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Kelsey Huffman named USAE Reining Seat Medal Finals National Champion at Del Mar National

Del Mar Fairgrounds - Kelsey Huffman of Norco, CA, and her horse, Top Hickory, were among the biggest winners during Western Week at the 58th Annual Del Mar National Horse Show at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in Del Mar, CA.
Huffman won a treasure trove of awards at the Del Mar National; taking home the 2003 National Championship for the USA Equestrian Reining Seat Medal Finals presented by EMO Agency, Inc, the "My Midnight Special" trophy, Youngest Rider Trophy, and the Adrian Van Sinderen trophy.
The 58th Annual Del Mar National Horse Show Western Week held four American Quarter Horse Association Split/Combined Youth State Qualifier shows, a Pacific Coast Horse Association Open Show (open to all breeds), a National Reined Horse Association Show (open to all breeds), the $500 Challenge of the Breeds, the $500 Sliding Contest (open to all breeds), and the 2003 USAE Reining Seat Medal Finals during four days of competition.
"The Del Mar National is the most prestigious show in the Southwest," said Larry Gimple, the horse show's Western Technical Manager for the past five years. The horse show's Western Week features perpetual and memorial trophies engraved with the names of the great horses and riders of the past who set the stage for today's champions, and serve as reminders of the Del Mar National's legacy.

(Photo credit: Ed Moore Photography)
Kelsey Huffman, mounted on Top Hickory was the winner of the 2003 USAE Reining Seat Medal Finals held at the Del Mar National Horse Show. Displaying some of Huffman's awards were (from left to right): Nancy Huffman, Kelsey's mother and trainer; Donna Rocchetti, USAE Assistant Executive Director of Sport Program; Leigh Walkup, USAE Assistant Director, Breeds and Western Disciplines Dept.; Barbara Davis, Equestrian Manager, Del Mar Fairgrounds; Kelsey Huffman riding Top Hickory; Ronald Rhodes, Steward, USAE Show; Larry Gimple, Technical Show Manager, Western Week; Poncie Gimple, Show Secretary, Western Week; and Jeff Gilbert, Paddock Master.

"We were proud to be the host venue for this year's USAE Reining Seat Medal Finals. This event selected the 2003 National Champion, at a national-level horse show," said Barbara Davis, Equestrian Manager, Del Mar Fairgrounds.
USA Equestrian founded the equitation medal program in 1937 under the guidance of its fourth president, Adrian Van Sinderen. For the first decade, the Saddle Seat, Hunter Seat and Stock Seat disciplines all competed together in the same ring for the Adrian Van Sinderen Trophy in the American Horse Show Association Equitation Medal Finals. In 1948, the Stock Seat Medal, now the USAE Reining Seat Medal, became a separate event from the Saddle Seat and Hunter Seat Medals.
The USAE Reining Seat Medal Class was judged on each exhibitor's riding form and ability to perform traditional reining patterns. The competition is open to junior and amateur riders showing any breed of horse. Qualifying classes were held throughout the country. The finals were held over two rounds of competition. Scores from both rounds were combined to determine the champion.
Judges for the USAE Reining Seat Medal Finals were Wilma Holcomb of Madera, CA, John Tuckey of Ashland, CA and Al Dunning of Scottsdale, AZ.
For winning the 2003 USAE Reining Seat Medal Finals National Championship presented by EMO Agency, Inc., Huffman will have her name engraved on the prestigious Glenn Gimple Perpetual Bronze Trophy, designed and donated by Mel Lawson and the friends of Glenn Gimple. Glenn Gimple was a long-time supporter of the AHSA Medal Finals and young riders learning the ways of Western riding. Larry Gimple, Glenn's son, presented the Perpetual Trophy during the horse show's most spectacular event, the "Night of the Horse" celebration.
As National Champion, Huffman received a custom working saddle made by Carl Wood Reining Saddles of Delta, Colorado; a custom buckle by Broken Horn Saddlery; a pair of Ariat boots; and a champion wool cooler from Larry and Poncie Gimple of Track One Events.
Huffman was the recipient of the award for the Highest Scoring Cumulative Reining Pattern in the finals, known as, the "My Midnight Special" trophy, given in memory of "My Midnight Special" by Shelly Hollwedel and the Hollwedel family; as well as, receiving an award for the Highest Cumulative Score in the Equitation category in the Finals, which was established by past Champion, Lauren Bailey.
Huffman was also the winner of the Youngest Rider Trophy sponsored by Mr. & Mrs. Larry Hoffman of Hastings, MN. And, as the high scoring junior exhibitor of the Seat Medal Final, Huffman will have her name engraved on the Adrian Van Sinderen trophy, named for the founder of the equitation medal program.
One of the major Reining awards that did not go to Huffman, was the Westland Farms Reining Seat Medal Sportsmanship Trophy sponsored by Westland Farms, Santa Monica, CA. This prestigious award went to Genna Fishgold of Scottsdale, AZ. The Sportsmanship Trophy is awarded to the rider who demonstrated the highest ideals of sportsmanship in the eyes of his or her peers. The award was voted upon by all exhibitors riding in the National Championship making it a very meaningful award and a prestigious honor.
Rebecca Jenkins, from Chico, CA rode her horse Born To Be Good to win the $500 Challenge of the Breeds. Jenkins rode America's most popular breed, a Quarter Horse to win. Entries included the Quarter Horse, Paint, Friesian, Norwegian Fjord, and Tennessee Walker breeds. In the Challenge of the Breeds riders must compete in three of four classes including Pleasure Driving, Trail, Hunter Under Saddle, and Western Pleasure (mandatory). Highest score wins.
Robin Bond of Olivenhain, CA, rode Erins Dry Spirit owned by Tina Robinson to win the $500 Sliding Contest. Open to all breeds, the Sliding Contest winner is determined by the longest paralleled sliding tracks, with no broken sections of tracks, counting the best of three runs. Bond won at approximately 28 feet. Tom Foran of Foran Performance Horses of Lake View Terrace, CA laid a slide almost 40 feet long but had a break in a section of track to place second.
Complete results for the 2003 USAE Reining Seat Medal Finals and the Del Mar National Horse Show can be found by visiting the show's website at


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