Emma Pacyna & Maverick Helmer Capture Equitation Blues at Upperville

Junior competition got underway on Saturday at the Upperville Colt & Horse Show (UCHS), presented by St. Bride’s Farm, where equitation riders vied for valuable qualifying points towards this year’s coveted finals in the fall. In the GW & Wade Jumper Ring II, Emma Pacyna and Maverick Helmer impressed the judges over fences and on the flat to claim top honors in the Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search 2* and ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship, respectively.

Emma Pacyna and Casalino. Photo by Phelps Sports

Seventeen-year-old Pacyna from Simi Valley, California, made her first trip to Upperville, Virginia, well worth her while as she and Georgy Maskrey-Segesman’s Casalino, a Holsteiner gelding, navigated the Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search 2* jumper-style course, designed by Colombia’s Javier Medrano, within the time-allowed and in impeccable form to earn the blue ribbon on Saturday.

“The course was a good course,” Pacyna shared. “It was very on the flow. My plan was just to go in and be efficient. My horse was great. He is perfect for that job — he’s an amazing horse. I’ve been riding him for about five months. We’re planning on doing indoors together.”

The pair also won the Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) Equitation Classic (Jumper Phase) on Friday, receiving the high score of the class, an 85, out of 33 entries. Pacyna, who trains with Karen Healey, Savannah Jenkins and Maskrey-Segesman, picked up another win on Friday with Cassou, also owned by Maskrey-Segesman, in the VHSA/EMO Insurance Agency Hunter Seat Medal class.

Maverick Helmer and Resonate. Photo by Al Cook Productions

The ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship class, judged by Mike Lowry, kicked off equitation competition for the day and saw 29 combinations turn out to compete, but ultimately it was Maverick Helmer of Roanoke, Virginia, and Resonate, owned by West Hill, who took home the victory. The 17-year-old, who trains with Stacia Madden at Beacon Hill Show Stables, only just got the ride on Resonate two days ago to compete with at UCHS and the duo proved to be a winning match after their flawless performances on Saturday.

“This horse is new to me,” Helmer said of Resonate, “so I’m just trying to figure him out piece by piece. I’ve only been riding him for two days! My trainer, Stacia Madden, was generous enough to give me the opportunity to ride him in a few classes and I decided to take the challenge. It’s been a very fun journey! Piece by piece it’s starting to come together. I’m just riding him Upperville. I’ve been coming to this show for a number of years since I was young. I love the beauty and the natural aspect of it. This is my home state so it’s like my old stomping grounds, which is fun.”

Another top junior equitation exhibitor at UCHS this week was Elli Yeager, who recently won the prestigious R.W. “Ronnie” Mutch Equitation Championship high-point award at the Devon Horse Show just two weeks ago, and her own Alant. The pair secured the Dover Saddlery/USEF Hunter Seat Medal class on Friday and the WIHS Equitation Classic (Hunter Phase) on Saturday.

The overall WIHS Equitation winner on Saturday was Ava Stearns on Lauren Hough’s Mac One III, who placed second in both the jumper and hunter phases behind Pacyna and Yeager.


Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search 2*:
Place / Horse / Rider
1. Casalino / Emma Pacyna
2. Cris Van De Helle / McKayla Langmeier
3. Heroy Von De Hei / Mimi Gochman
4. Trumpet / Sophie Gochman
5. Wassini / Blair Spencer
6. Campreoll / Ava Ellis
7. Mac One III / Ava Stearns
8. C’est La Vie / Sophie Transou

ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship:
Place / Horse / Rider
1. Resonate / Maverick Helmer
2. Kaskade / Mimi Gochman
3. Ganoso / Tessa P. Brown
4. Jarinka / Farah Rizvi
5. Martel VDL / Alice Kass
6. Cassou / Emma Pacyna
7. Quinn / Grace Saad
8. Acido 7 / James Faloni