Devon, Pa. – July 14, 2021 – The final day of competition at the 2021 Adequan®/USEF Junior Hunter National Championship – East Coast, hosted by the Brandywine Horse Shows, concluded Wednesday in the Dixon Oval of the Devon Horse Show Grounds with the Junior 3’3” Hunters. Bringing forth some of the nation’s top up-and-coming junior riders, competition was stiff as horse-and-rider combinations vied for the Grand Junior 3’3” Hunter Champion title. After seeing a total of 213 entries in the Small Junior 3’3” Hunter 15 & Under, Small Junior 3’3” Hunter 16-17, Large Junior 3’3” Hunter 15 & Under and Large Junior 3’3” Hunter 16-17 divisions, Clara Propp and Arabesque emerged victorious to be crowned Grand Junior 3’3” Hunter Champions.
Competing in the Large Junior 3’3” Hunter 15 & Under division, Propp and Aquitaine Equine’s Arabesque bested a field of 64 to take home the division championship, and ultimately the Grand Junior 3’3” Hunter Championship. Propp and the 8-year-old Oldenburg mare placed third in the Classic and second in the under saddle during Tuesday’s competition. The pair entered the Dixon Oval Wednesday afternoon hungry for a win, laying down a seamless handy trip to receive a score of 264 from the panel of three judges. Propp and Arabesque’s consistent results would prove to be unbeatable, crowning them Grand Junior 3’3” Hunter Champion at the conclusion of the day. Partnered together for just a few months, the pair have been competitive in the Junior 3’3” Hunter divisions throughout 2021, and have captured back-to-back wins leading up to the 2021 Adequan®/USEF Junior Hunter National Championship – East Coast.
Claiming the reserve champion honors in the Large Junior 3’3” Hunter 15 & Under division was Jordan Gibbs and Five Star, a 12-year-old Warmblood gelding owned by Dana Vollbracht. Gibbs and Five Star caught the judges’ eye during day one of competition Tuesday, placing fourth in the Classic out of a tough group of 64 competitors, earning them a score of 254. Tuesday’s competition proved to be a challenge for many, but Gibbs and Five Star stepped up to the plate in the Handy, earning them a score of 246.75 and securing them the division reserve champion title.
Earlier on in the day, Campbell Brown and Fleetwood, a 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by MMK Equestrian LLC, took home the championship in the Small Junior 3’3” Hunter 15 & Under division, and Mae Mannis and Premium Blend, the 12-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding owned by Aquitaine Equine Life, claimed the reserve champion title. Brown and Fleetwood won the Classic round Tuesday with a score of 254 from the judges and came into day two of competition Wednesday on top. The strong pair continued to impress, claiming the blue ribbon in the handy round with a score of 261, which ultimately secured them the Small Junior 3’3” Hunter 15 & Under division, as well as the Reserve Grand Junior 3’3” Hunter Champion. Brown and Fleetwood are no strangers to the winner’s circle, having won several Junior 3’3″ Hunter division champions and placing in the top 10 in several USHJA National Hunter Derbies. Brown was thrilled with her Overall Reserve Grand Junior 3’3” Hunter Championship title, thanking her trusty mount for his consistency throughout the three classes.
In the Small Junior 3’3” Hunter 16-17 division, Hannah Kohler and Highlight dominated the division winning the Classic round Monday with a score of 247 and placing third in the Handy Wednesday morning, capturing a score of 251, securing them the division champion title. Kohler and Highlight continued to impress the judges over both days of competition with their fluidity, ample pace and beautiful form over each jump, helping them earn top three placings in both over fences classes. Aristea Santoro and Starfighter claimed reserve championship after placing fifth in the Classic with a score of 228 and earning fifth in the Handy with a score of 246, helping them achieve the title of reserve champion.
As the final division of the day, the Large Junior 3’3” Hunter 16-17 division took center ring for a whopping 78 entries to contest for the final championship ribbon of the 2021 Adequan®/USEF Junior Hunter National Championship – East Coast. Rising to the occasion was Riley Hogan and Don Stewart’s Balou Moon, who got a strong start in the division by winning the Classic Tuesday. Hogan and the 6-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding went on to receive a score of 250 in the Handy, placing fifth out of the competitive division and garnering the championship. Bridget Hickton and Serenade, an 8-year-old Warmblood gelding, closed out the Large Junior 3’3” Hunter 16-17 division with the reserve championship to their name.
The 2021 Adequan®/USEF Junior Hunter National Championship – East Coast, hosted by Brandywine Horse Shows, has now concluded.
FROM THE WINNERS CIRCLE
Clara Propp – Grand Junior 3’3” Hunter Champion
“I got this horse at the beginning of the winter. She is only eight years old, she is a baby and has never been to the Devon Horse Park before. I am really proud of her.”
On handy round:
“I did it on my Small Junior earlier in the morning, so I kind of had a feel for the course. With her, I took a less handy turn to the first jump than I did with my Small Junior because she is a little less experienced and I did not want to scare her for her first time going into the Dixon Oval. As I felt that she was more comfortable, I was able to do the rest of the inside turns, and she was perfect.”
On Grand Overall Junior 3’3” Hunter Champion:
“It feels really special to be the Grand Overall Junior 3’3” Hunter Champion. I have never been to the Junior Hunter Finals before this. It is my first time and I have had a really great first experience here.”
On upcoming plans:
“I plan to have her for as long as I am a junior, or hopefully forever. She is young so I know that I am going to be able to do big things with her, and then eventually move up to the Junior 3’6” Hunters.”
Krista Goossens – Trainer of Clara Propp
On training Clara Propp:
“It is so special to train Clara [Propp], especially for her first time doing this on the horses and doing it on a horse that has never been to Junior Hunter Finals before. They both really stepped up to the plate. It is very exciting.”
On prep going into a championship:
“We have been showing all summer. We backed off the last couple of weeks and just focused on training a little bit to get ready and make sure that everyone was feeling their best. She is one of those horses that really rises to the occasion, so she makes our job easy.”
Campbell Brown – Reserve Grand Junior 3’3” Hunter Champion
“He is the sweetest animal in the barn! All he likes are cuddles and I think my favorite part about his in-barn lifestyle is the way he moves his lip! He always moves his bottom lip and makes this silly face and shows his teeth, and it’s adorable and I always think he is talking to me! I just got him right at the start of [the Winter Equestrian Festival].”
On the handy:
“It was nerve racking to go last, but I had won the class yesterday so I was completely happy and thought, ‘This was way better than I could have imagined!’ He is so fun to do in the handy rounds because he is so great at turning, so I was really excited. [My favorite part] was all of [the handy]! My favorite part is always the handy on him because he loves to turn.”
On being Reserve Grand Junior 3’3” Hunter Champion:
“It is better than I could have ever imagined! I did not know this was going to happen and this is way better than I ever could have thought, so I am really excited!”
On her plans for the future with Fleetwood:
“I hope to have [Fleetwood] as long as I possibly can. I don’t want to ever sell him because he is perfect, but hopefully we just keep continuing to have fun and success together!”