Hayley Barnhill Returns to Win North American Junior Equitation Championships
Lauren Fisher for Jennifer Wood Media
Mon Oct 03, 2011
Hayley Barnhill, of Collierville, TN, earned an exciting victory today as she topped the North American Junior Equitation Championships – the first of three classes held on the final day of the Capital Challenge Equitation Weekend, presented by Bigeq.com.
Nearly eighty competitors started out the day over fences, but the field was sharply narrowed to only twenty who were invited back for a second round. Riding Cayla Richards’ Asparagus, a 17-year-old Hanoverian gelding, Barnhill posted scores of 90.20 and 90.05 for a two-round winning total of 180.25.
“I’m very excited!” Barnhill beamed after her win. “It was a last minute thing to get to come here, and I love this horse show. I was second in this class last year; I was so close, so it is nice to win it.”
Yesterday’s flat winner, Morgan Geller, rode her gelding Fabricio to second place. Sarah Milliren and War Eagle, owned by Don Stewart, finished third. Conor Perrin and Nat King Cole earned fourth place honors. Alicia Gasser rode Schubert, owned by KMG Equestrian, to fifth place and Oliva Esse guided Oscany, Inc.’s Fernway Park into the sixth position.
In addition to awarding the classes top finishers, several other awards were presented. Barnhill and trainer Tom Wright were presented with the George H. Morris Equitation Championship Trophy, donated by Frank and Stacia Madden and Beacon Hill Show Stables. Wright also received a special award as the Leading Equitation Trainer and Karen Healey and Karen Healey Show Stables presented Barnhill with the Best Equitation Rider Award. Victoria Colvin earned the award for EMO Equitation Trip of the show, sponsored by EMO Insurance Services, for the highest scoring round of 88.5.
Last year Hayley Barnhill conquered two of the country’s biggest equitation finals, winning the Pessoa/USEF Hunt Seat Equitation Finals as well as the ASPCA Maclay National Finals. The rider now has her sights set on the Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals and the WIHS Equitation Classic Finals, both coming up later this month. The rider feels that her experience this weekend at Capital Challenge has helped her prepare for those finals.
“I haven’t been able to do that many classes this year because I have just been focusing on the Washington classes, so it was good to have a pressure class and tough courses to get me back in the mode for indoors,” said Barnhill. “Missy (Clark) brought Asparagus over for me to ride and he is amazing. He is so easy. He has been and done it, so he is not going to make a mistake. He just does everything you want him to do.”
One of the many trainers that have helped Barnhill throughout the years is Tom Wright. Wright was present for Barnhill’s win today, and feels that she is ready for the big events to come.
“Her rounds were fantastic today; very confident,” Wright remarked. “She really wanted to come here and get a flavor for Asparagus indoors. He is a very quiet horse too, so Missy gave her the opportunity to come here and get to know him in hopes that we have a good horse show at Washington.”
“I think we are in pretty good confidence going there,” Wright added. “Missy has been so amazing about providing horses for Hayley for the last two years and we have been doing a lot of jumper work this summer, which I think has really paid off. You can see the confidence even more now when the questions are asked in the ring.”
Both Barnhill and Wright agree that Capital Challenge is a great opportunity for riders to get indoor show experience. Wright noted, “I am really glad that Capital Challenge takes the time to put this equitation weekend together. It is a great beginning for all of the kids before they head to USET, Harrisburg, and Washington, to really get a chance to practice all the tricks before the big pressure finals are on.”