This year’s Preliminary Challenge certainly did not disappoint! Both cross country and show jumping took their toll on the final standings, and it was finally Mallory Hogan in the rider division and Rebecca Braitling in the horse division who earned a win in the end.
When a single show jumping time penalty tied Erin Kellerhouse and Rebecca Braitling on 27 points, a mad dash ensued to decide who won the Preliminary Challenge Horse division. Not only did these ladies have an identical result, but they also clocked around cross country in the same exact time: 5 minutes and 34 seconds. Unfortunately for Erin, this meant that the best show jumping score would be the determining factor thanks to a recent amendment of EV132 and it choose Rebecca the winner today.
“It was kind of surprising actually because Erin and James are usually not very easy to beat, so I was happy to go in and just have a clear round,” Bec said. She and Lauren Burnell’s Santana II left all the poles in their cups for this duo’s first competition together. They also had a very successful cross country, adding 1.6 time penalties to their score.
“We had a few green moments early on cross country, so I had to tone it down a little and not worry about the time as much and find a rhythm, but then she show jumped really really well this afternoon,” she added.
Though she fell from the lead, Erin still claimed second with her own Woodford Reserve, a 6-year-old Irish Sport Horse. While Erin might be kicking herself now, we know these two have nowhere to go but up from here!
David Adamo finished third with Christiana Rosenblatt’s Junit. After a 27.8 in dressage the 8-year-old Belgian Warmblood also came through the cross country finish flags with an identical time to match Erin and Bec.
Meanwhile in the rider division, Mallory Hogan took home blue with her own Clarissa Pruisima, a 9-year-old Hosteiner mare. The pair set out on cross country full of determination, and they moved into the lead after picking up 3.2 time penalties.
“I went out there knowing the time was going to be a little harder to make, so I rode everything in a forward rhythm and let her do her job,” Mallory said. “She loves cross country, that’s one of our strongest phases, so I just let her do her thing out there.”
Very last to go in the ring in front of a packed crowd, the pressure was weighing heavily on Mallory and “Clarissa.” But if she was nervous she didn’t show it. They had a fault free round to finish on a score of 34.6 for the win.
“After cross country when I saw that I moved up I knew the atmosphere was going to be a lot and I didn’t know how she was going to handle it, but she went in there today and she was really mature and grown up about it,” Mallory continued.
Second place went to Claire Poch and her own Kirschblüte 3, an 8-year-old Trakehner. They picked up 0.4 time penalties on cross country and 2 time penalties in show jumping for a final result of 36.9. Katelyn Grubich and the 15-year-old Thoroughbred Kaptain Jak finished third and the recipients of the OTTB High Point Award.
Our two winners are hoping to spend a lot more time with each other this summer as Bec coaches the Area VI Young Rider Team, and Mallory is hoping to represent that team at NAJYRC. Go Area VI!
Thanks for following the Preliminary Challenge action with us, EN!