Zone 4 took home the win in the $15,000 Neue Schule/USEF Prix des States Team Championships on Friday, October 15. Second place and the silver medals went to Zone 7, and Zone 2 took home the bronze. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography
Harrisburg, PA – October 16, 2021 - In a fight right down to the finish, Zone 4 emerged victorious in the $15,000 Neue Schule/USEF Prix des States Team Championships on Friday, October 15, at the 75th Pennsylvania National Horse Show at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, PA.
Clinching the win for Zone 4 were Reid Arani riding Hocus Pocus de Muze, Ansgar Holtgers aboard Elina, Zayna Rizvi with Excellent, and Hailey Royce on Sonic Boom, all hailing from Wellington, FL, and led by Chef d’Equipe Kim Land.
Following the conclusion of Friday night’s first round, the field of 29 riders returned to contest the same Manuel Esparaza-designed course again in the second round, and the race for the gold ultimately came down to the anchor riders for Zones 7, 4, and 2.
For Zone 4, that rider was Holtgers, and he and Elina delivered. As rails fell for Zones 7 and 2, Holtgers came home clear, ultimately clinching the win for the United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) Zone 4 team.
“I thought, ‘now I have to go clear and put some pressure on and go quick enough,' but once I entered the ring, it’s just another class,” said Holtgers, 16. “I have to jump clear. That's the first thing and the most important thing. It worked out, and my horse is just unreal. She’s honestly a life-changing horse.”
While the win may have come down to Holtgers’ and Elina’s return ride, it would not have if it were not also for Rizvi’s, Royce’s, and Arani’s clear rounds throughout the evening. All four riders produced at least one clear round and Rizvi and Arani both jumped double clear.
“We’ve been working toward this all year, and it was really cool to just go out there and, end up on top with all these amazing riders,” said Rizvi, 16. “I think it really means a lot to all of us.”
The team is no stranger to success together, having also won the FEI North American Youth Championships in August.
“This team has come together beautifully,” said Chef d’Equipe Kim Land. “It is one of my jobs to try to create synergy amongst the kids. Though, this group has really created synergy amongst themselves. They made my job very easy, and they are well-trained and well-prepared so they came ready to win.”
Second place and the silver medals went to the Zone 7 team of Carlee McCutcheon on MTM Unexpected, Hensley Humphries aboard Hutchinson, Laurel Walker riding Gatsby, Genevieve Munson with Zonderling, and Chef d’Equipe Matt Cyphert. Taking home the bronze was the Zone 2 team of Madison Rauschenbach, Audrey Schulze, Alexa Elle Lignelli, Mimi Gochman, and Chef d’Equipes Ralph Caristo and Krista Freundlich.
The Neue Schule/USEF Junior Jumper Individual National Championships – Phase II ran concurrently with Friday night’s Prix des States competition, and Taylor Kraft of Bernardsville, NJ, currently leads the way heading into Saturday evening’s final phase of the individual championship.
For full results from the $15,000 Neue Schule/USEF Prix des States Team Championships, click here.