Ruinen, Netherlands. – Apr. 18, 2022 – Across the span of three days, Hunter Jumper Equitation Holland put on a jam-packed event at Stoeterij Gaesbeek, sponsored by HorseFlight.com, Global Equine Sales and M. Micheal Meller, filled with educational clinics and horse show competition for European Hunter and Equitation riders. Generous prizes donated by Cowboy Magic were the delight of the winning entries! Friday saw many riders enjoy the coaching of Patricia Bade van Motman during scheduled schooling rounds on the beautifully set course of hunter jumps. Saturday, the USHJA Judge, Jenny Fisher gave clinics to small groups focusing on the core principles of the forward riding system that are central to the Equitation and Hunter disciplines. She honed in on how straightness, even tempo, and correct lower leg position are vital to helping the horses and ponies make a well balanced jumping effort over each fence. Sunday was reserved for horse show competition where European riders took to the courses to apply what they learned in an effort to claim the top spot in their respective classes.
With HJE Holland’s mission to spread knowledge and technique of the primarily US Hunter and Equitation riding disciplines, Judge Jenny Fisher gave five clinics throughout the day addressing the needs of each horse/rider combination, improvising for example; placing sandbags at the end of a line for riders to turn around to encourage riders to continue to ride straight and balanced and use their corners, or bags on either side of the landing prevent riders from jumping crooked to one side or the other.
The weekend included riders of all ages and skill levels. Throughout Fisher’s five different clinics, she noticed that the riders were struggling to maintain the same tempo from the beginning of the course to the end and many either lost pace in the corners or allowed their mount to build and race down to the fence. Fisher showcased what different techniques the riders could use to find the distance while maintaining good form and with subtle corrections such as riding the course with a balanced position in the center of the saddle with a steady leg, hands slightly extended in front of them forming a straight line to the bit both for an appropriate release and gentle connection. Julia Bosch, of Bosch Sporthorses, expertly exemplified the relaxed but functional style of riding Fischer was looking for aboard her pony Spirit.
The highlight class of the weekend was the €1000 Horseflight Hunter Derby as new and repeat competitors alike took to the two-round competition. Emila Vätto with her own Come Il Faut’s Rubin returned for another chance at the blue ribbon and had a great ride placing the pair in the lead after the first round, however canter steps at the Trot Jump in the handy round cost them the lead.
Ultimately, it was Jeroen Broek and Mowgli (El Salvador) of Jan Broek Stables who bested the field in the second round with a score high enough to take the win in the class. Broek supported his mount but stayed out of his way allowing the hunter to showcase his textbook form and smooth, rhythmic canter. Jeroen Broek, who had previously trained with Jeff Teal, was a first-time participant of the HJE Holland shows and was able to take a victory on his first time out. Samantha Bos and the six-year-old stallion, Grisou (Greco Sitte) had two consistent rounds bringing them to win second place, while Vätto and Come Il Faut’s Rubin rounded out the top three.
The other various classes throughout the weekend featured more stiff competition. Sunday started with the Short Stirrup Division which included riders up to 12 years of age.In the end, it was ultimately, Rosalie Buiten and her pony Lucky, who took home Champion honors while Jezzebel Hol with Richards’s Ringo (Hengelshoef’s Picasso) took a close second.
Rounding out the Children’s classes, Lara Hekking and Kane van Equi Center (Kranevelds Kadans) earned division Champion in the Children Hunter Division, while Kirsten Smit and her horse ‘Dakota’ (O’ Brien) finished as Reserve Champion. The Children’s Equitation Division was won by Candice van Motman and Indian River with two first-place ribbons and consistent scores in the 80s through the first two rounds of competition and a second-place finish in the flat phase. Lara Hekking and Kane van Equi Center (Kranevelds Kadans) finished as Reserve Champion.
For the adult classes, a number of riders tried their first Low Hunter rounds in Ruinen. Samantha Bos and Bos Sporthorses’s, Grisou (Greco Sitte) won their second top-2 finish of the weekend. They topped the class with consistent scores through both rounds and a third-place result in the under saddle class. Bo Oude Nijhuis won the Champion prize for Adult Equitation aboard her mount, Happy (Der Senaat 111) with scores in the 80’s for both rounds. Lysanne Kruizinga and Cecile followed close behind and took Reserve Champion for the Adult Equitation Division.
HJE Holland competition will resume Sunday, May 15 in Ambt Delden featuring a and exciting new class and once-in-a-lifetime, end-of-the-year prize: the inaugural M. Michael Meller International Medal, presented by QBS Equestrian. This challenging equitation jumping competition is open to riders aged 35 and younger, features a first round of 8-14 jumping efforts set at up to 110 cm. The top four scoring riders are to be called back to ride in a second jumping round as a ‘test’ designed by the judge. Sponsored by M. Michael Meller of MMM Horseman and QBS Equestrian, The M. Michael Meller International Medal was created to encourage riders to strive for excellence while exemplifying “form with function” in the show ring.
At the conclusion of the year, the rider who exhibited the best combination of horsemanship, skill, and presentation and who competed in at least four of the M. Michael Meller International Medal classes will be presented with the prestigious M. Michael Meller Style of Riding Award as well as an all-inclusive 10-day “study aboard” opportunity in America with some of the world’s top riders and trainers.