJA Zones 7 and 8, July 25-28 at HIPICO Santa Fe, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and USHJA Zones 9 and 10, November 6-10 at HITS Thermal in Thermal, California. The deadline to qualify and apply for 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 HITS Balmoral Park from Zones 5 and 6 are the USHJA Zones Jumper Team Championships for 1.10/1.15m Children's and Adult Amateur jumper riders and the USHJA Children's and Adult Amateur Hunter Championships, presented by SmartPak.
USHJA extends special thanks to Showplace Productions and the entire HITS Chicago 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: Lisa Goldman-Smolen / Hindsight / Hawthorn Woods, Ill. / Professional / Zone 5
SILVER: Summer Hill / Light Show / Lexington, Ky. / Professional / Zone 5
BRONZE: Taylor Flury / Calano Z / Minooka, Ill. / Professional / Zone 5
4: Kim Barone / Cacento / Watertown, Minn. / Professional / Zone 6
5: Janine Weatherby / Derringer / Bellevue, Neb. / Professional / Zone 6
6: Stefanie Shaw / Contessa / Lake Villa, Ill. / Junior / Zone 5
7: Katie Leverick / Catch Me 52 / Fox Lake, Ill. / Professional / Zone 5