Harrisburg, PA –Thirty-five aspiring collegiate equestrians took on the United States Equestrian Federation/National Collegiate Equestrian Association Junior Hunter Seat Medal Final – East on Sunday, October 22, at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show, and at the end of three phases, Maggie King of Spring, TX, emerged victorious.
All of the junior competitors in the class contested an initial jumping phase, with fences set at 3’3” in the Keystone Arena of the PA Farm Show Complex. From there, the top 10 advanced to the Flat Phase before the field was further narrowed to the top four for the Bracket Phase.
At the conclusion of the opening Jumping Phase, King sat in 10th place, but she felt confident that she could climb her way up the ranks in the Flat Phase.
“For me, definitely the flat [is a strong suit],” said King, who trains with Bobby Braswell and attends The John Cooper School in The Woodlands, TX. “It’s a very big part of my riding. I won the flat at Capital Challenge in a big class. Coming in in 10th, I was a bit nervous, so I was hoping I would go well on the flat.”
King did do well, scoring an 88 and securing her spot in the final four Bracket Phase. The Bracket Phase is designed to replicate a format similar to that of the NCEA in which riders are required to compete on unfamiliar horses – and King rose to that challenge.
“It was really exciting [to do the bracket phase],” said King. “Usually at the barn, we don’t switch horses, and it’s not normal to not be on your own horse. The first horse that I got to ride, Chocolate Chip 12, was just so fun to ride, and I got an 89. Then I actually got to ride one of the horses from my barn [The Lieutenant], so that was nice.”
In the opening two rounds, King competed aboard her own Maguro, a 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding better known as “Sushi” in the barn.
“We just bought him two weeks ago, so this is really exciting to have a win under our belts after buying him!” said King, who previously leased the gelding before having the opportunity to purchase him. “He’s a super easy ride. He was third here last year with another rider, so it’s just really great to have it all come together this year. I’m just so happy that I got this win, and I’m so excited for the future [with Sushi].”
King is currently a sophomore in high school, but she has her sights set on riding on an NCEA team in the future, so the class presented the ideal opportunity to get a small taste of what that may be like.
“I really want to ride on a Division I team in college, so it is a really cool class that sets you up to understand the format with the brackets and getting to change horses,” concluded King.
Finishing as the reserve champion in the class was Campbell Cauthen aboard Cotentin Des Roques. Rounding out the top three were Abigail Roberts and Chocolate Chip 12. For full results of the class, click here.