HITS Chicago Hosts Top Low Child/Adult Equestrian Athletes for 2023 USHJA Zone 5 and 6 Jumper Championships

Wayne, Ill.— July 14 , 2023 — The top 1.00/1.05m jumper Riders from Zones 5 and 6 have gathered at HITS Chicago  to showcase their skills throughout three days of exciting competition during  the 2023 USHJA Zone Jumper Team and Individual Championships. With nail-biting jump-offs for team medals on Friday, riders had to stay focused and jump clear to earn the coveted gold medal. Team and Individual competition was guided by Chef d’Equipes Liz Atkins for the teams Two-cans, Jaguars, and the Pink Fairy Armadillos and Sarah Vogus from Ravens and Penguins Zone, who were thrilled with the performances of the riders.

Child/Adult Jumper Team Medalist

“I am so excited to be a part of the inaugural championships for the Low Child and Adult division.  This is such an incredible opportunity for the up and coming riders of our sport to experience a championship,” explained Vogus. “The nerves at the ring were palpable and what a great opportunity for this level to practice riding under that pressure. The team element brings riders from different walks of life together and really helps make the event fun!”

Atkins, the other Chef d’Equipe for the championship added, “These championships are the perfect opportunity for riders at a lower level to get a team experience, that you don’t see until you get to the FEI level. It’s a high pressure situation that sets the table for if and when riders wish to compete at Young Riders or higher levels. I think it’s fantastic that USHJA has started these championships at these lower levels! It will only create stronger riders for the future of our sport.”

Tessa Harper and Expensive Ice. Photo by Alison Hartwell.

The Two-cans from Zone 5 clinched the gold medal thanks to impressive performances by all three teammates, which included Jessica Pressler, Erica Levinsky, and Tessa Harper. “I've watched these Championships in the past and so when they started a championship in the Low Child/Adult division I knew I really wanted to qualify and participate but I had no expectations,” expressed Levinsky. 

The Two-cans were the only team to finish on 0-faults during the two days of competition. On Thursday, Tessa Harper and Expensive Ice took the win in the class with a double clear and a quick jump-off time of 35.381 seconds. 

Erica Levinsky and Cantares. Photo by Alison Hartwell.

“I got Expensive Ice about six months ago and he's just been so perfect. He's everything I wanted, he's always so sweet and loves his job,” explained Harper. 

Erica Levinsky and her partner of four years, Cantares, also garnered a double clear in Thursday's round and placed seventh with a jump-off time of 44.856 seconds. Fellow teammates Jessica Pressler and Diamante Diaro ended up finishing with 12-faults with a jump-off time of 42.652 seconds, but their score was dropped from the overall team total. The second day of competition all three members of the Toucans brought their A-game and were the only team that went double clear, securing their top spot on the podium. Team Jaguars from Zone 6 took the silver medal with a team total of 8 faults and Team Pink Fairy Armadillos from Zone 5 claimed the bronze medal with a team total of 12 faults

Jessica Pressler and Diamante Diaro. Photo by Alison Hartwell.

“I’ve loved experiencing all the upgrades that the new management system has been slowly implementing, everything has been so nice. I've been showing here since I was in short-stirrup. So it's nice to see this beautiful venue being kept up and improved” concluded Pressler.

Saturday will mark the final day of competition for the USHJA 1.0/1.05m Child/Adult Zone Championships and the individual standings will be decided, where the winner will have the opportunity to train at the USHJA MZ Farms Emerging Athletes Program.