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2015 USHJA Children's Jumper Regional Team Championship

The $2,500 USHJA Adult Amateur Jumper Regional Team Championship medalists.

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Zone 5 Dominates Team Championships During 2015 USHJA Children’s & Adult Amateur Jumper Regional Championships

Written by: Abner Pedraza
Client: Aaron’s Catering of the Palm Beaches
Release Date: 2015-09-05

Roscoe, Illinois – Sept. 5, 2015 – The tension in the air was palpable as the second day of the 2015 USHJA Children’s & Adult Amateur Jumper Regional Championships got underway during the Showplace Jumper Spectacular. All eyes turned to the teams as each zone from the Northern Region took their turn at Anderson Lima’s track. It was Zone 5 Team One that emerged victorious for the $2,500 Children’s Team Championship, sponsored by Wisconsin Equine Clinic & Hospital, finishing on a cumulative total of zero penalties.

The team, led by Chef d’Equipe David Dorner, consisted of Kesley Taylor, Emily Smith, Isabella Roman and Katy Hamilton. Hamilton kicked off the first round of the Nation’s Cup format competition with winning ways, clearing the opening track with Sasha 12, owned by Old Barrington LLC of St. Charles, Illinois. Roman, of Mundelein, Illinois, duplicated Hamilton’s efforts with Moraleja, keeping the Zone 5 Team One at the top of the leader board. Smith, of Valparaiso, Indiana, rode her own Aviara to a four-fault total, which after Taylor rode as the team’s anchor rider with Zelda, was dropped from the score and replaced with Taylor’s faultless effort.

Smith said, “I thought that this was a great experience. It is a lot of fun riding as part of a team, and it was a wonderful learning experience for both Aviara and me. My horse is a little green, and she needs a confident ride. I competed at the U.S. Pony Finals and rode for the Zone 5 Pony Jumper Team, and I loved the feeling of being on a team again.”

The 2015 USHJA Children’s Jumper Regional Championships is a first-time experience for all of the teammates.

Hamilton said, “We have all been competing against each other at other horse shows, and it was nice to have that positive energy.”

Roman echoed her thoughts, saying, “It is a really unique experience that prepares us for other competitions that are similar, such as the North American Junior Young Rider Championships. This helps us to learn what it is like to not only have the pressure on yourself, but also to feel pressure as you root on your teammates.”

The pressure became real for Zone 5 Team One when Taylor was the last to go for the competition, and only one fault separated them from the eventual Silver Team of Zone 5 Team Two. With bated breath, the teammates held hands ringside as they watched Taylor and Zelda seal the victory with another clear round, avoiding a jump-off and a battle to the gold medal.

“I was praying for a clean round right alongside them,” Taylor laughed. “The only difference was that I was hoping for it while I was jumping the fences. If I believe I am doing it right, Zelda will go with me. I have to slow here down a lot on the course, because once I get her going, I don’t have to use any leg to keep her at that pace, she stays consistent.”

The silver medals were awarded to Zone 5 Team Two with Hailey Royce, Cassidy Rasch, Madeline DeRose and Noa Leibson riding to the final score of four faults. The combined Zone 1/2 Team captured the bronze medal, featuring Carrie Genecco, Julianne Wydola and Brigitte Harbers.

Currently, Kesley Taylor leads the ranks going into the Individual Championship Sunday, with zero penalties to her name.

Following the conclusion of the Children’s Team Championship, the $2,500 Adult Amateur Jumper Team Championship, sponsored by Chicago Equestrian, commenced. The winning team emerged as Zone 5, once again, with Dorner acting as Chef d’Equipe. The winning team consisted of Lisa Baker, Jean McLaren, Brenda Perkovich and Molly Brown.

For the winning team, it was not about winning the gold medal, rather the individual goals they had set for themselves, and how their fellow teammates had supported them. For Baker, she wanted to prove that she could perform in the championship by riding consistently. She achieved her goal with three clear rounds over the two days of competition.

“The gold represented consistency,” Baker smiled. “That is something that I have really been working on, and it feels like it all came together here.”

Jean McLaren also rode to two clear rounds with her own Avanz R, returning as the penultimate rider in the order Sunday, just behind Baker for the Individual Championship.

“Ava is a 17-year-old Swedish Warmblood mare, she started in Europe and has seen and done everything,” McLaren said. “She is my teacher. She loves to go fast; she is a speed demon. She is brave, fast, smart and gets me out of trouble when I get her in it.”

Many of the riders used the championship, and especially the team format as a learning opportunity, rectifying errors from the first round when they returned for the second round of competition.

For Brown, her horse has less experience than several of the others. He has only competed in the adult jumpers for two years. “It is very exciting and very new for him. He is learning, but I thought that we all did great out there,” Brown said.

Perkovich commented, “I love the team effort. This is my second year doing it. I love the camaraderie, meeting other trainers and riders and it is also good not feeling like you are alone in the trenches. The way it was run was great, and it has been for the (past) two years. It was quick, fast and run really well.”

The Silver Team was Zone 2, with Madi Grady, Maria Bogdanova Peifer and Danielle Flavin. The Bronze was awarded to Christina Fried, Marina Callahan and Michelle Blunda, representing Zone 1.

The $5,000 Children’s & Adult Amateur Individual Championships will conclude the three-day event Sunday afternoon.

Star Creek Video will live stream the Regional Championship for the first time in its three-year history, with live commentary by Diane Carney, USEF R HU/EQ/JP Judge. Visit for live action, on demand footage and additional interviews.

For the complete schedule of the Showplace Jumper Spectacular, click here.

For more information, directions or complete results, please visit

$2,500 USHJA Children’s Individual Championship Rankings

       Pl   Rider   Horse               R1   R2   R3     Two-Day Total

  1. Kesley Taylor    Zelda    0    0    0         0
  2. Isabella Roman    Moraleja    1.5    0    0    1.5
  3. Noa Leibson   Blackhawk    2   0   0     2
  4. Madeline DeRose   Chawa   2.5  0   0   2.5
  5. Katy Hamilton   Sasha 12   5   0   0   5
  6. Hailey Royce    Rapidash    4   4    0   8
  7. Cassidy Rasch   Chablis-Du-Lys    3.5   4   4   11.5
  8. Brigitte Harbers Angel-O    4.5   4    4   12.5
  9. Emily Smith    Aviara   1   4   12   17
  10. Carlie Genecco Hassandra VDL  3   11    4    18

$2,500 USHJA Adult Amateur Individual Championship Rankings

       Pl   Rider   Horse               R1   R2   R3     Two-Day Total

  1. Lisa Baker   Zyminka   0   0   0           0
  2. Jenny Swanson   Vendicat    1    0   0        1
  3. Jean McLaren   Avanz R    2.5   0   0      2.5
  4. Molly Brown     Bourbon and Ice    3   0   8     11
  5. Madi Grady     Tell Me     4   4   4     12
  6. Michelle Blunda     My Lovely Louise    2   8    4     14
  7. Brenda Perkovich    Dante-B   3.5   8   4     15.5
  8. Danielle Flavin   Amaretto     4.5   10   8     22.5
  9. Maria Bogdnova   Djust Berlin    24.5   12   8     44.5


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