Apr 10, 2018

Charles Owen Technical Merit Awards of 2018: Ruud and Chisholm Shine at Pine Top Horse Trials

By Claire Kelley - USEA Staff
Chantil Ruud and Landmark's Ginger Rogers, winners of the Adult Amateur Charles Owen Technical Merit Award at Pine Top. Liz Crawley Photo.

Lifelong dreams were in work at Pine Top Advanced Horse Trials, February 22 – 25, the first event of 2018 to host the Charles Owen Technical Merit Award. With over fifty Training level rides, Chantil Ruud and Madison Chisholm both rose to the occasion to earn this award for demonstrating safe and appropriate riding on cross-country. Janis Linnan judged the riders based on the five components of this award: gallop, preparation period, execution of jump, rider position, and general impressions.

Delivering a top-class round, Chantil Ruud was overjoyed when she found out she was the recipient of the Adult Amateur Charles Owen Technical Merit Award. “I’d like to say how honored I am to receive the Charles Owen Technical Merit Award. I strive every day to improve in my skill and effectiveness as a rider.”

With California roots, Ruud’s family owned a ranch where she grew up riding western. Despite her western riding background, she always had the desire to take part in eventing. “Being able to participate in eventing is actually a lifelong dream come true for me.”

To help her dreams turn into reality, Ruud credits her coach, Lizzy Jahnke as a significant influence in her riding. “Lizzy Jahnke has been an incredible mentor and coach. I admire her cross-country skill and technique. She has taught me everything that I know.” Ruud shares this passion for eventing with her daughter, Caitlyn Ruud, who competed in the Junior Young Rider Open Preliminary division at Pine Top.

Hard work, consistent training, and a tough cowgirl mentality are several factors to Ruud’s successful cross-country riding technique. Another influential factor is her horse, Landmark’s Ginger Rogers (Ginger). Bred by Jacqueline B. Mars and produced by Jessica Brumfield and Lauren Kieffer, Ruud purchased the flashy chestnut mare in 2017. Since then, Ruud and Ginger’s partnership continues to flourish.  “Ginger and I have been together almost a year now. She’s a great teacher and has a lovely way of going. She is really just perfect for me, and I feel so incredibly grateful to have her for a partner!” said Ruud. Ruud received a red ribbon to finish second overall in the Senior Training Rider division.

As we see in Ruud’s story, when dreams are mixed with hard work and determination, success can be the result.

Let’s not forget about the recipient of the Junior Charles Owen Technical Merit Award, Madison Chisholm.

Madison Chisholm and Beechcraft competing in the Junior Training division at the Pine Top Advanced Horse Trials. Liz Crawley Photo.

This past Christmas, Madison Chisholm received her best friend wrapped in a shiny red bow. The best friend, who she considers her ‘sugar bear,’ is a dark bay thoroughbred gelding named Beechcraft (aka Baron). Chisholm and Baron’s friendship was evident at Pine Top, as they showed everyone how to execute safe, effective cross-country riding. 

At five years old, Chisholm rode for the first time trail riding in Arizona. Fast forward to 2015, Chisholm started taking riding lessons, and since then she’s been hooked on eventing. “I’ve wanted to do eventing since day one. Cross-country is what really drove me into eventing, it is definitely my favorite of the three phases.”

Chisholm shares her enthusiasm for cross-country with her trusted partner, Baron, an off-the-track thoroughbred from Florida, that was produced by Kristin Bachman up to the Preliminary level. “We have not known each other for very long but our partnership gets stronger every day with every ride. He is a dream, my best friend, and a confident partner. He’s very forgiving while I’m continuing to learn. I couldn’t be more pleased!”

Chisholm’s love and dedication to her horse, passion for cross-country, and ambition to learn were several factors that played a role in her award-winning cross-country performance, which happened to be Chisholm’s first ever Training level event. With many more cross-country rounds to look forward to, Chisholm has started her Training level debut with a bang. “I’m extremely honored to have received this award and can’t wait for many more cross-country rounds to come!” said Chisholm. The dynamic duo ended their weekend with a pink ribbon to finish fifth in the Junior Training Rider division.

Chisholm and Baron prove that the partnership between horse and rider is what eventing is all about.

Congratulations to both Madison Chisholm and Chantil Ruud!

Chantil Ruud and Landmark's Ginger Rogers (left) and Madison Chisholm and Beechcraft (right). Photos courtesy of Chantil Ruud and Madison Chisholm.

To see which event is hosting the Charles Owen Technical Merit Award in your area, please check out the 2018 Charles Owen Technical Merit Schedule.

About the Charles Owen Technical Merit Award

In 2009, the Professional Horseman’s Council in partnership with Charles Owen founded the Charles Owen Technical Merit Award to reward juniors and adult amateurs for demonstrating safe and appropriate cross-country riding technique and educate riders and trainers as to what constitutes safe cross-country riding.

The Charles Owen Technical Merit Award is presented at one event in each USEA Area each year at the Training level to one junior rider and one adult amateur rider who have not competed at the Intermediate level or above. Every eligible rider at the Training level is automatically judged during their cross-country round on the five criteria listed below and receives a score sheet with written comments, providing valuable feedback on their cross-country riding technique. Level III and IV ICP instructors, USEF licensed eventing officials, and USET Senior Team riders are all qualified to judge the Award. Click here to learn more about the Charles Owen Technical Merit Award.

The USEA would like to thank Charles Owen for sponsoring the Technical Merit Award.

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