Sara Steady and Madeline Rubin Earn Top Honors in USHJA Zone 3 Children's and Adult Amateur Hunter Championships, presented by SmartPak

Individual Championships wrap up weekend of exciting Hunter competition at Tryon International Equestrian Center

Mill Spring, N.C.—June 9, 2019— USHJA Zone 3 riders competed for Individual Championship titles today at the USHJA Children's and Adult Amateur Hunter Championships, presented by SmartPak. Hosted by the Tryon International Equestrian Center at the Tryon Spring 6 TR & HC Charity Horse Show, the Sunday morning event experienced some wet conditions but the footing at the facility was top notch.

Adult Amateur Individual Championship

As the rain poured down, it was Sara Steady of Greensboro, N.C., riding her bay Danish Warmblood gelding Skywalker who stayed true to her name, steady, throughout the three phases. That consistency earned them a well-deserved spot at the center of the podium. Second to Steady was Courtney Canizares, of Elon, N.C., riding her own In Unison, a gray NAS stallion, who also negotiated the two courses successfully in the rain. Rounding out the top three was the Adult member of yesterday's Champion Team, Susan Reynolds, from Advance, N.C., aboard her Westphalian gelding, Tantara.

2019 USHJA Zone 3 Adult Amateur Hunter Champion Sara Steady and her own Skywalker. Photo credit: SportFot

Steady, of Greensboro, N.C., was bursting with pride for her young mount. "My horse is the best thing that was ever bred, ever. He's amazing. He's only seven and hasn't even been doing 3' for a year, and for him to come in here and do this in the rain, he's just such a good boy; I'm the luckiest girl in the world to have found him!"

Participating in the championships for the first time since 2016, Steady noted,"It's been great this week at Tryon. Obviously the rain was a bit of a bummer, but they couldn't help that. It's my first time back for a few years. I love it here!" 

Children's Individual Championship

The rain let up for a bit for the Children's division. The sixteen competitors were split into two under saddle groups, with each horse receiving a score. However, it was the over fences phases that highlighted the top of the class. Madeline Rubin, of Mooresville, N.C., rode Briar Field Farm LLC's Dutch Warmblood gelding Nuff Said beautifully, scoring an 86 and 85 in the first round and a pair of 88's in the handy round. Choosing to take all three high options, she also picked up six extra points per round, clinching the championship.

2019 USHJA Zone 3 Children's Hunter Champion Madeline Rubin and Briar Field Farm LLC's Nuff Said.

Photo credit: SportFot

A solid weekend for the 12-year-old rider, Rubin was also a gold medalist during the Team Championships on Saturday. She certainly enjoyed the ride. "My favorite part about the handy round was doing all the high options and the turns, because I'd never done a handy on him before at a show. It was really fun!" 

Earning the silver medal and the reserve championship was 14-year-old Sophia Strahan, of Wilmington, N.C.,aboard her recently purchased Dutch Warmblood gelding Zeus. Also taking all the high options in both rounds, Strahan's handy round scores of 86 and 84 solidified her second spot on the podium.

Strahan reviewed her handy strategy. "I tried this really tight turn, and that was kind of making me nervous, but it worked out, and then at the last jump, I pretended that there were 10 jumps left, since I always mess up the last jump. But it actually turned out - it was good!"

Improving significantly in the handy round, third place on the podium went to 15-year-old Kendall Cashion riding Aubrey HiIll Equestrian's Oldenburg gelding, Verano. Also taking the high options and scoring an 82 and 84, Cashion of Cornelius, N.C., referred to her tall mount as 'a gentle giant' whose favorite treat is applesauce.

Rubin and Strahan both remarked how their horses love bananas. Rain or shine, all three riders enjoyed riding in the championship and can't wait to do it again.

Adult Amateur and Children's individual medalists were crowned Sunday, June 9 at the Tryon International Equestrian Center for the USHJA Zone 3 Children's and Adult Amateur Hunter Championships, presented by SmartPak. Photo credit: SportFot

With three phases, including an under saddle, a classic hunter derby-style course and a handy hunter course, in two sections, Adult Amateur and Children's, each phase was scored and placed individually.

The Champion and gold medal was presented to the horse-and-rider combination with the highest overall score in the three phases. Adjudicated by four judges on two panels, Frank Willard and Lisa Anderson sat together as Panel One, while George Wallace and Ellen Toon were paired as Panel Two.

In addition to earning gold medals, ribbons and an embroidered cooler, Individual Champions also won a Charles Owen Helmet, CWD halter, Parlanti Boots, an Essex Classics Riding Shirt and FITS Riding breeches.

USHJA extends special thanks to JP Godard and the entire Tryon International Equestrian Center team for hosting the Zone 3 Children's and Adult Amateur Hunter Championships. USHJA also thanks presenting sponsor SmartPak, as well as awards sponsors Charles Owen Helmet, CWD, Parlanti, Essex Classics and FITS Riding.

For more information about the USHJA Children's and Adult Amateur Hunter Championships, presented by SmartPak, visit


Adult Amateur

Place - Entry Number - Horse - Rider - Owner - Overall Score

1. 2926 - Skywalker - Sara Steady - Sara Steady - 416.5

2. 2912 - In Unison - Courtney Canizares - Courtney Canizares - 385 

3. 2908 - Tantara - Susan Reynolds - Susan Reynolds - 321


Place - Entry Number - Horse - Rider - Owner - Overall Score

1. 2919 - Nuff Said - Madeline Rubin - Briar Field Farm, LLC - 439 

2. 2917 - Zeus - Sophia Strahan - Sophia Strahan - 415

3. 2921 - Verano - Kendall Cashion - Aubrey Hill Equestrian - 393.5

4. 2920 - Nightfall - Jessie Spade - Jessie Spade - 379

5. 2911 - Toulouse - Gigi Phillips - Coleman Holland - 349

6. 2923 - Latino - Emma Gurley - Emma Gurley - 342

7. 2907 - Plush - Claire Steffens - Claire Steffens - 333

8. 2914 - Copper Mountain - Claire Peters - Claire Peters - 323.5


Press release by EqSol for USHJA.

Photo Credit: SportFot all photos are available for purchase at