The Charles Owen Technical Merit Award exists to encourage safe and appropriate cross-country technique. At events around the country, training level riders are judged against set criteria which includes gallop, preparation, execution of jump, rider position and general impressions. Judges, who must be either Level III or IV ICP certified, USEF Licensed Eventing Officials or USET Senior Team Riders, reward the top riders who excel at these skills.
The first award was given last month at Pine Top Farm’s Advanced Horse Trial in Thomson, Ga where Katie Mays and Margot Luria were recognized for their demonstration of effective and safe cross-country riding.
15-year-old Margot Luria was the junior winner for this prize, competing in the Junior Training Rider division with her own D.A. Adirmo, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood (Rash R x Tadirmie). The pair finished fifth in their division.
Katie Mays and The Queen Bee. HoofClix.com Photo.
Mays finished up fifth in the Senior Training Rider division with Camilla Grover-Dodge’s The Queen Bee, who she has been leasing since the fall of 2015. Mays and “Tuesday,” a 14-year-old American Sport Horse, earned a score of 35.90 and added just 2.4 time penalties on the cross-country.
Mays rides with Molly Kinnamon in addition to working as her Assistant Barn Manager and Head Groom. “Molly’s MK Equestrian is based in the rolling hills of southeast Pennsylvania. Not only has terrain helped with Tuesday’s fitness, it has helped both of us become hyperaware of our own balance,” Mays explained. “I do my trot and canter sets in two-point position to build strength in my legs and core, and at the same time I can work on my balance as we change speed.”
Pine Top was Mays first outing of 2017, and only her fourth Training Level attempt with the 14.3 powerhouse. “Despite her height of 14.3 hands, Tuesday makes the jumps look tiny, and is game to jump anything you put in front of her!” she laughed. “The most important factor that has prepared me is simply establishing and cementing the bond between Tuesday and I. As her primary caretaker, I am responsible for all of her daily needs, both in the tack and on the ground. Having this relationship has given us the confidence and trust, in ourselves and in each other, that we need to tackle cross country as successfully as we have.”
Janis Linnan was the judge for this first leg of the 2017 Charles Owen Technical Merit Award. “What stands out about these riders that won the Charles Owen Award is that they exhibited exceptional balance and control while approaching and navigating an ABC combination that included terrain and water that was located near the end of the course. Katie showed off their skills approaching the combination at the appropriate speed and kept their mounts in front of their leg, while staying in balance, so as not to impede, while helping the horses' ability to negotiate the obstacles,” Linnan reported.
“I believe that it is important for riders to develop an understanding of pace, approach and balance at the Training Level in order to progress safely to the upper levels. The USEA is fortunate to have a sponsor such as Charles Owens that offers such an award that acknowledges these accomplishments,” she concluded.
2017 Charles Owen Technical Merit Schedule
Pine Top Advanced H.T. | Feb. 23-26, 2017 | Thomson, GA (Area 3)
Coconino Summer I H.T. | July 8-9, 2017 | Flagstaff, AZ (Area 10)
The Event At Rebecca Farm | July 19-23, 2017 | Kalispell, MT (Area 7)
Fitch's Corner H.T. | July 22-23, 2017 | Millbrook, NY (Area 1)
Cobblestone Farms H.T. | July 28-30, 2017 | Dexter, MI (Area 8)
Colorado Horse Park H.T. | Aug. 12-13, 2017 | Parker, CO (Area 9)
Shepherd Ranch SYVPC H.T. II | Aug. 25-27, 2017 | Santa Ynez, CA (Area 6)
Seneca Valley Pony Club H.T. | Sept. 2-3 2017 | Poolesville, MD (Area 2)
Otter Creek Fall H.T. | Sept. 15-17, 2017 | Wheeler, WI (Area 4)
Texas Rose Horse Park | November 11-12, 2017 | Tyler, TX (Area 5)