Samantha Cohen (New York, NY) piloted her own Carmen to victory in Thursday’s $10,000 USEF U25 Show Jumping National Championship Class 1, slicing the 2007 Dutch Warmblood mare (Whitesnake x Wanado) through the timers in 66.35 seconds to best the field. Abigail McArdle claimed the second place rosette, hailing from Barrington, IL, and riding the Victorio Equine Group LLC entry, Victorio 5, a 2006 Hanoverian stallion (Uccello x Graefin). Rounding out the podium in third, Mattias Tromp (North Salem, NY) and Eyecatcher, a 2009 Dutch Warmblood mare (Harley VDL x Ninewood) owned by Beyaert Farm Inc., cleared the course in 66.89 seconds.
Samantha Cohen and Carmen. Photo by Anne Gittins Photography
In the single-round, faults-converted competition boasting 16 of the division’s best young riders to test the course designed by Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA), Cohen and Carmen were able to save time on every turn to take the win, she explained. “Carmen is awesome at the speed – she’s kind of just kick and turn, and she’s always right there for me. I went late in the order and since it was faults converted, I thought I would go in and just give it my best shot and it worked out well. There were a few turns where I was really kicking on and she really helped me, so I couldn’t be happier.”
Cohen and her “horse of a lifetime” have competed together from the High Juniors to international Grand Prix classes, she elaborated: “I cannot say enough good things about her. It’s just been an amazing year and a half with her. I started with her in the High Juniors and she’s taken me up to the U25. I’ve gotten to do some 2* and 3* with her and she really is the most perfect horse you could ask for at home. She’s a little bit quirky,” Cohen continued. “She looks around the ring and is a bit of a mare at home, but she would never put a foot wrong at the show and has the biggest heart.”
Samantha Cohen and Carmen in their presentation ceremony with Lizzy Chesson, US Equestrian Managing Director of Show Jumping, and ring master Steven Rector. Photo by Anne Gittins Photography.
Cohen’s victory on Thursday kicked off the USEF U25 National Show Jumping Championship week at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC), which will continue through Sunday, December 2. Cohen praised the U25 division for its importance to up-and-coming riders, stating, “The U25 circuit has prepared me really well for international classes. Last season was my first year competing on the U25 circuit and it was definitely a learning experience. It was nice because in Europe the classes are so big and competitive with lots of professionals, so this division has done amazing things for me in terms of bridging the gap from the High Juniors to the bigger FEI Grand Prix competitions,” she elaborated. “I predict throughout the week it’ll keep getting bigger and more technical. I think this division is great and I look forward to doing it and learning from it for a few more years.”