The 2015 US Junior Hunter National Championship East Coast came to a close on Tuesday, following two days of competition in the historic Dover Arena at the Devon Horse Show grounds. More than 150 of the country’s top juniors headed to the championship to complete three phases in front of the judging panel of Hope Glynn, Marylisa Leffler, and Ken Smith over Skip Bailey-designed Classic Round course and Handy Hunter courses, which both counted for 40% of the overall score. The final 20% was earned in Tuesday morning’s Under Saddle phase. Victoria Colvin and Way Cool posted the best overall score of the 3’6” competition to earn the 2015 Grand Champion title. In the 3’3” championship, Sophia Pilla and CC Cool earned Grand Champion honors.
Colvin (Loxahatchee, Fla.) and Dr. Betsee Parker’s 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding, Way Cool, earned the 2015 National Title after scoring 108.80 in the Classic Round, 50.10 Under Saddle, and 108.40 in the Handy Round, to finish on an overall score of 267.30. The talented pair also earned the Large Junior Hunter 16-17 crown.
Colvin and Dr. Betsee Parker’s Ovation scored the Reserve Overall Grand Champion title. The 15-year-old Warmblood gelding finished on an overall total of 265.00 after posting scores of 107.20, 53.40, and 104.40 in the Classic, Under Saddle, and Handy Rounds, respectively. The pair also posted the best score in the Small Junior Hunter 16-17 division.
“Both horses were perfect,” said Colvin. “I am so grateful to have these horses to ride; I can't thank Dr. Betsee Parker enough. Ovation went the best he's gone. I'm proud of him, but he was outshined by his partner, Way Cool. Way Cool was on today.”
In Large Junior Hunter 15-and-Under competition, Annabel Revers (Weston, Mass.) and Beechwood Stables LLC’s 12-year-old Warmblood gelding, MTM Hands Down, earned top honors on an overall score of 252.10, with Classic, Under Saddle, and Handy Round scores of 103.60, 46.90, and 101.60, respectively. Daisy Farish and Bill Schaub’s Carasco posted the top score in the Small Junior Hunter 15-and-Under division. Farish and the eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding earned scores of 102.40, 50.60, and 98.00 in the Classic, Under Saddle, and Handy Rounds, respectively, and an overall score of 251.
Pilla (Ridgefield, Conn.) and Piccolino Farm LLC’s CC Cool topped the 15-and-Under section A on their way to earning Overall Grand Champion honors in the 3’3” Championship. The six-year-old Holsteiner mare earned scores of 100.40 in the Classic Round, 50.20 in the Under Saddle, and 98.70 in Handy Round to finish on an overall total of 249.30. Additionally, Pilla was crowned top Owner/Rider in the Grand Championship. CC Cool was also honored as the Best Overall Mare and received the War Dress Memorial Trophy.
“CC Cool is a five-year-old Pre-Green we have been training for the last year,” said Pilla. “It has been an amazing experience working with her as she is really not fazed by big venues. She has a really great mind and tries so hard. She is really tricky but so much fun to ride. Coming into the Junior Hunter finals we had no expectations. We just wanted to have fun and get some experience. I really can't explain how amazing the experience has been. I am really just thrilled to have had the opportunity to show Lainie Wimberly, my trainer, and myself what a great team we are.”
Pilla also earned Reserve Overall Grand Champion with Piccolino Farm LLC’s nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, Pop Rocks. The pair, which had the highest score in the Junior Hunter 15-and-Under section B, scored 100.40, 46.80, and 100.80 in the Classic, Under Saddle, and Handy Rounds, respectively, to finish on an overall total of 247.00.
“Having Pop Rocks finish Reserve Grand Champion was also such a blessing,” Pilla added. “He is just eight and we got him as a baby. We have grown together and have had great success. The show was perfect. Overall the Handy course was really difficult and tricky. Lainie and I developed a game plan and we rode two different tracks for each horse to play to their strengths. I am not sure it really has soaked in with what we accomplished today. I certainly will remember this Championship for ever. Thank you to Lainie for all her support and dedication to my riding career.”
2014 Reserve Grand Champion Emma Ecklin (Lancaster, Pa.) and her own nine-year-old Westphalian mare, Forever, topped 16-17 competition after finishing on an overall score of 240.20. They produced scores of 91.80, 49.90, and 98.50 in the Classic, Under Saddle, and Handy Rounds, respectively.
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