Hayley Zimmerman and Zac
Zionsville, IN-August 9, 2012-Equitation took center stage Thursday in the Main Hunter Arena at the Traders Point Hunt Charity Horse Show held at Wild Air Farms in Zionsville, IN. After a series of thunderstorms dumped much-needed rain Wednesday night, the hunter classes were postponed until Friday but there was still plenty of action with the Pessoa USEF Hunter Seat Medal, the ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship class and the Taylor Harris Insurance Services (THIS) National Children’s Medal.
Haley Zimmerman, 13, aboard her own 9-year-old Swedish Warmblood, Zider (barn name “Zac”), snagged the hotly contested Pessoa USEF Hunter Seat Medal. “It was one of those courses where things come kind of fast,” she said. “It kind of had weird turns, but that, for me, is pretty OK. I mean, the course was great for him. He’s adjustable with a nice big jump. He just kind of goes with whatever I want to do.” Zimmerman and Zac have been a dynamic duo for a year and she bought him to get started on jumpers. “He’s great,” she smiled. “He likes to cuddle and he’s a dream horse.”
Zimmerman and her dream horse differentiated themselves from the pack to earn a ride in the test with three other riders. The finalists were verbally given the course for the final ride, read to them just twice. It included four fences, a halt and a counter-canter. Abby Maxwell riding Vedette, owned by Jennifer Maxwell of Cedar Rapids, IA, scored the reserve ribbon, Kaitlyn Alsup of Wildwood, MO, piloted her own Corrado to a third, and Piper Benjamin rode Rainmaker, owned by L. Pack of Columbus, NC, to win the fourth place ribbon.
The ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship class had riders navigating the course one-by-one while trainers yelled directives and encouragement from the sidelines to the young riders. They were all invited back into the arena for the under saddle portion together. Riders were judged at a walk, sitting trot, posting trot and canter before walking on a long rein to line up for the pinning.
Rachel Porter and Rio
Rachel Porter, riding Rio, owned by Aley Russell of Spartanburg, SC, came away with the win. “It started out with a line, which is always a little more challenging,” the 17-year-old from Southlake, TX, said. “There was a line going away from the gate but his stride is huge. He just cantered up there. There were a couple rollbacks and a couple of options. You know, you could go inside or around.”
Porter said the footing was a little deep because of the rain. “Most everyone took the outside track to play it safe and it just ended up working out well,” she said. There were a couple of puddles sporadically throughout the ring but you just kind of gotta watch out for those.” Porter began leasing Rio, a 13-year-old Hungarian Warmblood, in June for equitation classes and to ride in derbies. “He’s very sweet and a little nervous and I kind of had to hold his hand,” she explained. “He was really brave and didn’t look at anything. Got right down the lines. He has a great canter and I love him so much!”
Jordyn Katz and Can Fly
Also in the ribbons were Piper Benjamin, who rode L. Pack’s Rainmaker to earn the second place score, while Jordyn Katz riding Can Fly, owned by Seth Vallhonrat of Edgemont, PA, scored the third place spot, and Nikki Carr riding Lightning, nabbed the fourth berth.
The ground crew came out to adjust the jumps for the THIS National Children’s Medal as the sun came out to steam up the show grounds. The class featured one round over fences with a test for the top four. The finalists were called into the arena and told their course for the test. The horse and rider teams were expected to jump three fences at the canter and one at the trot and, when finished, they had to post the trot back to the line while demonstrating a lengthening of stride.
Liana Brown, 13, from Zionsville, IN, rode her own Marengo for the win. “I’ve had him for two years. He’s pretty much raised me to three foot. He’s taught me everything. He’s had his moments but he brings me through,” she explained as she patted her Argentinian Warmblood she calls “Marco.” She said she saw some other riders warily eyeing one of the jumps and it made her nervous. “That kind of freaked me out at first,” she said. “But I know he’ll trust me and I’ll trust him. He’s a great horse and I love him to death.”
Rounding out the top winners in the class were Jordyn Katz riding Can Fly who went home with the red, Olivia Kelly, from Zionsville, IN, riding her own Oh My Lord to a third and Whitney Bullion of Huntertown, IN, riding George Bullion’s Superfly to a fourth.
Hunter action should pick up where it left off Friday morning with the classes postponed from Thursday as well as the previously scheduled classes.