November 20, 2011-- Alexandra Lawson of North Salem, IN, rode James Williams' Imagine My Surprise to the championship win in the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) Saddle Seat Medal Final presented by Elisabeth M. Goth. The final took place Saturday as part of the United Professional Horsemen's Association (UPHA) American Royal National Championship Horse Show in Kansas City, MO.
"Winning the Medal is a dream come true," Lawson said. "So many things have to come together on that one day, that one moment in time it makes winning this finals almost surreal."
The class was filled with top riders from across the country and included a challenging two-phase competition that required both rail work and patterns in both rounds. The reserve championship was awarded to Hunter Chancellor of Evansville, IN, riding Chanti's Prayer, owned by Steven E. Chancellor.
The bronze medal was awarded to Taylor Newton, of Liztown, IN, riding Coco Mojo, owned by Melissa and Nick Maupin.
Riders ages 17 and under are eligible to compete in the Saddle Seat Medal Final by placing first or second in an official qualifying class during the specified qualification period.
Lawson, who was fourth in last year's Saddle Seat Medal Final, won her equitation class at this year's World's Championship Horse Show at the Kentucky State Fair. She has been riding Imagine My Surprise (aka Leo) since the latter part of last 2010, she said.
"He was a performance horse who had to very quickly become an equitation horse," Lawson said. "Todd Miles and Lillian Shively have done incredible things and helped us come together as one. Leo has more heart and more talent than any horse I have ever ridden. The competition in this finals was very strong and I am so thankful that everything came together in my favor in my final equitation performance. This season and this win in particular is something that I will cherish the rest of my life."
Lawson's name will be engraved on the Adrian Van Sinderen Trophy alongside a prestigious list of prior winners dating back to 1937. The American Horse Shows Association (AHSA) Equitation Medal was established that year by the fourth President of AHSA, Adrian Van Sinderen, as part of his strategy to connect horse people across the U.S. The original Van Sinderen trophy was awarded to the Junior Equitation rider who accumulated the most points in AHSA Medal classes in a given competition year.
As the winner of the year's Saddle Seat Medal Final, Lawson also received a Freedman Harness handcrafted leather bag. Both the champion and reserve champion received the traditional USEF medals and rose bundles along with coolers and engraved stable halters for their mounts. The youngest rider in the final - 11-year-old Macy Miles of Rockport, IN - was presented with a Breyer model horse donated by Breyer Animal Creations.
A reception was held after the preliminary phase for all riders, instructors and family members, where gifts were given to the participants and supporters were recognized for their generous contributions.
Supporters of the 2011 final included: Platinum Level, Elisabeth M. Goth; Gold Level, Steve and Terri Chancellor; Silver Level, The McGinnis Family, Glenn A. Werry, Jr.; Bronze Level, Thomas Brock, The Brown Family; and Friends of the Medal Final, Mary Anne O'Callaghan Cronan.
Results from the USEF Saddle Seat Medal Final presented by Elisabeth M. Goth
CH. Alexandra Lawson, New Salem, IN, aboard Imagine My Surprise, instructed by Lillian Shively
RC. Hunter Chancellor, Evansville, IN aboard Chanti's Prayer, instructed by Lillian Shively
3. Taylor Newton, Liztown, IN, aboard Coco Mojo, instructed by Shelley Fisher
4. Abigail Mutrux, St. Louis, MO, aboard Lemon Shake Up WRF, instructed by Lillian Shively
5. Caitlin Donohue, Inverness, IL, aboard The Bourne Supremacy, instructed by Kenny and Donna Smith
6. Emily Chapman, Tucson, AZ, aboard My One Night Stand, instructed by Bonnie Zubrod
7. Gavin Gagnon, Livermore Falls, ME, aboard Callaway's Born A Star, instructed by Gary Garone
8. Allison Schuh, Seymour, WI, aboard CH Thundersnow, instructed by Scott/Carol Matton
9. Emily Mayer, Oconomowoc, WI, aboard Mocha's Mudslide, instructed by Scott/Carol Matton
10. Brooke Boyer, Johnston, IA, aboard The Crowd Favorite, instructed by Kent Swalla