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  • Writer's pictureCatie Staszak

Two Championships, One Week: Heritage Farm Boasts Memorable Wins at NAYC and USEF Pony Finals

Alexandra Pielet jumps to Junior Team and Individual Gold at NAYC 2018.

Championships happen at every level, and each builds to the next.

During the week of August 9, there are two such championship occasions. Heritage Farm has arrived in Traverse City, MI and Lexington, KY, respectively, for the North American Youth Championships (NAYC) and the USEF Pony Finals.

The two championships are positioned at near-opposite ends of the ladder for a junior rider. The USEF Pony Finals often serve as a rider's first championship, while NAYC tests riders as they prepare for top level sport. Both hold great importance—and have produced great results—for Heritage.


Location: Traverse City, MI

Heritage Riders:

  • Junior Championship — Hannah Hoch, Skylar Wireman

  • Pre-Junior Championship — Amira Kettaneh

Previous Winners:

  • Daisy Farish — Young Rider Individual Gold, 2018; Junior Team Gold, 2015

  • Alexandra Pielet — Junior Individual & Team Gold, 2018

  • Lillie Keenan — Young Rider Individual & Team Gold, 2013

  • Allison Toffolon — Junior Team Gold, 2013

  • Samantha Schaefer — Junior Individual Gold, 2011

  • Maggie McAlary — Young Rider Team Gold, 2006

  • Natalie Johnson — Young Rider Team Gold, 2006

  • Caitlyn Shiels — Young Rider Team & Individual gold, 2004

Three of the four riders on the 2021 U.S. Show Jumping Olympic Team, including former Heritage Farm student Kent Farrington, began their careers at NAYC, formerly called the North American Junior and Young Rider Championships (NAJYRC). The competition was rebranded in 2019 and now boasts two additional divisions Children (1.25m) and Pre-Junior (1.30m) to the original Junior (1.40m) and Young Rider (1.50m) sections.

Hannah Hoch, Skylar Wireman and Amira Kettaneh enter the event with respective mounts Shariva, Citoki and Campino TH. All three riders recently had championship experience in the Gladstone Cup Equitation Classic, with Wireman riding to the Reserve Championship.

Natalie Jayne and Blueberry Hill. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography.

USEF Pony Finals

Location: Lexington, KY

Heritage Riders:

  • Kayla Bumbolow

  • Tasia Bumbolow

  • Erin Morera

  • Mimi Maddock

  • Emi Richard

Previous Winners:

  • USEF Pony Medal

    • Caroline Passarelli — 2016

    • Madison Goetzmann — 2011

    • Isabelle Caccamise — 2010

    • Annie Davidson — 2005

    • Maggie McAlary — 2000

  • Grand Champion Pony Hunter

    • Blueberry Hill (Natalie Jayne) — 2014

    • Sassafrass Creek (Daisy Farish) — 2013

    • Hi Lite (Madeline Schaefer) — 2012

    • Neverland (Lillie Keenan) — 2008

    • Enchanted Forest (Lillie Keenan) — 2007

Patricia Griffith, Hi Lite and a young Madeline Schaefer

Heritage has a decorated history at USEF Pony Finals, where Patricia Griffith has won the Emerson Burr Perpetual Trophy as the trainer of the Overall Grand Champion Pony a remarkable five times.

Both Lillie Keenan and Daisy Farish went on to earn individual gold medals at NAYC following their triumphs at Pony Finals, and they now are successful young professionals in the sport.

"It's a big week," Dignelli said. "Heritage Farm’s program is developed and geared toward achieving championship goals and beyond from a very early age. It's an accomplishment for our riders just to get to this point, and I'm excited for everyone on our team."

Lillie Keenan (above) and Daisy Farish (below) share their NAYC victories.


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