Kansas City, Mo. – The country’s top saddle seat equitation riders have arrived in Kansas City, Mo., for the USEF Saddle Seat Medal Final this Saturday, Nov. 16. Held in Hale Arena during the United Professional Horseman’s Association (UPHA)/American Royal National Championship Horse Show, the class will feature 19 horse-and-rider combinations who will go head-to-head in pursuit of the title.
Open to junior USEF members who have won a first- or second-place ribbon in a qualifying medal class during the competition year, the USEF Saddle Seat Medal Final competition begins with preliminary ride-offs, consisting of rail work in groups followed by an individual pattern test. The final round will be held later in the afternoon, when the finalists will be called back for additional rail work and to perform a second individual pattern. The winner’s name will be engraved on the coveted and historic Adrian Van Sinderen Trophy, joining champions dating back to 1937.
This year’s entries already boast impressive résumés. Fresh off their gold medal-winning performances at the U.S. Saddle Seat Invitational Test Event in Las Vegas, teammates Dawson Archibald (Andover, Kan.) and Lillian Johnson (O’Fallon, Mo.) will compete for the national championship. Fifteen-year-old Alayna Applegate (Ewing, Ky.) returns to the Medal Final this year, seeking to win the coveted title after securing the reserve championship in 2018. Four entries earned World Championship titles at the prestigious 2019 Kentucky State Fair World’s Championship Horse Show: Applegate, Archibald, Michael Arquilla (Woodridge, Ill.), and Gabriella Snyder (St. Louis, Mo.). Finn Cooper (Denver, Colo.) finished in the top 10 last year and returns with Brookhill’s Passion Punch, her 15-year-old American Saddlebred mare, whom Haley Berget rode to win the 2018 USEF Saddle Seat Medal Final.
Find the full list of qualified riders here.
How to Watch
Tune in to the USEF Network for live coverage of Saturday’s USEF Saddle Seat Medal Final's preliminary round at 10:00 a.m. ET. The final round for the Medal Final will be the last class of the afternoon session the same day, beginning no earlier than 12:30 p.m. ET.
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Learn more about saddle seat equitation and all of US Equestrian’s 29 recognized breeds and disciplines in this Learning Center video.
Photo by: Howard Schatzberg