Alex Alston tops the leaderboard after day one of 2022 Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search East
Gladstone, New Jersey- Top show jumping athletes from across the country compete this weekend at the USET Foundation headquarters for the 2022 Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals – East. A total of 53 horse-athlete pairs completed the first of three phases today at the historic site.
Alexander Alston (Gahanna, Ohio) had the top score in the flatwork phase, a 92.5, riding Ferry Van Den Hoogeweg, a 2010 KWPN gelding owned by Plain Bay Sales. Taylor Madden (Wellington, Fla.) on his own 2009 Anglo-European gelding, Mac One III, placed second with a score of 90.0. Third place went to Dominic Gibbs (Colorado Springs, Colorado) on Catherine Wheeler’s Iron Man JP, a 2013 KWPN gelding, and Luke Jensen (Denton, Texas) with the 2009 Belgian Warmblood gelding of Missy Clark, Jamaica, both on a score of 87.0
Competitors were evaluated in a unique format for the flat work phase in which each suit completed an individual test consisting of various basic dressage movements such as step extensions, leg returns and shoulders and hips. Judge Alex Jayne explained that they chose to run the flat phase this way to assess each entry as fairly as possible.
“We felt with such a strong group – and I think it’s a very strong group – it was a fairer test to see everyone on an individual basis. The test itself is designed to show how you ride your horse. This is a set of chained questions and we judge the questions themselves. It’s not so much a dressage test; it’s advanced flat moves that should prepare your horse to tackle the gymnastics and show jumping phases in the coming days.
Phase II, which will take place on Saturday, is the gymnastics phase, and Sunday will include the jumping phase and the four finals. Judge Michael Morrissey said each phase of the final built on previous ones, culminating in Sunday’s jumping phases.
“On Sunday you’ll see a mix of some of the biggest tracks from last year around the world,” Morrissey said. “For gymnastics, it’s about preparing your horses to be at their best on Sunday. Alex and I work together on creating a gym that we both really love and work on to improve our horses for the next day.
Among the awards presented on Sunday will be the Hollow Brook Wealth Management Sportsmanship Award, which is selected by stewards from nominations made by competitors, families and coaches. Applications are accepted until 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 8. Click here to submit an application.
Competition continues Saturday starting at 10 a.m. ET. Watch live on the USEF Network.
USEF International High Performance Programs and USEF High Performance Pathway Programs are generously supported by the USET Foundation, USEF’s philanthropic partner. Support for the High Performance Program is also provided by USOPC and USEF sponsors and members.