Abigail Gordon Clinches the Win in the Taylor Harris Insurance Services National Children’s Medal Finals

Upper Marlboro, MD. – Oct. 4, 2021 – Abigail Gordon of Statesville, NC, topped a total of 39 juniors that qualified from across the country to win Sunday’s Taylor Harris Insurance Services (THIS) National Children’s Medal Final at Capital Challenge. The top 10 from the first round then returned for a second round.

Abigail Gordon was presented as the winner of the Taylor Harris Insurance Services National Children’s Medal (THIS) by THIS President and Director Michael Taylor and Christina Kelly. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography

Gordon, 14, sat in second place with a score of 87.66 following the first round, and she moved into the lead with a score of 87.41 in the second round for a combined first and second-round score of 175.07.

After the second round, because Olivia Sweetnam of Wellington, FL, sat within two points of Gordon, and Catherine Kramer of Carmel, IN, was just a fraction of a point behind Sweetnam, the three competitors were brought back for a final test that included a counter canter, trot fence, and hand gallop. In the end, Gordon prevailed with a third-round score of 83.66, putting her at the top with a score of 258.73 overall.

Finishing in second place with scores of 87.83, 85.58, and 83.33 for a 256.74 total was Catherine Kramer aboard Cristallo’s Carlchen P, owned by Alivia Kohus. Third place was awarded to Olivia Sweetnam on Sweet Oak Farm’s Coppertone, who earned 86.70, 87.16, and 69 for a 242.86 total.

Abigail Gordon and Heartbeat Z. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography

“I got more confidence out of this,” Gordon said of her win, “but it’s not only about winning; it’s about doing my best. I gave it my all, and when you do, it pays off. I’ve worked pretty hard these past couple of years since [I started] training with Ashland Farms, and I’ve been trusting the process ever since. This [medal final] was my goal all year and it paid off, so I was really, really happy about it.”

Gordon talked about putting in the hard work and mentioned the importance of maintaining a positive mindset. “I always look at the bright side. Even if I won or not, I look at what went well,” she shared. “That will always guide you to bigger and better things.”

Because she says she’s an overthinker, Gordon credits a unique tactic for overcoming the challenge it creates in the ring. “It’s all Pinterest; I read those quotes!” Gordon laughed. “I do those affirmations [that I find on Pinterest] before I go into the ring. I’m [say things] like, ‘I’m attracting positive, healthy vibrations into my body!’ and then it works. I’m telling you, download [the affirmations]!”

Gordon was aboard Mary Jane King’s Heartbeat Z, a horse that was first her older sister’s (Libbie Gordon) equitation mount before going out on lease and then returning to the Gordon family because they adored him. “He is so sweet, and he would never hurt a fly,” she said of the horse known as ‘Happy’ in the barn. “He always tries his best. If he knows that his rider trusts him, he will trust his rider. He is very, very brave, and he also gives pretty good snuggles!”

“He is pretty spoiled in the barn,” she continued of Happy. “Right now, I’m giving him pumpkin-spiced treats and [it’s been his favorite treat so far] so I guess he’s a pumpkin spice man! I might need to buy him a latte at Starbucks.  He needs the reward [following our win] so he will get a lot of kisses and hugs after this.”

While Sunday marked the conclusion of Equitation Weekend, presented by Bigeq.com, competition at the 2021 Capital Challenge Horse Show continues on Monday, October 4, with the professional hunter divisions beginning at 7:30 a.m.​

In Sunday’s Taylor Harris Insurance Services National Children’s Medal Final, there was a change to the previously announced standings for the top 10 that would return for the second round. After the first round was complete, and upon further review by the six judges and the stewarding team of Capital Challenge Horse Show, it was found that three riders that scored in the top 10 crossed the dotted line in their closing circles. The dotted line at the beginning and end of the course is clearly marked on the course map, and in the arena, they are lined by plants.

The three riders who crossed the dotted line were eliminated from the class per the regulations set out by the horse show prize list and federation rules. The next three riders in the standings who did not cross the dotted line in their first-round course were moved into the top 10 and returned for the second-round test.


THIS National Children’s Medal Finals Results
Place / Rider / Horse / Overall
1. Abigail Gordon / Heartbeat Z / 258.73
2. Catherine Kramer / Cristallo’s Carlchen P / 256.74
3. Olivia Sweetnam / Coppertone / 242.86
4. Paige Walkenbach / Constantinos / 171.74
5. Peyton Addington / Semi-Automatic C / 170.66
6. Rylynn Conway / Crossbow / 170.24
7. Shiloh Roseboom / Venice / 168.24
8. Emma Arnhols / Spiros Z / 165.49
9. Caroline Muth / Photoshop / 156.66
10. Abigail Roberts / Temptation / 123.50

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