HARRISBURG, Pa.--Hannah Hoch and Shariva won the $10,000 USEF Junior Jumper National Championship on Saturday, Oct. 16, with only two riders going clean in the final competition.
“It’s really an incredible feeling to be rewarded like this after so many years of training and hard work,” said Hoch, 18, of Whitefish Bay, Wisc. “The list of the riders that are competing here is no joke; there are a lot of experienced riders and a lot of top horses. It’s so rewarding to be able to win at such a prestigious and competitive show.”
Hoch was one of 21 entries that competed in Saturday’s Phase III class, all of whom entered the final phase carrying penalties based on their results from Phases I and II.
With riders jumping Saturday’s Manuel Esparza-designed course in reverse order of their standings, and with only 2.5 penalties separating the top five riders, the gold medal was well within any of the final riders’ grasp.
Ultimately, only two of those top five riders would complete all three phases clean: Hoch and her Heritage Farm barn mate, Natalie Jayne, of Elgin, Ill..
“MY HORSE jumped incredibly,” said Jayne of Columbcille de Reve. “She is just an awesome horse. She goes in the ring and she wants to win every time, and she gives her all. I think that is a great feeling to have in a horse.”
A clear round on Saturday moved Jayne and Columbcille de Reve from fifth place to the silver medal spot, while slightly faster times throughout the three phases would clinch the win for Hoch and her own Shariva.
"It's such a prestigious competition,” said Hoch. “Being able to stay consistent over all four rounds and not touch a rail is a mental game. I'm proud of my horse. I'm proud of myself. I'm feeling really grateful for the team that's behind me and my parents that have helped me so much.”
Rounding out the podium positions was Taylor Kraft of Bernardsville, Pa., on her own Volt du Thot.
“Going into today, Volt du Thot definitely felt like he was at his best,” said Kraft, 18. “I think it was an unfortunate rail tonight, but he felt great all week and I am really, really happy with how he was.”