Area equestrians compete at AHA National Championships

Four riders who train with Stillwater’s Jill Scottston and The Dream Team Equestrian Academy recently competed at the AHA National Championships in Brandon, Manitoba, and each returned with at least one or more top-10 finish. Riders competing at nationals included, from left, Sabrina Hart, Brody Gibson, Emily Walker and Abbygail Olson. (Contributed photo)

Nationally recognized horse trainer Jill Scottston of Stillwater and four local riders competed at the Arabian Horse Association (AHA) National Championships in Brandon, Manitoba from Aug. 13-20. The competition attracted many of the best riders in Canada and the United States.

Scottston, who recently relocated to Stillwater, owns and operates JJ Equine Concepts. In addition to her training operation, this summer she opened up The Dream Team Equestrian Academy, which is the riding school portion of her business. Over the previous decade, Scottston has worked with students competing at the AHA Canadian National Championships and won four national championships, five reserve national championships and more than 40 top-10 ribbons.

This year’s participants at the national championships included Brody Gibson, 9, of Cannon Falls, Abbygail Olson, 16, and Sabrina Hart, 17, of Farmington, and Emily Walker, 17, of Lakeville.

The riders, who had to qualify through a point system in each of their previous local and regional events, competed in a variety of classes over the seven days of competition.

Each of the four riders came home with at least one or more top-10 finishing — which means 3rd through 10th — in classes that featured from 12 to 32 riders/handlers.

Scottston, who has been training horses since 2003 started showing Western Pleasure as a young child and quickly moved into the Eventing and Hunter/Jumper world. She was instructing and competitively showing Dressage and Jumpers when she discovered her love of training horses. Her horses and students have had many great accomplishments in diverse disciplines such as Hunter Pleasure, Equitation, Showmanship, Sport Horse, Dressage, and Western Pleasure.

The four competitors competing at nationals train multiple days per week, but Scottston works with riders of all interests and many disciplines.

For more information about Scottston or JJ Equine Concepts, check out www.thedreamteamequestrianacademy.com