Kansas City, Mo. – Dawson Archibald had a standout weekend, simultaneously winning the USEF Saddle Seat Medal Final against some of the top saddle seat equitation riders in the U.S. and making history as one of few riders to ever win the Saddle Seat Triple Crown.
Riders faced a rigorous challenge on Saturday, November 14, as they competed for top honors in the USEF Saddle Seat Medal Final at the United Professional Horseman’s Association (UPHA)/American Royal National Championship Horse Show. Twelve of the 20 horse-and-rider combinations in the preliminary ride-offs were called back for the final round of competition by judges Anne Judd (Lutz, Fla.), Dwayne Knowles (Kutztown, Pa.), and Bill Waller (Heiskell, Tenn.). The stakes were high as the riders performed rail work and two complex individual patterns for a chance at the championship title.
Archibald (Andover, Kan.), riding CHCompletely Caveat, her 11-year-old American Saddlebred gelding, was crowned champion in the 2020 USEF Saddle Seat Medal Final, also considered the last leg of the Saddle Seat Triple Crown. Archibald won the first two legs, The Good Hands National Championship and the UPHA Senior Challenge Cup, earlier this year under the guidance of trainers Todd and Macey Miles of Milestone Stables. Macey also won the Triple Crown back in 2016.
"It is such an honor to have won a title that so many incredible riders have won, including my trainer, and hero, Macey Miles," said Archibald. "I am so blessed to have gotten the opportunity to show this year despite COVID-19, and to have accomplished my biggest dream in the same year is such a beautiful blessing."
Archibald truly made the most out of this unprecedented show season, earning high praise as the top-scoring rider from all the three judges to close out the year. She was presented with the Helen K. Crabtree and Adrian Van Sinderen trophies for her win in the Medal Final today.
"Cash has to be the smartest horse I have ever met, and also the sassiest! He is without a doubt my best friend and the most beautiful horse I have ever seen," said Archibald of her mount, CHCompletely Caveat. "There will never be another horse I will love more. I was so proud of him for doing his best with the patterns and how he pushed through a physically long final."
Karlyn Connolly (Mount Vernon, Iowa) claimed the reserve champion title and the silver medal aboard Undulata’s Power Broker, Bob and Tonya Brison’s eight-year-old American Saddlebred gelding. Connolly is also trained by Todd and Macey Miles of Milestone Stables and she displayed her skill and finesse throughout the two phases of competition.
US Equestrian extends a special thank you to Platinum Donor Elisabeth Goth for her generosity and continued support of USEF’s saddle seat equitation programs.
Visit the USEF Network to watch the USEF Saddle Seat Medal Final on demand.
2020 USEF Saddle Seat Medal Final Results
Champion: Dawson Archibald
Reserve Champion: Karlyn Connolly
Third: Alayna Applegate (Ewing, Ky.)
Fourth: Heather Tampa (Elm Grove, Wis.)
Fifth: Isabella Privitera (Mission Hills, Kan.)
Sixth: Sophie Yih (Alamo, Calif.)
Seventh: Bostyn Leffler (Zionsville, Ind.)
Eighth: Graceanne Hoback (Land O’ Lakes, Fla.)
Ninth: Alayna LoCascio (Dayton, Ohio)
Tenth: Finn Cooper (Denver Colo.)
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Photos by Howard Schatzberg