Equitation Success

Equitation: a subjective judgement of the rider; how one looks on the horse to make it look effortless at work

On November 13 Campbell Hudkins ’25 was in Lexington, Kentucky participating in the prestigious Maclay Final Championship at the National Horse Show. The NHS is the oldest horse show in the United States and the National Horsemanship Championship (an event to select the country’s top junior rider) for the Alfred B. Maclay Trophy has a storied history that dates back to 1933. The goal of the championship is to “inspire young riders to develop the best horsemanship skills and instill in them respect and compassion for their equine partners.”

In order to qualify for the Maclay Finals Campbell competed in a Regional Championship in September, where competitors were judged on both jumping performance and “flat” performance (walking, trotting, cantering, etc.). She and her ten-year-old mare, Diara Rouge made it past regionals and into the final. Campbell was the youngest rider in the top group of 24 out of 178 competitors.

This was one of several competition Campbell has qualified for this year—she and Diara also qualified for the USEF Jumping Seat Medal Final in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and USEF Talent Search Final East in Gladstone, New Jersey. She also competed this past August in the FEI North American Youth Championships in the children’s division. She finished 4th overall and was the top American finisher. Campbell trains in New Jersey with Krista Freundlich and Max Amaya of Stonehenge Stables and Stacia Madden of Beacon Hill Show Stables. In Connecticut, she is based out of Windsor Show Stables, owned by her aunt and uncle, Christine Tribble McCrea ’96 and Jon McCrea. 

In reflecting on her experience Campbell said, “This was my first year attending the Maclay Final. I’m really proud of how I performed. Diara and I jumped a really difficult course very early on... Neither one of us had ever done this event before.” She is proud to take her Suffield pride with her to competitions. Campbell said she “loves using my SA Tigers saddle pad when I’m competing with my jumper. I am proud to be a Tiger and hope that I will inspire other riders to consider Suffield Academy when looking at schools.”

Photo Credit: Shawn McMillen Photography and KIND Media LLC