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Michelle Krentz – A National Champion

by Susan F. Harris


Michelle Krentz on CH Louisville Lass

USEF Saddle Seat Adult Amateur Medal National Champion


As a highly decorated and accomplished equitation rider during her junior years, Michelle Krentz never won a national title. She came closest in 2002 when she was the Pleasure Equitation Junior Medallion Reserve Champion. That all changed in her first national finals as an adult. Riding CH Louisville Lass, Krentz earned a unanimous decision to become the USEF Saddle Seat Adult Amateur National Champion during the 2007 Lexington Junior League Horse Show. The reserve national champion was last year’s champion, Brooke Jacobs aboard Callaway’s Show Me When.


In 2006, USEF’s Saddle Seat Committee was scrambling up until the eleventh hour to fill the USEF Saddle Seat Adult Amateur Medal National Finals class at the Lexington Junior League Horse Show. The class filled more easily this year. A presidential modification allowing former winners to compete in 2007 also added two riders, including Jacobs, to this year’s field of seven. It is expected that a proposed rule change will make the one-time modification a permanent fixture. The Saddle Seat Committee is also continuing to encourage more shows to offer qualifying classes in order to expand the field even more.


The USEF Saddle Seat Equitation Medal Program began in 1937 as the top level of equitation competition for junior riders. In 2001 the medal for adult amateur riders was added. Qualifying classes are held across the country. Two tests are required of the top four riders in qualifying classes. In the Finals, all riders are required to complete an individual test. Riders are judged 50% on railwork in a group and 50% on individual tests. Judging the 2007 finals were John Whalen, Monroe, NC; Lewis Eckard, Hildebran, NC; and Adam Clauson, Bonnieville, KY.


With seven competitive finalists, it took the combination of assured and consistent railwork and a precise individual workout for Krentz to emerge as the national champion. Not surprisingly, the two top finishers are both alumni of the gold medal-winning 2006 US Saddle Seat World Cup teams - Krentz in Three-Gaited and Jacobs in Five-Gaited.


Although Krentz still owns her longtime teammate, CH Louisville Lass, the horse is leased this year to Emily Scharpf. Krentz qualified for the finals riding a variety of horses including school horses and her own three-gaited park horse, Day’s Grecian Gray. As a first year adult rider, Krentz didn’t really know what to expect. And being only the second time atop Lass since last year’s American Royal added a bit more uncertainty. For these reasons Krentz said that “it was nice to ride in the finals for fun; winning was icing on the cake.”


Mary Krentz, Michelle’s mother, demonstrated the sacrifice that many parents make in order to see their children compete at the highest level. She drove nearly 20 hours roundtrip from Wisconsin just to see Michelle compete. In explaining how much it meant to her, Mrs. Krentz said, “She [Michelle] worked so hard as a junior exhibitor and was always knocking on the door. It’s so gratifying to see her win.”


In third place was Dr. Morgan Wolin, getting the opportunity to ride in her first USEF finals since winning in 2003. Coming in a competitive fourth was Kevin Ingram, one of only two adult riders not to have competed in equitation as a junior exhibitor. Ingram went the extra mile to compete in this year’s finals, given that his usual instructor, Lynda Freseth, was unable to attend the Lexington show. Krentz’s own instructors, Carol and Scott Matton, graciously filled in as Ingram’s coaches.  


Sarah Russell of Salt Lake City, Utah seemed unusually cheery for coming in seventh. Part of it may have had to do with winning the adult country pleasure championship the night before with her also-equitation partner, Haunting. But she also exemplified the spirit of adult equitation when she explained that she felt like a winner simply having the gumption to compete. Still feeling some seldom-used muscles the next night, Russell said she was determined to keep working at it.


Although amateurs compete for the love of the sport and not for monetary gain, these amateurs received several nice prizes for participating in the Finals. The winner received a cast resin sculpture created by Patricia Crane.  Both Champion and Reserve Champion received halters and wool coolers for their horses, and bouquets of roses.  The top three riders were awarded official USEF Medals. 


Following the class, USEF sponsored a luncheon reception for the riders, instructors, families, and friends held at the Red Mile Clubhouse where all participants were further awarded commemorative gifts.  In addition, all trainers were recognized with thank you gifts during the reception.

Carol and Scott Matton and Michelle Krentz

are presented the national championship awards

 by Karen Homer-Brown and Kristin Detwiler of USEF.



Brent Jacobs and Brooke Jacobs are presented

 national reserve championship awards by

Karen Homer-Brown and Kristin Detwiler of USEF.


 All seven finalists:

(l. to r.) Michelle Krentz, Victoria Willock, Anna Hormann,

Brooke Jacobs, Morgan Wolin, Kevin Ingram, Sarah Russell



For information on participating in the USEF Adult Amateur Saddle Seat Medal program or how to host a qualifying class, please contact the Breeds Department at the Federation office by calling (859) 225-6986.


Results of the 2007 USEF Saddle Seat Adult Amateur Medal Finals:

  1. Michelle Krentz, Hartford, WI, riding CH Louisville Lass
  2. Brooke Jacobs, Georgetown, KY, riding Callaway’s Show Me When
  3. Morgan Wolin, Chicago, IL, riding CF Cool Night Out
  4. Kevin Ingram, Cartersville, GA, riding CH Hayden Fox
  5. Anna Hormann, Wilmore, KY, riding Jabez
  6. Victoria Willock, Louisville, KY, riding Romantic Manifesto
  7. Sarah Russell, Salt Lake City, UT, riding Haunting

The Finalists


Michelle Krentz                        Brooke Jacobs




Morgan Wolin                           Kevin Ingram




Anna Hormann                            Victoria Willock


Sarah Russell

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