Tampa, Fla. – Sep. 2, 2021 – The 2021 Southeast Medal Finals kicked off on Thursday, September 2, at the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center in Tampa, Florida. Eager athletes and their horses gathered in celebration of the show’s 5th anniversary. During the first of four days of sold-out competition, children and adults descended upon the Grand Prix Arena in hopes of claiming the first wave of blue ribbons being awarded. Racing to the top spot in the combined High Children’s/Adult Jumpers were Molly Ryan and Periwinkle, while Mary Eufemia and Central Park took the lead on the first day of division competition in the combined Performance 3’3”-3’6” Working Hunters.
The last to enter the ring in the combined High Children’s/Adult Jumpers was junior rider, Ryan, who was the only child to compete in the field. Though the Tampa native was up against more experienced competitors, Ryan showed maturity in her riding beyond her years. Set in the USEF Table II, 2b format, she and her own 9-year-old Hannoverian mount, Periwinkle, were clean and careful in the first round and immediately advanced to the jump-off. As the only rider to take all of the inside turns during the shortened track, Ryan shaved off precious time securing a last-minute lead, besting the rest of the adult pack.
Finishing in second place behind Ryan, was adult amateur rider, Juliet Johansson and her own 16-year-old Warmblood gelding, TH Magic. An amateur rider from Orlando, Claire Arnold, rounded out the top three with her own 9-year-old Warmblood gelding, Red Sky’s Smooth Sailing.
Having just recently partnered with her speedy chestnut made in the winter of 2020, Ryan and Periwinkle started their weekend off on a high note adding another win in the High Children’s division under their belts. The duo placed first numerous times in the same division at the Ocala Winter Classic. Having started out at the 1.10m height just last year at the 2020 Southeast Medal Finals, Ryan and Periwinkle are planning to bring their High Children’s career to a close and move up into the Low Junior division.
The first day of competition in the combined Performance 3’3”-3’6” Working Hunter division saw Central Park take the lead in the Teco Indoor Ring with Mary Eufemia in the irons. With a collection of quality entries taking to the ring, the Palm Harbor native and her own 10-year-old Hannoverian mare showcased their consistency taking two second-place finishes in the over fences portion. Central Park shined the brightest in the under saddle taking home top honors with her fluid movement and even-keeled expression.
Regulars on the Florida show circuit, Eufemia and Central Park, are currently the top contenders for the division championship, which will be crowned Friday, September 3 upon the completion of one more over fences class and an under saddle class. Central Park’s consistency and style have earned the highly successful duo countless top placings such as a Champion title in the Amateur-Owner Hunter division as well as a Reserve Champion title in the Performance 3’3” Hunter division at CFHJA May, and previous Championship honors in the Modified Amateur Hunter division at Ocala Championship.
The 2021 Southeast Medal Finals will continue Friday, September 2 with hunter, jumper and equitation competition taking place in four separate rings throughout the weekend. Friday will feature the $3,000 3’0 and $1,000 2’6’’ Hunter Spectaculars Presented by CWD, the $500 Pony Handy Hunter Classic, Presented by CWD and the $7,500 Welcome Stake, Presented by Up Country.
For more information about the 2021 Southeast Medal Finals, click here.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Molly Ryan – High Children’s/Adult Jumper Winner
On the course:
“I was the last to go and the only child in the class. I thought I would ride the first course pretty nice to get a good feel of the ring for the rest of the week. I did the first course pretty easy and Periwinkle was pretty careful. Then for the jump-off, I planned to do all the inside turns, and I had not seen anyone do an inside turn after jump one, so I thought I would try it. It was a little tough,k but she [Periwinkle] helped me through it, and she supported me while I supported her as much as I could. WE galloped to the last jump because I got in pretty deep, but we cleared it and it was just a good tone for the rest of the week, so I was pretty excited.”
“I imported her in January of 2020 from Germany with my uncle Wilhelm Genn, and we spent the past year figuring each other out. Last year at Southeast Medal Finals it was my first time in the 1.10m so it is pretty cool to see how we have progressed in the past year. We have been working really hard together.”
On their plans together:
“I hope to finish pretty strong this week in the finals and this will probably be our last show in the High Children’s division before I move up into the Low Juniors. I am pretty excited about that!”