Julia Slade proves a qualified success
Julia Slade has met her lofty expectations in her debut season competing in the Hamel Foundation NHS 3ft 3in Equitation Championship in the United States.
Competing with 12-year-old gelding Sur La Mur, the 16-year-old equestrienne has qualified for three major finals all scheduled to be held next month.
“In order for me to qualify, I had to participate in the classes and accumulate points as I place in order to qualify for the finals,” Slade told The Royal Gazette.
“I believe I did meet my expectations considering it’s my first year at boarding school during the pandemic and had a bit of a rough start not having my horse, who was stuck in Bermuda. However, I’m still proud of myself for qualifying for the three finals.
“I actually exceeded my goal. However, for one of the finals I thought I qualified for, it ended up my membership was expired for a couple of the shows that I received points for, so unfortunately it didn’t count and I’m not qualified any more. But now I have learnt to always make sure my membership is updated before I show.”
Slade qualified for the finals participating at 15 shows on the West Coast throughout the last school year and summer with Ethel Walker Boarding School under coach Linda Langmeier and also Team IEC under coach Wendy Arndt.
She is now set to compete at the USHJA 3ft 3in Hunter Seat Medal Finals and NEHC Junior Hunt Seat Medal Finals 3ft 3in in Massachusetts from October 20 to 24, as well as the Hamel Foundation NHS 3ft 3in Equitation Championship in Kentucky on October 31.
Looking ahead to the upcoming events, Slade added: “It’s always nice to do well. But I think competing at this level with my horse we are just looking to make the most of the experience and enjoy the event. If we do well as a team, that’s the most important thing.”
Slade is competing with her horse for the first time in more than a year. Her horse was originally due to travel to the United States in May 2020.
However, the process was delayed for six months owing to the pandemic, thus depriving Slade the opportunity to gain experience competing with her horse before beginning her freshman year of studies at Ethel Walker in Connecticut.
She trained at Hinson Hall Stables under the direction of Mary Frances Gaglio before attending boarding school and training in the US.
Slade’s success follows closely on the heels of compatriot Cody Rego, who has qualified for the ASPCA Maclay National Championships, known as the Maclay Finals, and the Dover Saddlery USEF Hunter Seat Medal Finals in the US.
The Maclay Finals will be held during the National Horse Show at the Kentucky Horse Park from October 27 to November 7, while the Hunter Seat Medal Finals will be held alongside the Pennsylvania National Horse Show in Harrisburg on October 17.
“It is extremely satisfying and encouraging that Bermuda's equestrian juniors are able to take all they have learnt from their training in Bermuda and perform successfully in overseas competitions,” a Bermuda Equestrian Federation spokeswoman told The Royal Gazette.