One-Two Punch for Samantha Cohen and Clover in ASPCA Maclay and Pessoa/USEF Hunter Seat Medal at WEF

© Caroline Nickolaus: Samantha Cohen rode Sail Horse Investment’s Clover to the win in Section A of the ASPCA Maclay and a second place finish in the Pessoa/USEF Hunter Seat Medal during the third week of the Winter Equestrian Festival.

Wellington, Fla. – Jan. 29, 2017 – Horses and riders were faced with below average temperatures and rain on Sunday of Week Three at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), but the equitation riders rose to the occasion and put their best foot forward.

Samantha Cohen, of New York, New York, topped Section A of the ASPCA Maclay, then proceeded to ride to a second place finish in Section A of the Pessoa/USEF Hunter Seat Medal with new mount, Clover, owned by Sail Horse Investments.

“He’s a fairly new ride for me,” Cohen said of the 13-year-old Holsteiner. “I just got him after finals and this is actually my second show on him, but he’s been doing this forever and he’s a seasoned pro.”

Cohen trains with Stacia Madden at Beacon Hill Show Stables in Colts Neck, New Jersey. When the talented young rider is not competing in the ASPCA Maclay and Pessoa/USEF Hunter Seat Medal classes, she campaigns in the WIHS and USEF Show Jumping Talent Search classes with her other mount, Kaskade.

“I’m really working on being smooth with him and smooth on the take-off of the jumps, and making everything look invisible. I thought the course was great. I thought there were a lot of nice rollbacks and single jumps to really get going,” Cohen explained.

After laying down an impressive trip over the Andy Christianson, Jr.-designed track, Cohen was called back to flat to culminate the class.

“The first line was definitely a little tricky, [starting on a two-stride with an oxer], but I thought the course was good overall,” said Cohen. “It was just challenging enough.”

Cohen flies down each weekend to compete at WEF, and the young talent is looking forward to more success with both horses this season.

Coming in second place in Section A of the ASPCA Maclay was Heritage Farm’s Yasmin Rizvi and Coco Pop, while barn mate Taylor St. Jacques and Di Samorano were third.

Los Angeles, California-based rider, Kaitlyn Lovingfoss, swept Section B of the ASPCA Maclay on a catch-ride, Elvenstar Farm’s Vancouver, who she has only been riding since Friday.

© Caroline Nickolaus: Kaitlyn Lovingfoss and Vancouver

“Vancouver is not mine but I got to ride him this weekend,” said Lovingfoss. “He’s an amazing horse. He won the Pessoa/US Hunter Seat Medal Final [with Meg O’Mara in 2012] and he is a well-known equitation horse. My first time ever showing him was on Friday, and we were third overall in the WIHS.”

Lovingfoss trains with Jim Hagman and Carolyn Culligan out of Elvenstar Farm, located in Moorpark, California, and will be showing in Florida for three more weeks. After Week Six, Lovingfoss will head back to the West Coast to continue showing in the equitation and will dabble in the jumpers as well.

Rounding out the top three in Section B of the ASPCA Maclay behind Lovingfoss was Haley Redifer and Ballon, while Abigail Brayman and Cassini W came in third.

At only 14 years old, Ellie Ferrigno proved that age is just a number when she took the prize in Section A of the Pessoa/USEF Hunter Seat Medal on Sunday afternoon, with Davide, a horse she has only jumped “a handful of times.”

© Caroline Nickolaus: Ellie Ferrigno and Davide

Ferrigno, of Newtown, Connecticut, trains with Val Renihan at Findlay’s Ridge as well as with her mother, Abbi Ferrigno, at Rabbit Hill Farm.

Unlike most other top equitation riders, Ferrigno only owns one horse, and the rest of the horses that she shows are catch-rides. However, Ferrigno is no stranger to hopping on unfamiliar horses and making it look easy.

“I sort of just catch-ride horses for a lot of people,” said Ferrigno. “I have one horse that’s mine, but I mostly just ride different horses for other people.”

Ferrigno had a stellar trip, and was called back first to test, which included a long approach hand gallop to the first fence, a rollback and holding the counter-canter to a short approach single obstacle.

“Last week, I did the test and I had a little bit of trouble, and this week was a very similar test so I really wanted to get it done down pat,” said Ferrigno. “The horse is amazing, so the course worked nicely. I sort of just had to sit still and he made me look pretty.”

Ferrigno continued, “I knew I was testing on top and I originally wasn’t planning to go inside of the second jump, but I saw Taylor [St. Jacques] do it so I thought, ‘Now I’m obligated to.'”

Judges were quick to notice how efficient Ferrigno rode the hand gallop in the test, and she credits that to Renihan’s advice at home when practicing hand gallops.

“Val is super good at teaching that,” said Ferrigno. “She always says, ‘Gallop the whole turn and then just when you see the jump, they’re not asking for you to find a long one, they’re asking for you to find the nice, forward one.’ She says, ‘Gallop through the turn and then sit tight for the jump.'”

Ferrigno is crossing her fingers that she will be able to continue riding Davide, owned by Luella Lopresti, but that is unknown as he is currently for sale.

“It depends,” said Ferrigno. “I don’t know if he’ll get sold, but I hope I get to continue working with him.”

Cohen and Clover claimed second in Section A, while Taylor St. Jacques and Di Samorano took the third place ribbon.

Ella Bostwick, of Wellington, Florida, rode Got Milk to victory in Section B of the Pessoa/USEF Hunter Seat Medal. The 15-year-old rider trains with Monty Kelly at Stepping Stone Farm, while they are in Florida for the season.

© Caroline Nickolaus: Ella Bostwick and Got Milk

“They’re based in New York but they lease out one of my barns at my farm here, so when they come here for the season they help me,” Bostwick said. “I catch-ride Got Milk and he’s amazing. I’ve been riding him for about a year now. I really liked the course, but it was kind of hard with all of the rain and cold, but it was all very worth it.”

Lovingfoss and Vancouver picked up the second place ribbon, while Emma Callnan and Jarinka placed third in Section B.

Riders defied the dreary weather and proved unstoppable in the equitation classes on Sunday. It seems as though they are ready to take on whatever challenges the fourth week of WEF may bring.

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