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28


Battle in the saddle


Medal-winner Nicole McMillion edges Charlote Murray in Blenheim Int'l Jumping Festival


S special to the horsetrader


AN JUAN CAPISTRANO—Nicole McMillion of Huntington Beach topped 23 entries over two days and three


phases of competition and a work-off to win the third annual EMO Insurance/USHJA 3’3” Jumping Seat Medal Finals—West at the Blenheim EquiSports International Jumping Festival.


Coming into the Saturday, Nov. 20, com-


petition, 14-year-old McMillion had the lead, winning the blue ribbon in both the flat and gymnastics phases aboard Hailey Link’s Loverboy. Earning fourth in the third phase, McMillion, at 376.5 total points, narrowed her lead when third phase winner Charlote Murray of Los Angeles finished with a total of 375 points. A work-off between McMillion and Murray ensued with McMillion emerg- ing as the champion. Scores for each of the three phases


were progressively weighted: 1, 1.5 and 2, respectively. In the first phase, riders were randomly divided into three groups, let- tered A, B and C. Once being judged, they were immediately asked to counter-can- ter, demonstrating their flat finesse early


Nicole McMillion takes Hailey Link’s Loverboy to the win in the EMO Insurance/USHJA 3'3" Jumping Seat Medal Finals-West on Sept. 20.


on. Judges Bill Ellis (Ocala, Fla.) and Jim Dahlquist (Portland, Ore.) also asked for extension and collection at both the trot and canter. McMillion, who rode in Group A, earned an impressive score of 89. Presley Newton of Atherton was the top score in Group B with an 85 and overall second place in the phase. Top of Group C, Katalina Rickard of Sherman Oaks with an 84.5, fin- ished third in the flat phase. The gymnastics phase was a test of the riders ability to adjust and to beter under- stand exercises to prepare a horse to jump their best. Internationally acclaimed course designer Anthony D’Ambrosio (Red Hook, N.Y.) created a track with a bounce, a double and triple combination as well as rollbacks. McMillion also earned an 89 in this round, and with the multiplier of 1.5, her total going into the final round was 222.5. With an 88 score and overall 217, Newton held her second spot. Rickard remained in the third position with an 85 and an overall score of 212.


Siting fiſth in the order going into day


two, Murray demonstrated a beautiful round to take the win in the third phase of com-


EMO Insurance/USHJA 3' 3" Jumping Seat Medal Finals-West Sept. 19-20, 2019 • Rancho Mission Vista Horse Park, San Juan Capo, Calif.


Pl. Rider Horse


1 Nicole McMillion Lover Boy 2 Charlote Murray Great Blue 3 Naomi Wegner


Lyla


4 Katalina Rickard Masterpass 5 Kyle Cline


Cazz C


6 Sloane Maguire Caprio 33 7 Molly Hutchison Checkpoint 8 Presley Newton Habesi 9 Chloe Sperling 10 Ella Longo


Phase I Phase II Phase III Work Off Overall 89


77 72


84.5 74.5 75


83.5 85


Black Tie Affair 82 Elvis 284


133.5 126 123


127.5 120


121.5 115.5 132


118.5 68.00 105


154 172 168 144 152 146 142 120 133 158


84 85


363 356


346.5 342.5 341 337


333.5 331


460.5 460


Charlote Murray and her own Great Blue took Reserve Championship at the medal finals.


petition. With a multiplier of two, Murray moved into a close second place, just behind McMillion. The rules state that further test- ing is required for any riders within three points of the leader, and only 1.5 points sepa- rated the top two riders. Entering the ring and receiving no further


instruction from trainers, the two girls were asked to jump fences one, two, five, 6b, 7, 8a, 8b, 9, and then return to the line at the sit- ting trot. Both riders were solid in the tough work-off, and McMillion maintained her lead by a mere half a point. “I love this medal!”, said McMillion. “It’s


a great stepping stone for the [Platinum Performance/USEF] Talent Search. The first phase is a nice start to calm your nerves a bit. The gymnastics phase is really fun and was definitely my favorite part. This was my first year doing it. I really loved the opportu- nity, and I loved the format of the class.” Loverboy, McMillion’s medal finals part-


ner, is a 12-year-old gelding owned by Hailey Link.


“He is the most fun horse I’ve ever ridden


and I’m really grateful to have had him as my partner for this class,” said the rider. Jim Hagman, head trainer and owner


of Elvenstar, trains McMillion along with Rachel Mahowald, who heads the team at Elvenstar’s location in Orange County. Hagman was full of praise. “This class is so important for our indus-


try," he said. “I wish we had it 20 years ago. Blenheim does the best job in the world with these championships, which is just incred- ible.” Jeni Brown trains Charlote Murray and her horse, Great Blue. “I really enjoyed the qualifying classes for


this all year," said Brown, of Shadowbrook Stables.


More online: http://bit.ly/910medal


Amy McCool photo Amy McCool photo


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