I love that part of the eq class. I think it's really a terrific test to determine horsemanship. In Medal and Maclay, by the end of the season, a lot of kids already know the other's horses.
There was a local kid, an equitation star, that in the usual sideline catty way, people would say wasn't that good, it was just that he had a fabulous horse. Well, the fabulous horse could be a pig and very difficult to ride. If local kid made it the final four, he usually won, because he could ride someone else's horse well, and nobody could ride his well!
The Medal and ASPCA Maclay classes are the highest level of hunter seat equitation, with classes at A rated shows all year long. There are year end final classes at the big indoor shows.