Harrisburg, Pa., October 17, 2008 -- With 274 riders vying for the title of 2008 Pessoa/U.S. Equestrian Federation (USEF) Hunter Seat Medal Final, making the top 25 is tough enough. But Kels Annabelle Bonham bested the competition to take the championship title October 12, making her last year in the Medal Finals even more special.
This was Bonham's fourth time riding in the Medal Finals, and she rode early in the order of go. Judges Alex Jayne and Tammy Provost put her at the top of their card, and she stayed there until the conclusion of the competition.
Bonham, 18, rode Sundance, who was last year's winning horse. Sundance is a 13-year-old chestnut Oldenburg gelding owned by Kim McCormack. Bonham's Medal Final experience paid off as she went into the second round, which was a relatively straightforward hunter-type course with several options for strides. Six riders were called back for the work off, and Bonham was in the top spot. The work off put the horses and riders through their paces with some challenging turns, a counter canter and a trot fence at the end.
With her win, Bonham took home a USEF championship embroidered cooler, the Adrian Van Sinderen trophy, a gold medal and several gifts from Pessoa, including a gift certificate, jacket, crop and a halter and lead shank. Bonham will compete next in the 2008 ASPCA Maclay Finals in Syracuse, N.Y., where she will be riding Sundance once again. Watch EquiSearch.com for coverage.
2008 Pessoa/USEF Hunter Seat Medal Final Results
- Kels Annabelle Bonham
- Mathew Metell
- Jessica Springsteen
- Julianna Fischer
- Amelia McArdle
- Michael Desiderio
- Zazou Hoffman (Her mount was awarded best equitation horse.)
- Sara Green
- Victoria Birdsall
- Kirstie Dobbs