Oct. 29, 2012
AUBURN, Ala. -
Both riders had outstanding performances at the Washington International Horse Show in Washington D.C., Oct. 23-28, as Benson and Donovan finished first and second, respectively, at the WIHS Junior Equitation Final.
"This is such an outstanding honor for these two young women," Auburn head coach Greg Williams said. "Their talent and poise are the pinnacle of what the Auburn family seeks from its athletes."
The WIHS Junior Equitation Final is one of the most coveted titles in equitation. The class is composed of three phases, as the top 40 riders from around the country qualify for the final in Washington D.C. and compete in a hunter phase and jumper phase. The top 10 competitors after the hunter and jumper phases return for a work off to determine the winner.
Benson finished second in the hunter phase and first in the jumper phase and entered the work off as the leader, while Donovan finished fifth in the hunter phase and third in the jumper phase, leaving her in third place coming into the work off.
The competitors are required to switch mounts before the final work off and complete the course on an unfamiliar horse. Donovan had a stellar round in the work off and moved into the second position. Benson was the final competitor to go and laid down her third outstanding round of the weekend clinching the WIHS Junior Equitation title.
"Both Elizabeth and Hasbrouck have worked extremely hard and demonstrated their incredible riding abilities to place first and second," Auburn assistant coach Jessica Braswell said. "What is even more impressive is the way both young ladies carry themselves and represent Auburn."
Donovan also had a very successful week in the junior hunters, claiming championship and reserve championship honors in the older small junior hunters, reserve championship honors in the older large junior hunters, and the Best Child Rider on a Horse award.
Benson is currently 2-0 on the season at Auburn after picking up one win each in equitation on the flat and over fences. She also picked up her first career Most Outstanding Player honor in her first career meet with the Tigers, as she rode to a score of 97 in equitation on the flat and won her point in the season-opening meet against Oklahoma State.
Donovan will arrive on the Plains in January 2013 in time to join her teammates for the spring portion of the season.
Auburn returns to action on Friday, Nov. 9, as it takes on No. 1 Georgia at 3 p.m. CT at the Auburn University Horse Center.