Harrisburg, Pa.--Oct. 16
Schaefer Raposa was supposed to ride fourth to last in the second round, but her horse, Charlie Z, pulled a shoe in the schooling area. Maybe it was that little bit of extra time or maybe it was just written in the stars, but Raposa came in as the last of the riders in the second round and put in a flawless trip, and judges Chrystine Tauber and Jimmy Torano said it was the coolness with which Raposa entered the ring and the precision she showcased that put her right on top.
Of the top 25 called back to the second round, Raposa, Katie Tyler, Brittany Hurst and Allison Fithian were selected to ride a third test to determine the top four placings.
From the second course, riders were tested in this manner: enter from the out gate, canter to fence 9, canter fence 4, counter canter fence 6, canter fence 10, trot fence 11, canter 12 A and B, exit out gate.
Raposa, 17, has ridden with Andre Dignelli and his team at Heritage Farm since she was competing in the pony hunters. This is her fifth USEF Medal Finals. She attributes her success to both her trainer and her horse.
"He's my dad's favorite horse," said Schaefer of her father David Raposa, who shows jumpers. "And when he heard I had the chance to ride him, he said, 'you better not let me down!' He's just a great horse. He's got it all. I knew going in every round that if there was going to be a mistake made, it would be me who made it, not him."
Second placed rider Brittany Hurst also rode a horse of Dignelli's. She normally rides with Emil Spadone, but in preparation for the USEF Medal Final (and because she was riding his horse), she trained several times a week with Dignelli. Hurst said that the training, lessons and preparation in the weeks leading up to today were essential in her and Raposa's top placings. Dignelli trained 20 riders who competed today.
Day long leader, and another Heritage student, Samantha Schaefer, who claimed the top standby spot right after she rode her preliminary round course--78th of 233 riders--dropped out of the top 10 after she and her horse Asten took down much of fence 8 during the second round.
You can click on the green Pessoa/USEF Medal Finals Blog button on the Chronicle's 2011 Pennsylvania National coverage to read a ride-by-ride recap of the entire day's action.
Top Ten Placings
1. Schaefer Raposa
2. Brittany Hurst
3. Allison Fithian
4. Katie Tyler
5. Abigail McArdle
6. Kristen Mohr
7. Alexa Anthony
8. Morgan Geller
9. Genevieve Zock
10. Hasbrouck Donovan