New Adequan®/USEF Junior Hunter National Champions Crowned in California
San Juan Capistrano, CA – Two days of exciting hunter competition came to a close on Tuesday, July 25, at the 2023 Adequan®/USEF Junior Hunter National Championship – West (JHNC). Eight section champions and two grand champions were named across the 3’3” and 3’6” heights. A pair of mares took the grand champion titles, repeating a pattern of mare domination from the East edition of JHNC earlier this summer.
The 3’6” sections kicked off Tuesday’s action with their handy rounds. After earning formidable scores of 90 in all three phases, Eleanor Rudnicki (Conroe, Texas) and Tatum Equestrian, LLC’s 2015 Holsteiner mare, Evermore, secured the section championship in the Small Junior Hunter 16-17 and overall grand championship for the 3’6” height.
“She’s such a great jumper, so I think that was a highlight, just letting her show off,” said Rudnicki, who catch rode Evermore at the championship. “She just moved up to the 3’6” with her owner, Violet Tatum, so she hasn’t done much this year, but she’s always looking to be good and do her best.”
Fresh off a grand champion win at JHNC – East, Aedan Mooney (Golden, Colo.) earned another overall championship for the 3’3” height at the West Coast championship, this time riding Verona, a 2015 Holsteiner mare owned by Marisa Metzger, in the Large Junior Hunter 16-17 section.
“I rode her for the first time ever on Friday—she’s a catch ride. I got asked to ride her at JHNC – East a few weeks ago,” said Mooney. “She’s super sweet, she’s really cuddly in the barn, and she gives it her all every time, so she’s a very good partner.
“I think it’s a super fun show,” Mooney said of JHNC. “It’s really the best of the best comes and you really have to show off and come to ride as well as you can. I think they do a nice job presenting the winners and doing awards presentations. The venues for both East and West are very nice, and I’ve had a lot of fun.”
Both Evermore and Verona also won the Small Collection Trophy, which is awarded to the top-scoring mare in each of the two heights. The award was established by Elizabeth Reilly in honor of Small Collection, Chris Iwasaki and Elizabeth Reilly’s mare who had a standout career in open and junior hunter divisions across the country.