Each year the Winter Equestrian Festival, HITS Ocala, and HITS Thermal circuits, provide a great preview for the fall equitation finals. Week after week the top riders get a chance to compete head-to-head, revealing potential contenders for year-end championships.
Eq Index Success Stories
In its first year, 2000, Sarah Willeman was ranked #1 based on her performance in Florida. She went on to win the USET Medal Finals East and the AHSA (now US Equestrian) Medal Final. At the USET Finals, the top three from the index were also the top three finishers: Willeman, Tiffany Cornaccio and Vanessa Haas. Nine of the top 10 riders on the index won a ribbon in a major medal final, and Avery Dimmig, #4, won the ASPCA Maclay Final.
In 2001, a fresh face on the eq scene appeared in Jamie Taylor. She had placed third at the USET West in 2000, but had yet to make her presence known on a national level. The 2001 EQ Index was the first to give her that national recognition, when she was ranked #2 on our Index after her success on the Indio, California circuit. When fall rolled around, Taylor won the USET Medal Final West, the WIHS Equitation Classic, and ribboned at both the AHSA Medal and ASPCA Maclay Finals... #3 on the list that year, Brian Walker, was 2nd in the USET East and won the ASPCA Maclay Final.
In 2002, Jamie Taylor, now an established equitation star topped the list. With only two fall finals to compete in, and lots of pressure, she finished as the reserve champion in the ASPCA Maclay. Again, a high number of the top ten, 8, ribboned in a national final. One of the two who didn't win a ribbon, was Megan Young at #10. Interestingly, the Index documented the beginning of her rise to success, as she went on to win Devon Equitation co-Champion in 2003. In the 2002, WIHS Eq Classic, every rider who won a ribbon was ranked on the Index and 80% of the ribboners from the Medal and Maclay were listed on the Index.
In 2003, after four years on the Bigeq.com EQ Index, and three times ranked in the top ten, Katie Gardner, #6, won the USET Medal West. Another rider who had been on the Index since 2000 was Lauren Van Eldik. It was no surprise to us when Lauren rode to the USA Equestrian Medal Final victory. #1 in 2003 was Michael Morrissey, who won the USET Medal East. Like Jamie Taylor, Addison Phillips had seen moderate success, but was still relatively unknown in the equitation divisions. Again, the Bigeq.com EQ Index was the first to recognize her as a serious finals contender, when she was ranked at #3 after the winter circuits ended. By the end of the show season, she had won the WIHS Equitation Classic, and ribboned in the USET Medal East, the USAE Medal and the ASPCA Maclay. Some were astonished at her meteoric rise, but her rise was documented by the EQ Index well before the leaves changed color in New York.
In 2004, Brianne Goutal made the leap to the top of the equitation divisions, tying for #2 on the Index. She would go on to win the 2004 USET East and WIHS Eq Classic Final, while also placing at the ASPCA Maclay and USEF Medal Final. #9 Megan Young won the USEF Medal and ASPCA Maclay Finals. #22 Kasey Ament took the USET West Final.
In 2005, Brianne Goutal topped the Index, and proceeded to complete a sweep of the equitation finals, by winning the USEF Medal, ASPCA Maclay, and even the North American Equitation Championship at the Capital Challenge. #11 Julie Welles also made an impression, winning the 2005 USET East and the WIHS Equitation Classic. Sloane Coles made a splash, earning #4 on the list and in the fall earned reserve championships in the WIHS Equitation Classic, North American Equitation Championship, and the USEF Medal.
In 2006, #5 Maggie McAlary won both the USEF Medal and ASPCA Maclay Finals, while #2 Julie Welles finished reserve champion in both the medal and the maclay. #1 Addison Phillips placed 3rd in the USET East and 6th in the ASPCA Maclay. #4 Alex Maida was 3rd in the North American Equitation Championship, and 6th in the USEF Medal.
In 2007, #2 Kimberly McCormack won both the USEF Medal and ASPCA Maclay Finals, and was 4th in the USET East Final. #3 Addison Phillips was reserve champion in the USET East. #6 Tina DiLandri was reserve champion in the USET West and the WIHS Equitation Classic. She also finished 3rd in the USEF Medal Final. USET East Finals winner Nikko Ritter was formerly ranked on the Index during his junior years, peaking at #6 in 2006. A regular on the Index for several years, #29 Maria Schaub took the WIHS Equitation Classic and the North American Equitation Championship titles.
The Bigeq.com EQ Index has proven it can pick the winners successfully and recognize new stars well before they become household (hunter/jumper) names!