Lily Elliot Wins JC Medal

British Columbia’s Lily Elliot was crowned the JC Medal National Champion on Tuesday afternoon, November 8, 2022 in the Canadian Championship presented by The Usherwood Family. Elliot, 17, was flawless in three phases in a field of 16 combinations.

The group of riders qualified from across the country in each of the British Columbia, Prairie, Ontario and Atlantic regions. Any regions that did not have enough qualified entries, the next qualified rider from the National Rankings was accepted. To be eligible for the National Final, riders had to have competed in a Regional Final.

Elliot and her partner Carvill VA (Casall x Carolus I), a 13-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by Yvonne Van Duin finished in second place during the first jumping phase with a score of 83 and secured a spot as part of the top eight invited back to the flat phase. During the flat, Elliot was able to show off her excellent equitation skills and finished top of the standings, to move on with three other combinations to the final test.

In the final, the Richmond, BC native and her fellow competitors were asked to canter 3 fences, halt, take three steps backwards, trot a final fence, perform two simple changes in front of the judges, and sit trot back to the line. The pair successfully completed the test and earned themselves the first-place ribbon, were presented the trophy by members of the Usherwood family, and received the JC Medal jacket courtesy of the Equestrian Canada Jumping Committee.

Rounding out the top four positions were Esme Chapman (Mono, ON) and Melbourne Z owned by M.L. Equestrian Inc, Catherine Brown (Ottawa, ON) and her own Cohiba, and finishing in fourth place was Avery May Pritchard (Collingwood, ON), and her Nykaenen.

For complete results of the JC Medal National Championship, presented by The Usherwood Family, please click here.

Esme Chapman CET Medal Champion

Following two days and three rounds of tough competition, Esme Chapman, 17, of Mono, ON finished strong to capture the 2022 CET Medal National Final title on Thursday afternoon, Nov. 10. Sponsored by Running Fox, Equestrian Canada and the Hood family, the three-part final kept everyone guessing as the field of 16 combinations took to the ring at the 100th anniversary Royal.

Riding Melbourne Z (Eurocommerce Memphis x Leubus), a 16-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding owned by M.L. Equestrian Inc., Chapman bested a field of up-and-coming athletes who qualified for the Final from four regions across Canada (Atlantic, Ontario, Prairies and British Columbia).

The CET medal class has been part of developing young athletes on their way to represent Canada in international competition. Several notable past winners include Canadian Team members Tiffany Foster, Erynn Ballard, as well Sam Walker, who qualified for international competition showing at the Royal this week and was on hand to congratulate the winners in the ring.

The group came back on Thursday to compete in reverse order of merit from their scores in Wednesday’s flat gymnastics phase. That phase was won by 19-year-old Anya Bereznicki from Calgary, AB, aboard Bugatti, a seven-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Jennifer Tims. Chapman had come in third, with fellow top four jump off riders, Sloane Betker having placed second and Olivia Stephenson rounding out the group.

With the four back again after a competitive jump phase to go head-to-head in the jump off, Chapman knew her position wasn’t guaranteed. But she was happy when the results were called.

“I am still speechless,” Chapman explained. “Standing in line, waiting to be called is so nerve wracking. I had no idea what the order of pinning was going be like. Because it was such a competitive class, and everyone had such a great jump off. I was in complete shock when they called my name and I’m just, I’m still overjoyed.”

The format of the CET medal final was changed in 2021 to attempt to better exemplify what riders will face in their future in the jumper ring. The round is meant to be a test that showcases the skills of grand prix riders. Chapman and her fellow competitors certainly showed that in the day’s class. But the horses did as well.

Chapman was grateful to be paired with Melbourne Z ‘Melon’, who is seasoned in Royal competition but was also a steadfast partner for her throughout the season’s competitions that qualified them to get to the national final. She even watched videos of others who have ridden him in the Coca-Cola Coliseum in the past to better understand how he would be in the ring.

“Melon has been the best partner this entire year and I wouldn’t have been able to do this without him. Today, he felt really good; he seemed calm, he seemed ready. I think he wanted to win maybe more than I did!” Chapman mused.

In addition to her horse, she was quick to thank her coaches Sandy Ballard and Courtney Basco for their support throughout the year – her first-year riding with them, that she says has been a great one full of learning.

“They’ve been amazing and so supportive this entire past year,” Champan said. “I think the best part about them is that they make sure that I’m having a good time and that my confidence is always up. Because I think they know that if you have low self-esteem and a low confidence, then you’re not going be able to go in the ring and ride your best. They make sure that I’m feeling on my A-game.”

That A-game was seen by the judges and the crowd and the result should give her more of that confidence they are instilling in her. But from her words, she needs to refer back to this to know it and believe it.

“I just can’t believe that this has happened and I’m so grateful for everyone that’s been here with me through it all,” Chapman said. “I still can’t believe it’s real.”

Rounding out the final after their individually exceptional performances were Bereznicki and Bugatti from Calgary, AB, in second Betker and Crack from Kelowna, BC in third, and Stephenson and Clearwater S from Calgary, AB in fourth.

Full results here.