Thirty junior and amateur equitation riders participated in the 2018 CPHA Foundation West Coast Equestrians (WCE) Medal Finals on Friday and Saturday of the Las Vegas National.
Augusta Iwasaki and Vanderpump. Photo by Andrew Ryback
Friday afternoon’s first round course with inside turns and bending lines in a power and speed format demanded a precise and forward ride. Notably the top ten all scored 81 or above. Junior rider Augusta Iwasaki topped the field with an 86.5. Patty Gill sat in the second place with a score of 86.0. And rounding out the top three was Emily Williams with an 84.75.
On Saturday afternoon, riders returned for the second round of competition in a speed format, and the top 10 scoring riders from the two rounds moved on to the third and final round. The second course included a triple combination and opportunities for tidy inside turns with a time allowed of 64 seconds. Williams, who was the top score in Round Two with an 85, had a total score of 169.75 and the lead after the two rounds of competition. Iwasaki sat in second place just 1.5 points behind, and Gill moved into third with 2.75 points separating her from Williams.
The Top 10 riders from Round 1. Photo by Andrew Ryback
After sitting separately in the previous rounds, in Round Three, the judges Chance Arakelian and Diane Carney, watched and scored the top ten competitors as a pair. The final test was to execute a speed track designed by Anthony D’Ambrosio. Once again the final scores caused a shift in the ranks of the top three riders. Iwasaki came out on top, with an overall score of 251.25, followed by Gill in second with a 249 total and Williams in third with a final score of 245.75.
Leading a victory gallop after several rounds of a championship is not new to Iwasaki, who handles the stress of showing under pressure with aplomb. Calm, cool and collected, the young rider brought home championships from a fall show season on the East Coast and has also been successful in the 1.20m jumper dvision. Her equitation mount, Vanderpump, goes in the hunter ring and Derby classes. She’s ridden him for about a year and a half, and this is the pair’s second medal final win.
Augusta Iwasaki with Jamie Taylor, Lexie Looker, Paul Bennett and Dawn Miller. Photo by Andrew Ryback.
The champion took home a bouquet of flowers, a gift certificate for a new pair of DeNiro Salento Riding Boots provided by Outdoor Outfitters and an Ogilvy saddle pad. Blenheim EquiSports also awarded Iwasaki a $1,500 gift certificate from English Riding Supply as well as $1,500 in horse show credit. Iwasaki’s teammate, Vanderpump, cantered away with a cooler, sash, and a carnation wreath.
The top six placing riders each earned a pair of Roekl gloves, and the top ten finishers earned prizes, including a cooler, flowers, a medal, a CPHA bag, and saddle pads.