Emma Goes East

For the past eight years, senior Emma Raith has been a competitive equestrian. After multiple seasons spent in the show ring, Emma finally achieved her childhood dream of making it to National Finals.

Mia Humberd-Hilf

At the beginning of her show season in February, Emma had her sights set on a lofty goal: to qualify for two of the Nation’s most prestigious finals: the Dover Saddlery/United States Equestrian (USEF) Hunter Seat Medal Final and the ASPCA Maclay Championship.

After several months spent accumulating points in a series of qualifying classes, she managed to secure a spot in the USEF Finals. Qualifying for the Maclay, however, required more than a set amount of points.

In September, at Blenheim’s Equisport Ranch in San Juan Capistrano, Emma competed against 49 other Junior Equitation riders in the Zone 8 Maclay Regionals.

After laying down an impressive trip in the initial round, she came back at the top of the second flatting group, placing 12th overall.

Later that month, Emma’s horse, Novello, boarded a plane and flew to the first stop of their East-Coast trip: Capital Challenge. Located just outside Washington, D.C., the venue attracted competitors from across the nation.

Here, she earned top ribbons in her age group division and had a seamless round in the North American Equitation Championship among 113 other riders.

Two weeks later, Emma met Novello again, but this time in Harrisburg, PA. After a lesson and a 90-second warm-up round, she entered into the Pennsylvania National Horse Show’s arena to compete for the USEF Medal Final title. Emma remained in the top 25 after the first 100 rounds.

      Next, she headed to Kentucky for her last event of the season: ASPCA Maclay Finals. After touching down into Lexington’s Bluegrass Airport, Emma arrived at the Kentucky Horse Park, an internationally acclaimed equestrian venue.

Competing in Maclay Finals, as Emma notes, “has been a dream of [hers] since [she] began riding nine years ago. I never thought I’d make it to this level.”

On her mount, Novello, an 11 year-old Westphalian gelding from Holland, Emma looks to find success at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show in Harrisburg, PA.