San Juan Capistrano, Calif. ----- Sept. 22, 2018  ----- With nearly double the number of entries from last year, the second year of the USHJA 3'3" Jumping Seat Medal Finals - West brought top-notch competition again to the grass of the Pacific Field and the Oaks International Grand Prix Field during Blenheim EquiSports ' International Jumping Festival. Out of 29 starters, Julia Stone, of Santa Barbara, California, rode away with the win aboard Elvenstar Farm's Let's Go, finishing 14 points ahead of second-placed rider Lindsey Klein.

Julia Stone rode Let's Go to the win in the 2018 USHJA 3'3" Jumping Seat Medal - West. Credit: Captured Moment Photography
Cynthia Hankins and Lynne Forgione judged the three-phase class, held over Sept. 21 and 22, with the flat and gymnastics phases taking place on Friday, and the final jumping phase on Saturday.  
FEI course designer Anthony D'Ambrosio designed the gymnastics and Phase III jumping tracks. Scores for each of the three phases were progressively weighted: 1, 1.5 and 2, respectively.  As Stone entered the ring, it appeared a work-off may be in order, but once the multiplier was applied to the 16-year-old's winning score in the final phase, she soared ahead.

Hankins and Forgione evaluated equitation style and technical merit in all phases, and in the final jumping phase, they also evaluated the execution of an efficient, well-ridden track as the time allowed played a role. In Saturday's Phase III Jumping round, 1 point was deducted for each second over the time allowed and 4 points for a rail down.
Stone gushed about her mount Let's Go that she started leasing at the beginning of the 2018 show season from Elvenstar Farm. The judges also picked him as the Best Equitation Horse. 

"Our first show was at [the Winter Equestrian Festival] this winter.  He has been absolutely amazing, even though he's just a 7-year-old. He just gets better and better."
She was also pleased with the courses and what she learned about her track.

"So I really love gymnastics type courses, I always have fun when we do exercises at home. I liked the bounce and doing the bends through the middle; and how each five stride line rode a little bit differently. I thought that was super fun," she said. "The main goal today was about the time allowed. I really wanted to be efficient in the turns, not to go fast, however, just to use the track to my advantage."

Julia Stone, trained by Jim Hagman, earned top honors in the 2018 USHJA 3'3" Jumping Seat Medal Finals - West. Credit: Captured Moment Photography

Stone plans to head East from here and is truly enjoying the ride along the way.

"I think my main goal is just to keep learning. I moved to Jim Hagman a little over a year ago. I've learned so much, from horsemanship to sportsmanship to overall care, and how just to be a great overall rider," she said. "I am going back to Indoors this year; thankfully I qualified. So, to put in some solid rounds there and get some great experience; I am super grateful for all the opportunities I've had."
For her victory, Stone received a gorgeous vase and pewter plate, a Charles Owen helmet , a set of Professional's Choice Pro Performace Schooling Boots, and a pair of Parlanti paddock boots, in addition to her ribbon and sash, as well as her award for her mount earning the Best Equitation Horse. 

Although Stone was certainly impressive throughout the phases, several riders moved up in the placing as the class progressed. 
Holding the sixth spot after the flat and gymnastic phases, Lindsey Klein, riding her own Econtador, moved into second after the final phase. On an equitation track in her final junior year, Klein, 17, of San Diego, California, is also heading East to compete in the Big Eq medal finals in Harrisburg and Lexington this fall.  
"This fall will be my last [Dover Saddlery/USEF Hunter Seat Medal] Finals and my first and last Maclay Finals. My goal is to ride as well as I can while I'm out there and to have fun," noted Klein, who trains with Hailey Flowers. "My next goal is to find a Jumper and start doing the Talent Search and maybe some adult medals."
Lindsey Klein rode Econtador to a second-placed finish. Credit: Captured Moment Photography

For her second-placed finish, Klein received a pair of  Professional's Choice Pro Performace Schooling Boots, in addition to her ribbon and sash.

Sitting 17th after the flat phase, 13-year-old Stella Buckingham, of Los Angeles, California, stepped up in the Gymnastics Phase with a solid ride on Lindenwood Farm's Nom De Guerre, answering all the technical questions asked by the course and winning the round with a score of 87. Applying the 1.5 multiplier to that score jumped her up to the fourth position going into the final Jumping Phase. Scoring an 82.5, she finished in the third position overall.
"I really liked the gymnastics course; it suited my horse, 'Nom'," Buckingham, who trains with Katie Gardner, said about the tracks. "He's really good at the Jumper-type courses; he used to be a Jumper. I thought the most challenging part about today was the tight time allowed. I really wanted to be efficient with my turns."
Stella Buckingham rode Nom De Guerre to a third-placed finish. Credit: Captured Moment Photography

The USHJA 3'3" Jumping Seat Medal Finals - East will take place Sept. 28-29, 2018, at the  Capital Challenge Equitation Show in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.  

The USHJA extends special thanks to the entire Blenheim EquiSports team for hosting the USHJA 3'3" Jumping Seat Medal Finals - West. USHJA also thanks Official Sponsors  Charles Owen, Inc., CWD Sellier, Parlanti, Professional's Choice, and Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital.

Comprehensive Results for USHJA 3'3" Jumping Seat Medal Finals - West:

Horse Rider Phase I Phase II Phase III Overall
1 Let's Go Julia Stone 87 126.75 170 383.75
2 Econtador Lindsey Klein 80.5 122.25 167 369.75
3 Nom De Guerre Stella Buckingham 74 130.5 165 369.5
4 Simply Bob Juliette Joseph 79 121.5 168 368.5
5 Marcel Des Chenes Sarah Matzinger 83 123 157 363
6 Dante Tessa Darling 76 126 159 361
7 Twizzler Paige Dendiu 71 124.5 158 353.5
8 Tip Jar Kate Abajian 86 127.5 134 347.5
9 Solo Brooke Mostman 80.25 112.5 152 344.75
10 Quieri Madison Nadolenco 78 117.75 148 343.75

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