SAUGERTIES, N.Y--Daisy Farish of Versailles, Ky., earned to top score in each round to win the 14th annual USHJA Hunterdon Cup Equitation Classic - East Coast, on July 30 at HITS in Saugerties.
The Hunterdon Cup drew 98 riders to compete for top honors, and Farish stood out amongst the group.
She rode Capital Hamilton to scores of 90 and 89 in her first two rounds before securing the victory in the work-off of the Hunterdon Cup.,
The Hunterdon Cup, named after George Morris' farm, Hunterdon, tests each rider's ability to adjust to a hunter course on an equitation mount.
Round one was a classic hunter round, and the top 20 riders returned to navigate a handy round.
The Rian Beals' designed courses were technical and asked riders to pilot their mounts skillfully.
JUDGES Ken Smith and Robert Braswell noted how the courses distinguished the competitors.
Held in the large Grand Prix ring at HITS Saugerties, the classic round used the full arena and tested the precision of horse and rider.
Among the challenges was a line of three jumps, requiring a long, flowing five-stride followed by a shorter five-stride.
Riders were also required to navigate tight turns, a trot jump and finished with a hand gallop to the final fence in the handy round.
The final test of seven jumping efforts, ridden by the top four on another rider's mount, gave the riders who stood out over the first two rounds the chance to demonstrate their prowess with no outside coaching and only a few warm-up circles and two jumps.
Those top four of the day, Daisy Farish, Savannah Hemby, Hannah Hoch and Alexandra Pielet, commented that the courses were challenging but allowed a rider to execute a solid round.
"Each course was technical but straight forward in the way that you could carry one pace and everything flowed," said Pielet.
"I thought the courses were great today," said Farish. "The first course asked the question of if you can extend and collect your horse's stride. The second course was looking for slick, tight turns to be neat. And the test gave you a few places to show off without being too hard, not knowing the horse."
Farish aboard her own Capital Hamilton distinguished herself from the group by earning the top scores in the first two rounds, a 90 and 89 respectively, and then piloted Hannah Hoch's E.V. Comander to an 80 for the win.
Trained by Andre Dignelli and Heritage Farm, Farish's horse is still learning the equitation ropes.
"Capital Hamilton is a little new to the equitation," said Farish. "He's been doing it for a little while now, but he isn't 'been there, done that' yet. But I think he will be a really great horse for finals this year."
Second place winner, Savannah Hemby, 16, of Bartonville, Texas, and trained by Jenna Vanerstrom, is new to the equitation ring and very new to her mount, Howie Doin'.
"I've only had him since the middle of May, around Devon, since I'm fairly new to the equitation," said Hemby. "But he's the most perfect first equitation horse, he can do everything."
Also new to the equitation ring is third place winner, Hannah Hoch, 14, from Whitefish Bay, Wisc., who trains with Caitlyn Shiels and Andre Dignelli.
"I've only had E.V. Comander for about six months, since I'm new to the equitation, and he's been such a great teacher for me," said Hoch. "He's teaching me the ropes of all the rings. He's great."
The judges agreed with Hoch and awarded E.V. Comander the honor of the Best Equitation Horse.
Alexandra Pielet, a 16-year-old Illinois native and another Andre Dignelli student, was ourth on Common Sense.
"I've had him for about two years," said Pielet. "My first show on him was at USET Finals, and I've loved him ever since. He's been a great horse, and he does his job perfectly."