The final week of the 2023 Sunshine Tour at the Desert International Horse Park was jam packed with various equitation events including the highly-anticipated Onondarka Finals. Following several rounds of competition which included three rounds of jumping and a test on the flat, Denim Schneider stole the title aboard long-term partner, Diarano. The Onondarka Medal is unique in its format as it allows young riders under 12 (according to USEF rules) to compete at a lower fence height while its multiple round and test format mocks the challenges of a more senior equitation final.
In its second year at the Sunshine Tour, the final serves a key role in the equitation ring as a stellar building block for young riders and acts as a stepping stone for the riders that have not quite aged into the typical equitation classes. For Schneider, the win was a crucial first step to eventually advancing into classes such as the USET Talent Search as well as riding at the collegiate level.The young rider piloted her mount to the top honors in both the first and third rounds of the competition which led to their pinnacle spot in the victory gallop. For her young age, Schneider has already spent several years learning the ropes and developing her skill in the equitation ring, typically with trusted partner Diarano.
The Onondarka Medal is one of many events offered by the Pacific Coast Horse Show Association (PCHA) which acts as a non-profit corporation focused on the development and promotion of horse showing in the hunter, jumper, western, and reining disciplines. To learn more about the PCHA, please visit www.pchashows.com.