The first U.S. National Championships for the sport of Working Equitation welcomed 45 horses, ponies, and mules to the DevonWood Equestrian Centre in Sherwood, Oregon, for three jam-packed days of stiff competition and a great deal of laughter and celebration.
Competitors, spectators, and staff hailed from Arizona, California, Utah, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Texas, and Kentucky in the U.S., as well as the Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia, and New South Wales, Australia.
The competition featured both National Championship classes (for those who had earned qualifying scores during the 2017 competition year) and A-Rated classes, for those who love the sport but hadn’t earned qualifying scores prior to the competition.
The officials included Texas-based Senior Judges Michael Vermaas and Doreen Atkinson and Technical Delegate Bruce W. Menke; Arizona resident Ashley Bowers as Gate Steward; and Oregon-based Samuel Cruden as Paddock Steward. John DeBevoise, who divides his time between California and Nevada, served as announcer. Californian Barbara Price and Washington resident Kyra Gauteson served as scribes.
The course for both Ease of Handling and Speed was designed by Washington resident Becky Mathews, using River Run obstacles she created and brought to the event.
Intermediate B, National Championships
Cari Schwartz, from Oregon City, Oregon and her 17-year old Trakehner mare Exsarena won first place in Ease of Handling and Speed and 2nd place in Dressage to bring home the Intermediate B National Championship. At this level, horses demonstrate a high degree of collection, impulsion, and athleticism, as they must perform numerous flying lead changes both during the Dressage and Ease of Handling trials.
Their 1st place finish in Dressage earned Oregon resident Morgan Wagner and the 16-year-old Appaloosa gelding Endo the Blind the Reserve National Champion title at the Intermediate B level.
Intermediate A, National Championships
With seven entries, the Intermediate A National Championship class was the second-largest of the competition. Congratulations and the National Champion title go to Kendra Martland and Montaque, a Spanish Norman (Andalusian x Percheron) gelding from Alberta, Canada.
Their first place finish in Speed coupled with a third in Dressage and a fourth in Ease of Handling moved Oregonian Heather Humelbaugh and her 21-year-old Thoroughbred mare F.T. Sheer Perfection into the Reserve National Championship position.
Novice B, National Championships
Oregonian Lizann Dunegan and her 13-year-old Andalusian gelding Miguel BTSF brought home the National Championship title at the Novice B level, while Washington resident Cheryl Zimmerman Rife rode her 20-year-old Azteca mare Nova to the Reserve National Champion title.
Novice A, National Championships
With 17 entries, the Novice A National Championship class was the largest at the event and also one of the most competitive. Oregon resident Kristina Eckert rode her mom’s 15-year-old Canadian Horse mare Canadian Farm Jerrycho Manon to the victory and the National Champion title.
Just behind her Oregon resident Jill Lovelace and her 14-year-old Quarter Horse gelding Driftin Juniper brought home the Reserve National Champion title at the Novice A level.
Introductory, National Championships
Washington resident Samantha Westby rode her 11-year-old Quarter Horse gelding Snipper’s Remedy to capture the Introductory Level National Championship title, while 13-year-old Lily Godding, from Australia, rode the Quarter Horse gelding Red to the Reserve National Champion title.
A-Rated Show Results
A-Rated Show winners include Utah resident Sheri Prucka and her 15-year-old Lusitano gelding Xampu Interagro at the Intermediate B level, Oregonian Amber Houska and her 11-year-old Shire/Thoroughbred cross gelding Rudy Val Jay at the Novice B level, Canadian Trish Hyatt riding 7-year-old Quarter Horse mare Cowgirl’s Hope at the Novice A level, and Canadian Tanya Larsen riding her 13-year-old PRE mare Milagro Bendita.
In the team-event, the Gold Medal was captured by Team USA, represented by Polly Limond on Flying Tiger and Bob Lawson on Burladero from California, and Washington residents Samantha Westby on Snipper’s Remedy and Kent Wright on El Bonito.
Silver Medal honors go to Team Australia, represented by Kim Peterson on CDC Memoria, Michael Godding on Sephiroth, Lily Godding on Red, and Mark Mason on Shannon’s Gold Remedy.
Bronze Medal honors go to Team Canada, represented by Kendra Martland on Montaque, Lisa Green on Milagro Esperado, Tanya Larsen on Milagro Bendita, and Trish Hyatt on Cowgirl’s Hope.
Twenty riders entered the Sweepstakes class, where entry fees of $100 were put into a prize pool for distribution to the top five competitors across all levels, based on the average of Dressage and Ease of Handling scores.
Polly Limond and Flying Tiger took home first place in the Sweepstakes and $1000.
Jill Lovelace and Driftin Juniper captured second place to earn $500.
Kristina Eckert and Canadian Farm Jerrycho Manon took home third and $300
Mark Mason and Shannon’s Gold Remedy finished 4th to win $180
Samantha Westby and Snipper’s Remedy finished 5th to win $120
Event sponsors included:
Sandhaven Performance Horses, Kellee Campbell, TX
Greenberg Land & Livestock Company, AZ
Intrepid Sportfishing, CA
Pepper Knoll Farm, CA
Amandalusian Farm, CA
Bob and Barbara Lawson, CA
Law Office of Denise J. Lukins, WA
Working Equitation Washington, Nicole Grous, WA
The Equine Education Group, Lexington, KY
Working Equitation Simplified, Canada
McClung Scientific Services, FL
Glisan St. Saddlery, OR
Anne Lobeck, WA
Blue Gate Farm, WA
Becky Mathews, River Run
Equestrian Aquatics, Canada
Horseman’s News, CA
Dr. Show, USA
Nepenthe Naturals, OR
Nag Bags, Canada
Michael, Nicole, and Lily Godding, Australia
Jill Lovelace, Oregon