What's Happenin'

A Sidelines blog

Diary of a Podium Hopeful: Introductions and USHJA Regional Children’s Jumper Championships

August 20, 2013 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

by Sophie St. Clair

I’m sure, you’ve heard of the U.S. Pony Jumper Finals, North American Junior and Young Rider Championships and the prestigious Prix des States. Now, in 2013 the USHJA introduces a new show jumping championship to add to the list: The Children’s and Adult Amateur Jumper Regional Championships. Four competitions will be held North, South, East and West and will combine different zones from the geographic regions.

The format consists of a Team component modeled off of a Nations Cup format and an individual component. Eligibility requires riders to apply for the championship and earn points toward their ranking. The top ranked riders will be invited depending on the number of teams each state is allowed to bring. In most cases each state will bring only one team of four plus an alternate. But in some states there are so many riders that the rules allow for more than one team. In California this year there are approximately 400 riders competing in the Children’s Jumper Division which allows California to bring 3 teams.

Informational flyer for the USHJA Children's and Adult Regional Jumper Championships.  http://www.ushja.org/programs/jumper/ch_aahome.aspx

Informational flyer for the USHJA Children’s and Adult Regional Jumper Championships.

This brings me to yours truly. Hi. My name is Sophie St. Clair, I’m 14 years old and live in sunny, Southern California. I’m also one of those 400 riders hoping for a spot on the competing California teams.  Currently, I am placed third on the USHJA California standings and sixth in Zone 10 for the Children’s Jumper-High Division on my part-time teacher and full-time best friend, Sjapoo.  (Pronounced Sha-PO)

I was born into a third generation of horse lovers but did not fully realize my passion for my now favorite four legged beasts until age seven. A myriad of uninspired ballet lessons and lackluster karate chops led me to this realization. However, as is the start of many a horsey tale, it only took one ride around the paddock on my grandmother’s old mare to be hooked. The next couple months were a flurry of local barn visits and equestrian related Google searches. Eventually, my parents settled on sending me for lessons in a sleepy little riding school by the name of San Pascual Stables.

Sophie St. Clair and her horse Sjapoo sharing a sweet moment.

Sophie St. Clair and her horse Sjapoo sharing a sweet moment.

Now, seven years, four horses, three-hundred-thirty-two ribbons and nearing a hundred dumps in the dirt later, I have come to a point where I could be in real contention for a regional title! Follow me here as I guest blog for Sidelines News to document my journey to the Children’s Jumper Western Regional Championship in Sacramento, CA and give you a glimpse at what happens behind the scenes. With my partner in crime Sjapoo and a pinch of luck, I’ll make it to the podium.

For more information on the Regional Jumper Championships please visit the USHJA web site.


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