Caroline Olsen and Ariana Marnell Crowned Champions in Pérez & Bennett Open Equitation 14-15 Division at 2021 National Horse Show

Lexington, Ky. – Oct. 30, 2021 – Age group equitation riders were the highlight of competition Saturday, October 30, in the Alltech Arena as they battled for the championship title in their respective age groups. Combined 84 horse-and-rider combinations in two sections of the Pérez & Bennett Open Equitation 14-15, presented by Cindi Pérez & Anne Bennett, tried their hand over one final course set forth by Kentucky’s very own Bobby Murphy (USA). In the end, it was Caroline Olsen who claimed the championship title in Section A, while Julia Brown took home reserve champion after winning the over fences class on the final day of the competition. Section B saw the final 42 horse-and-rider combinations, crowning Ariana Marnell champion at the conclusion, while Ella Witt and Quinn Van Cara took home co-reserve champion.

Olsen once again proved to be a strong competitor in Section A of the 14-15 age group equitation on the final day of the division, laying down a beautiful final round and securing herself valuable points that helped to ensure her the championship title. Olsen and Handsome DD, a 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, came into day two of competition with the confidence they needed after making a clean sweep of the division Friday, taking back-to-back wins in the over fences and under saddle class. Close competitor Brown and her mount G-Star, a 10-year-old Warmblood gelding owned by Kathleen Schmeler, was not far behind Olsen after claiming the red ribbon in Friday’s over fences class and winning Saturday’s final round of the division.

Marnell made a splash in the 14-15 age group equitation division Section B during day one of competition aboard Coltino, an 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by Katherine Dewar. She was awarded second over fences and second in the under saddle out of a competitive group of 42 junior riders during day one of the division. Marnell came into day two of competition Saturday on top of the division and was awarded for her precision, grace and form throughout the entirety of the division, placing first in the final over fences round and securing her the championship title. Competitors Witt and Van Cara ultimately tied for reserve champion with a total of 10 points. Witt and Chambertino, 10-year-old Oldenburg gelding owned by Cassandra Orpen, claimed the blue ribbon in the first over fences class Friday, which put them in a good position on day two of competition. Van Cara and her mount Carry Away, a 12-year-old gelding owned by Kobi Rhodes, captured the yellow ribbon in Friday’s over fences class and third in the final round of competition Saturday to help secure them the co-reserve champion title.

Earlier in the day, Conway once again proved to be a force to reckon with in the Pérez & Bennett Open Equitation Over Fences 14 & Under division after winning the final over fences class and claiming the championship title aboard her longtime mount Crossbow, her own 16-year-old Warmblood gelding. The dynamic pair came into day two of competition in the overall lead after claiming second and third place in the over fences and undersaddle Friday. Vivienne Wood and Alant, her 14-year-old Holsteiner gelding, were awarded the reserve champion honors after placing third in the over fences and second on the flat Friday. They came into day two of competition right on Conway’s heels, but were just a few points shy of champion after placing fifth in the over fences class Saturday.

Equitation competition will continue Sunday, October 31 at 7:00 a.m. in the Alltech Arena with the highly anticipated Hamel NHS 3’3” Equitation Championship.


Caroline Olsen – Champion of Pérez & Bennett Open Equitation Over Fences 14-15 Section A

On Handsome DD:
“His name is Handsome and we got him two years ago. He is by Charisma. He is very sweet in the barn and has a big personality. He is perfect.”

On courses:
“I won both rounds yesterday and I was really nervous coming into day two of competition. I feel like I put in a really solid round today to secure champion.”

On winning round from Friday:
“Yesterday I was really calm going into the ring and was not very nervous. My trainer told me to go in and have fun and do the best that I can. I thought my round yesterday was great.”

On National Horse Show:
“This is probably my favorite horse show of the year. I love the ring. It is my favorite ring to show in during Indoors and the environment is great.”

On future plans:
“I hope to do the Medal, Maclay, WIHS Equitation Finals and USET Finals. I hope to just be really consistent in the 3’6” medal classes next year.”

On Hamel NHS Equitation Championship:
“I am really excited for the class. I think I am really prepared and ready to do well.”

Ariana Marnell – Champion of Pérez & Bennett Open Equitation Over Fences 14-15 Section B

On Coltino:
“My horse Coltino we got recently at the beginning of this year. He always tries so hard and he is a great partner. We always really trust each other and I think that is why we work well together.”

On her over fences rounds:
“My round today was really nice. I got to watch a lot [because] I went late [in the order], so I got to formulate a plan with my trainer that we thought would work best for my horse. The track was really nice and it was very symmetrical. Everything was just nice and out of the turns, and the jumps were beautiful and the ring rode great. My round yesterday was good – I liked it. I didn’t think it was as good as I could be, so going into today I made sure that I made those corrections. My horse was perfect today and yesterday.”

On competing in the Hamel Foundation NHS 3’3” Equitation Championship:
“I feel pretty good going into tomorrow. I trust Coltino, my horse, and I trust myself, so I am just going to try to stick to our plan. We have a routine we are in that works really well, and I trust my trainer and my team and I think it will go well – I hope so!”

On her plans for the future:
“In the future, for my junior years, I would like to win at least one of the medal finals and Prix des States, and maybe get on some of the jumper teams. In the future I’d like to ride on [Nations Cup] teams like Kent [Farrington].”


Place / Horse / Rider / Owner

Section A Pérez & Bennett Open Equitation Over Fences 14-15:
1. G-Star / Julia Brown / Kathleen Schmeler
2. Temptation / Abigail Roberts / Abigail Roberts
3. Lambada / Alexandra Sica / Kate Abajian

Section B Pérez & Bennett Open Equitation Over Fences 14-15:
1. Coltino / Ariana Marnell / Katherine Dewar
2. Carry Away / Quinn Van Cara / Kobi Rhodes
3. KTS Chrystal Lake / Daniela Carvajal / Daniela Carvajal

Pérez & Bennett Open Equitation Over Fences 14 & Under:
1. Crossbow / Rylynn Conway / Rylynn Conway
2. Constantinos / Paige Walkenbach / Georgy Maskrey-Segesman
3. Tibri’s Rain King / Eleanor Pieters / Tibri, LLC

Horse / Rider

Section A Pérez & Bennett Open Equitation 14-15:
Champion: Handsome DD / Caroline Olsen
Reserve: G-Star / Julia Brown

Section B Pérez & Bennett Open Equitation 14-15:
Champion: Coltino / Ariana Marnell
Reserve: Carry Away / Quinn Van Cara
Reserve: Chambertino / Ella Witt

Pérez & Bennett Open Equitation 14 & Under:
Champion: Crossbow / Rylynn Conway
Reserve: Alant / Vivienne Wood