San Juan Capistrano, Calif. – Competition continued Saturday for the 2023 Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals – West with Phase II, the gymnastic phase. The youth athletes competed in front of judges Linda Hough and Lauren Hough once again, this time over a series of gymnastic lines. Phase II had a multiplier of 1.5 for the overall final weighted scores of the competition.
The athletes rode in the Oaks International Grand Prix Field at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park during Blenheim International Jumping Festival. The judges asked athletes to show a lengthening of stride at the canter as they entered the ring before starting over a trot fence, to a bounce combination, and to an oxer. Then, athletes jumped three fences on a circle followed by three fences in serpentine. Next, athletes rode their horses through a rollback turn and finished over fences 11, 12a, 12b, and 13.
The leaderboard reflected a shift in placings after Phase II with Sabine Close (San Carlos, Calif.) moving up from fourth place after Phase I into first place. Close delivered a smooth round over the gymnastic lines with Off to Neverland, her own 2015 Swedish Warmblood gelding, to earn a Phase II score of 87.0 and hold the overall lead on a score of 216.0. Yesterday’s leader Madilynn Lo Porto (Danville, Calif.) sits in second place on an overall score of 215.0 after earning a Phase II score of 82.0 with Kentucky, Oakland Ventures LLC’s 2015 KWPN gelding. Zadie Stack (Santa Cruz, Calif.) moved up from sixth place after day one to third place with an overall score of 210.5 after collecting a score of 84.0 with Cetello, Ella Dyson’s 2007 Holsteiner gelding.
Competition concludes Sunday starting 9:00 a.m. PT with the athletes returning for Phase III, the jumping phase with a jumper-style course and a score multiplier of 2. The total of the weighted scores from the first three phases is used to determine the top four, who will return for Phase IV, the ride-off in which they will swap horses and ride a shortened course on each of the final four horses to determine the final placings.
The USEF International High Performance Programs and the USEF High Performance Pathway Programs are generously supported by the USET Foundation, the philanthropic partner to USEF. High Performance Program support is also provided by the USOPC and USEF sponsors and members.