Lexington, Ky. – The 2019 Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals continue with the East Coast competition, taking place October 5-6 at the United States Equestrian Team Foundation headquarters in Gladstone, N.J. Emma Catherine Reichow (Menlo Park, Calif.) earned the 2019 Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals – West title aboard Campitello 5 last month, and a determined group of young athletes in the East Coast competition will vie to join Reichow in the winner’s circle. An essential building block in the U.S. Show Jumping Athlete Pathway, the competitors will display their abilities across four phases of competition.
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The four phases will be split over two days; the first day of competition hosts Phases I and II. In Phase I, judges will look for the rider’s ability to effectively demonstrate several flatwork exercises and may request advanced flatwork, such as shoulder-in, shoulder-out, haunches-in, and haunches-out. During Phase II, riders will apply the skills from the flat to a gymnastics course. The second day of competition hosts Phases III and IV. In Phase III, the riders will compete over a 1.15m jumper-style course with an open water jump, followed by Phase IV, the ride-off, in which the top four riders compete over a jumper course first with their own horses and then with each of their competitors’ horses.
“Just take it phase by phase and really focus your efforts on each one,” advises 2018 Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals - East Champion Daisy Farish. “Don’t get too caught up in your scores in each phase because it is easy to get down on an early poor score or something you didn’t want to happen, but it changes so much throughout the days.”
Each of the 2019 Finals competitors earned their qualification by performing consistently in Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search qualifying competitions throughout the year. The U.S. Jumping Talent Search Program has scouted several of the sport’s most prolific athletes, including Olympians Lauren Hough, Beezie Madden, and McLain Ward, as well as other NetJets® U.S. Jumping Team athletes, Lillie Keenan, Richard, Spooner, and Jessica Springsteen, among others, playing a role in the development of their careers. Motivated to compete on the world stage like their predecessors, the 2018 Talent Search Finals champions understood the value of competing in the Finals.
“I would really like to be a strong jumper rider, and my dream would be to one day represent the U.S. on a Nations Cup senior team,” said Farish. “Knowing that [U.S. Youth Chef d’Equipe] DiAnn Langer and all of those top people from [US Equestrian] take interest in the Finals, watch it, and the way they use the Finals as a pipeline for those teams made it was very important for me to try to succeed there and look good for them.”
With a goal of competing at the highest level of the sport, the Finals were a step in the right direction for Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals - West Champion Sophie Simpson.
“The Talent Search Finals are a good stepping stone for future goals because every part of the Finals teaches you discipline,” said Simpson. “From the flatwork to the last day of jumping the water, all these parts translate to the Grand Prix ring and the international stage of our sport.”
The judges of the Finals will serve dual roles, as both judges as well as course designers, with consultation from the USEF Talent Search Technical Delegate Anthony D’Ambrosio. Susan Ashe and Molly Ashe Cawley both of Wellington, Fla., will judge the East Coast Final. The judges will take them through the gamut in an effort to prepare the aspiring talent for the demands of international competition.
Following competition, the French Leave Memorial Perpetual Trophy will be awarded to the East Coast champion, the Leading Trainer Award will be given to the champion’s trainer, and the Grappa Trophy will go to the best horse.
“It’s not a posing contest; it is a final that you have to ride and show your talent as a rider not just a poser. Also, don’t give up if one of your scores isn’t as high as you would like, it’s not over until it’s over and a lot can happen over the three rounds. So stay strong and keep fighting for those good rounds,” suggests Simpson.
The USEF Network will live stream all four phases of the East Coast competition beginning on Saturday, October 5, beginning at 10:00 a.m. ET.
Find out more information about the Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals.
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