THE BIG E – WEST SPRINGFIELD, MA
Photos: Anne Gittins Photography www.annegittins.com
The New England Equitation Championships (NEEC) celebrated its 43rd anniversary this year. The five-day event is one of the longest running and most prestigious equitation finals in the country. All five days were produced by ShowNet and livestreamed on USEF Network. Emma Fletcher, Ellie Raidt and McKayla Langmeier gave excellent commentary on Sunday’s Junior final.
The renowned judging panel included Ken Krome (course designer), Hope Glynn, Jenny Fischer, Lynn Forgione, Brian Lenehan and Jean Marie Dunford-Miller.
The 46+ Adult Medal kicked off the week on Wednesday, October 17. Jeanine Cash was Champion, Reserve: Sarah Cabot. The 28-45 Medal scores required testing the top two. 2007 Junior Champion, Jenny Walters, reclaimed her Champion title, Reserve: Carolyn Lavin. On Thursday in the 22-27 group, Melissa Groher was Champion and Hannah Brown was Reserve for the second year in a row. In the 18-21 group Emelie Burgess was Champion. Reserve: Clara Bechtold.
The Adult Amateur Grand Championship Class on Thursday invited back Champion and Reserve riders from the four adult age groups to compete. Hannah Brown emerged as Grand Champion.
Junior Open sections ran Friday and Saturday. On Friday evening, 76 Juniors took the written phase of the Horsemanship Class. Originating at the NEEC, the Horsemanship Class combines a rider’s written test score, practicum, and first round Finals score to determine the overall top Junior Horseperson.
425 family and friends then gathered for a fun-filled dinner and commemorative video celebrating Juniors in their last year. McKayla Langmeier won the Junior Sportsmanship Award. Kelley Small received the esteemed Sue Brainard award in recognition of her years of dedication to the NEEC.
The world-famous Challenge of the States team costume class ran on Saturday and participants celebrated with as much gusto as ever. Juniors with top scores in the Open competed on teams of six to represent their home states – NO help from trainers allowed! Connecticut 1 won Gold. Thanks to an anonymous donor, teams competed for money to donate to a charity of their choice. Gold donated to Danny & Ron’s Rescue.
Cookie DeSimone won the Lifetime Achievement Award. Cookie is beloved by generations of students and has been a cornerstone of the NEEC as a member and co-chair of the show committee.
Sunday’s Junior Medal Final featured 175 riders. Between rounds, Frances McGivern was named winner of the Katie Battison Horsemanship Award.
Top scoring Juniors who never competed in a 3’6” final were eligible for a separate set of ribbons. First place went to Lila Ouellette.
Ellie Ferrigno earned the High Point Junior Rider Award.
After two rounds and a test of the top three, Katrina Tiktinsky’s beautifully consistent trips made her NEHC Junior Medal Champion. Trainer: Jenny Martin-Rudaz. Reserve: Ava Stearns, Trainers: Missy Clark, John Brennan, Linda Langmeier.
Adult Sportsmanship: Wynatte Chu and Lindsey Davitt
Groom’s Award: Juan Carlos Migueles Guzman
Adult Judge’s Choice: Casino Royale
Junior Judge’s Choice: Quantico