Wellington, Fla. – Feb. 26, 2017 – The ASPCA Maclay and Pessoa USEF Hunter Seat Medal marked the end of equitation competition during Week Seven of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) on Sunday. Each class was divided into two sections and awarded two blue ribbons.
Catys Cruz designed both 1.05m equitation courses, with each class proving to be a challenge for the nation’s top junior riders competing.
Kicking off the competition at 8 a.m. was the ASPCA Maclay with 34 competitors in Section A and 31 riders competing in Section B.
Abigail Brayman and her seasoned equitation mount Curtis, a Warmblood gelding owned by Missy Clark and North Run, placed first in Section A of the ASPCA Maclay after a stylish round over fences combined with a confident and fluid ride on the flat.
“My plan was to have a solid round and have enough pace to the first jump,” acknowledged Brayman. “The first two lines needed to be really forward so my plan was to get those two lines done and the rest of the course ended up coming together naturally.”
“I have been trying to qualify for the George Morris Excellence in Equitation Championship,” continued Brayman. “I’ve been second so many times this season so it’s nice to finally qualify. One issue I’ve had is that I ride the lines too wide so I don’t get to the jumps in time. I’ve also had to improve my position.”
Judge Scott Hostetter spoke highly of Brayman.
“Her style and the way she executed the lines was so steady, she really understood how to fit the striding,” remarked Hostetter. “The horse jumped well and seemed to like her ride; she was the winner by quite a bit.”
Winning the blue in Section B of the ASPCA Maclay after placing a precise round and demonstrating excellent equitation on the flat was Taylor St. Jacques and her own 9-year-old KWPN gelding Di Samorano.
“My plan going into the class was just to have a nice, smooth round,” smiled St. Jacques. “[Di Samorano] is an amazing horse and he’s so capable of winning. When you put in the right round, he’s going to come out on top.”
“He’s amazing in the ring,” continued St. Jacques. “At home, he’s like a puppy dog. He’s young but he walks in any ring knowing his job and knowing what he has to do.”
Following the ASPCA Maclay was the Pessoa USEF Hunter Seat Medal class, with 35 trips in Section A and 31 riders competing in Section B.
The first round left only eight competitors returning for the judge’s test. Riders were asked to individually enter the ring and counter-canter the first fence of the course, trot to the second, canter fence three in addition to the first two elements of the tenth obstacle and hand gallop to the forth jump of the course.
Going into the judge’s test with the highest score was Yasmin Rizvi and Missy Clark’s Co Co Pop, a 15-year-old Holsteiner gelding. The duo won Section A of the Pessoa USEF Hunter Seat Medal class after executing a flawlessly smooth test.
“I was definitely thinking about the hand gallop,” said Rizvi. “I didn’t see too many people do it so I wanted to stand out with that, and then the trot jump was something I had been thinking about too. Getting the trot early for him was a challenge because I haven’t done many tests on him.”
Rizvi and Co Co Pop are a relatively new pair, having only been competing together since the beginning of WEF. Yet the duo plans to continue showing in the equitation for the remainder of season.
Emma Kurtz and Carl, a 12-year-old Warmblood gelding owned by Redfield Farm, won Section B of the Pessoa USEF Hunter Seat Medal after dominating a challenging test.
Kurtz and Carl are also a newer horse-and rider-combination, having only been partnered together for a month.
The top eight riders of Section B were asked to return to the arena as a group, lining up by the judge’s box. Each individual was asked to canter the eighth jump of the first round and counter-canter the first two elements of the tenth obstacle. An unexpected challenge was presented as the judge then asked riders to perform a half turn on the haunches. Riders were then asked to canter the third and fourth jumps of the course and return to the line in a sitting trot.
Kurtz and Carl won the blue by keeping their test simple.
“It was difficult for sure,” said Kurtz. “He’s new to me so for the first jump and counter-canter I decided to play it safe, let him land right and do a simple change.”
“He is super sweet and a little impatient but I don’t know him that well yet,” continued Kurtz. “I thought our first round was really nice, I had a few mistakes but I wanted to have a nice smooth round.”
ASPCA Maclay Section A
1. Abigail Brayman, Curtis
2. Ava Ellis, Campreoll
3. Paige Matthies, Blurred Lines
4. Emma Ellis, Captain Jack
5. Nina Columbia, Checkland
6. Addison Piper, Even Keel
7. Raleigh Hiler, Cantoblanco
8. Emma Callanan, Jarinka
ASPCA Maclay Section B
1. Taylor St. Jacques, Di Samorano
2. Haley Reedier, Ballon
3. Devon Thomas, Cordino
4. Sophia Calamari, Kasimir
5. Taylor Griffiths, Vancouver
6. Claire Azar, At Last
7. Yasmin Rizvi, Co Co Pop
8. Lilelle Rhodes, Carry Away
Pessoa USEF Hunter Seat Medal Section A
1. Yasmin Rizvi, Co Co Pop
2. Isabella Bleu-Baxter, Gin Fizz 67
3. Eliza Bienstock, Stallone VDL
4. Lolly McLellan, Play It Again
5. Farah Rizvi, Azlan
6. Emma Wujek, Gember
7. Raleigh Hiler, Cantoblanco
8. Rachel McMullen, Quieri
Pessoa USEF Hunter Seat Medal Section B
1. Emma Kurtz, Carl
2. Haley Redifer, Ballon
3. Taylor St Jacques, Di Samorano
4. Maverick Helmer, Canterbury
5. Billi Rose Brandner, Zjappoo Sow
6. Taylor Griffiths, Vancouver
7. Addison Piper, Even Keel
8. Mimi Gochman, Trumpet