Mackenzie Peer’s Standout Equitation Impresses Judging Panel to Win USEF Dressage Seat Medal Final 14-18 Championship

Wayne, Ill. – Aug. 25, 2019 – As the final class of the day, the USEF Dressage Seat Medal Final 14 – 18 Championship took place on Sunday afternoon in the Kay Arena of the Lamplight Equestrian Center. Ten of the nations top dressage equitation youth riders were determined to perform their best, but at the end of the day, it was Mackenzie Peer, 18, of Overland Park, Kansas, riding Quantum MRF who took home the gold medal and was named the new national champion.

Mackenzie Peer and Quantum MRF
Mackenzie Peer and Quantum MRF

In this division, the judging panel asked riders to demonstrate specific gaits, while evaluating their equitation and the efficiency of their aids. Riders were first asked to ride around the arena together to perform the walk and trot requirements in both directions before being split into two smaller groups for the canter work. Following the conclusion of the group exercises, riders were given a short pattern to ride individually. In the work-off, riders were asked to enter the ring at a sitting trot, leg yield left down the centerline from C to B, where they would pick up the right lead of working canter. After cantering down the longside, they were asked to transition to the trot in the corner, ride down centerline again before asking for a leg yield to the right to B. At B, they picked up the left working canter before performing a sitting trot at M and halting at C, directly in front of the judges to conclude the test.

Mackenzie Peer and Quantum MRF

While several riders had smooth tests, it was Peer on Nicole Helland’s 10-year-old Hanoverian, whose skill most impressed the judges to receive a high score of 90. Following the conclusion of the show, Peer is looking forward to training with Johann Hinnemann in Germany for the next month before moving to California to train full-time as a working student with her trainer David Wightman in Temecula.

Erin Nichols and Jagger DG

Taking the silver medal in the class was Erin Nicole and DG Bar Ranch’s Jagger DG with an 88 from the judges. Despite the KWPN gelding being only 5-years-old, Nicole successfully navigated the pattern and made the long trip from Yorba Linda, California, well worth it.

Averi Allen and Superman

With an overall score of 86, Averi Allen and the 6-year-old Hanoverian gelding Superman were rewarded with the bronze medal in the dressage seat class. Jonni Allen owns the young horse that partnered with Allen for the class.

Results: USEF Dressage Seat Medal Final 14-18 Championship
1. Mackenzie Peer / Quantum MRF / Nicole Helland / 9.0
2. Erin Nichols / Jagger DG / DG Bar Ranch / 8.8
3. Averi Allen / Superman / Jonni Allen / 8.6
4. Tori Belles / Romulus / Tori Belles / 8.5
5. Kelsey Amos / Francesca / Pamela Maloof / 8.2
6. Brooke Engles / Rio’s Hatteras / Chloe Fullar / 8.0

Mackenzie Peer – USEF Dressage Seat Medal Final 14-18 Champion

On winning the national championship:
“It was fantastic. To go from being reserve champion [in the Junior National Championship] and then ending with champion, it is just the icing on top. [Quantum MRF] tried so hard and it was a long week so for him to continue to give me his all at the end, I am so grateful. I can’t thank him enough along with my coach David Wightman and his owner Nicole Helland. We have been a team and I am really grateful.”

Mackenzie Peer and Quantum MRF

On the pattern:
“I believe this is a pattern we rode at regionals to get here so it was a pattern I had competed before. One of my favorite things is when leg yield turns into the canter transition because I think it sets up the horses super for the bend through their body.”

On what they have been working on with their equitation:
“I think it has been mostly focusing on looking up, putting my hands down and shortening my reins. I can’t say that I have done a ton of specific equitation practice but I think riding well is a part of it so making sure you’re riding correctly and that your horse is listening to you everyday is important and it sets you up for it. I would say that keeping my elbows on my body is a big thing for me so I have been getting yelled at a lot for not doing that!”

On why the equitation is important:
“I think it is a super important class. This is a sport that is a partnership and some people have the opportunity to be able to get really nice horses and that is super for them to ride well and I think that is good, but I also think it is important to focus on the rider and that the rider also needs to ride well – this class shows if you can actually ride your horse. To move up the levels and continue in this sport showing how well you can ride and keep your horse listening to you is a good thing for people to see and it lets you know if you’re on the right track in what you’re doing.”

Erin Nichols – USEF Dressage Seat Medal Final 14-18 Reserve Champion

On the pattern:
“I agree with Mackenzie. It’s a great pattern that allows the horses to set up for the next transitions. I also like how there are multiple transitions to show you can control your horse in the ring and that they are listening.”

Erin Nichols and Jagger DG

On what they have been working on with their equitation:
“I have been doing a lot of equitation but I also do show jumping so we have been focusing on keeping my leg long and my toes in because in the jumpers we don’t really focus on that. Moving my hands with the horse has helped with keeping relaxation and keeping the horse relaxed.”

Averi Allen – USEF Dressage Seat Medal Final 14-18 Championship third place

On the pattern:
“I also loved the pattern. I was a little worried my 6-year-old wouldn’t do the transitions at the letter and things like that but he was great and I loved the pattern.”

Averi Allen and Superman

On what they have been working on with their equitation:
“We have been working on equitation everyday — making sure my shoulders are back and my head is up. We haven’t done much of it over the past year because we have been just trying to train my horse and qualify for juniors, but in the past week we have been focusing on keeping my hands down and staying relaxed with my head up.” 


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