Junior Hunter Finals Proves A Worthwhile Experience!
A snapshot of the Junior Hunter Finals Ring
Instead of being held at Devon, PA this year, USEF'S Junior Hunter Finals made the move to Saugerties, NY. Although a little further of a drive for us, it was certainly worth the trip.
I prefer the format of Junior Hunter Finals to that of Pony Finals, namely because the Junior Hunters have two trips and an undersaddle. Pony Finals only offers the pony kids one opportunity to jump around the infamous Walnut Ring. While I am sure the huge numbers of Ponies competing at Pony Finals would make the possibility of them doing two rounds a logistic nightmare, I love that the Junior Hunters have two trips and not just one.
Vegas arrived fresh and ready after laying over for a night in Virginia to break up the trip. The next day, hacking was allowed in the main ring, and another ring was set up with a course of jumps for a ticketed warm up.
Monday morning hosted the Classic round of the Hunters. Both Remy and Vegas were spot on but for one mistake early in the course. What looked to be an intimidating ring really proved to encourage good rounds. It set the horses up to gallop forward and though the jumps, while being undoubtedly beautiful, had looked a little spooky, they really caused relatively few problems.
Monday afternoon held the Hunterdon cup class, available for riders who qualified by winning a 3'6 equitation class during the course of the year. Again Remy and Vegas laid down a solid trip with just one mistake leaving them out of the ribbons.
Tuesday started with the undersaddle class, to which the judges added an extended trot, a halt and a hand gallop. A nice change of scenery and a very good idea with so many horses to judge. Following this came the handy round. Set up much like a big Derby class, the handy portion had some unique jumps and questions, including a two stride that could be jumped from various approaches, made up of a circle of stacked straw bales.
As always we were super proud, Remy and Vegas both looked beautiful. They were forward and brave, handled themselves well under the pressure of riding in a huge ring, jumping intimidating jumps in an atmosphere of showing in the "big time!"
Hacking in the morning