Saugerties, N.Y.—Sept. 12, 2023—The USHJA 3'3'' Adult Jumping Seat Medal Final - East and USHJA Gladstone Cup Equitation Classic for Amateurs - East saw Adult Equitation competitors descend on HITS on the Hudson in Saugerties, New York, September 8-9. Grace McReynolds and Britta Lippert took the two top spots across three rounds of competition each.
In its second year, the USHJA 3'3'' Adult Jumping Seat Medal Final - East stretched across two days with 18 competitors contesting three rounds for judges Tony Sgarlata and Shane George. Friday began with the Flat Phase, where McReynolds, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, took an early lead with a score of 90 on Knight Takes Rook LLC's HH Hyyerr Calling.
Riders then contested the Gymnastics Phase over a course designed by Oscar Soberon. Unique to the Jumping Seat Medal, the round shuffled the leaderboard, but not McReynolds' position—she added an 88 to take the round's blue ribbon and remain in first overall. Moving up from sixth after the flat, Samantha Sommers, of Los Angeles, California, slid into second overall after taking the same in the Gymnastics with Wengen, owned by Donald Stewart.
Saturday morning saw an early start for the final round: the Jumping Phase. Riding in reverse order, Sommers set the bar for McReynolds by posting an 88, which would top the round. The Colorado rider stepped into the ring last and earned an 86.50. The score would put her second in the round but keep a hold on her overall lead with a three-round score of 395.
"It's super nice and super fun. The adults don't get to see this a lot, so when we get to do this, it's super fun," said McReynolds said of the Final's format. "We never see a Gymnastics Phase or anything like that, so this final is super fun and definitely one that I look forward to."
Close behind barnmate McReynolds, Sommers finished in reserve on a 391 and her mount, Wengen, was named the final's Best Equitation Horse. Kiera Phlipot, of Manchester, Michigan, rode her own Red Roc to third with a 373.5 overall.
Judges Sgarlata and George saw 82 riders compete in the Classic Hunter Style Round of the inaugural USHJA Gladstone Cup Equitation Classic for Amateurs - East on September 9. Mirroring her strong Adult Jumping Seat Medal start with HH Hyyerr Calling, McReynolds earned an impressive 90 in the First Round to take the initial lead. With the top five within one point of each other, Alexis Hurchalla sat close behind in second on an 89 and Britta Lippert in fifth with an 86.
With a cutoff score of 80.75, the top 20 returned for the Brian Post-designed Handy Hunter Round. McReynolds added a 91 to her lead, while Hurchalla, of Chester Springs, Pennsylvania, added a 90 to stay in second with LL Cool J. Lippert, of Sea Girt, New Jersey, moved up to sit in third after she and Sea Shore Stables LLC's Quintus earned an 88.
“I was a little nervous going into the Handy Round because Quintus gets a little antsy when you ask for too tight of a turn. I went in there just thinking, 'Let's try to be neat and hopefully he'll land his leads and we can get some of those inside turns' and luckily they came up for me. We were just trying to be neat and as smooth as possible—that was the moto the entire time,” Lippert said.
The top five were then called back for the Final Round. Lippert's expert execution of the test, which included a halt, half-turn on the forehand, two changes down the centerline, and sitting trot, secured the win. Hurchalla finished in second with Best Equitation Horse LL Cool J, owned by Olivia Walt, with McReynolds and her equitation mount for the weekend, HH Hyyerr Calling, collecting third.
“There was a part in the test where we were asked to halt at the judges box and pick up the left lead, then demonstrate two lead changes down the centerline then sit the trot out of the ring," Lippert said. "Quintus has wonderful flying changes so we ended up being the only ones to do flying changes and I think that really helped us stand out to the judges. He was fantastic; I was so proud of him.”
"I just love that they did this class. I remember reading when the specs when they came out and I was like, 'Oh, this sounds so cool.' And then when I got the email saying that I got in I was like, 'Oh, this is awesome!' It's such a great opportunity to give adult riders a specialty class to work towards," Lippert said of the new competition. "It was a really cool format. I really enjoyed everything about it.
The USHJA 3’3” Adult Jumping Seat Medal Final is a three-round class that allows Adult Amateurs to showcase their Equitation skills in a Jumper style. This includes a Flat Round, a Gymnastics Round, and a Jumper-style course. The USHJA 3’3” Adult Jumping Seat Medal is open to any Adult Amateur riders 18 and over who have not jumped 1.30m or above within the previous four competition years or has competed not in a 3* USEF Show Jumping Talent Search class in the same competition year. Riders qualify for the Finals hosted on either coast by earning points during the qualifying period and may choose to compete at either location.
The USHJA Gladstone Cup Equitation Classic for Amateurs is a three-round class that combines the precision of equitation and handiness of hunters over a course set at 3’. The USHJA Gladstone Cup Equitation Classic for Amateurs is open to any Amateur rider that has placed first, second or third in adult equitation classes in the age group equitation at 2’9” or higher or 3’3” Adult Jumping Seat Medal class, Taylor Harris Insurance Adult Medal class, and Ariat National Adult Medal class at a competition with a start date of June 1 and an end date 45 days prior to the Championship date. Riders must be an active USHJA Amateur member at the time of competition in order to compete.
The USHJA sends special thanks to the entire HITS team for hosting the Adult Jumping Seat Medal Final and Gladstone Cup Equitation Classic for Amateurs. The USHJA also thanks Official Sponsors CWD, Nutrena and Parlanti and Award Sponsor Essex Classics.
For more information about the USHJA Gladstone Cup Equitation Classic for Amateurs, visit ushja.org/Gladstone. For more information about the USHJA 3’3” Adult Jumping Seat Medal, visit ushja.com/jumpingseatmedal.
Rider | Horse | Trainer | Owner
Phase 1 | Phase 2 | Phase 3 | Overall
1. Grace McReynolds | HH Hyyerr Calling | Chris Iwasaki | Knight Takes Rook LLC
90 | 88 | 86.5 | 395
2. Samantha Sommers | Wengen | Chris Iwasaki | Donald Stewart
86 | 86 | 88 | 391
3. Kiera Phlipot | Red Roc | Dorothy Campbell | Kiera Phlipot
87.5 | 80 | 83 | 373.5
4. Sydney Smith | Antidote | Kristi Smith | Kristi Smith
84 | 85 | 80 | 371.5
5. Casey Zuraitis | Monte Cristo VD Withoeve | Mary Drueding | Jean Sheptoff
79 | 78 | 85 | 366
6. Hannah Hoch | Carlos Dree Boeken | Andrew Dignelli | Heritge Farm Inc.
89 | 55 | 87 | 345.5
7. Julia Debaecke | Cheslie Z | Emil Spadone | Redfield Farm
87 | 74 | 66 | 330
8. Kaitlyn Parker | Timothy Van Het Lindenhof Z | Michael Desiderio | Kaitlyn Parker
80 | 79 | 65 | 328.5
9. Mariel Saccucci | Tibri's Simply Red | Ann Dotoli | Tibri LLC
75 | 84 | 62 | 325
10. Cashlee Pyle | Klassiek VDL | Cashlee Pyle | Kylie Popinga
83 | 72 | 64.5 | 320
11. Angela Pollex | Elbo VDL | Angela Pollex | Angela Pollex
64 | 70 | 75 | 319
12. Laura Van Rooyen | Uruguay | Jennifer Tirrell | Stefano Baruzzo LLC
81 | 81 | 52.75 | 308
Rider | Horse | Trainer | Owner
Round 1 | Round 2 | Two-Round Score*
*The Final Round was not scored.
1. Britta Lippert | Quintus | Anne Kursinski | Sea Shore Stables LLC
86 | 88 | 174
2. Alexis Hurchalla | LL Cool J | Troy Hendricks | Olivia Walt
89 | 90 | 179
3. Grace McReynolds | HH Hyyerr Calling | Chris Iwasaki | Knight Takes Rook LLC
90 | 91 | 181
4. Willow Vince | Hardwell | Taylor Odell | Summer Stone Farm
84 | 89 | 173
5. Kaedee Nowakowski | Conquistador | Meghan Oathout | Kaedee Nowakowski
88 | 84 | 172
6. Mariel Saccucci | Tibri's Simply Red | Ann Dotoli | Tibri LLC
81.75 | 87 | 168.75
Photos: ESI Photography