The 2021 Capital Challenge Horse Show, held at Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, featured the North American League (NAL) jumper year-end finals on Thursday, October 7, 2021, when two new NAL jumper champions were crowned.
In the $12,500 NAL Children’s Jumper Finals, presented by EquiFit, Taylor Landstrom rode her own Colina SN to the victory. Top honors in the $12,500 NAL Adult Jumper Finals, presented by SmartPak, went to Hope Batchelor DVM aboard her own Byolga.
Landstrom, 14, and Colina SN were one of 16 horse-and-rider combinations that returned for the jump-off after producing a fault-free first round. Last to return for the jump-off, Landstrom did not disappoint when she stopped the timers at 33.021 seconds to jump to the top of the leaderboard.
“Going into the jump-off I had to make sure that I kept my mind mentally calm,” explained Landstrom. “There were some fast rounds so I just had to trust my horse. I also had to trust myself and mentally calm myself down through all of it.
“My trainer and I talked about how it was going to be a very speedy jump-off,” continued Landstrom. “Going in I knew I had to trust my plan and not second guess it. I knew I could rely on my horse going into the jump-off, so I just had to believe in my plan and know that I knew what I was doing.”
Landstrom of Excelsior, MN, and the 11-year-old Warmblood mare have been partnered for two years and are going into their final indoors season together. The rider, trained by Abby Blankenship, was thrilled to have this success at one of her favorite horse shows.
“She is a very reliable girl,” said Landstrom. “She’s a lot like me because she’s very competitive and wants to go in and win. We make such a good pair because we want to do well together. I am really hoping to have a successful last indoors season with her. To win at Capital Challenge means a lot to me because it’s something that I’ve worked towards all year.”
Reserve honors in the NAL Children’s Jumper Finals were awarded to Olivia Sweetnam and Siboney Ranch’s Gold Lux with a time of 34.194 seconds. Avery Hansen and Double H Farm’s HH Gypsy stopped the timers at 35.057 seconds to earn third place.
Final Results: $12,500 North American League Children’s Jumper Finals
1 Colina SN, Taylor Landstrom: 0/0/33.021
2 Gold Lux, Olivia Sweetnam: 0/0/34.194
3 HH Gypsy, Avery Hansen: 0/0/35.057
4 Toy Soldier, Abigail Gordon: 0/0/35.571
5 Emy, Emma Covarrubias: 0/0/35.888
6 WT Scorsese, Charlotte Clivio: 0/0/36.658
7 Empty Spaces, Hailey Guidry: 0/0/36.851
8 Jonnas Corint, Jayden Toomy: 0/4/33.099
9 Heer Aldus, Riley Hogan: 0/4/34.032
10 Adoctro, Claire Campbell: 0/4/35.960
11 Just Noble, Olivia Sweetnam: 0/4/38.055
12 Belladonna Z, Madyson Diaz: 0/4/45.556
Batchelor, of Chester Springs, Pennsylvania, and Byolga crossed the timers at 36.097 seconds to best a field of 29 competitors in the $12,500 NAL Adult Jumper Finals, presented by SmartPak.
“I thought the first course was challenging right from the start,” explained Batchelor. “There were a lot of connecting lines, and I think if you didn’t ride the track appropriately for the horse you were sitting on it could catch up to you. It was a thoughtful round considering it’s a class you qualify for, so you have a good group in there, and you have to start to sort them out a little bit.”
Batchelor took on the jump-off with nine additional competitors. The rider was happy to have her trusted partner, “Lola,” a 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare, with her for the short course.
“The jump-off was challenging today because it required some inside turns and speed,” said Batchelor. “I think my inside turn to the one-stride was where I saved some time. Lola is so quick and so professional, so I was really just thinking about riding the track and staying on!”
This victory marks the second time that Batchelor has had success in the NAL Adult Jumper Finals, having won it previously on Orlando. Batchelor is happy to have the finals held at Capital Challenge, making the show even more memorable for her.
“I think Capital Challenge is a wonderful horse show,” commented Batchelor. “They run the schedule well, the jumps are beautiful, the courses are wonderful, and the prizes are better than I think anywhere else. It’s just as special, if not more, to win here compared to any of the other indoor shows.”
Second place was awarded to Megan Jones and her own Trix Rabbit with a jump-off time of 36.146 seconds. Lexi Maounis and Roos finished in third place on a time of 37.045 seconds.
The Best Children’s Jumper Rider Award, sponsored by Memorial Park Hunters, went to Landstrom. Batchelor earned the Best Adult Amateur Jumper Rider Award, sponsored by Meadow Grove Farm. For this award, Batchelor received the Belfield Trophy, donated by Julie Karpan.
North American League Finals are the culmination of the NAL’s year-long Series that includes classes at hundreds of horse shows across the United States and Canada. The NAL offers year-long series in five divisions: Children’s Hunter, Adult Hunter, Children’s Jumper, presented by EquiFit; Adult Jumper, presented by SmartPak; and Low Junior/Amateur Jumper, presented by HorseFlight. The NAL series conclude with year-end finals for those who accumulated the most points in their divisions over the course of the season.
Competition will continue on Friday at the 2021 Capital Challenge Horse Show with junior hunter divisions, pony hunter divisions, the NAL Junior/Amateur Owner Welcome, and the Medium Junior/Amateur Owner Welcome. The highlighted classes on Friday will be the WCHR Amateur Challenge, the Ariat National Adult Medal Finals, and the Professional World Championship Hunter Rider Final.
Final Results: $12,500 North American League Adult Jumper Finals
1 Byolga, Hope Batchelor DVM: 0/0/36.097
2 Trix Rabbit, Megan Jones: 0/0/36.146
3 Roos, Lexi Maounis: 0/0/37.045
4 Stakkadera, Christina Kourgelis: 0/0/37.306
5 Qualle, Kirsten Pollin: 0/0/37.388
6 Given, Lexi Maounis: 0/0/41.384
7 Chambrinus, Mercy Paine: 0/4/34.813
8 Wender R, Stefani Green: 0/4/35.651
9 Escot 6, Charlotte Powers: 0/8/34.792
10 Volodia d’Argouges, Texie McHenry: 0/EL
11 Larent, Jessica Leonard: 4/58.738
12 KT Bugs Bunny, Casey Zuraitis: 4/60.974