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Rachel Boggus Tops the Card in the HJAM Adult Medal Final

by Horse Shows By The Bay | Jul 31, 2014, 1:07 PM EST

Traverse City, Mich.
- When Rachel Boggus stepped into the Horse Shows by the Bay Grand Prix Ring for the first round of the HJAM Adult Medal Final on July 26, she was on a mission. Not only did she seek to do her best in the class, but she also wanted to push herself to escape her comfort zone.
In the end, she accomplished both goals. Boggus, 32, of Indianapolis, Indiana, topped the three-phase final and also gained valuable experience toward her quest to win the Ariat Adult Medal Finals this fall at the Capital Challenge Horse Show in Maryland.

"We were so excited when we found out I was eligible to do this final because this is how the Ariat Medal Finals goes, and it's not often that as an adult you get to do an equitation course of this level of difficulty," she said. "This class was in the jumper ring with jumper jumps, and a lot of times the Ariat classes are in a hunter ring and maybe there's a broken line or a rollback. But this was a very difficult class, so I feel like this really helped to boost my confidence."

The Hunter Jumper Association of Michigan (HJAM) Medal Finals are featured during Horse Shows by the Bay Series IV and attract equitation riders from throughout the state and beyond. Sponsored by Equis, Ltd. and Polly Howard, each of the seven finals are open to the top-15 riders in the standings. The medal finals consist of a minimum of two rounds, with a flat phase and a test.

While the Adult Medal Finals course designed by Scott Starnes was challenging, Boggus rose to the head of the class and then continued to impress the judges in the flat phase and during the test to ride away with the blue ribbon. Sara Ballinger placed second, and Gabrielle Thornton took third.

"The first round I knew was tough," said Boggus, who trains with Abigail Blankenship. "I watched the Limits go and a few adults. Abby and I had been talking, and I'm not going to get better if I just continue to ride conservatively. I need to go in and get it done and make it smooth and do the best I can. If I make a mistake, then at least I can learn from it and make it better. So, we really focused on that goal, and it really motivated me and geared me up."

Boggus' partner for her victory was Papillon 136, the horse that Jessica Springsteen rode to victory in the Pessoa/USEF Medal and ASPCA Maclay Finals as well as other major equitation titles.

"He's the best. I got him November, and he's 17, so they were ready to step him down," said Boggus. "[Trainer] Stacia Madden had him with Beacon Hill, and they didn't want him to do the 3'6" any more, but he still feels good and wants to show, so they were looking for someone to do 3' with him. He's a luxury and amazing to ride."

Boggus, who balances her riding aspirations with a career as an anesthesiologist, thanked Blankenship, of Treesdale Farms, Carmel, Indiana, and groom Jose Castillo for their invaluable help. "I truly appreciate all they do," she said. "It's a team effort." Kristen D. Raue also counted on her team to help her win the HJAM Open Junior Medal Final, and she was thrilled to lead the victory lap aboard Rico. "I'm so happy, and I want to thank [trainer] Kim Carey and everyone at Huntington Ridge," she said. "This is my last junior year, and I hoped I'd get my big win. This was so exciting."

After the first round and the flat phase, Raue, of Clarkston, Michigan, stood third going into the test.

After placing eighth and second in previous years, Raue was ready to step it up. She nailed the test, with her transition to counter canter being an exceptionally smooth part of the test.

"I knew we had to pull off a good round in the test and, hopefully, it would clinch the win, and it did," she said. "I knew Rico would be good for the counter canter, so I could be bold there, and it worked out perfectly."

Emma Wujek, who had a successful Horse Shows by the Bay series in a variety of divisions, placed second, and Elizabeth Stroh, who also won the $1,000 NAL/WIHS Children's Hunter Classic during Series IV, was third.

Raue, who turned 18 during Horse Shows by the Bay, is heading off to the University of Michigan in the fall. She's qualified for the ASPCA Maclay Regionals and hopes to end her junior career with her third appearance at the ASPCA Malcay Finals at the National Horse Show.
Raue concluded her blue-ribbon Horse Shows by the Bay series with the Equitation, 15-17, Championship as well as the top call in the Pessoa/USEF Medal class during Series IV.

While Raue has focused on the equitation for a number of years, the HJAM Limit Junior Medal Final winner, Jillian C. Morisette, only began jumping less than a year ago after primarily riding dressage.

Despite her inexperience, Morisette, 17, of Pontiac, Michigan, moved up to the win after being called back fourth of the eight invited to test. Dana Wille placed second, and Marika Vreeken was third.

"When I went in the work-off I was kind of nervous," said Morisette, competing in her first medal final. "I trotted directly to the first fence instead of bending the line, and then I thought my turn back to the four-stride line was nice, and we got out nice. I also went around to the halt to make it smoother."

Morisette has had her partner Al, a 15-year-old warmblood, for just a few months. She purchased him through trainer Linda Hake of Pine Ridge, who also guided her along to the victory.

In the HJAM Pony Medal Final, it was Mia Wayne who claimed the blue ribbon over Christopher Coberley and Samantha Rothman. Wayne had a banner weekend aboard the medium pony Oliver Twist, owned by her trainer Kim Carey, of Huntington Ridge Farm in Holly, Michigan.

In addition to the equitation title, Wayne and Oliver Twist claimed the reserve championship in the Pony Equitation section and earned the Wrenwood Farms Grand Green Pony Hunter Championship after accumulating 31 points in the Green Pony Hunter section.

Saylor Shea led the victory lap in the HJAM Children's Pony Medal Final over Sarah Sketch and Aristea Santoro. Trained by Abigail Blankenship, Shea also rode Tickles-N-Giggles to the Children's Pony Equitation Championship.

In the HJAM Low Adult Medal Final, it was Marike Dussault, of Kalamazoo, Michigan, who topped the card over Kelly J. McClelland Garner and Samantha Lee.

Dussault trains with Sandi Carlton and rode her own homebred Pre-Green Hunter Carbon Copy, a Canadian Sport Horse gelding (Guy Laroche--Image), to the victory.

In the HJAM Low Children's Medal Final, Madison Weaver rode to the top spot over Alicia Nicholas and Elizabeth Ball.

Weaver, who trains with Cynthia Petherbridge, rode her own Serendipity to the blue and also took reserve championships in section A of the Low Children's Hunter, 14 and under, and section A of the Low Children's Equitation, 14 and under.