Traverse City, Mich. – June 11, 2021 – Equitation riders took to the Jumper Annex Ring Friday afternoon to vie for top honors in the EMO Insurance/USHJA 3’3″ Jumper Seat Medal and the highly acclaimed USEF Show Jumping Talent Search at the 2021 Traverse City Spring Horse Show (TCS), presented by Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel. Several top equitation riders tried their hand at the 11-obstacle Jumper Seat Medal course, hoping to acquire valuable points for the indoor season. In the end, Ellen Schmidt emerged victorious, laying down a beautiful round and showcasing her talent in the flat phase. Madison Mitchell dominated the USEF Show Jumping Talent Search aboard Fabries, showcasing their strong bond over the challenging 10-obstacle course.
Scott Alder’s course for the EMO Insurance/USHJA 3’3″ Jumper Seat Medal demonstrated a long and flowing track that challenged riders to open up their horses’ strides in the corners and down the lines, asking riders to then shorten their strides coming into the two combinations. Several horse-and-rider combinations found difficulty in the short corners, but Schmidt stepped up to the challenge and laid down a textbook round helping her secure top honors.
Mitchell was one of the first riders to try her hand at the 10-obstacle course for the USEF Show Jumping Talent Search and impressed the judges with her enormous pace and ability to maneuver through each obstacle. Several riders found difficulty with the open water jump that led right into the triple combination which would wrap up the course. Schmidt who rode Cairo, a 14-year-old Warmblood gelding owned by Schmidt, is new to the 3’3″ medal classes and impressed the judges with her beautiful position, open pace and consistency that she showcased throughout the round. She has successfully competed in the 3’0″ medal classes, and has earned top places in classes such as THIS 3’0″ Medal. As a native to Michigan, Schmidt has grown up showing at the Traverse City Horse Shows and is an up-and-coming equitation rider to look out for in the 3’3” medals.
Mitchell is a seasoned equitation rider who has competed at some of the top equitation finals in the country and currently rides on the Baylor University NCEA equestrian team. She competed on Mario Garcia’s Fabries, an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding who is a veteran equitation and jumper horse. The newly acquainted pair was one of the first contenders in the ring and rode a beautiful round showcasing their ability to maneuver easily throughout the challenging 10-obstacle course. Mitchell just started riding the talented equitation horse Tuesday and talked very highly of his big step, scope and eagerness to please. The judges were impressed by the ease of this partnership and Mitchell’s stunning equitation, which would help them secure the top honors in Friday’s USEF Show Jumping Talent Search.
Competition will continue in the Jumper Annex Ring Saturday morning, beginning with the $1,000 6-Year-Old USHJA YJC and ending the day with the Pre Child/Adult .85m Jumper.
FROM THE WINNERS CIRCLE
Madison Mitchell – USEF Show Jumping Talent Search
On her partnership with Fabries:
“I rode with Don Stewart about two years ago. This summer I came home from college and decided to come back and ride with him. He gave me this horse to ride and just picked one that he had in the barn. I started riding him on Tuesday and we had a lesson, and today was the first time that we showed him. He was awesome. He is a really great partner and he has been doing the jumpers a lot recently and has not been doing the equitation as much, so he kind of surprised us all today. He was a really good boy.”
On the course:
“I think the course was very tough since it rode very forward the entire time. I think that it is a good thing because I like courses like that so I think that is why I did so well because I ride naturally more forward. It was pretty straightforward for me since I ride more naturally that way”
On riding for Baylor University:
“Riding on a team is super fun. It is really interesting taking such an individualized sport and making it into a team sport. That is definitely the most difficult aspect but also the most rewarding part because you have a team of girls who are always supporting you and are there for you.”
On upcoming goals:
“Definitely to ride more in the competitions. For the team, it would be to go into nationals with a high ranking.”