Nina Columbia and Maverick Helmer Finish Out Week Seven with Equitation Victories

Nina Columbia and Checkland
Nina Columbia and Checkland win Section A of the ASPCA Maclay

Wellington, Fla., Feb. 25, 2018- The 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) concluded Week Seven on Sunday with top junior athletes competing in the ASPCA Maclay and Dover Saddlery USEF Hunter Seat Medal. Nina Columbia of New Jersey captured Section A of the ASPCA Maclay aboard her own Checkland. Section A of the Dover Saddlery USEF Hunt Seat Medal was awarded to Maverick Helmer and his own Canterbury.

Section A of the ASPCA Maclay saw 39 horse and rider combinations to complete the first round. Columbia and the 10-year-old Oldenburg answered the questions of Nick Granat’s designed course correctly, while others struggled with the technical track. The judges brought back 12 athletes and their mounts for a second look in the flat phase. Columbia and Checkland showed great skill when judges asked for lengthening of stride, stride collection and counter canter during the under saddle phase.  

Caracas 89 and Taylor Griffiths
Taylor Griffiths and Caracas 89

Second place went to Taylor Griffiths and Elvenstar Farm’s, Caracas 89. Close behind in third was Sophie Gochman and her own, Contelido.

Maverick Helmer and Canterbury
Maverick Helmer and Canterbury top Section A of the Dover Saddlery USEF Hunt Seat Medal

For the second equitation class of the day, 39 combinations started the class to compete for the top spot in Section A of the Dover Saddlery USEF Hunt Seat Medal. This time, Maverick Helmer piloted Canterbury to the top of the leaderboard. The duo completed one of the smoothest rounds of the day to be added to the standby list. Eight athletes and their mounts were invited to return to jump a shortened version of the course, where they were asked to do a variety of different exercises like counter canter and hand gallop. Helmer was first to return, and he laid down another solid round with the 11-year-old Warmblood, retaining their lead throughout the testing phase.

Coming in second to Helmer was the ASPCA Maclay Section A winner, Nina Columbia and Checkland. Third place was awarded to Yasmin Rizvi and Jordyn Rose Freedman’s, Finnick.

Columbia and Helmer both ride under the tutelage of top equitation trainer, Stacia Madden. They both credit their success in the equitation ring to Madden’s top-notch program. Madden and Beacon Hill Farm have produced some of the nation’s leading show jumping athletes who had their first taste of success in the equitation ring.

The Winter Equestrian Festival continues for Week Eight of circuit on February 28, 2018. The eighth week of competition will see the highly anticipated $150,000 CSIO 4* Nations Cup during Saturday Night Lights. PBIEC will also host the $205,000 CSIO 4* Lugano Diamonds Grand Prix held on Sunday, March 4th.


Nina Columbia – ASPCA Maclay Section A winner

On the horse:
His show name’s Checkland – we call him Checkers at home. He’s awesome. We click so well. I couldn’t imagine any other partner in the ring.”

On the course:
Starting off, I knew my horse land’s mostly right and the first line was bending left, so I knew I had to keep that in mind. The next few lines were easy and he jumps in such great form, all I had to think about was keeping him straight. I got to watch a couple people go, so I had an idea of where the trickier parts were which I think helped me overall.”

On training with Stacia Madden:
Training with Stacia is the most amazing experience. She always keeps me on my toes. It’s truly a great education and I wouldn’t be the rider I am today without her guidance.”   

Maverick Helmer – Dover Saddlery USEF Hunt Seat Medal Section A winner

On the horse:
I’ve had Canterbury for about a year and a half. He was really great today!”

On the course:
“I liked how elements of the course were also featured in the Maclay. Many of the lines were switched around, but we still had an idea of how to ride them. It was nice to have similar rides in each class.”

On training with Stacia Madden:
Stacia is fantastic! She does her job so well. We work on strategy and technicality in different courses, and I really like how dedicated she is with her students.”


ASPCA Maclay Section A

Horse / Rider
1. Checkland / Nina Columbia
2. Caracas 89 / Taylor Griffiths
3. Contelido / Sophie Gochman
4. Mac One II / Ava Sterns
5. Conspicuous / Emma Fletcher
6. Eppo / Nicholas Pongracz
7. Sieske Z / Devon Thomas
8. Icaros / Tessa Queirolo

Dover Saddlery USEF Hunt Seat Medal Section A

Horse / Rider
1. Canterbury / Maverick Helmer
2. Checkland / Nina Columbia
3. Finnick / Yasmin Rizvi
4. Conspicuous / Emma Fletcher
5. Caracas 89 / Taylor Griffiths
6. Salt Lake / Liliane Kaissar
7. Common Sense / Alexandra Pielet
8. Contelido / Sophie Gochman

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