Hunter Riders Celebrate Camaraderie in $5,000 USHJA Hunter Team Challenge - Central at HITS Chicago
Wayne, Ill. – July 23, 2023 – As the $5,000 USHJA Hunter Team Challenge - Central came to an end on Sunday, hunter riders took their places atop the podium on the Grand Prix Ring at Lamplight Equestrian Center. Although hunter competition is typically a solitary sport, this particular hunter event allows riders competing in the Children's Pony Hunters, Low Child/Adult Hunters, and Children's/Adult Hunter divisions to gain team experience. Brenton Oates, Kendall George, Devan Matuschka, and Mackenzy Guptil secured the Green Team's gold medal after two days and four rounds.
Hunter Team Challenge Medalists
“The Hunter Team Challenge was one of the most fun classes I’ve ever been in!” exclaimed Kendall George after her team’s win. “Yesterday,the team meeting was my first time meeting any of these girls. We instantly clicked and made a group chat with each other to stay in touch. It was a blast being able to work together and cheer each other on.”
Kendal George and Reveren Sargoun
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, an 86, was earned by George, which brought the Green Team’s total to an impressive 917.5. “I've owned Reveren Sargoun for two years now. We did the equitation last year and now I'm showing in the adults before I head off to college,” explained George. “I really enjoyed the courses, I thought it was perfectly technical and inviting. The lines were set well, everything rode smoothly and I found every jump quite well out of the corners.”
Brenton Oakes and Bastian K
George was joined on the podium by her teammates Brenton Oates, who showed Bastian K, Devan Matuschka, who was aboard Aramba Sargoun, and Macenzy Guptil with her mount, Poetic Justice. Guptil enjoyed the team camaraderie saying, “Everything about this class was super fun. I love everyone on my team. They're just so nice and this is a really amazing experience. I’m definitely going to try to do this again every year!”
Brenton Oates, who won the Low Child/Adult Under Saddle this morning was thrilled to have the opportunity to compete in a unique class like the team challenge, “I loved everything about this class! Meeting my teammates, who are so fun and kind, everyone was super inviting and great to be around!” she noted. “Today was probably one of the best courses I've done. I loved the bending lines and the beautiful jumps. I thought the courses over the weekend were just really well thought out and were great for showing off your horse.”
Mackenzy Guptil and Poetic Justice
Matuschka also enjoyed the experience and the show grounds and concluded, “Lamplight is such a beautiful facility and I think everyone here is super nice, staff and competitors, everyone is so welcoming. It's my favorite showgrounds and I truly love it here.”
The silver medal went to the Red team, which included Alison Roper with Vadim, Eva Paskewich with Space Jam VL, Samantha Gruen with Cabaret LS, and Jordan Kuszynski with Boca’s Lucky Charm. The Teal team earned the bronze medal composed of riders Jaclyn Alberti with Q’Cille, Ava Tzioufas with Jetalon, and Ivy Lampert with Cassaway.
As the HITS Chicago Summertime Series comes to a close this week, the venue is looking forward to the Equifest Series that picks up on Wednesday. Next week during Equifest I, HITS Chicago will host special classes such as the $25,000 HITS Grand Prix, the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby and the $50,000 John Deere Grand Prix.