Burbank, Calif., September 22, 2008 -- The Platinum Performance/U.S. Equestrian Federation (USEF) Show Jumping Talent Search Finals West concluded September 20 with the stadium jumping phase and the ride-off among the top four riders. The track proved challenging and a number of riders were eliminated for refusals and falls.
"The five-stride to the four-stride to the bank caused problems for lots of horses," said winner Hannah Selleck. "I think that there was a lot going on and a lot for the horses to look at down at the part of the course."
Adrienne Dixon produced the highest score of the stadium phase (95) and secured herself a berth in the final four. Lucy Davis also put in a very strong ride and her score of 89 meant that she, too, would be in the final four. Although Selleck received an 80 for her stadium round, her overall score was high enough to keep her comfortably in the final four, and Michelle Morris rounded out the quartet.
In the final ride-off, each rider performs over a shortened course on her horse, and then they each ride the other competitors' horses for a total of four rounds for each rider. Selleck proved unbeatable. Davis was the surprise of the group. The other three riders are in their first or second years of college, and Davis is a high school sophomore. However, she rode accurately and calmly to finish second behind Selleck. A tough round with Davis' horse put Dixon in third, and Morris finished fourth after two difficult rounds.
"Riding in this class is such an honor," said Davis. "Especially this year, we were really tested and we should be. I am so happy to have gotten in the top four my first year. To finish second is amazing."
Selleck was thrilled with her win as well. She recalled her first Talent Search Finals when her horse would not jump the liverpool in the gymnastics phase.
"I've ridden in this class six times and I've been in the top four twice," she said. "This has been a goal of mine since I first saw the Finals. Winning is a culmination of my dreams."
Both Selleck and Davis represented Zone 10 at the 2008 CN FEI North American Junior and Young Rider Championships presented by Gotham North at the Colorado Horse Park in August. Davis was the Junior individual gold medalist, while Selleck was the Young Rider individual gold medalist. Both rode on gold medal teams as well.
Selleck's mount, W.C. Swing, was named Best Horse by the judges. Both Selleck and Morris ride at Karen Healey Stables. Archie Cox trains Davis, and Dixon works with both Benson Carroll and Buddy Brown.
2008 Platinum Performance/USEF Talent Search Finals West Top 10
1. Hannah Selleck
2. Lucy Davis
3. Adrienne Dixon
4. Michelle Morris
5. Katie Taylor
6. Caroline Ingalls
7. Sophie Verges
8. Taylor Harris
9. Laura Ware
10. Saer Coulter
The Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals East will be held in Gladstone, N.J., October 4-5, 2008.