Markel/USHJA Zone 5 & 6 Jumper Team/Platinum Jumper Championships Gets Underway at Great Lakes Equestrian Festival
Traverse City, Mich. – United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) Zone 5 & 6 show jumping competitors traveled to Traverse City, Michigan for Week V of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF), presented by CaptiveOne Advisors, to take center stage for their respective team and individual championships. The Markel/USHJA Zone Jumper Team Championships and Platinum Jumper Championships are a sought-after part of the USHJA Emerging Jumper Rider Program, which rewards competitive achievement with education to advance athletes in the sport. The program serves as the entry point for the Show Jumping Athlete Pathway, a joint USHJA and United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) effort that identifies and supports jumping athletes as they advance through the sport to enhance future success for Olympic and international teams representing the United States.
Team Frogs emerged victorious during the first podium event of the week, the $15,000 Markel/USHJA Zone 5 & 6 Platinum Jumper Championship, which included teammates Lisa Goldman-Smolen, Ryan Sassmannhausen, Natalie Jayne and Molly Kindness. It came down to a tie-breaking jump-off between Team Cheetah’s Liz Atkins aboard and Rodeo VDL, owned by Benchmark Stables LLC, and Team Frog’s Jayne riding Columbcille de Reve after both teams finished the first round on 12 faults. After both riders incurred four faults on the shortened jump-off course, it was ultimately Jayne who clinched the win for her team, finishing in a time of 30.45 seconds, just over one-and-a-half seconds quicker than Atkins’ 31.99-second round. After claiming back-to-back top finishes with Barbara Disko’s Sovereign, Goldman-Smolen currently leads individual competition heading into Saturday’s Markel/USHJA Zone 5 & 6 Jumper Championship 1.15m Individual Final.
Providing Children and Adult Amateur Jumper at the 1.10-1.15m height, 1.20-1.25m Junior and Amateur, and 1.30-1.35m Junior and Amateur riders with a competitive team experience and an opportunity to earn Zone Horse of the Year points in their respective jumper sections, the Markel/USHJA Zone Jumper Team Championships are held by zones and consist of both team and individual competition. Now in its second year, the Markel/USHJA Platinum Jumper Championships are the highest level of the USHJA Emerging Jumper Rider Program and are open to qualified juniors, amateurs and professionals competing at 1.40/1.45m fence heights.
In the 1.20m-1.30m Markel/USHJA Children’s/Adults Zone 5 & 6 Jumper Championship 1st Individual/ 1st Team event, it was Nora Nauss who took home the tricolor aboard her own Bretzelle D’Arthenay. Just prior, Jenna Yamamoto and Riverview Farm LLC’s Quabelle took the win in the 1.10m Markel/USHJA Children’s/Adults Zone 5 & 6 Jumper Championship 1st Individual/ 1st Team event. Both young riders garnered valuable points toward their respective individual finals for their shot at the podium.
Show jumping competition during Week V of GLEF will continue Friday, August 6, highlighting the $36,600 Welcome Stake CSI3*, where riders will vie for their shot at the week’s top prize in Sunday’s $137,000 Southern Arches Grand Prix CSI3*.
HSJ | www.traversecityhorseshows.com | PHOTO Platinum Jumper Championship podium, photo by Andrew Ryback Photography