New England Equitation Championships Celebrates 43rd Anniversary with Success
The New England Equitation Championships (NEEC), one of the longest running and most prestigious equitation finals in the country, celebrated its 43rd anniversary this year. The renowned judging panel included course designer Ken Krome, Hope Glynn, Jenny Fischer, Lynn Forgione, Brian Lenehan, and Jean Marie Dunford-Miller.
The New England Horsemen’s Council (NEHC) Adult Amateur Medal Final, 46 and Over kicked off the week on Wednesday, October 17. Jeanine Cash and Olivia Rubin’s MTM Magnum topped the class with Sarah Cabot and her own Mariano in reserve. The NEHC Adult Amateur Medal Final, 28-45 scores required testing of the top two. 2007 Junior Medal Champion Jennifer Walters reclaimed the champion title aboard Come Monday, owned by Michael Fletcher, and reserve went to Carolyn Lavin on Sarah Hyde’s Charleston Z.
Thursday brought the NEHC Adult Amateur Medal Final, 22-27; the NEHC Adult Amateur Medal Final, 18-21; and the NEHC Adult Amateur Grand Championship. In the 22-27 group, Melissa Groher was champion with Vince, owned by Ashley Denmark, and Hannah Brown took reserve for the second year in a row with A. Brooke Farr’s Dimacho. In the 18-21 group, Emelie Burgess was named champion with her own Big Bang, while reserve went to Clara Bechtold on her own Donder. The Grand Championship class invited back the champion and reserve riders from the four adult age groups to compete for the top prize. Brown and Dimacho emerged victorious with Groher and Vince taking reserve.
After two days of Open Equitation classes for the junior riders, Sunday’s NEHC Junior Medal Final featured 175 riders. Two rounds and a test of the top three saw consistent trips from Katrina Tiktinsky, earning her champion title aboard her own Augsburg. Reserve went to Ava Stearns and Bournedale, owned by Kathryn Fletcher. Top scoring juniors who had never competed in a 3’6” final were eligible for a separate set of ribbons; first place went to Lila Ouellette with her own King of Hearts.
Seventy-six juniors took the written phase of the Katie Battison Horsemanship Competition. Originating at NEEC, the Horsemanship class combines a rider’s written test score, practicum, and first round score to determine the overall top Junior Horseperson. Frances McGivern was named winner of the Katie Battison Horsemanship Award as the top placing competitior.
The famous Challenge of the States team costume class ran on Saturday and participants celebrated with as much gusto as ever. Juniors with top scores in the Open Equitation classes competed on teams of six to represent their home states. Thanks to an anonymous donor, teams competed for money to donate to a charity of their choice. The Connecticut 1 team of Mia Mannis, Kyla Sullivan, Claire Shimanski, Eloise Foster, Sophia Gianoulis, and Anna Foster won gold, choosing to donate to Danny & Ron’s Rescue.
Other special honors included Sportsmanship Awards won by McKayla Langmeier, Wynatte Chu, and Lindsey Davitt. Ellie Ferrigno earned the High-Point Junior Rider Award after great rounds aboard her own RF Remarkable, and Burgess was named the High-Point Adult Rider. The Groom’s Award went to Juan Carlos Migueles Guzman. The Judge’s Choice Awards were presented to Casino Royale, owned and ridden by Jillian Piesco, and Quantico, owned and ridden by Bay Noland-Armstrong. The Nicholas Award went to Teddy Bear, owned and ridden by Sarah Lambert. Kelley Small received the esteemed Sue Brainard Award in recognition of her years of dedication to the NEEC. Finally, Cookie DeSimone, a cornerstone of the NEEC as a member and co-chair of the show committee, won the Lifetime Achievement Award.