Miranda Burruano, 18, of Orchard Park, NY had happy tears after capping off her junior equitation career with a win in the 2018 Jump Canada Medal National Final on Nov. 6 at the Royal Horse Show in Toronto, ON.

Riding Quioxte, her 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding sired by Quidam de Revel, Burruano returned to the National Final after finishing second in 2017. Winning the 2018 title proved extra special, as it allowed Burruano, who will age out of the junior level in 2019, to cap off her equitation run on a high note.

“It’s really crazy, I never thought I would win,” said Burruano, an American currently living in Canada and attending her freshman year in Arts and Sciences at the University of Guelph. “It’s a huge accomplishment, and one of my biggest dreams.”

Burruano was one of the last to go in initial jumping round from the field of 25 top equitation athletes invited to compete in the Final from four Regions across Canada (Atlantic, Ontario, Prairie and British Columbia). A smooth trip around the 12 obstacles, which included broken lines, short turns and a challenging, airy two stride set right up against the stands, bought Burruano her ticket as one of the top eight invited forward to the flat phase.

During the flat phase, which was worth 40% of the judges’ marks (with the other 60% decided in the jumping phase), Burruano’s equitation skills were on display at the walk, sitting and rising trot, and canter. Once again, she was one of the judges’ top picks to move forward, this time to a final jumping test for the top four athletes.

“I was sitting in third going into the final test, and I thought I would probably stay third or fourth after that ride-off,” said Burruano, who exceeded her own expectations and shot into the lead with a foot-perfect final test over the shortened course that asked riders to demonstrate their skill in jumping from a counter-canter and trot.

Burruano gives credit for her success to her coaches, high performance jumping athletes, Ainsley and Courtney Vince of Burlington, ON. “I have been training with Ainsley and Courtney for five years,” said Burruano. “They are really funny and are always so positive and supportive. I really didn’t show that much this year, so to prepare for the Final, I just tried to get as much riding in as possible and they helped me get on my ‘A’ game.”

She also raved about her horse, explaining, “I’ve had Quioxte for five years now, and I love him; he’s amazing. He has taught me so much, he’s incredible. He also has a lot of personality and is really cuddly.”

Burruano was joined in the final test by stiff competition, including 2017 Jump Canada Medal National Champion, Sam Walker, 16, of Nobleton, ON aboard Willem, owned by Nicole Loochtan. Fresh off an impressive win in the 2018 ASPCA Maclay Championship – a prestigious American equitation series final held on Nov. 4 at the National Horse Show in Lexington, KY – Walker led the pack during the jumping and flat phases and was the last to perform the final test, where a slight bobble at a skinny wall edged him into finishing as the Reserve Champion.

Rounding out the top three was Ellah Dubeau-Kielty, 15, of Burlington, ON who persevered in challenging circumstances when the fire alarm system went off during her jumping round. Despite the distraction of the loud siren and flashing lights in the Coca-Cola Coliseum, Dubeau-Kielty had a masterful round aboard Cupidon (Dollar de la Pierre x Equador), an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Mark Hayes and Dave Hanley. Fourth place went to Mikayla Brabant, 17, of Chestermere, AB aboard Cortofino, a seven-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by Spruce Meadows Ltd.

As the 2018 Champion, Burruano was awarded the Leslie P. Usherwood Memorial Trophy, as well as a plate donated by the Usherwood family. She also received a jacket from the Equestrian Canada (EC) Jumping Committee, which also donated a cooler to the top four riders.

Looking ahead, Burruano is now focused on her next challenge at the Royal Horse Show, the 1.20m Junior Jumper division, which kicks off on Nov. 8. Jumper is a passion for Burruano, and one that she wants to focus on in 2019 after aging out of the junior division. At the Royal she will be partnered with D’Ophelia, a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare by Balou du Rouet Z that stands just 15.3hh.

“Moving forward, I plan to continue with the jumpers,” said Burruano. “I love my little mare, so I am going to try to move up with her as much as I can.”

For full results from the 2018 Jump Canada Medal National Final, visit www.royalfair.org.

2018 Jump Canada Medal National Final – Full Results
Placing / Rider / Hometown / Horse / Owner
1st / Miranda Burruano / Orchard Park, NY / Quixote / Miranda Burruano
2nd / Sam Walker / Nobleton, ON / Willem / Nicole Loochtan
3rd / Ellah Dubeau-Kielty / Burlington, ON / Cupidon / Mark Hayes & Dave Hanley
4th / Mikayla Brabant / Chestermere, AB / Cortofino / Spruce Meadows Ltd.
5th / Halle Gainey / Kelowna, BC / Steel Magnolias / Halle Gainey
6th / Kyara Semrau / Foothills, AB / Cori Coletta / Kyara Semrau
7th / Sabrina Von Buttlar / Stouffville, ON / Sabrina Von Buttlar
8th / Anna Bremermann / Oakville, ON / Count Bellini / Christopher Delia