June 29, 2014–Sunday at Showplace Productions’ Spring Spectacular is always a day of fabulous award presentations, classics and hospitality everywhere on the grounds including mimosa’s in the office as you check out, appetizers in the riders’ lounge and of course, great food in the VIP section during the $40,000 Weathertech Grand Prix.
An added highlight to the show this year was the Showplace Equitation Championship sponsored by Wisconsin Equine Clinic. At 8:00am, equitation riders were on their own at the LUXMAX USA Grand Prix ring as they walked for round 1 and schooled without the assistance of trainers. Nine riders qualified for the Championship during the three weeks of Spring Spectacular by earning a top three ribbon in the major equitation classes.
The course was complimented several times by the trainers watching from a distance. It required an accurate plan and good decision making skills. An oxer off of a short turn at the end of the ring was definitely a leg ride as jump one and a bending seven or eight strides to the second jump, seemed to be the toughest part of the course for most of the first round.
Riders were scored by Judge Sarah Booker in the schooling ring and given a score of one to ten based on correct jump setting and warm up skills.
Judges Alex Jayne and Mike Rosser then scored each of the two rounds and worked off the top four.
After round one scores, Caitlin Boyle of Gilberts, IL, was leading with a score of 85 plus 9 for schooling and a total of 94. Rebecca Kozma, Streamwood, IL followed in second with an 82 plus 8 for schooling and a total of 90. Elizabeth Adelson of Tulsa, OK was in third with an 80 plus 7, giving her an 87 for a first round score.
Riders returned in reverse order for round 2. The shortened course included different bending lines and the Wisconsin Equine Wall away from the in gate, emphasizing shape of the horse and smooth turns.
Caitlin Boyle lead round 2 as well with a 91 for a two round total of 185 followed by Elizabeth Adelson with 89 and a total of 176, Rebecca Kozma with a 79 and a 169 total, and Oliva Lawton earned an 83 for a 163 total, rounding out the top four.
The additional test of the top four included some turns, a hand gallop, a trot jump and a counter canter to a two stride combination.
When the judges’ cards were handed in, it was Caitlin Boyle on top. Boyle also received the Monica Fowler Memorial Equitation Perpetual Trophy, donated by Greg Franklin and Canterbury Farm for the leading equitation rider throughout the Spring Spectacular series.
Boyle began her equestrian journey inspired by her father’s passion for the sport. She built a solid foundation in the fundamentals of horsemanship at Perfecta Farm under the tutelage of Kim Gardiner. She was introduced to the national stage last winter when she made her debut at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida with Freddie and Jodi Vazquez of Messenger Hill Farm and professional trainer Katie Kappler. Caitlin finished 2013 with very respectable finishes at the Indoor Finals, placing 11th in the USEF Medal Finals, 4th in the WIHS Equitation Finals, and 11th in the ASPCA Maclay Finals.
Gaining momentum and gaining notice during the 2014 Winter Equestrian Festival, Caitlin was a rider to watch when she made what was only her second ever appearance at the Devon Horse Show. Her reputation was firmly established though on day one, when she received the Honey Craven Memorial Trophy for the best round and score of the day. On day two, she won the Overall R.W. “Ronnie” Mutch Challege Trophy and was named the Best Junior Equitation Rider of Devon 2014.
Asked about her Devon finish Boyle said, “I’m very pleased with our Devon success, this is the first of the big four equitation finals that I’m going to be competitive at. This is my last Junior year and I want to have a strong finish at all the finals. I’ll be graduating early from High School so that I can continue to train and develop my skills – I’ll be working with Andre Dignelli and I want to take away the skills needed to go into the equestrian business myself.”
Asked about her plans after Finals, “I plan to attend college for four years and then it’s horses for the rest of my life,” Boyle replied with a smile.