North Salem, N.Y. – Sept. 17, 2016 – Each year, junior riders from around the country strive to earn points to qualify for the ASPCA/NHSAA Maclay Regional Championships. On Saturday, the American Gold Cup CSI4*-W at Old Salem Farm hosted the Region 1 and Region 2 Championships. Maya Nayyar took home the top honors in Region 2, while Katherine Bundy kicked off the day by winning the Region 1 Championship. Both riders’ performances earned the top call and the opportunity to compete at the esteemed ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship Championship Finals at the National Horse Show in November.
Each Regional began with an over fences phase, with courses designed by Phil DeVita Jr. that included a combination as well as multiple rollbacks, bending lines and options to add or leave out strides. Following the over fences phase, four groups from Region 1 and three groups from Region 2 were invited back to the ring for the flat phase where they had to demonstrate all three gaits as well as the sitting trot for judges Robert Braswell and Ralph Caristo.
Maya Nayyar proved to be the best of 39 competitors in the Region 2 Championship, despite having to make a last minute change before her over fences phase. After a good warm-up earlier in the day, Nayyar’s mount, Connaro, did not feel completely on form during the warm-up for the Regional.
Maya Nayyar and Fox Z
“Maya gets a tremendous amount of credit today,” said trainer Stacia Madden of Beacon Hill Show Stables. “She was on her lead horse for the Maclay Regionals that we thought was going to be a shoe in. She picked up the canter, made three circles, jumped one jump and they are calling, ‘Maya on deck,’ and she said I need to be fair to my horse and I want to switch. She had that amount of faith in her horses, her preparation, her instructor and ultimately herself to make a good judgment call that was right for the horse and ultimately right for her.”
Although Cannaro was checked by the vet and was OK, only body sore, Nayyar opted to show her USEF Talent Search mount Fox Z. The decision paid off in spades for the 2015 reserve champion, as she laid down a beautiful round and followed it with an excellent flat phase to earn the championship title.
“It feels great,” smiled Nayyar after her win. “It’s definitely a good confidence booster and I am just happy that I am qualified [for Maclay Finals]. I was just focused on executing all of the different lines on the course. Fox Z is a slow horse so he just needs a push ride. He’s very straightforward, has a big stride and a good jump.”
This marks Nayyar’s final junior year, and both she and Madden were happy to be back at Old Salem Farm preparing for the indoor season. “I am a big proponent of all of the Regionals being indoors. I think if you are getting ready for Finals indoors you should be having your Regionals indoors. There have been a lot of discussions about how to make all of the Regionals more similar. This is a nice venue to prepare riders.”
The championship for Region 1 kicked the day off, and after producing a flawless round over fences aboard Coco Pop, Katherine Bundy was called back for the flat phase as the leader, edging out the other 70 competitors. The pair continued to impress, earning the win for the second year in a row, having topped the leaderboard for Region 2 in 2015.
Katherine Bundy and Coco Pop
“It’s a different region but held at the same place,” smiled Bundy. “I’ve always loved Old Salem. The facility is amazing and their indoor is so well kept. Every year it is great to come here.”
Bundy continued, “Coco Pop is a veteran with the Regionals and the Maclay. He’s been to the Finals plenty of times. I just have to be careful with him not to get in his way because he definitely knows the job better than I do. The course was tricky because there were a couple of spots that you had to pick and chose which options were best for your horse. They asked you to start out with a forward pace to the first jump and I always love that question because sometimes I can find myself under pace. It always challenges the rider to get a nice crisp jump at the first fence.”
This marks Bundy’s final year competing as a junior in the equitation, but after having the opportunity to show at multiple Finals she feels prepared for the 2016 ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship Championship Finals.
“It’s so hard to go in there and be watched by so many people,” Bundy admitted. “Every rider has that challenge, but over the years I’ve found that it gets less and less intimidating. I think the fact that this is my last junior year and I’ve done this a couple of times will work to my benefit.”
All of the top entries from Saturday’s Regional Championships have qualified for the ASPCA Alfred B. Maclay Horsemanship Championship Finals at the CP National Horse Show, to be held Nov. 5-6. For more information, visit www.nhs.org
RESULTS: Region 2
1 FOX Z MAYA NAYYAR
2 STALLONE MADISON GOETZMANN
3 KASKADE T.J. O’MARA
4 CHECKER OLIVIA BLOCH
5 CHARISMA TAYLOR ST JACQUES
6 CLASS ACTION LUCY DESLAURIERS
7 ECKEL ENTRY SHANNON ECKEL
9 SAN REMO VDL KATHERINE STRAUSS
9 CASAN KAITLYN WILLIAMS
10 COURAGE CATHERINE APOSTOL
RESULTS: Region 1
1 CO CO POP KATHERINE BUNDY
2 ZAPFIER EVE JOBS
3 BIG STAR COCO FATH
4 POP ROCKS SOPHIA PILLA
5 FINNICK JORDYN ROSE FREEDMAN
6 AMALITA 2 CAROLINA CROSSFIELD
7 ARANDELLI YASMIN RIZVI
8 FUTURE FIDDLER ALEXA SCHWARTZ
9 CAPTAIN JACK KENDRA GIERKINK
10 IN THE KNOW MADELINE SCHAEFER