Harrisburg, Pa. - Dozens of qualified top junior jumper riders from across the nation are descending on Harrisburg, Pa., this week to vie for team and individual medals in the 2017 Neue Schule/USEF National Junior Jumper Championships. The Pennsylvania National Horse Show (October 12-21) is again hosting this exciting competition at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center, the show’s home for over seven decades.
The championship event is a thrilling competition consisting of three phases. All athlete/horse combinations participating in the championships have earned a Certificate of Capability by completing a course set at 1.40 meters or higher with a score of four faults or less within their zone’s qualifying period.
The Individual Championship/Phase I will begin on the show’s opening day, Thursday, October 12. This competition is run over a Table II, Sec. 1 course judged under Table III (Faults Converted into Seconds) without a jump-off in the event of a tie for first place. The competitor with the highest number of points will have zero penalties. For all other competitors, the number of penalties will be calculated by multiplying with a coefficient of .50 the difference between their points and the points of the leading competitor.
The following day, Friday, October 13, is the Individual Championship/Phase II and exciting Neue Schule/USEF Prix des States team competition based on a modified Nations Cup format with fence heights up to 1.45 meters. Each team will jump one round. The six teams (plus any ties) accumulating the least number of faults will jump a second round, with the best three scores counting for the team total. The team with the lowest score wins the championship and gold medal. Individuals will go first, before team riders, in the second round. The William C. Steinkraus Style Award presented by Karen Healey will be awarded to the Prix des States junior jumper rider who best exemplifies the American style of equitation and the respectful, dignified, courteous, and workmanlike manner of a true sportsman.
The scores from Phases I and II carry forward to Phase III for the Neue Schule/USEF National Junior Jumper Championships, which will take place on Saturday, October 14. In Phase III, the top 60% of competitors from Phases I and II who have not been eliminated during either Phase are eligible for Phase III. Each individual's faults from Phases I and II are combined, and the starting order of Phase III is held in reverse order of that calculation. The Individual Champion is the competitor with the lowest number of combined penalties after Phases I, II, and III. The top three competitors receive the gold, silver, and bronze medals, respectively.
Steve Stephens, one of the most respected and experienced course designers in the world and the course designer at the 2008 Olympic Games in Hong Kong, will design the junior jumper courses again this year. Stephens has received the United States Hunter Jumper Association Lifetime Achievement Award and is a member of both the Show Jumping Hall of Fame and the Pennsylvania National Horse Show Hall of Fame. Another Show Jumping Hall of Famer, Mary Chapot, and Kevin Giblin will judge the event.
For those who cannot make it to the event in person, USEF Network will be live-streaming all the action from the Neue Schule/USEF National Junior Jumper Championship and Prix des States Championship! In addition, USEF Network will be live-streaming the Dover Saddlery/USEF Hunter Seat Medal Final on Sunday, October 15.