Good Hands, Great Hearts

Lizzy SchultzAudio, Competition, Equestrian, Equine, Youth

NHS-15-kay Two exceptional young equestrians were recognized over the weekend with the top honors in the prestigious Good Hands Equitation Finals, the first leg of the elusive saddle seat equitation triple crown.

Cameron Kay, of West Bloomfield, Michigan, took home the championship title with her horse, CH-Eq Reedann’s Heir To Glory, and Courtney McGinnis, of Montecito, California, rode CH-Eq Imagine My Surprise to the reserve title. The girls are teammates and good friends, training with Todd Miles and Sarah Lawson under the banner of the prestigious DeLovely Farm in Rockport, Indiana.

While sitting down with AgWired after the final, both girls spoke with eloquence and honesty about their goals, strengths, weaknesses, and achievements, topics that many grown adults find difficult to discuss with such confidence. They spoke with incredible respect and appreciation for their trainers, coaches, and parents, as well as admiration for their equine partners.

Already an equitation triple crown winner with her Morgan Horse, CN’s Stylish Debut, Cameron is now only one win away from her second triple crown; her show record is one of the most impressive that the industry has ever seen. In the show ring, she is radiant. Her bold, powerful ring presence is complemented by a natural expression that is kind, gentle, and bright.

“My horse is a blast to ride, every time I get to ride him I just cherish it,” she said, “Tonight I just had fun, I’m enjoying every last ride I get on him.” Interview with Cameron Kay, Good Hands Finals Champion

nhs-15-mcginnisThe past season has brought incredible tragedy and heartbreak for Courtney McGinnis, whose athletic career includes four equitation world championships, as she suffered the sudden loss of her beloved equitation mount.

Her reaction to the experience has included an unprecedented amount of transparency, sportsmanship, and integrity. She faced the storm head on, inspiring others with her unwavering emotional strength and dedication. She bravely opened up her heart and allowed the saddlebred industry to watch as she mourned for her horse, openly struggled with new horses, and ultimately reached the turning point that led her back to the top as she refused to give up on the sport she has always excelled at.

“Never give up,” she said, “even when you think you’ve hit rock bottom, just keep trying.”

Interview with Courtney McGinnis, Good Hands Reserve Champion