Thermal, CA (March 20, 2017): The R.W. Mutch Equitation Championship, which requires riders to do the entire class without their trainers, is not an easy class to win. Junior riders competed in the Grand Prix Stadium at HITS Desert Horse Park in Thermal, California, for a blue-ribbon victory in the R.W. Mutch Equitation Championship on Friday as the final weekend dawned for the 2017 Coachella Desert Circuit.
The class is named in honor of the well-known rider, trainer, and judge Ronnie Mutch, who for many years operated Nimrod Farm in Weston, Connecticut. At Nimrod, Ronnie produced a number of Medal and Maclay winning riders and horses, including Ronnie’s own son Bert Mutch, a well-known West Coast rider and trainer.
The Equitation Championship is a two-round class during which riders must walk the course, school their horse, and ride the class, all without any coaching from their trainers. After competing over the first-round course, the top ten returned for a second round to contest a technical jumper-style course.
The rider to beat was Kaitlyn Lovingfoss of Santa Clarita, California. Lovingfoss steared her mount to garner the top second-round score of 170, which combined with the highest score of the first-round, 165, gave them a winning total of 335 to step ahead of the competition on the leaderboard. Lovingfoss is trained by James Hagman of Elvenstar Farm.
Second in the ribbons was Golden, Colorado equestrian Tali Dejong. Her consistent rides in both rounds, with a first-round score of 164, and improving to a 166 in the second round gave her a total of 330 and the red ribbon.
Grady Lyman took home the third-place prize amongst her peers.. Lyman, of Rancho Santa Fe, California, also rode to consistent scores of 155 in both rounds, totaling 310 for the yellow ribbon.
Fourth-place went to Emily Mac Lean from Rolling Hills, California. Mac Lean rode to a first-round score of 142, then made a major comeback in the second round with a score of 154. Their total of 296 solidified their spot in the top five.
The top five rounded out with Emily Raich of Pacific Palisades, California. Raich piloted her mount to a second-round score of 132, combined with a solid first-round score of 160 for a total of 292 and fifth place honors.
Click here for the full results.