TEAM LIONS AND TEAM CARDINALS DOMINATE IN MARKEL/USHJA JUNIOR/AMATEUR ZONE 5 & 6 JUMPER CHAMPIONSHIP
Team Lions tops Markel/USHJA 1.20-1.30m Junior/Amateur Zone 5 & 6 Jumper Championships, photo by Andrew Ryback Photography
Traverse City, Mich. – Aug. 6, 2021 – The Markel/USHJA Zone 5 & 6 Jumper Team / Platinum Jumper Championship was well underway Friday at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival, presented by CaptiveOne Advisors. Making its move to the Flintfields Horse Park for the first time, the championship program is a pillar of the USHJA as a stepping stone for children, junior, amateur and professional show jumping athletes hoping to advance through to the highest level of the sport. Standing atop the center of the podium at the conclusion of the 1.20m-1.30m Markel/USHJA Junior/Amateur Zone 5 & 6 Jumper Team Championships was the team made up of Olivia Lawton, Julia Cornwell and Mary Roskens, Team Lions. In the 1.10m-1.15m Markel/USHJA Junior/Amateur Zone 5 & 6 Jumper Team Championships, it was Team Cardinals that received the gold medal with Sarah Ayer, Emma Gutstein, Isabelle Burr and Ameera Fullen riding to victory.
Following Thursday’s Markel/USHJA 1.20-1.30m Junior/Amateur Zone 5 & 6 Jumper Championships 1st Individual/1st Team event, Team Lions, Pistons and Chargers were tied coming into the Team Final on a score of zero. Hungry for the win, each rider put forth their best effort in hopes of clinching the gold. In the end, Team Lions and Team Giants would post the fewest points to the scoreboard, tying on 8 faults each and forcing a jump-off to decide who would take silver and who would take gold. Lori Bridwell was chosen to ride the tie-breaking round aboard Rashmo Z for Team Giants. An unfortunate 4 faults, however, would leave the door wide open as Lawton made her way into the ring for Team Lions. Lawton had her mind set on a clear effort, and with her trusty partner Quite Like It she was able to help Team Lions secure the gold with a fault-free round. Team Giants would settle for the silver medal, while Team Pistons would end up with bronze.
Immediately following, the Markel/USHJA 1.10-1.15m Junior/Amateur Zone 5 & 6 Jumper Championship Team Final took to the Jumper Annex for a final battle for the top team spot. Team Cardinals had the obvious advantage for Round 2 as the only team on a score of zero after Round 1. A collective effort from all four riders would ultimately lead Ayer, Gutstein, Burr and Fullen straight to the winner’s circle for their consistency over the two days of competition. A tie for silver would force a jump-off for Team Badgers and Bobcats, who would put forth Renguso and Nauss, respectively, to ride the final round. Renguso was first on course for Team Badgers, putting in a clear but conservative round. For Team Bobcats, Nauss was quick across the ground with Bretzelle D’Arthenay, keeping all fences intact and ultimately claiming the silver medal for Team Bobcats to leave Team Badgers in third.
Team Cardinals tops Markel/USHJA 1.10-1.15m Junior/Amateur Zone 5 & 6 Jumper Championship Team Final, photo by Andrew Ryback Photography
The Markel/USHJA Zone 5 & 6 Jumper Team/Platinum Jumper Championships will continue Saturday, August 7, spotlighting the $25,000 Markel/USHJA 1.45m Platinum Jumper Championship and the Markel/USHJA 1.15m Children’s/Adult Zone 5 & 6 Jumper Championship Individual Final.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Olivia Lawton – Member of Team Lions – USHJA 1.20m-1.30m winning team
On Quite Like It: “My horse Quite Like It, her name is Queenie, she is 11 years old and small but mighty. She is quick across the ground and a quick jumper. She wanted it I think more than I did.”
On the Markel/USHJA Zone 5 & 6 Jumper Team / Platinum Jumper Championship program: “This is my first year doing this. I’ve wanted to do it in past years but it hasn’t worked in the schedule. I’ve been riding in Zone 5 my whole life and it’s finally nice to do it and win on my first try around. Hopefully I get to do this again.”
On being the team’s jump-off rider: “I have been watching the Olympics so I felt very Olympic. I was a little nervous. I put the pressure on, but after the first person [Lori Bidwell] had a rail down, I was just thinking of a nice smooth clear round and my horse gave it to me.”
Julia Cornwell – Member of Team Lions – USHJA 1.20m-1.30m winning team
On Casario de Soie Z: “His barn name is Nemo and it’s very fitting for him. He has such a nice personality, he loves people. I’ve had him for two-and-a-half years now so it’s been pretty cool getting to grow with him and learn because he’s only nine years old, so it’s been a great experience with him.”
On winning gold: “It was really exciting. This is my first year participating in the [Markel/USHJA Zone 5 & 6 Jumper Team / Platinum Jumper Championship] and I figured ‘why not try it.’ It’s up north from me because I’m from downstate Michigan so it worked out pretty perfect because we are at this show a lot in the summer too.”
On Traverse City Horse Shows: “I think this is my fifth year here and it’s great to see how much the show has grown and how different it is from when I first started. I’m excited to see what happens in the future for it.”
Mary Roskens – Member of Team Lions – USHJA 1.20m-1.30m winning team
On Right This Way: “My horse Ruth has been in my family since she was seven years old, she is 13 years old now. I started riding her about three years ago. My mom was riding her before me and it’s just been really fun to see her grow up and develop.”
On her strategy: “I really wanted a clean round because I knew that would be more valuable than a fast round. I didn’t have a clean round but it was close, so it was enough for today.”
On the Markel/USHJA Zone 5 & 6 Jumper Team / Platinum Jumper Championship program: “I hadn’t heard of it before either, but it’s fun. There is not a lot of opportunity for team competition when you are showing at this height so it’s nice to have the team mentality and kind of mix it up a little bit from other shows.”
On Traverse City Horse Shows: “It’s lovely, I’ve never been here before but I will for sure be back because it’s absolutely stunning here and I’ve had a wonderful time showing here.