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
Junior Championship — Hannah Hoch, Skylar Wireman
Pre-Junior Championship — Amira Kettaneh
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
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.