Brianna Murray and Ricochet Lead Purple Team to $5,000 USHJA Hunter Team Challenge Central Championship
Wayne, Ill. – July 24, 2022 – Hunter riders stood atop the podium in the Grand Prix Ring at Lamplight Equestrian Center as the $5,000 USHJA Hunter Team Challenge - Central came to a close on Sunday. Generally an individual sport, this unique hunter event offers a team experience for riders competing in the Children’s Pony Hunters, Low Child/Adult Hunters and Children’s/Adult Hunter divisions. After two days and four rounds of competition, Brianna Murray, Rachel Lubben, and Abigail Rigert earned the gold medal for the Purple Team.
“I think it’s an amazing program because it’s an entry-level final,” said USHJA Hunter Team Challenge Liaison Janet Sassmannshausen. “You don’t have to qualify – you just come and sign up. It builds team spirit, you meet new people, and everyone has a blast. It’s just a fun event and we need more like it!”
USHJA Hunter Team Challenge - Central. Photo by: Alison Hartwell
The competition got underway on Saturday as riders completed the over fences classes of their divisions, with scores counting towards the first and second rounds of the Hunter Team Challenge. On Sunday morning, they had the opportunity to compete in the Grand Prix Ring, representing their team in the scored under saddle phase and returning for the final over fences phase The final round was the most important, as the leading score from each team would be doubled towards the final score.
The highest score of the day was earned by to an 87, which brought the Purple Team’s total to 862. “I was very happy with my score,” expressed Murray. “This is a new ring [for me], so I was a little nervous, but it was really fun.”
Brianna Murray and Ricochet. Photo by: Alison Hartwell
Murray was joined on the podium by her teammates Rachel Lubben, who showed Dagon, and Abigail Rigert, who was aboard Another Day In Paradise. Murray enjoyed the team camaraderie saying, “I really liked it. Everyone was really nice and supportive. It was a good experience, and the team spirit made it a lot better. This is my first time [in the Hunter Team Challenge], and I had a lot of fun, so I would definitely do it again.”
Purple Team: Abigail Rigert and Another Day In Paradise, Rachel Lubben and Dagon, and Brianna Murray and Ricochet. Photo by: Alison Hartwell
Rigert competed in the Hunter Team Challenge in 2021 and was thrilled to have the opportunity to compete on a team once again. “It was so fun, I really liked that it was a two-day event and not just one day,” she noted. “I had so much fun, it was a great experience. I think competing as a team really brings you together. I didn’t know anyone on my team, and I do now, so meeting new people and watching your friends was fun.”
Lubben also enjoyed the experience and concluded, “I was a little nervous, but I had a lot of fun and loved it! I would definitely do it again!”
The silver medal went to the Yellow team, which included Maeve Kayer with Afterthought, Delaney Hoffman with Bravo, Olivia Hutsler with The Game is On, and Sienne Halama with King Casanova. The Pink team earned the bronze medal with riders Mila Wolf with Rocabillie, Amelia Vandevender with MTM Lollipop, Annika Nyberg with Commander B, and Joshua Kobylinski with Corradino.
HITS will host the 2022 $5,000 USHJA Hunter Team Challenge - East in two weeks during the New York Horse & Pony Show (HITS VI) at HITS Saugerties. To learn more about the Hunter Team Challenge click here, and to enter this year’s competition online click here or download the entry blank for HITS Saugerties.