Lily Epstein is Epic to Win the Taylor Harris Insurance Services National Children’s Medal Finals
Equitation Weekend, presented by BIGEQ.com, at the 2022 Capital Challenge Horse Show in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, continued on Saturday, October 1, where seven more championships were awarded. Lily Epstein of Coral Gables, Florida, led the final victory gallop in the Show Place Arena at Prince George’s Equestrian Center after winning the Taylor Harris Insurance Services (THIS) National Children’s Medal Finals with a score of 172.16. Emma Brody of New York, New York, piloted Lolita to the reserve championship honors, and Violet Tatum of Pacific Palisades, California, rounded out the top three.
Lily Epstein was joined in her winning presentation of the Taylor Harris Insurance Services (THIS) Medal Finals by Abigail Gordon, Michael Taylor, Luke Taylor, Hanae Leeman, Ali Sweetnam, Jenna Vannerstrom, Danny Arendt, Edwin Martinez, Patricia Epstein, and Jennifer Hinman. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography
Riders spend the year earning points towards qualification of the finals with only the top 40 invited to compete at Capital Challenge. Three panels each composed of two judges oversaw the class, where riders contested the Ken Krome-designed course in reverse order of qualification. Shane George and Dale Pederson made up the first panel, while Gavin Moylan and Bobbi Reber sat on the second panel, and Robin Rost Brown and Sissy Wickes represented the third panel. Each panel provided one score, and the average of the three resulted in the rider’s overall mark. The top 10 then returned for a second round in reverse order of their first-round scores. Epstein came back second to last, carrying an 86.16 with the lead only .42 points away.
“I walked the first course, and it looked pretty manageable,” said Epstein, who trains with Hanae Leeman at Forever Equestrian as well as with the team at Sweet Oak Farm in Wellington, Florida. “I liked how there were bending lines, and you had to pay attention to the tracks. I just wanted to have a confident round and make it to the second round.”
Epstein and her mount Cumano Boy Z, Ainsley Wade’s 15-year-old Zangersheide gelding by Cumano, paired up during the 2022 winter show season and quickly formed a strong partnership through the challenging qualification process. Because of the difficulty to get into the top 40 and compete at Capital Challenge, Epstein noted she did feel a little extra pressure.
“I was a little nervous for this because I’ve been preparing all year,” she conceded. “For the second round, I didn’t want to do anything crazy, but I knew I had a chance to move up. Right before I went in, my trainer said, ‘Ride on the rhythm, have fun, and trust your eye.’”
While Epstein will be busy in the coming days showing in the Children’s Hunter Horse and Pony Hunter divisions, for now she can savor being a Capital Challenge Horse Show Champion.
“This win is a really big one,” she reflected. “I’ve been working so hard to qualify for this, doing all these classes to get here, so it’s just amazing that I even got here and then was able to win. I’m super grateful. It was so fun.”
In the outdoor arena, Annalise Manoog of Centerville, Massachusetts, bested a field of 26 for the title of North American Junior Flat Equitation Champion. Manoog, who trains with the team at Grazing Fields Farm in Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts, rode her longtime partner and “heart horse,” Carollo.
“I really enjoy doing the flat on him,” commented Manoog of the 11-year-old Brandenburg gelding. “He goes into a really nice shape, and he’s super comfortable. He really does put his whole heart into every round.”
She continued, “When the judges were calling the final riders, I was trying not to freak out and just focus on my basics. I’m so grateful for my trainers who have instilled in me the importance of good flat work.”
Earlier in the day, five Section B age group equitation division champions and reserve champions were named as follows:
Equitation Weekend, presented by BIGEQ.com, concludes Sunday, October 2, and competition at the 2022 Capital Challenge Horse Show continues through October 9.
THIS National Children’s Medal Finals Results
Place / Rider / Horse / Overall
1 / Lily Epstein / Cumano Boy Z / 172.16
2 / Emma Brody / Lolita / 168.66
3 / Violet Tatum / Cento Chico / 167.99
4 / Camilla Jerng / Hurricane / 167.74
5 / Talia Kirson / Dundee / 167.49
6 / Kennedy Teasdale / Tahoka / 164.66
7 / Jordyn Scelsa / Any Given Sunday / 159.32
8 / Erin Morera / Chagall / 157.16
9 / Faith Schuttemeyer / Blackjack / 156.33
10 / Anna Markcrow / The Diplomat / 145.99
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