Written by: Lauren Baker
Client: National Horse Show http://www.nhs.org
Release Date: 2016-11-06
Lexington, Ky. – Nov. 6, 2016 – Four rounds of competition at the 2016 CP National Horse Show stood between the nation’s top Under 25 competitors and the victory in the $100,000 USEF Under 25 National Championship presented by Deeridge Farms, Elm Rock LLC, the Strauss Family and Kasowitz, Benson, Torres and Friedman LLP. Consistency throughout the competition paid off for Brett Burlington, who delivered two faultless rounds on Sunday to finish on just 2 faults and claim the gold medal.
“I’m really excited,” Burlington said. “I didn’t come into the finals expecting to win. I knew my horse Bluff would do his job, I just didn’t know whether or not I would be able to hold it together through all of those rounds. I’m really pleased with how he went, and I’m pleased with how I rode also.”
Burlington entered the final phase of the competition with just 2 faults, which she incurred earlier in the week. She jumped the first round clear on Sunday, maintaining her 2-fault total and advancing to the top 12, who returned to jump one final round.
Also going clear and advancing to the top 12 was Hilary McNerney and her own Z Acodate DDL, who entered the final phase of the competition with 0 faults – the only horse-and-rider combination to do so.
Lucy Deslauriers and her own Hester were also top contenders and entered the final phase on a low score of 6 faults. Not far behind were Abigail McArdle and Plain Bay Sales’ Adamo, who joined the final group of 12 riders with their score of 7 penalties.
As the final course got underway with the top 12 returning in reverse order, it seemed as though McArdle would go clear and maintain her 7-fault total, until Adamo clipped the back rail on the final oxer and added another 4 faults to their score for a total of 11.
“I had my team take Adamo back to the barn and everything,” McArdle said of her heartbreak at the final fence. “When Hilary had the rails, and I was like, ‘no, wait, bring the horse back!’ I’m so thankful, and it’s great to be here. These are super talented riders here, and it’s a very competitive division.”
Next to return over the final track was Deslauriers, who managed to turn in another clear round to end the competition on a score of 6 penalties. Burlington followed Deslauriers in the order, also turning in a clear round to hold on to her low score of 2 faults.
It all came down to McNerney’s final round, which only allowed for the young rider to incur 2 faults to keep her lead on the class. However, McNerney lowered the heights of not one, but two fences to finish on a score of 8 faults, allowing Burlington to take over the top spot and leaving McNerney to finish in fourth. McArdle moved up into the bronze position, and Deslauriers took home the silver medal.
“I definitely felt the pressure mounting each day,” Burlington said. “I knew that even if I jumped clear there was still a chance that Hilary would jump clear and be in the gold position. Today was surprisingly not as stressful as I expected because I knew that the best I could do was jump clear, and I knew everything else would just have to play out however it did.”
DiAnn Langer, the USEF Show Jumping Development Coach and chef d’equipe, said of the national championship, “I am so excited. The Under 25 division has really become the bridge it was meant to be. It’s exciting to watch these girls here develop with different horses. I’m so excited for them, for the program and for our future.
“The Under 25 National Championship is designed to be like a World Cup to give that experience to the riders. They have to try to keep moving up in the order, but it’s never over until it’s over, as you saw today. As it is with the World Cup, it’s never over until that last horse goes.”
Earlier in the day, Eve Jobs was victorious in the $15,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame Series Championship, presented by T&R Development. Jobs piloted her own Calizz to the win, besting the field of 32 to end her last junior year on a high note. As a result, Jobs took home the Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Championship for her efforts throughout the week.
“Calizz is really straightforward and she’s got a great mind,” Jobs explained. “Our jump-off round worked out really great, and she was awesome. It feels amazing to win. I competed at the National Horse Show last year in the Junior Jumpers, and I had a rail down in the classic, and I was pretty bummed about it. Coming back this year and being able to win it was amazing.”
Addison Geirkink and Kadley Holdings LLC’s S&L Slingback delivered the only other double-clear round in the class, eventually taking home the second-place ribbon. Cooper Dean and WEC Quidam-Quidam were the third-place finishers with their speedy four-fault jump-off round.
With the conclusion of the USEF Under 25 National Championship, the Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Championships and the ASPCA Maclay National Championship, the 2016 CP National Horse Show comes to a close and looks forward to continued success in 2017.