Sterling Malnik Scores Memorable Win in USHJA Gladstone Cup Equitation Classic
Sterling Malnik, 15, only saves Charlie for special events. The USHJA Gladstone Cup Equitation Classic, presented by Intermont Equestrian at Emory and Henry College, not only made the cut for the partnership to return to the show ring, but also made the young rider’s efforts worthwhile as she took home the win after three challenging rounds.
Beginning with a field of 98 competitors, the class was large and packed to the brim with talent. Malnik, of Ocean Ridge, FL, was 36th in the original order of go. She made the tough track, built by Canada’s Kevin Hollowack, look easy with her 14-year-old Holsteiner gelding, guiding him to a score of 92. While that score held the lead for much of the class, Malnik’s friend and barn mate Jordan Gibbs was the only one to top her score in round one, on a score of 94.
The top 20 returned to contest a handy track, which included a mix of elements from the first course combined with new questions, including a trot bounce, a one-stride combination, and several opportunities to show off handiness and further impress the judges. At the close of the handy round, Malnik had reclaimed the lead with a score of 95 for a total of 187 and—along with five other competitors—was invited to switch horses and test for final results.
The top six after two rounds; Malnik, Gibbs, Kate Hagerty, Emma Callanan, Schuyler Dayner and Ariana Marnell swapped horses and navigated fences one through eight for a chance at the overall title. Switching onto Cent 15, owned by Mountain King Ranch LLC, and the ride of Gibbs in the first two rounds, Malnik sailed to another beautiful trip with poise and elegance, being named the overall champion when awards were presented. Gibbs followed shortly behind on Charlie, claiming second place, and Kate Hagerty moved up from sixth place to finish third.