The win in Sunday’s Taylor Harris Insurance Services (THIS) National Children’s Medal Finals went to Avery Glynn of Petaluma, CA.
The top 40 THIS National Children’s Medal competitors from across the country qualified to compete in the final at Capital Challenge, and the top 10 from Sunday’s first round then qualified to come back for the second round.
At the conclusion of the first round Glynn sat in second place with a score of 87.75 behind Katalina Rickard of Sherman Oaks, CA, who carried a score of 88.00. Sitting in third going into the second round was Amber Ayyad of Rancho Santa Fe, CA, on a score of 86.53.
“I was really nervous because I knew I wasn’t on top, but I was in a good place,” said Glynn, 12. “A lot of my friends were in that class, and I’d seen a lot of people be good at the beginning. There were a few inside turns, and I decided to take a few of them. It was a hard decision whether we wanted to or not, but I did what was right for me and my horse and was happy with my decision.”
Glynn had good reason to be happy with how her round played out, as an average score for the round shot her to the top of the leaderboard. When Rickard found a bad distance to the second to last fence on course, the top two came down to Glynn on a score of 175.75 and Ayyad on a score of 174.86. With less than two points separating the top riders, the judges called for additional testing.
Glynn and Ayyad both executed the test well, which incorporated a hand-gallop out of the line-up to an oxer, a trot fence, a halt, and a counter canter to vertical before picking up the sitting trot back into the line-up. While Ayyad earned the slightly higher test score, an 86.33 average, it was not enough to move her ahead of Glynn who scored an 86 on the test to secure the victory.
“It feels amazing to have just won the THIS National Children’s Medal Finals!” said Glynn, who took the win aboard Cocon 4, a nine-year-old Oldenburg mare owned by Glynn’s father, Ned Glynn. “I was so happy with my horse. This is her first time at Indoors ever. We imported her as a jumper. She’s just starting her eq career, and I was just so proud of her. She acted amazing tonight. I was just so excited, and it was amazing.
“We actually imported her as a grand prix horse for my dad,” continued Avery. “I started riding her, and she ended up being quieter than a normal jumper would be. I showed her in some of the small jumpers, and I really liked her, so we slowly started turning her into my eq horse!”
Thanks to a special scholarship, Avery was able to bring Cocon 4 with her to Capital Challenge from California, marking the first time Avery was able to bring her own horse to the Maryland horse show in her three years competing there.
“At Maclay Regionals in Region Eight, they give out this scholarship that’s called the Shelby Drazan Memorial Award, and I was lucky enough to receive it,” said Avery, who trains with her parents, Hope and Ned Glynn out of Sonoma Valley Stables, and as well as recently riding with Elvenstar Farm and trainer Jim Hagman. “It really helped a lot. I’m just so grateful to have gotten it because we were probably not going to be able to bring my own horse here if I hadn’t gotten it.”
“Capital Challenge is one of my favorite shows,” concluded Glynn. “It’s just so special because it really brings the top horses and riders out of the whole country, and it’s just such a special experience to be able to compete with people that I don’t always compete with that are sometimes much better than me. It really challenges me.”