Washington, D.C. – Oct. 27, 2018 – Ten of the country’s top junior riders returned to the Capital One Arena for the final work-off during the 2018 Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) Equitation Final, sponsored by the Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund. At the end of the night, it was Elli Yeager who led the lap of honor after earning top scores during both the hunter and jumper phases and returning to lay down a flawless final effort during the work-off. Finishing one point ahead of Coco Fath, 16-year-old Yeager nabbed her first major equitation year-end title in the nation’s capital.
All of the athletes had three fences to warm-up over before taking to the ring with a new mount and riding the course from the jumper phase that was completed earlier in the day aboard the unfamiliar horse as they aimed to take home the coveted winning title during the final work-off. Their scores from the work-off would be combined with the scores from the hunter and jumper phases to determine the night’s victor.
Yeager stole the spotlight from the start, winning the hunter phase with Copperfield 39 after earning a score of 92.5. She then placed fourth during the jumper phase with a score of 91.25, but her total score of 183.75 tied with Fath going into the final work-off. There was no room for error as Fath and Yeager were only half a point ahead of Brian Moggre and Ava Stearns, who were tied with a score of 183.25.
Yeager returned for the work-off aboard Fath’s mount Class Action and once again was foot perfect, earning a score 95.5. It was just enough to edge out Fath, who finished with a score of 94.5 riding Copperfield 39. Brian Moggre rounded out the top three, earning a score of 91.5 during the work off riding Eclipse, for a three round total of 274.75.
Yeager has been riding Copperfield 39 for six years, so they have been able to develop a strong partnership. This marked the young rider’s third year competing at WIHS and she was thrilled to qualify for the final work-off. Both Yeager and Fath train with Stacia Madden at Beacon Hill Show Stables, so Yeager was familiar with her work-off mount Class Action, who won the finals in 2008 with Katherine Newman. Her confidence was clear as she executed a strong final performance to lead the victory gallop at the end of the night.
The 2018 Indoors season is wrapping up, with only one major equitation final remaining, the ASPCA Alfred B. Maclay National Championship during the National Horse Show in Lexington, Kentucky. Stay tuned to Phelps Sports for complete coverage of the Maclay Finals and the National Horse Show.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Elli Yeager – 2018 Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) Equitation Final Champion
On winning the championship:
“This is my favorite horse show, and it went better than I ever could have imagined. I didn’t think this was ever going to happen to be honest – especially just being 16. But it happened, and I’m just elated that it happened here at my favorite horse show with my favorite horse who is the best partner that I could ask for.”
On Copperfield 39:
“He’s been super all week. I knew when we got here that he felt spot on, and I had a lot of confidence in him. He’s experienced, which gives me more confidence, and he was perfect, so I couldn’t have asked for anymore.”
On Class Action:
“Coco and I had both ridden each other’s horses once in a lesson in Florida. So we kind of knew them from there, but it had been awhile. Class Action is amazing. He’s like a cloud to ride. He’s very similar to my horse in the way that he goes. He likes the longer, flowier pace. He’s very straight. He has a really nice mouth and a really great balance as well.”
Coco Fath – 2018 Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) Equitation Final Reserve Champion
On the WIHS Equitation Finals:
“I couldn’t be happier to be here. A top two finish – I mean I was so happy with my horse all week. He’s always great so I can always count on him. This is a great horse show – I love the fact that they have the hunter round, the jumper round, I think it really displays what you’re aiming for post junior years. So I think it’s a great competition. I was so happy to have some great rounds today and yesterday.”
Stacia Madden – Trainer of Elli Yeager and Coco Fath at Beacon Hill Show Stables
On Elli and Coco:
“I think both of them just have an unbelievable appreciation for their horse. I think the partnership really shows. Both girls have been working hard. They both were very consistent at Medal Finals last week. I think when you come into a venue like this where the horses have to be worked a certain way – meaning you only have 30 minutes to ride at 3 o’clock in the morning, and then the horses are put away. It’s really a level playing field, and that’s where these kids really shine. When they have good partnerships with their horse. With the tight time allowed in the jumper phase, you could really see the trust and the showmanship that these girls had and the partnership that they had with their horses.”
Anne Kursinski – 2018 Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) Equitation Final Judge
On judging the finals:
“It’s a fabulous competition for our young riders – having the hunter phase and then the jumper phase – and then changing horses of course at the end. Even though everybody did that like it was easy. They’re fabulous horses and wonderful riders. I think it’s the most interesting of the equitation finals because of all the different phases that there are. And really it’s amazing – it’s fun to judge it because of the quality of the American young riders coming up. Congratulations to [Elli and Coco] of course and Stacia having such a great day. The quality of the riders is outstanding. I think our young riders coming up are really exciting. All 10 of these – it was really splitting hairs practically tonight judging them because they all rode so well. Good for Washington for putting on a wonderful event. I thought the course was super, I thought the time allowed, all of that was great. It was fun to watch and fun to judge. I’m excited about the future of U.S. show jumping.”
Place / Name / Horse / Hunter Phase / Jumper Phase / Work-off / Final Score
1. Elli Yeager / Copperfield 39 / 90, 95 / 93.5, 89 / 96, 95 / 279.250
2. Coco Fath / Class Action / 92, 86.5 / 95, 94 / 94.5, 94.5 / 278.250
3. Brian Moggre / Efendi / 86.5, 93 / 94, 94 / 90, 93 / 274.750
4. Emma Kurtz / Carl / 88, 86 / 91, 90 / 93.5, 91 / 269.750
5. Alexandra Worthington / Alant / 85.35, 88.5 / 89.5, 88 / 93, 94 / 269.175
6. Madison Goetzmann / San Remo VDL / 86.35, 87.75 / 90.5, 86.5 / 95, 88 / 267.050
7. McKayla Langmeier / Finnick / n/a, n/a / 90, 92 / 91.5, 89 / 266.750
8. Grady Lyman / Cohiba VDL / 84.35, 87.25 / 88.5, 87 / 94, 91 / 266.050
9. Ava Stearns / Eclipse / 89, 91 / 93, 93.5 / 82, 83 / 265.750
10. Sam Walker / Waldo / 86, 90 / 89, 83.5 / 91, 90 / 264.750