Eleven new equitation champions were crowned on Saturday, September 26, during BIGEQ.com Equitation Weekend at the Capital Challenge Horse Show in Wilmington, OH.
Prominent among Saturday’s champions at the World Equestrian Center – Ohio was Campbell Hudkins of Farmington, CT, the winner of the fourth annual EMO Insurance/United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) 3’3” Jumping Seat Medal Final – East.
On her path to victory, Hudkins topped a field of 120 entries over three phases of competition, including flat and gymnastics phases held on Friday and a final jumping phase held on Saturday.
Hudkins finished the flat phase in 75th place, but her score of 89.50 in the gymnastics phase launched her into third for the round and eighth overall on a score of 209.75. Her score of 89.50 in the final round, multiplied by a coefficient of two and combined with her score from Friday, gave Hudkins an overall score of 388.75, awarded by judges Keri Kampsen and Bill Ellis.
Rylee Shufelt of Albuquerque, NM, took home the highest score in the gymnastics phase and finished with reserve champion honors after all three rounds on a score of 383.70. Third place went to Kyla Sullivan of Wallingford, CT.
“After I went today, I got the highest score I’ve ever gotten,” Hudkins said of her win. “That was really exciting in itself. After that, I was hoping that I could at least get a ribbon. I’m so happy that I got first; I couldn’t even believe it.” Hudkins has attended the Capital Challenge Horse Show since 2015 and has competed in this championship once prior.
“I think the last line in the course – the triple combination to the last jump in eight strides – a lot of people had trouble with,” Hudkins said of the course, designed by Ken Krome. “Some people got up there really early in eight, so I was really happy I stayed out and got to that jump straight and had a good distance. That was my favorite part of the course, and I feel like I executed it well.”
Hudkins earned the win aboard Canterbury, owned by Maverick Helmer. Helmer also won this class in 2017 aboard Canterbury, known in the barn as “Fruit.”
“He’s the best horse I could ever ask for,” Hudkins said of Canterbury. “He really understands and tries to help you. Since I’ve been riding him for two and a half years now, I’ve really gotten to know him, and he’s helped me come up from 3’ to 3’6”. I’ve even qualified for Medal and Maclay Finals my first year doing the 3’6” on him. I’m so thankful to Maverick for trusting me with him.”
At 13 years old, Hudkins is applying to high schools in her hometown and rides with Max Amaya at Stonehenge Stables and Stacia Madden at Beacon Hill Show Stables, both located in Colts Neck, NJ.
For her victory, Hudkins received a trophy, a Charles Owen helmet, an Essex Classics show shirt, and a certificate for FITS Riding in addition to her ribbon and sash.
For her second-placed finish, Shufelt, riding her own Celsius 20, received a ribbon, sash, and commemorative picture frame from H & H Horse & Home. The top 10 riders received saddle pads embroidered with the EMO Insurance logo.
On hand to help present the awards to the top finishers was Sue Bopp from EMO Insurance. This year marks the EMO Insurance Agency’s second year sponsoring the 3’3” Jumping Seat Medal Final classes, first introduced in 2017, but the equine insurance agency has been an integral part of Capital Challenge since the show’s inception.
Earlier in the day, the North American Junior Flat Equitation Championship title was awarded to Dominic Gibbs, 16, of Colorado Springs, CO, and nine age group equitation division winners were named as follows:
Allie Rae Hayes of Fort Gratiot, MI, in the 12 & Under Equitation
Eleanor Rudnicki of The Woodlands, TX, in the 13 & 14-Year-Old Equitation
Vanessa McCaughley of Lexington, KY, in the 13 & 14-Year-Old Equitation Section B
Annalise Manoog of Centerville, MA, in the 15-Year-Old Equitation
Grace Debney of Hampden, MA, in the 15-Year-Old Equitation Section B
Lilly Anthes of Grand Haven, MI, in the 16-Year-Old Equitation
Dominic Gibbs of Colorado Springs, CO, in the 16-Year-Old Equitation Section B
Texie Loyd of Windermere, FL, in the 17-Year-Old Equitation
Ellie Ferrigno of Newtown, CT, in the 17-Year-Old Equitation Section B
Equitation weekend, presented by Bigeq.com, at the Capital Challenge Horse Show continues on Sunday, September 27, with the Palm Beach International Academy North American Junior Equitation Championships beginning at 7:30 a.m. and immediately followed by the Taylor Harris Insurance Services National Children’s Medal Finals.
Learn more about Capital Challenge online at www.capitalchallenge.org.
EMO Insurance/USHJA 3'3" Jumping Seat Medal Finals – East Results
Place / Rider / Horse / Phase I / Phase II / Phase III / Overall
1/Campbell Hudkins / Canterbury / 388.75
2/Rylee Shufelt / Celsius 20 / 383.70
3/Kyla Sullivan / Lamiros / 382.65
4/Isabella David / Contelido / 382.475
5/Reese Merna / Utrillo Du Soleil / 382.45
6/Camille Borres / Celtic 23 /379.325
7/Bella Clemente / Catori / 378.975
8/Saylor Shea / Carlo E / 378.375
9/Samantha Takacs / Cooper / 375.375
10/Schuyler Dayner / Gambino / 274.250