Hagyard Equine Midsouth Team Challenge has long been a staple of the fall eventing season. A premier destination event at the gorgeous Kentucky Horse Park, Midsouth Team Challenge provides a unique environment where all regular horse trial division riders are competing as individuals as well as on teams.
The Area IV Young Riders Program was looking to expand its Young Rider Advancement Program by providing new opportunities for its lower level competitors. Emily Beshear, former Area IV Young Rider Coach, suggested utilizing the Midsouth Team Challenge to give lower level competitors the feel of the team experience. The Area IV Young Riders Midsouth Team program kicked off in 2017 but was unable to field a full team. Area IV Young Riders Zoe Schroeder, Gabrielle Yashinsky and Isabella Marchioretto were partnered with Audrey Rosen from Area III for a single Training Level team. The program has more than quadrupled since its inception.
In 2019 Area IV Young Riders descended upon the Kentucky Horse Park in striking red jackets with the Area IV Young Riders logo emblazoned across the back; 20 riders + coaches + parents… it was a sea of red! You could see them in swarms walking across the cross-country course, standing at the in-gate, cheering each other on from the sidelines while riders with bold “IV” bonnets and saddle pads were overtaking the warm-up arenas and competition rings. Their teams names conjured up memories of the great event horses that had galloped these hallowed grounds before them; Winsome Adante, Courageous Comet, Windfall II, Little Tricky and Giltedge.
Comprised of two ten-year olds dressed as bumble bees and two teenagers as bee keepers with mounts decked out in yellow and black, the BN Giltedge Team of Claire Peters, Ava Friese, Lily Sutton and Sophie Schroeder placed 2nd of 25 teams against professionals, adult amateurs and other youth. Area IV Young Rider Claire Peters finished individually 3rd on a personal best dressage score of 28.5 with Lacey Lou Freebush, a 15.2h grey Quarter Horse mare. Ava Friese and the spotted Zepplin maintained a double clear despite a nasty flu bug to place 4th with Lily Sutton and Sullivan taking 6th.
The Winsome Adante Preliminary Team earned a 7th place finish, anchored by a 3rd place individual finish by CNT Shiloh Tails piloted by the Area IV Young Rider Coordinator Cynthia Wiseman and owned by former Area IV Young Rider member Riley Kemna. Becca Roth and Chapter Two, members of the Little Tricky Training Team, finished on their dressage score to place 2nd individually. The Courageous Comet Novice Team earned a strong 10th place finish with Maia Ramberg and CMF Cougar Roo taking 8th and Zoe Schroeder and Piedmont Sundance conquering their show jumping demons to finish on their dressage score for 10th.
Although the Area IV Young Riders brought home 8 individual ribbons and 3 team ribbons, perhaps the biggest story of the weekend is the team experience itself. Riders from age 10 – 18 donned the Area IV Young Rider Logo and joined forces competitively and socially to create a lifetime of memories. Twenty riders, from five Midwestern states (Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Kansas, and Missouri), coached by 12 different instructors, departed the Kentucky Horse Park having forged new friendships. Mission accomplished.
Here’s the Area IV Young Rider Teams:
Giltedge (Beginner Novice)
Claire Peters & Lacey Lou Freebush
Sophie Schroeder & Merrylegs
Lily Sutton & Sullivan
Ava Friese & Zepplin
Alternate: Libbey Shellenberger & Chibi
Courageous Comet (Novice)
Maia Ramberg & CMF Cougar Roo
Zoe Schroeder & Piedmont Sundance
Tatum Gray & Reds Loyal Flame
Windfall II (Novice)
Michaela Frye & Sugar Sam
Madi Page & Lady Leona
Emily Prettyman & Donadea Boy
Emma Buckley & Odds On
Little Tricky (Training)
Becca Roth & Chapter Two
Gabrielle Ortiz & The Chief
Abigail Brawley & Work of Art
Shannon Doan & Hurrikhana
Alternate: Kaylianna McMorris & Clifton Peekachu
Winsome Adante (Preliminary)
Benjamin Noonan & Bojangles
Mya Poulos & Guy’s Elegant Miss
Cynthia Wiseman & CNT Shiloh Tails ( Area IV YR Coordinator)
Fiona Cotter & Miltown Malbay (Area IV YR Alumnus)
Alternate: Benjamin Noonan & Keep Kitty
Area IV YR Groom: Kaylianna McMorris
For even more photos and updates, be sure to check out the USEA Area IV Young Riders Facebook Page.