New Chal­lenge Off to a Suc­cess­ful Start

Practical Horseman - - Practical Tips & Talk -

Seventy-seven ju­nior and am­a­teur rid­ers turned out for the in­au­gu­ral Whitethorne Amer­i­can Tra­di­tion of Eq­ui­tation Ex­cel­lence Chal­lenge, hosted by Blen­heim EquiS­ports, June 20–21, in San Juan Capis­trano, Cal­i­for­nia. Twelve-year-old Stella Buck­ing­ham topped the field com­pet­ing over two 3-foot-3 hunter derby-type cour­ses on a grass grand prix field. In ad­di­tion, her coach Katie Gard­ner earned the Chal­lenge’s $10,000 trainer’s prize.

The new event grew from the de­sire of Cal­i­for­nia horse­woman Ge­orgy Maskrey-Seges­man to bring more ed­u­ca­tion and ex­cite­ment to the West Coast eq­ui­tation com­mu­nity. The con­sen­sus of those who par­tic­i­pated was that she and fel­low or­ga­niz­ers did just that.

Build­ing on Maskrey-Seges­man’s be­lief that hunter/ jumper rid­ers would like feed­back sim­i­lar to what dres­sage rid­ers re­ceive after ev­ery test, the Chal- lenge in­cluded a manda­tory ed­u­ca­tional ses­sion that be­gan with rid­ers get­ting their first-round score­cards from judges Bernie Trau­rig and Sta­cia Mad­den. A ques­tion-and-an­swer pe­riod fol­lowed with the judges, course de­signer Karen Healey and men­tal-skills coach Tonya John­ston all of­fer­ing in­sights from their sea­soned per­spec­tives to an en­thu­si­as­tic au­di­ence. Trau­rig also pro­vided com­men­tary for a slow-mo­tion video

of re­cent win­ning Ma­clay Fi­nals rounds.— Kim F. Miller

Stella Buck­ing­ham and Nom de Guerre

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