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Updated: Oct 17, 2021

$15,000 Markel/USHJA Zone 5 & 6 Platinum Jumper Championship podium, photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

Traverse City, Mich. – Aug. 5, 2021 – United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) Zone 5 & 6 show jumping competitors traveled to Traverse City, Michigan for Week V of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF), presented by CaptiveOne Advisors, to take center stage for their respective team and individual championships. The Markel/USHJA Zone Jumper Team Championships and Platinum Jumper Championships are a sought-after part of the USHJA Emerging Jumper Rider Program, which rewards competitive achievement with education to advance athletes in the sport. The program serves as the entry point for the Show Jumping Athlete Pathway, a joint USHJA and United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) effort that identifies and supports jumping athletes as they advance through the sport to enhance future success for Olympic and international teams representing the United States.

Team Frogs emerged victorious during the first podium event of the week, the $15,000 Markel/USHJA Zone 5 & 6 Platinum Jumper Championship, which included teammates Lisa Goldman-Smolen, Ryan Sassmannhausen, Natalie Jayne and Molly Kindness. It came down to a tie-breaking jump-off between Team Cheetah’s Liz Atkins aboard and Rodeo VDL, owned by Benchmark Stables LLC, and Team Frog’s Jayne riding Columbcille de Reve after both teams finished the first round on 12 faults. After both riders incurred four faults on the shortened jump-off course, it was ultimately Jayne who clinched the win for her team, finishing in a time of 30.45 seconds, just over one-and-a-half seconds quicker than Atkins’ 31.99-second round. After claiming back-to-back top finishes with Barbara Disko’s Sovereign, Goldman-Smolen currently leads individual competition heading into Saturday’s Markel/USHJA Zone 5 & 6 Jumper Championship 1.15m Individual Final.

Providing Children and Adult Amateur Jumper at the 1.10-1.15m height, 1.20-1.25m Junior and Amateur, and 1.30-1.35m Junior and Amateur riders with a competitive team experience and an opportunity to earn Zone Horse of the Year points in their respective jumper sections, the Markel/USHJA Zone Jumper Team Championships are held by zones and consist of both team and individual competition. Now in its second year, the Markel/USHJA Platinum Jumper Championships are the highest level of the USHJA Emerging Jumper Rider Program and are open to qualified juniors, amateurs and professionals competing at 1.40/1.45m fence heights.

In the 1.20m-1.30m Markel/USHJA Children’s/Adults Zone 5 & 6 Jumper Championship 1st Individual/ 1st Team event, it was Nora Nauss who took home the tricolor aboard her own Bretzelle D’Arthenay. Just prior, Jenna Yamamoto and Riverview Farm LLC’s Quabelle took the win in the 1.10m Markel/USHJA Children’s/Adults Zone 5 & 6 Jumper Championship 1st Individual/ 1st Team event. Both young riders garnered valuable points toward their respective individual finals for their shot at the podium.

Show jumping competition during Week V of GLEF will continue Friday, August 6, highlighting the $36,600 Welcome Stake CSI3*, where riders will vie for their shot at the week’s top prize in Sunday’s $137,000 Southern Arches Grand Prix CSI3*.

Lisa Goldman-Smolen and Sovereign, photo by Andrew Ryback Photography


Lisa Goldman-Smolen – member of Team Frogs and Chef d’Equipe

On the USHJA Platinum Jumper Championship program: “Being a part of this program is pretty amazing. I was actually a part of it in its inaugural year as well, so it is amazing to see where it has come and where it is going. Being the Chef [d’Equipe] this year and being on the team has been pretty exciting too, so it’s really exciting.”

On Sovereign: “[Sovereign] is a wonderful horse. I have had him for five years now and my biggest supporter, Barbara Disko, owns him and he has taken me all over the country and won so many classes for me. I can always count on him because I just had my baby and he has been so good to take me back into the ring after that”

On being in Traverse City: “It is beautiful! I love showing here, I have been coming here every year since before it was even here at Flintfields [Horse Park], so it is wonderful, it’s stunning – you can’t get much better of a venue than this!”

Ryan Sassmannshausen – member of Team Frogs

On his rounds today: “The team format I think is pretty awesome. It is nice that they take the courtesy of the horse into play and that we only had to jump one round today instead of doing a normal two-round format. It was also nice that there was only one tie and only one horse that had to jump-off, which was Natalie [Jayne and Columbcille De Reve], and she did a great job and won us the gold. It overall is a great class with a great course. I think that it tested the horses enough and there were enough ups and downs throughout each team and I think that we did a great job as a team, collectively, and we had a strong team!”

On Sky High: “[Sky High] is owned by one of my amateur [clients], Deeda Howard, and he is amazing. He is probably the scopiest horse I have ever ridden in my life. His stride is massive and he is just a game player. He will do anything I want, from anywhere I want. He is just amazing and so effortless . He goes around like an equitation horse and I wouldn’t be where I am in my riding career without him. He is just so consistent, so he is a favorite for the whole barn – just an awesome horse!”

Natalie Jayne – member of Team Frogs

On the USHJA Platinum Jumper Championship program: “This has been really fun. This is one of my favorite formats to do, the team format. I love decorating the horses and having team spirit, so this is one of my favorite formats to do and this was a really fun class.”

On Columbcille De Reve: “[Columbcille De Reve] is an awesome horse. She is owned by Wembley Farms and I have ridden her for about two months now. I haven’t had her for that long but she is an awesome horse and she goes in the ring every time and wants to win, so it’s awesome to have a horse like that.”

On the jump-off: “My plan going in was to go clear, but luckily I had an early rail so I knew I had to go fast. I just went as fast as I could and tried to keep the rest of the jumps up and luckily it worked out!”

Molly Kindness – member of Team Frogs

On the USHJA Platinum Jumper Championship program: “This is my first year doing this program and my first year ever doing teams and it was probably one of the most fun experiences I have had, especially when you have clutch riders that are awesome and help win you the gold! It’s just a really neat experience and I encourage anyone who qualifies to take part in this.”

On Strawberry: “I brought Strawberry [to this championship]. She is my 13 year old mare that I have had since she was a foal. She is probably one of the most difficult horses I have ever ridden in my life, so days that we are awesome, we win, and days that we are not, we don’t, but I wouldn’t trade her for the world. She is awesome and definitely just a great horse.”

On being in Traverse City: “I have been to Traverse City but it has been a long time since I have been here. I came when it was at the old park, so this is my first time at the [Flintfields Horse Park] and it is just an incredible experience – it is so neat here!”


$15,000 Markel USHJA Zone 5 & 6 2nd Round Team & Individual Qualifier:


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