October 2016 - Maclay Regionals Report
Written by photos by McCool Photography
Friday, 30 September 2016 22:40
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Sydney Hutchins adds another medal finals to her impressive resume.

photos by McCool Photography

Sydney Hutchins rode her way to the top of yet another medal finals podium when Blenheim EquiSports hosted the ASPCA Maclay Regional Championships for Region 8 on Saturday night, Sept. 17. It was one of six regional championships held around the country that day.

Sydney Hutchins and Harris Equestrian’s Gaudi.

The top placing riders from these classes, along with two Regionals to be held the following weekend, generate the list of over 150 qualified junior riders that will compete for the highly-anticipated ASPCA Maclay Medal Finals held at the CP National Horse Show in Lexington, KY, on Nov. 5-6.

After 39 ASPCA Finals candidates jumped a challenging course, then performed on the flat, a select group of five riders was asked to work-off. More than three hours after the class began, it was Sydney Hutchins and Gaudi who emerged as the top of the Region 8 ASPCA Maclay Regional Championships. Held in the Blenheim Farms indoor arena, the honorable Brian Lenehan and Chance Arakelian judged the multi-phase event.

Scott Starnes set a track that tested the riders from start to finish, including option jumps that showcased the ability to focus and execute the questions asked. With a bending line heading towards the top of the ring as the first two jumps, a single oxer across the middle led to a turn away from the in-gate to a skinny hay bale combination direct to a forward four stride line.

Fan jumps were placed at the end of the next two lines, plus an option for fence 8. The final bending line ended with an option at fence 10 to a combination at 11ab.

After the jumping phase, 30 riders returned in three groups for the flat phase. Along with the walk, trot and canter, all three groups were asked to demonstrate a lengthening of stride at the trot and canter, a canter departure from the sitting trot and a counter-canter in both directions.

Kayla Lott and Vancouver.

Judges Lenehan and Arakelian required a work-off of the top five riders. Returning in reverse order of preference were a group of top West Coast competitors: Eli Yeager, winner of the 2016 CPHA Foundation 14 & Under Equitation Championships; Peyton Warren, the first recipient of the Shelby Drazan Memorial Award; Emma Marlowe, 2015 WCE Medal Finals Champion; Sydney Hutchins, winner of the 2014 Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals West; and Kayla Lott, winner of the 2016 USHJA Hunterdon Cup Classic.

The test included a canter directly to 4a, 9, counter-canter rider option at fence 10, canter 7, trot rider option at fence 8, canter 5 and return to the line. Fence 10 proved to be the biggest challenge of the work-off. Yeager had a rail at fence 10, while Warren had two lead swaps on the way to that same fence.

Marlowe executed a good work-off, with no errors and held on to her third place spot. Hutchins was stylish and smooth, choosing a walk transition into the counter-canter, and the more difficult option jumps, illustrating a command of the test and her horse. Lott also performed well, but had a brick come off the wall at fence 10, ultimately bumping her down to second overall.

“I really liked the course. I thought the jumps were definitely set very spooky,” Hutchins said. “Something where the horses went out and woke up a little bit. But I think the course had a really nice rhythm to it.”

She also spoke about the bond with her mount, Gaudi, who is owned by barnmate Taylor Harris. “This is my fourth time doing the Regionals, each time on him. He is amazing. He has taken me so far,” she explained. “We do get into a little bit of a fight sometimes. He’s very opinionated. But I think that’s what makes great horses. They have to have a little bit of an opinion about what they want to do, and because we’ve been together so long we’re able to connect. He pulls through for me for sure.”

A talented group of riders, including Hutchins, will head East for the Pennsylvania National, Washington International and The CP National Horse Show. Sydney plans to continue riding in the jumper ring as well.

(l-r) Greg Otteson of Tex Sutton, Melissa Brandes of Blenheim EquiSports, Teal Orin, Peyton Warren and Jan Humphrey.

Peyton Warren Earns Inaugural Award

In memory of Shelby Drazan, an excellent equitation rider and good friend to many, the Drazan family, together with the HE Tex Sutton Forwarding Company, established the inaugural Shelby Drazan Memorial Award.

Based on an individual that has displayed sportsmanship, integrity and passion in the show jumping arena, as well as in their community, the 2016 recipient is Peyton Warren, who also was fourth in the Region 8 ASPCA Regional Championships.

Warren rides with Jan Humphrey of JH Sporthorses in Northern California. There were 20 applicants from all over the country, an impressive amount in an inaugural year, who submitted a written essay that touched on personal contributions made in the community, school and/or extracurricular activities.

Here’s an excerpt from Warren’s winning essay:

“Compassion lays in the foundation of true sportsmanship. Sportsmanship can be defined as ‘fair play, respect for opponents, and polite behavior by someone who is competing in a sport or other competition.’ Yet this cannot be achieved without understanding and respecting your teammates and competition. Although they are our competitors, we need to support and uplift them to be the best versions of themselves. We never truly know what someone is going through behind closed doors, and we have to be aware of our actions towards others. If we exude compassion, we can hope to have an everlasting effect on their lives.”

The winning recipient will be awarded roundtrip air and ground transportation for one horse and equipment to the 2016 indoor horse show circuit. Additionally, the Drazan family will provide $2,000 towards entries at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show.

Equitation riders can also apply for the Leo Conroy Maclay Grant, which will provide up to five riders with financial aid so that they are able to participate in the Finals at the CP National Horse Show. The application deadline is Oct. 17: for details visit www.nhs.org.

Press release provided by Blenheim EquiSports.