The Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals West concluded with the stadium jumping phase and the ride-off among the top four riders. The track proved challenging and a number of riders were eliminated for refusals and falls.
“The five-stride to the four-stride to the bank caused problems for lots of horses,” said eventual winner Hannah Selleck. “I think that there was a lot going on and a lot for the horses to look at down at the part of the course.”
However, the riders who were well prepared put in lovely rounds.
Adrienne Dixon produced the highest score of the stadium phase (95) and secured herself a berth in the final four. Lucy Davis also put in a very strong ride and her score of 89 meant that she too would be in the final four. Although Selleck received an 80 for her stadium round, her overall score was high enough to keep her comfortably in the final four, and Michelle Morris rounded out the quartet.
In the final ride-off, each rider performs over a shortened course on her horse, and then they each ride the other competitor’s horses for a total of four rounds for each rider. Selleck proved unbeatable. She was lovely on her horse and rode the others well also. Davis was the surprise of the group. The other three riders are in their first or second years of college, and Davis is a high school sophomore. However, she rode accurately and calmly. She finished second behind Selleck. A tough round with Davis’ horse put Dixon in third, and Morris finished fourth after two difficult rounds.
The riders were thrilled with their performances and experiences.
“Riding in this class is such an honor,” said Davis. “Especially this year, we were really tested and we should be. I am so happy to have gotten in the top four my first year. To finish second is amazing.”
Selleck was thrilled with her win as well. She recalled her first Talent Search Finals when her horse would not jump the liverpool in the gymnastics phase.
“I’ve ridden in this class six times and I’ve been in the top four twice. This has been a goal of mine since I first saw the Finals. Winning is a culmination of my dreams.”
Of note is the fact that both Selleck and Davis represented Zone 10 at the 2008 CN FEI North American Junior and Young Rider Championships presented by Gotham North at the Colorado Horse Park in August. Both rode on the Gold medal teams, Young Rider and Junior respectively. Davis was also the Junior individual Gold medalist while Selleck was the Young Rider individual Gold medalist. They both stated that their jumper experience was very beneficial, and all four riders are strong jumper competitors.
Selleck’s mount, W.C. Swing (Carol Bird) was named Best Horse by the judges and the four riders concurred, all agreeing that he was their favorite horse to ride.
Both Selleck and Morris ride at Karen Healey Stables, Archie Cox trains Davis, and Dixon works with both Benson Carroll and Buddy Brown.
Reprinted with permission from USEF Network.