Traverse City, Mich. – Aug. 24, 2020 – The 2020 Adequan®/USEF Junior Hunter National Championship – East Coast, which was hosted by Traverse City Horse Shows, reached its pinnacle Monday as eight champions and two Grand Champions were crowned at Flintfields Horse Park. At her first East Coast outing after a number of appearances in the West Coast event as a native Californian, Augusta Iwasaki rode right to the top of the standings ahead of more than 70 junior hunters at the 3’6” height to emerge as the Overall Grand Champion aboard Small Occasion, owned by Chris Iwasaki and Elizabeth Reilly. At their debut USEF Junior Hunter National Championship, Riley Hogan and Donald Stewart’s Keebler emerged as the next major victors of the afternoon as the top point-earners in the 3’3” divisions to capture the Overall Grand 3’3” Championship.
Iwasaki and Small Occasion started the day as the frontrunners in the Large Junior Hunter 15 & Under division with two blue ribbons under their belt thanks to winning performances in the $3,000 Large Junior Hunter 15 & Under Classic and the $1,500 Large Junior Hunter 15 & Under Under Saddle. Returning to the Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel International Ring for the third time, the duo once again showcased their skills with a stellar performance for which they were rewarded with third position and 250 points in the class. Thanks to that result, the partnership managed to retain the lead in the division standings and ultimately claimed the Overall Grand 3’6” Champion honors as the highest-scoring team of all the 3’6” entries across four divisions with a cumulative weighted score of 258.90.
To honor their efforts, the victors were presented with the Monarch International Perpetual Trophy. Small Occasion, an 11-year-old Holsteiner mare, is no stranger to the winner’s circle, and in 2019 carried Jordan Allen to the Overall Grand Championship in the 3’6’’ section at the Sonoma Horse Park for the USEF Junior Hunter National Championships – West Coast. For her triumph Monday in Michigan, Small Occasion was awarded the War Dress Memorial trophy, donated by Cleta S. Turbow and Pamela J. Rush, as the Best Mare, a distinction she also earned in 2019 in California.
Just one point off the leaders with 257.90 on the cumulative scorecard, Grace Debney and Quimby, owned by Temple Equestrian LLC, concluded the day as the Overall Grand 3’6” Reserve Champions and the tricolor winners in their 3’6” division, the Small Junior Hunter 15 & Under. Debney piloted Quimby, a 9-year-old Holsteiner gelding, to back-to-back blue ribbons Sunday in the Classic and Under Saddle classes to jump to the early lead in the division, then continued their success Monday in the Handy phase with a score of 260 and a second-place finish, which helped them to capture the division title.
Over the 3’3” fences, Hogan and Keebler shone the brightest of the field of 74, ending the day with a new distinction to their name. With a total weighted score of 253.50, the combination secured the Overall Grand 3’3” Championship, an added bonus following their division tricolors in the Large Junior 3’3’’ Hunter 16-17 division. On Sunday, the skilled duo earned first prize in the $2,000 Large Junior Hunter 3’3″ 16 – 17 Classic to claim the early lead, then solidified themselves as the overall champions following a ninth-place finish on the flat and first place with 258 points in the Handy phase. Hogan and Keebler led their division’s victory gallop, then returned to the ring with a brand new cooler as the highest-scoring 3’3” pair. For their Grand Championship victory, Hogan and Keebler were awarded the Montserrat Perpetual Trophy, donated by the Sonoma Horse Park.
Janet Hedges accumulated an impressive list of results Monday, hacking her own Casillas CH to eighth position and jumping to second place with a 252-point ride in the Handy class. Due to their consistent rankings, Hedges and Casillas CH were awarded the reserve championship in the Large Junior 3’3’’ Hunter 16-17 division just behind Hogan and Keebler, as well as the Overall Grand Reserve 3’3” Championship with a composite score of 242.80.
Section Champions Crowned at the 2020 Adequan®/USEF Junior Hunter National Championship – East Coast
The first championship of the day, the Small Junior 3’6’’ Hunter 15 & Under section championship was awarded to Debney and Quimby. The pair earned a total of 258.90 points to earn the Perpetual Trophy, donated by Geri and Whitney Roper.
In the Small Junior 3’6’’ Hunter 16-17 section, Christopher Coberly and No Introduction, a 12-year-old Warmblood gelding owned by Fox Meadow Farm, earned the tricolor with a total score of 251.30 points. The pair also received the Perpetual Trophy, donated by Pam and Wayne Baker.
Next up, Iwasaki and Small Occasion captured the Large Junior 3’6” Hunter 15 & Under section championship, with a total score of 257.90 points. For their victory, the pair were awarded the Perpetual Trophy, donated by Mr. & Mrs. Donald E Stewart, Jr.
The Large Junior 3’6” Hunter 16-17 section championship was awarded to Sophia Mitchell and her own Chevito with a total of 255.90 points. The pair also walked away with the Perpetual Trophy, donated by Christina Schlusemeyer.
Raina Swani piloted Knightly, owned by Brendan Williams, to the championship in the Small Junior 3’3’’ Hunter 15 & Under division with a composite score of 250.10.
The Small Junior 3’3’’ Hunter 16-17 overall champion was Elizabeth Nestor and her own Covert, who earned the distinction thanks to their total weighted score of 246.60 points.
Owner-rider Sterling Malnik jockeyed Rockette to the top of the divisional standings in the Large Junior 3’3’’ Hunter 15 & Under, clinching the overall victory boasting a total score of 251.60.
To conclude the day, the Large Junior 3’3’’ Hunter 16-17 division was won by Hogan and Keebler thanks to their standout efforts that earned them a total tally of 253.50 points.
The 2020 Adequan®/USEF Junior Hunter National Championships East Coast will conclude Tuesday with the USHJA Gladstone Cup Equitation Classic, presented by Intermont Equestrian at Emory and Henry. The contest will feature three rounds of riding from some of the top equitation exhibitors in the country.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Augusta Iwasaki – Overall Grand 3’6” Champion
On Small Occasion:
“Her barn name is Cleo and she has been my horse for four years. She is seriously the most fun horse to ride. Everyone that rides her tells me how fun she is. She was great both days here. I was a step late on a lead change but she caught it and was really good both days. She didn’t look at anything and she is just really nice to ride around these kinds of courses. She’s a very special hunter – she always goes in and wants to do well. She is really pretty to look at and is really nice going across the ground, so I think that goes a long way in these classes.”
On her win:
“I had a lot better luck this year than I have in the past honestly. I’ve never competed in a [Junior Hunter National Championship – East Coast], I usually do the West Coast and I really liked doing it here, I had a great time.”
On the handy round:
“I competed with my other horse Heaven’s Dream this morning and I won first place and I just kind of stuck to the plan and it worked out really well. So I pretty much kept the plan the same – just a nice round, nothing crazy, just smooth.”
On competing at Traverse City Horse Shows:
“I love the showgrounds. I think it’s beautiful and the weather is really nice here. We are actually staying in Elk Rapids and we’re right on the lake, which is so fun.”
Riley Hogan – Overall Grand 3’3” Champion
“This is Keebler. He is an 8-year-old Oldenburg gelding and he has only really been doing the hunters for three or so months. He is already a star! He was imported in December 2019 and had been competing in the equitation divisions and Don [Stewart] saw how well he jumped and decided to take a shot in the hunter ring with him. It certainly paid off.His jumping style is so textbook. He always stays the same and goes in there every day with his game face on.”
On earning the Grand Overall 3’3’’ Championship:
“It’s pretty amazing! I come from a small town and so I never thought I would be at a [Junior Hunter National Championship], and this is both of our first time here, so it’s unreal.”
On the handy round:
“Going into it I was pretty confident with the course. It was set up well for him and he was so good yesterday that I knew he was just going to do whatever was put in front of him. I thought the way the jumps were all decorated and set up, I thought it was hard but good.”
On competing at Traverse City Horse Shows:
“We were up here for six weeks, I went home for one week and then I came back. It is amazing here; it’s probably one of the best showgrounds I’ve ever been to. It’s close, everything is easy to get to, the footing is unbeatable and the horses love it.”
Rider / Horse / Owner / Score
Small Junior Hunter 15 & Under Champion:
Grace Debney / Quimby / Temple Equestrian LLC / 257.90
Small Junior Hunter 16 – 17 Champion:
Christopher Coberley / No Introduction / Fox Meadow Farm / 251.30
Large Junior Hunter 15 & Under Champion:
Augusta Iwasaki / Small Occasion / Elizabeth Reilly and Chris Iwasaki / 258.90
Large Junior Hunter 16 – 17 Champion:
Sophia Mitchell / Chevito / Sophia Mitchell / 255.90
Small Junior Hunter 3’3” 15 & Under Champion:
Raina Swani / Knightly / Brendan Williams / 250.10
Small Junior Hunter 3’3” 16 – 17 Champion:
Elizabeth Nestor / Covert / Elizabeth Nestor / 246.60
Large Junior Hunter 3’3” 15 & Under Champion:
Sterling Malnik / Rockette / Sterling Malnik / 251.60
Large Junior Hunter 3’3” 16 – 17 Champion:
Riley Hogan / Keebler / Donald Stewart / 253.50