Based on the popularity of the USHJA 3'3" Jumping Seat Medal over the last two years, the United States Hunter Jumper Association is pleased to announce the series will include Finals on both the east and west coasts for the 2017 competition year. The Capital Challenge Horse Show and International Jumping Festival at Blenheim will host the respective Finals.
The USHJA plans to use this year's finals as a test to determine members' interest in a 3'3" equitation final that aims to help riders gain experience in a format similar to that of the Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Program.
In the program's first year in 2015, more than 700 members participated in USHJA 3'3" Jumping Seat Medal classes across the country. In 2016, that number increased by nearly 20 percent to more than 840 participants. In 2016, USHJA launched Eastern and Western leagues, which will form the framework for the Finals qualifying process.
"We have watched with excitement as this program has grown over the last two years," said Robin Rost, chair of the USHJA Joint Equitation Task Force. "It's clear that members value the jumping seat equitation experience at the 3'3'' fence height, and we hope that by offering these finals we give riders a preview of what to expect in the Talent Search. Encouraging great equitation at every level is so important, no matter what you hope to accomplish in this sport."
Riders qualify for the USHJA 3'3" Jumping Seat Medal Finals when they have accumulated a minimum of 10 points in a USHJA 3'3" Jumping Seat Medal class from Dec. 1 of the current competition year to 60 days prior to the Finals. Riders may not cross-enter into the USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals. Qualified riders may choose to compete in either the East or West Finals.
The Finals consists of three phases: Phase I (Flat Phase), Phase II (Gymnastics Phase) and Phase III (Jumping Phase) that will be held over two days. The Capital Challenge Horse Show will host the USHJA 3'3" Jumping Seat Medal Finals - East on Sept. 29 and 30 at Prince George's Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. The International Jumping Festival at Blenheim will host the USHJA 3'3" Jumping Seat Medal Finals - West on Sept. 23 and 24 at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park in Capistrano, California.
"We very much appreciate Capital Challenge and Blenheim EquiSports stepping up to host this test year, so we can evaluate the needs of our membership," continued Rost. "These two venues provide the perfect atmosphere to showcase this exciting opportunity."
Phase I and II will be conducted on the first day, and the second day will wrap up with Phase III and if necessary a work off and any additional testing. Phase I will include no more than 10 riders at a time who will be tested on the same flatwork elements at the walk, trot, and canter, including the collection and lengthening of stride at a trot and canter. Riders may also be asked to perform more advanced flatwork such as a counter canter, turn on the haunches, shoulder-in and leg yield. In Phase II, riders will be asked to perform three of the Standard Gymnastics Exercises similar to those in the specifications for the USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals.
Phase III will be held in a jumper ring and feature a course of 10-12 jumper-style obstacles set at a height of 1.0m with spreads up to 1.10m (triple bar up to 1.15m). The course will include one double and one triple combination or three double combinations. The course will also include a dry, above-ground Liverpool. The time allowed will be calculated at 350 meters per minute.
A work off is required for all riders within five points of the leader following the completion of Phase III, and the work off will consist of a shortened course with a tight time allowed. Additional testing may be required.
For more information, including the full specifications, visit www.ushja.org/jumpseatmedal.
About the Capital Challenge Horse Show
Now in its 24th year, the Capital Challenge Horse Show sets itself apart with a distinct and unique focus on preeminent hunter and equitation competition. Held each autumn at the Prince George's Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD, the 2017 edition of the Capital Challenge Horse Show will take place September 29-October 8. The ten days of competition will include prestigious equitation and jumper events and the World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) Finals with many of the country's best horses and riders competing in junior, amateur, and professional hunter divisions. For more information please visit www.capitalchallenge.org.
About the International Jumping Festival at Blenheim
The International Jumping Festival at Blenheim, located in beautiful Southern California at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park at San Juan Capistrano, plays host to numerous season end West Coast championships including the Platinum Performance USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals - West, the Young Jumper Championships Western Regional, and the North American League West Coast Finals. Held annually in the Fall this year's show will take place from September 20 - 24 and will also include a Grand Prix plus a full calendar of USEF/USHJA/PCHA sanctioned hunter, jumper, and equitation competitions. For more information please visit www.showpark.com or visit the official Blenheim EquiSports Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/blenheimeq/.