Lexington, Ky. – July 26, 2019 – Equitation was on display Friday morning at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show at the Kentucky Horse Park starting with the THIS National Children’s Medal 15-17 in the Claiborne Ring. Seventeen horse-and-rider combinations tackled the 3’ course, and it was Sophia Mitchell aboard Lily Walton’s Callahan that rode away with the win.
Equitation riders were asked a series of questions throughout the course filled with rollbacks and unrelated distances. The course consisted of three consecutive rollbacks before a bending line across the diagonal. Many riders committed to a certain number of strides between the jumps, but were unable to achieve the distance they hoped for, separating the top group of riders. The course ended with a vertical away from the gate and another rollback to a two-stride combination on the outside line in front of the judge, giving riders a chance to display body control and position.
Mitchell walked into the ring half way through the class with the confidence and determination of a seasoned equitation rider, scoring an 83, bringing her to the top of the call-back list for the test. Riders Molly Dailey, Macie Sousa and Aly Muir were all called back, respectively. The judge chose to test the top four riders with a series of rollbacks, a trot fence, a halt and a display of two changes of lead in front of the judge before returning to the line-up. All four riders completed the tested and showed their skills to the best of their ability with smooth rounds and lead changes. Ultimately, Mitchell was able to stay on top of the class, bringing home the blue ribbon. Sousa moved from third place to second place and Dailey dropped to third while Muir remained in her position at fourth place.
Mitchell, a student of Val Renihan and Will Stuart of Findlay’s Ridge, just began showing in the equitation this year after acquiring her trusty mount, Callahan. Mitchell competes in the THIS National Children’s Medal while also gaining experience in the 3’6” equitation classes such as the USEF Medal, ASPCA Maclay and WIHS Equitation Classic. The young rider plans to compete in the indoor season in both the 3’ and 3’6” equitation finals.
The action continues Saturday, July 27 with the conclusion of the Amateur Owner Hunter division in the Stonelea Ring and the Adult Amateur Hunters in the Claiborne Ring, where championship and reserve championship awards will be presented.
FROM THE WINNERS CIRCLE
Sophia Mitchell – THIS National Children’s Medal winner
On her horse:
“He’s 12 years old. I leased him at the beginning of the winter circuit in Florida right before it started and it was actually my first time doing the equitation. I just started the equitation at WEF (Winter Equestrian Festival) this year. He’s my first equitation horse and he’s been amazing, he’s taught me so much. He helps me out so much in my riding – he’s awesome! He gives you a great feeling when you’re riding. He always has his head in the game. When he goes into the ring, he knows what he has to do. He’s a great partner to have.”
On her trainer:
“I’ve been riding with Val Renihan at Findlay’s Ridge since the beginning of WEF this year and it’s been amazing!”
On her round today:
“I think I did well today. In the first trip, it was my first round of this show, so I think I started out well, and as I was going around it was getting better and better. I did really well in the test. I was one of my better tests.”
On her goals for the rest of the year:
“I want to have a successful Indoors. It’s my first time doing the 3’6” equitation finals. I just want to have consistent, solid rounds. I’ll do the Taylor Harris [National Children’s Medal] finals and so far I’m qualified for the Medal and the Maclay.”
On showing at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show:
“This is actually one of my favorite horse shows – the space is so big. This horse show has so much to do and it’s so fun. I really like all the rings. This is definitely one of my favorite shows!”
Will Stuart – Assistant trainer for Sophia Mitchell
“I think Sophia did great today. She started riding with us just last year and she’s come so far. She’s become more and more consistent. It’s nice to see that everytime she goes in the ring, she’s super confident and getting better and better. She’s had a really good year with the Taylor Harris [National Children’s Medal] so we’re looking forward to finals.”
On what’s she’s been working on at home:
“[We’ve been working on] her position, getting her leg tighter, getting more precise, consistency and just becoming stronger as a rider and more accurate.”
THIS National Children’s Medal 15-17
Place / Rider / Horse
1. Sophia Mitchell / Callahan
2. Macie Sousa / Mojito Z
3. Molly Dailey / Centerfold K
4. Aly Muir / Sting
5. Leah Wilson / Heart Breaker
6. Charlotte Heide / The Weekend
7. Kalli Meagher / Fever
8. Sydney Robbins / Artano G