Tampa, FL - Friday, March 30, 2012 - Week one of the Tampa Bay Classic is in full swing, and with only two days of showing behind them, the hunter riders have indisputably set steep standards for their competitors. Mary Eufemia and MJ continued an exceptional week by receiving the tri-color in the 35 and Over Amateur Hunters, and Lynn Seithel took top ribbons in the 3'3 Amateur Owner division. Competition was fierce, but Alex Adelson and Reeva II couldn't be stopped, as they captured the 18-35 Amateur Hunter division championship.
The morning's classes began with the first of the amateur hunter divisions, for those 35 and over. Eufemia generated a third place hunter round and a winning handy course, sealing her championship with another first place in the under saddle. While Eufemia and MJ are seasoned veterans, she certainly had some deep competition. Taking the winning ribbon in the mornings first class would be Danielle Bartoletta and Speranza, while Bartoletta's trainer, Lauren Barth, followed close behind aboard Chinchino. Rider and trainer were more than pleased with the outcome of the morning division and the reserve champion win.
"I have had Speranza for about two years and she is doing really well," smiled Bartoletta. "Lauren showed her yesterday and she looked great, so I am looking forward to more showing. I thought that my courses were really consistent and she had a nice forward canter, so I found my distances easily. I have been showing in Tampa for twelve years and I would never miss it; I appreciate the friendly atmosphere of the show, and it is great to have so many familiar faces in one place."
Eufemia was immensely satisfied with her own results in the division, and after a busy two days of showing she was overjoyed with MJ and the progress of their partnership. "He is a great horse and over the past few days has been a little excited," she smiled. "I was so happy that today he stayed relaxed and consistent, and we had two strong rounds."
The morning continued with the amateur-owners, this time for riders 18-35 years of age. The division was competitive with a high quality group of horses and riders, all of which were vying for the peak of the pinning's. While rounds were consistently steady, Adelson and Reeva II came out on top with stellar form over the fences and a distinguishable forward stride through the twists and turns of the handy round. Adelson, under the direction of Mathew Morrissey, generated two winning courses, as well as a second place finish in the under saddle.
"I thought that my rounds went really well. My horse is on it today. Both rounds were nice and smooth, and I do think that I could have chosen to do some inside turns in the handy, but I was the first to go so I took the route I knew would work. I thought the course design was great, especially because the handy allowed you to make decisions, and that is not always the case. Those decisions separate the top horses and riders from the group."
"I have had my horse for about two years, and I showed her in the in Junior Jumpers, and little bit of Equitation, until I finally decided on the hunters. I think that doing the jumpers and equitation has given me the skills to be successful in the hunters, especially for those handy rounds."
The afternoon sustained multiple outstanding rides with each pair putting in their top effort. Amanda Foard and Julian, Robin Swinderman and Inxs, Lisa Arena and Endo Fino, and Lauren Muller aboard Irresistible Opportunity, completed the results.
A continuation of the day showed even more triumph as the 3'3 Amateur Hunters were next to compete, and this time it would be Lynn Seithel guiding Versace to the top. While these exhibitors completed only a first day of showing, Seithel was able to jump to the top of class with a fourth in the hunter and a first in the handy, putting her in a competitive spot for tomorrows championship.
"He was such a good boy, it was so much fun," beamed Seithel. "It was a nice course, super smooth, and a bit challenging. It definitely feels good to win a class in the first day; it takes some of the pressure off of tomorrow. We showed all winter at hits, and I got him this time last year, so everything it turning out great for us."
Seithel bested a group of strong competitors including: Darby Toben and London, Ainsley Carter and 5th Ave Stroll, Penelope Ayers and Zandor, Lisa Hunt and Raise the Bar, Krista Dietrich and Indiscretion.
Tomorrow's hunters will include the conclusion of the Adult Amateur divisions and the commencement of the Junior Hunters. During the Tampa Equestrian Series, riders will have the opportunity for championship and reserve championship honors in the Professional Hunter divisions, Junior Hunter divisions, and Amateur-Owner Hunter divisions. The event also features the Tampa Series Hunter High Score Circuit Awards in several hunter divisions, which will be awarded during the 40th Annual $200,000 Gene Mische American Invitational presented by G & C Farm, at Raymond James Stadium.
For more information on Stadium Jumping, Inc. and the 2012 Tampa Equestrian Series please call (941) 744-5465. To download a copy of the prize list, please visit www.stadiumjumping.com.
Photo Credit: Adelson Anchors the Amateur-Owner Championship with Reeva II for Week One of Tampa Bay Classic. Photo By: Elizabeth Vieira/PMG.