Arabesque and Clara Propp Claim Second Consecutive Grand Championship at Adequan®/USEF Junior Hunter National Championships

Clara Propp and Arabesque are undefeated at Adequan®/USEF Junior Hunter National Championships. Two years in a row, the pair has taken the championship in the Large Junior Hunter 3’6” 15 & Under division, as well as the 3’6” Overall Grand Champion title.

Propp, of New York, NY, rode the Aquitaine Equine-owned mare to high scores on day one in the classic phase of the Adequan®/USEF Junior Hunter National Championships, then took  the under-saddle victory on day two, and followed up their success with the win in the handy phase for a total score of 269.9. At the conclusion of the day in the Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel International Ring, that score was the highest of all the 3’6” divisions, earning them the grand championship.

“It’s an awesome feeling,” Propp, 16, said of being named champion and grand champion for the second year in a row. “I think I can happily retire from this [championship] now. There was definitely some stress and pressure coming into this year. I wanted to live up to the years before and I think we did just that. I’m really happy about it.”

Clara Propp and Arabesque. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Coming in with a bit of pressure, Propp knew just what to do and could rely on her partner to take care of her. “I just tried to go in and know I can do it and she can do it,” she explained. “We had to stay calm and ride the course how it was set. I know this horse so well. She can be so handy and so slick. That was the plan going into the handy. Everything went to plan and I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”

Propp’s partnership with Arabesque is three years in the making, and each year the mare has come in even stronger. “She’s awesome,” Propp said of the 10-year-old Oldenburg mare. “Throughout the years I’ve had her we’ve formed a really strong bond. This horse never lets me down. She always performs for me and I just need to match her. It all comes together really nicely. She’s so special.”

Along with her two championship titles, Arabesque also earned the title of Best Mare in the 3’6” section of the Adequan®/USEF Junior Hunter National Championships.

“I love [mares]; I think they have a lot of personality so it’s easier to form a connection with them,” Propp continued. “They’re a bit tricky but once you learn them they’re so beautiful. I would say she’s a typical mare. She doesn’t love other horses. She allows me to kiss her but never on the nose. When she’s in the ring on her own she doesn’t act like a mare, but she can be a little sassy.”

Moving into the higher levels of the jumper ranks, Propp plans to move away from the Junior Hunters after competing at the indoor horse shows in the fall of this year. She plans to keep Arabesque in action in international hunter derbies and continue to higher levels of the sport.

“She’s just so awesome here,” Propp said of Arabesque’s performance specifically in Traverse City. “She loves this ring and loves this show, and so do I. It’s a beautiful place.”

Avery Glynn of Petaluma, CA, was named Grand 3’6” Reserve Champion with Day Won, owned by Balmoral, after topping the Small Junior Hunter 3’6” 16-17 section with a total score of 268.42. 

In the first division of the day, the Small Junior Hunter 3’6” 15 & Under, Paige Walkenbach of Paradise Valley, AZ, and Ever So Often, owned by Walkenbach Equestrian LLC, took the championship. Djuna Lauder of Los Angeles, CA, claimed reserve with Deja Blue, owned by Roaring Fork Farms LLC.

In the Small Junior Hunter 3’6” 16-17, Glynn and Day Won were named champion, while Eleanor Rudnicki of Conroe, TX, and Advent, owned by Marta Rocha, took reserve.

While Propp and Arabesque took all three blue ribbons in the Large Junior Hunter 15 & Under division, Hailey Guidry of Poplarville, MS, and Symbolic, owned by Bella Kay, finished in the reserve championship position.

Glynn took victory again in the Large Junior Hunter 16-17 section, this time earning the championship aboard Spoken, owned by Shadowfax Equestrian LLC. Caroline Signorino of Basking Ridge, NJ, was named the reserve champion with Small Love, owned by Elizabeth Reilly.

Aedan Mooney and She’s All That Strut to 3’3” Grand Championship

Aedan Mooney and She’s All That in their winning presentation. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Aedan Mooney capped off her weekend with another win aboard the Linda Yarborough entry She’s All That, taking top call in the handy round and securing the overall championship in the Large Junior Hunter 3’3” 16-17 division. With a score of 270.16, Mooney, of Golden, CO, earned a high enough score to win Grand Champion 3’3” Junior Hunter. 

Mooney hadn’t had the ride for long aboard “Annie” before taking her to Adequan®/USEF Junior Hunter National Championships, but she knew the mare was something special. “We were champion at Old Salem and here in Michigan in the Juniors,” she said. “This is my third show with her and she’s been amazing. We clicked from the start. She’s gotten even better since Old Salem. She always gives it her all and I think she wants to win. When you put the time in and help her she wants to give you all that she can and puts it all out there.”

Geoffrey Hesslink asked Mooney to ride She’s All That, training from the sidelines throughout the three weeks they competed together. “He taught me to be soft with her as she is a mare and they can be tricky,” Mooney said of Hesslink’s advice on getting to know a new mount so quickly. “But he was very helpful, telling me to be calm and connect with her and float around. She’s super easy and just loves to give you a great jump.”

Aedan Mooney and She’s All That. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

She’s All That also earned the title of Best Mare in the 3’3” fence height for the Adequan®/USEF Junior Hunter National Championships, but according to Mooney, she hasn’t seen many mare tendencies yet. “She’s very sweet for a mare,” she explained of Annie’s temperament. “She is so loving and just wants treats and wants to be in your pocket.”

Joe Carnicom set the handy tracks for the day in the Main Hunter Ring, and many riders echoed the fun they had on the course, from the handy options to the trot jump and even the hand gallop, which opened the pace for many horses and allowed them to carry to each fence after. “She had fun out there and I had fun out there. It was a fun course,” Mooney said.

In her first appearance at the Adequan®/USEF Junior Hunter National Championships, Mooney walked away with a top prize and a great experience overall. “I love it in Michigan,” she remarked. “I’d never been there before and I had a great couple weeks. They put on a great show. It’s really pretty, the weather has been great, and every staff member I’ve encountered has been super nice and accommodating. I’ve had a great time here.”

High Vigour and Rylie True of Bedminster, NJ, topped the Small Junior Hunter 3’3” 15 & Under division. The reserve champions were Colin Sweetnam of Wellington, FL, and Coppertone, owned by Sweet Oak Farm.

Central Park and Vivian Palmer of Radnor, PA, were the champions of the Small Junior Hunter 3’3” 16-17 section. Double Fantasy, owned by Riley Hogan and ridden by Schuyler Dayner of Odessa, FL, was the reserve champion.

 In the Large Junior Hunter 3’3” 15 & Under section, Veronica Feeley of Canton, GA, and Kathleen Feeley’s Debonair held their lead, claiming championship honors. True and her second mount Canvasback, owned by Bridlegate Farm, LLC, claimed the reserve championship.

Large Junior Hunter 3’3” 16-17 division, Mooney took top call while Grace Shipman of Cooperstown, NY, and Calamanzo were the reserve champions. Shipman and Calamanzo were also named Grand Reserve Champion.

The Great Lakes Equestrian Festival gets underway Wednesday, July 5, featuring a week of CSI3* show jumping and top hunter competition.