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2015 Missouri Horse Shows Association Junior Saddle Seat Medallion Finals

by Sarah Thomas MHSA Medallion Secretary 

The 2015 St. Louis National Charity Horse Show once again hosted the MHSA Junior Saddle Seat Medallion Finals. The finals were held during the evening session on Wednesday, September 23, 2015. It was a beautiful night, although it was once again unseasonably warm. Seventeen riders qualified throughout the 2015 show season and ten riders made the trip to St. Louis to compete. 

After meeting the qualifications, ten accomplished riders entered the class hoping to win the Scott Haines Memorial Trophy, the Dean Hodge Memorial trophy, the championship cooler, for their horse to wear the coveted tri-color sash, and as champion to ride away with $5000 dollars in scholarship money. 

This would not be an easy task, as riders were asked to first perform rail work and then to perform an individual pattern. The pattern created by the panel of judges this year was difficult. This year’s pattern highlighted a rider’s ability to perform on and off the rail completing tasks like circling, changes of lead, changes of diagonals, and riding without stirrups. The hard work, dedication, and determination of each rider were evident as they performed their pattern. 

As in previous years, the competition this year was tough with several of the Midwest’s top equitation riders showing in the finals. 2015 saw many new faces to the medallion class as well as exhibitors who were in their last year of competition as a youth rider. However, there can only be one champion. The 2015 MHSA Saddle Seat Equitation Medallion Finals winner is Isabella Templeton riding her impressive and beautiful bay gelding Absolutely Got It. Isabella performed her pattern with precision and excellence. Throughout the class she had a tremendous amount of poise and presence. As the winner of the class, she was awarded a $2,500 dollar scholarship to William Woods University a $1,000 dollar scholarship to Stephen’s College, and a $1,500 scholarship from MHSA to the college of her choice. She was joined in center ring by her trainers Mark and Renae Van Zomeren of Timber Hills Farm, Sarah Track of William Woods University, Kelly Hulse of Stephens College, Sarah Thomas MHSA Medallion Secretary, and Margie Torkelson MSHA Treasurer. 

After her class, Isabella was overwhelmed by the opportunity her winnings will provide her with in the future. She has one more year as a junior exhibitor and then she will be making her decision to attend college. Isabella, her mother, DeeDee and her trainers Mark and Renae Van Zomeren all expressed appreciation of the scholarships she won and reflected on the importance of grassroots organizations like MHSA to provide young riders with opportunities to compete on a variety of levels from academy to larger shows like the St. Louis National Charity. Isabella was very appreciative of MHSA and the medallion class and is looking forward to again competing in the Medallion Finals next year. 

This year’s reserve champion was Gabriella Snyder riding My Honor Guard under the direction of Kent Swalla for Glendale Stables. Gabriella won a $500 MHSA scholarship to the college of her choice. 

MHSA would like to thank all of the supporters of the 2015 MHSA Saddle Seat Medallion Finals. This program would not be possible without their support. Thank you to Waddell & Reed, Michael Murphy, Missouri Horse Show Association, William Woods University, Stephens College, Brenda Benner Stables, Fitz the pony, and the St. Louis National Charity Horse Show for hosting the event. Without the generous support of these people and 

organizations this wonderful class and scholarship fund would not be possible. Thank you for supporting our young riders! 

The 2015 Saddle Seat Medallion Finals is complete for this year, but the work for 2016 has already started. Please help support our scholarship fund by donating money to the MHSA Medallion Scholarship. Contact Sarah Thomas for more information on donating to this worthy cause. If you have a dedicated young rider, make sure and nominate them for 2016 finals. More information is available at

Best of luck to all Medallion exhibitors in 2016 and thank you for your support! 


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