Las Vegas, Nev. – The United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) hosted the first ever AON/USHJA National Championships at The Las Vegas National CSI4*-W from November 13-18. Throughout the week, USHJA members earned national championship titles, participated in free educational seminars, and enjoyed the electric Las Vegas atmosphere.
The inaugural event hosted riders as they vied for national championship titles and the 26 medals, 1,450 ribbons, 34 horse coolers, 70 sponsor awards, and seven perpetual trophies awarded during the six-day event.
In addition to great competition, members also participated in free educational seminars, including a session with Sharon Classen; a judging seminar led by USEF R-rated judge and USHJA Certified Trainer Diane Carney; a course walk with USEF Youth Chef d’Equipe Di Ann Langer; and informational sessions with the official horse show farrier and veterinarian.
With nearly every USHJA zone represented across the hunter, jumper, and equitation sections offered, the Championships began with green hunters in the Preifert Pavilion and the 1.20m USEF/USHJA Open Jumper Welcome in the South Point Arena, where Angel Karolyi (Wellington, Fla.) rode April Moon, Silver Raven Farms and Carol Rosenstein’s 10-year-old Holsteiner mare, to the top placing. Watch their winning ride here. Green hunters and top professionals from California frequented the winner's circle in both the over fences and handy rounds. Jenny Karazissis (Calabasas, Calif.) rode Puissance R, Lisa Hankin's 12-year-old Hanoverian mare, to the blue ribbon in the 3'9" green hunter over fences. Read more.
On day two, Jamie Taylor (Tarzana, Calif.) stood apart from the crowd on two of Elizabeth Reilly, Chris M. Iwasaki, and Augusta Iwasaki’s mares, Small Statement and Small Occasion. Taylor and Small Statement, a nine-year-old Westphalian, started the second day of competition off strong, earning second place in the 3’/3’3” Classic, followed by Champion in the 3’3” Green Hunter section. She also claimed the High Score Rider Award for a score of 92 aboard Small Statement. Taylor then took up the 3’6” Green Hunter section with Small Occasion, a nine-year-old Holsteiner mare, winning the 3’6” Green Hunter Classic, 3’6” Green Hunter Champion, and Grand Green Hunter Champion titles. Read more.
On Thursday, after earning both the USEF/USHJA 1.20m and 1.30m Open Jumper Championship titles, Karolyi received the USEF/USHJA Leading Open Jumper Rider Award and was presented an engraved Prize Possessions crystal bowl on the third day of competition at the AON/USHJA National Championships. “It’s always nice to be leading rider at a championship,” said Karolyi. “This is my first time here out in Vegas, and I’ve really enjoyed it. I think the championship is a great concept, and the idea of qualifying gives it more importance.” Read more.
Friday was all about the junior and amateur competitors. Children’s, adult amateur, and juniors earned national titles across eight sections in both hunter and jumper divisions with champion, grand hunter champion, leading owner, and leading trainer titles also being awarded. Emily Goldberg (Bell Canyon, Calif.) earned High Point Amateur Owner Hunter Rider with Sinatra, Lasorda Holdings’ 10-year-old Oldenburg gelding. Read more. Watch her winning ride here.
Equitation riders shined on Saturday, as Kate Abajian (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) earned the High Point Equitation Rider and Leading Equitation Rider title in her last equitation competition as a Junior. Abajian’s smooth and consistent trips aboard Tip Jar, Don Stewart’s 13-year-old Warmblood gelding, earned her top honors as she won every class she contested in her age group section. Read more.
On Sunday, riders earned national championship titles in seven sections of hunter competition, as the AON/USHJA National Championships at The Las Vegas National Horse Show, CSI4*-W concluded. Sections for pony hunters, children’s hunters, adult amateur hunters, open 2’ and 2’6" hunters, and USHJA Affiliate 2’ and 2’6” hunters wrapped up, including classic hunter rounds and grand hunter championship titles awarded. Jackie Stary (Oswego, Ill.) rode Blue James Blue, her 12-year-old Welsh Pony cross gelding, to the overall Grand Pony Hunter Championship title. Read more.
Visit the US Equestrian Learning Center video library to find out more about the hunter discipline with Geoff Teall, hunter seat equitation with Peter Wylde and Lillie Keenan, and how to walk a show jumping course with McLain Ward. Stay up to date with more competition coverage by following USEF Network on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Use #JoinTheJoy.
Photos by Tricia Booker/USHJA