The Neue Schule Best Hands Award recipients so far this July at the Colorado Horse Park Summer in the Rockies show series have both been equitation riders. Competitors Abigail Kelley and Lauren Sciullo were each recognized with a black and yellow riders’ sash and Neue Schule Verbindend bit for their performances in the Medal and Maclay classes, respectively. Neue Schule, the Official Bit of the United States Equestrian Federation, was pleased to award these two hardworking young women for their quiet and effective hand-to-bit connections.
Abigail Kelley was the Week IV Neue Schule Best Hands Award winner during the Summer in the Rockies series. The 15-year-old equitation rider from Lone Tree, Colorado was competing her new mount Cincinnati when the show committee selected her to win the award. “I have had to work really hard on my contact because it doesn’t come naturally to me,” admitted Kelley as she accepted the award. The 17-year-old Oldenburg gelding that she recently leased has a lot of experience in the show ring, which is helping his new rider continue to learn as they compete together. “Cincinnati is a big help because he used to be a World Cup horse and has great training on the flat. If I don’t have good contact, he definitely lets me know,” Kelley said. The two, who have only been working together for one month, hope to make it all the way to the regional Maclay finals that are being held in Lexington, Kentucky later this fall. “I need five more points in the Maclay to qualify for the regional in Kentucky, which is our goal.”
Neue Schule developed the Best Hands Award to recognize riders who display soft and effective connections between their hands and their horses’ mouths. One of the company’s core principles is to make sure that horses’ comfort is kept at the forefront of training and competition. By using innovative designs and advanced materials, like the patented Salox Gold® metal that can immediately adjust to a horse’s mouth temperature, Neue Schule has been successful at creating bits that are effective for the rider and safe and comfortable for the horse.
Lauren Sciullo was awarded the Best Hands Award after her trip in the Dorothy Roberts Memorial Maclay class during Week V with her horse Priam. The 14-year-old rider, who hails from Golden, Colorado and trains with Meridian Riding Club, is hopeful that her solid contact will take her all the way to Maclay Finals. “My trainer, Tracey Ferguson, works with me every week on loosening my horse up with bending and other exercises with soft hands,” she explained. “Having consistent contact with your horse is so important because it allows you to have control of your horse. Having soft hands is the best way to get him to listen to you.”
Neue Schule was happy to see young riders like Kelley and Sciullo share in the company’s appreciation of proper hand aids at the Colorado Horse Park. The Colorado Horse Park is the largest equestrian venue west of the Mississippi River. Nestled at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, the Colorado Horse Park provides a world-class facility for equestrians on the west coast of the United States. The facility features more than 40 events per year. With 11 competition arenas, 100 boarding stalls, two covered arenas, 300 permanent stalls, portable stalls for more than 1,000 competing horses, and an RV park, the facility is quickly becoming a jewel in equestrian sports.
Riders that are interested in Neue Schule bits can learn more about what makes these bits so unique at the on-site Colorado Horse Park Feed & Supply Store. Many popular Neue Schule bits are available at the Colorado Horse Park Feed & Supply Store, including the new Hunter D bit, which is designed specifically for the horses that compete in hunter and equitation divisions.
To learn more about Neue Schule bits and their North American distributer Metlar Premium Performance Saddlery, visit www.BitByBitUSA.com or call 631-252-5574.
Photo: Abigail Kelley was the Week IV Neue Schule Best Hands Award winner during the Summer in the Rockies series (photo courtesy of the Colorado Horse Park).