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Alaska Holds USHJA Zone 12 Team Hunter and Jumper Championships


Winners of the $2,000 USHJA Zone 12 Individual Jumper Championships from left, gold medal winner Taylor Weeks and Dublin, silver: Amalia Raemy and Anthem and the bronze: Jenny Rousey-Dick and Prinz Z.

Palmer, AK – July 31, 2017 –The USHJA Zone 12 Finals were held during the 2017 Summer Festival, July 20-23, 2017, at the France Equestrian Center/Alaska State Fairgrounds in Palmer, Alaska, about one hour northeast of Anchorage, featuring gorgeous mountain views. Show manager Kerri Geppert of Chigiak, Alaska, had industry leaders Diane Carney of Algonquin, Illinois, as judge and Danny Foster, Milton, Ontario, as course designer for the weekend, which included the $3,000 USHJA Zone 12 Team Hunter and Jumper Championships. 

 
Zone 12 committee member Dana Eaton, judge Diane Carney and course designer Danny Foster. 

Carney, who was one of the judges for the 2016 ASPCA Maclay Medal Finals said, “It’s a pleasure to support Zone 12 in their effort to create a championship and up the level of horsemanship in the area.”
 
“We have good riders and some nice horses and we want those riders to go anywhere in the U.S. to show and move into the mainstream fairly seamlessly,” said Geppert regarding the USHJA Zone 12 efforts.
 
Yet the circuit in this remote zone is sometimes difficult to keep flourishing for several reasons such as economy, location and market. Alaska’s main business is oil so when the oil industry takes a hit, so do luxury items such as horses. The number of trainers has been about the same over the years, many of the trainers rode in Alaska as kids and stay in the business.  Riders go off to college and trainers start a new young batch of riders. The riding experience is the small community since its location makes it difficult for outsiders to come to compete and vice versa.
 
In addition, rodeo is more popular than hunter jumpers in the area. Sponsors of the rodeo trickle into the hunter jumpers to give support, such as Lithia Dodge, who supplied vehicles for the officials.
 
Zone 12 committee member Geppert, came to Alaska in 1982 when her husband came for his work with the Army Corps of Engineers. Geppert rode when she was younger and came back to it when her daughter got interested in it. Geppert got involved in the Alaska Horse Show Association and managed shows for about 5 years, then retired and got talked into running the Zone horse show, which she has done for two years now. Geppert and trainer Dana Eaton, are both involved in USHJA Zone 12 and are trying to up the standards of the remote zone.
 
During the winter, riders ride when it’s below zero and ship into places with indoor arenas or board at these facilities. There are no shows during the winter except for a few schooling shows and some clinics in early spring. There are a few riders who lease a horse in California to show on occasion during the winter months but taking their own horses is far and difficult, giving Alaska a short show season.
 
Despite the difficulties, Geppert and Eaton have worked with the USHJA to come up with ideas that work for their special circumstances to get riders familiar with what the horse show world in the lower 48 states has to offer and to strive to be at that level.  They came up with the $10,000 Zone 12 Team Hunter and Jumper Championships with some modifications, offering team and individual medals.

 
Hunter Team 2 gold medal winners with Kerri Geppert Chef d' Equipe.

Three teams participated in the Hunter Team Championship:
Team 1 – Jaimie Thurman Chef d’Equipe
         Rachel Rosenberg                Cheetah
         Shannon Bodalay                 Isabelle
         Lauren Sparga                     Azette
 
Team 2 – Kerri Geppert Chef d’Equipe
         Ellen Haghighi                       Ballynahowen Eamon
         Hannah Haghighi                  Beam Me Up
         Taylor Weeks                        Dublin
 
Team 3 – Kathy Haghighi Chef d’Equipe
         Jaden Houston                      Calido Z
         McKenzie Roddy                   Galen
         Mary Dallas Allen                  Viva La Vida
 Alternate : Amalia Raemy             Anthem

 
Hunter Team 1 silver medal winners.

The Gold Medal went to Team 2, scoring 596 points in the three phases which included the under saddle, the classic round and the handy round. Team 3 took the Silver Medal with 572 points.
 

Jumper Team 2 gold medal winners.

Three teams were also organized for the Team Jumper Championship.
 
Team 1 – Kathy Haghighi Chef d’Equipe
         Barbara McDonough            Juno
         Taylor Weeks                       Dublin
         Dana Eaton                          Galen
Team 2 – Kerri Geppert Chef d’Equipe
         Blaine Senden                      Max-A-Million
         Amalia Raemy                       Anthem
         Jenny Rousey-Dick               Prinz Z
Team 3 – Jaimie Thurman Chef d’Equipe
         Ellen Haghighi                       Ballynahowen Eamon
         Jaden Houston                      Calido Z
         Mary Dallas Allen                  Viva La Vida
Alternate: Hannah Haghighi/Beam Me Up

 
Jumper Team 1 silver medal winners. 

Team 2 jumped fault free in both Nations Cup format rounds earning the gold medal. Team 1 took the silver medal with two time faults carried over from round 1.
 
In the Individual Hunter Championships it was Taylor Weeks and Dublin who scored a 76 in the under saddle, 82 in the classic round and 80 in the handy round for a 238 total for the gold medal.

 
Individual Hunter medalists Taylor Weeks and Dublin earn gold, Hannah Haghighi and Beam Me Up win silver and McKenzie Roddy and Galen win bronze.

Silver went to Hannah Haghighi and Beam Me Up with a 211 total and Bronze went to McKenzie Roddy and Galen just one point behind, scoring 210, including the highest score in the under saddle of 80.

 
Taylor Weeks and Dublin in the victory gallop.

Taylor Weeks and Dublin also won the Individual Jumper Championships, the silver medal went to Amalia Raemy and Anthem and the bronze medal went to Jenny Rousey-Dick and Prinz Z.
 
“I thought the event went really well,” said Eaton. “The riders had a chance to compete as teams and participate in the zone finals. The experience helped to show them what the USHJA has to offer. The Zone 12 committee worked to make this possible, but we couldn't have done it without the USHJA's support.”
 
For more information on Zone 12, contact Dana Eaton at  eatonequest@gmail.com.
   

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