Tampa, FL - Riders brought forth their finest efforts in the equitation classes at the Tampa Equestrian Festival's Tournament of Champions held at the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center at the Florida State Fairgrounds. Earning the top accolade in the ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship class was Michael Murphy aboard Winnetou. Testing Robert McCune's equitation course to first place in the Pessoa USEF Hunt Seat Medal was Shawn Casady riding Eastwood.
These outstanding riders exchanged placings in the equitation classes when Murphy won the ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship, while Casady rode into second place. Then, Casady earned the blue ribbon in the Pessoa USEF Hunt Seat Medal class and Murphy took home the second place prize.
Murphy has been riding Winnetou for approximately two weeks, since his prior equitation horse had sold. Elizabeth Patz, who also shows at Murphy family's facility, owns Winnetou. "I am still figuring this horse out a little bit," remarked Murphy. "He sometimes gets a little bunched up and compressed so I try to allow him to be soft. He is definitely learning to open up and not stay so tight."
The course today featured a conventional equitation track such as the bending line and the roll back turn. However, the course offered the riders a very comfortable, large track for the riders to exhibit their best abilities. Murphy commented, "I thought the course was very nice. It was big and open, which allowed us to establish a nice gallop and hold it throughout the course."
Murphy has been competing in Tampa for the last two weeks. He noted, "I really like the atmosphere at Tampa. It is a low-key show and is quieter then most horse shows. I also enjoy everything being closer such as the rings and the barns, everything is in walking distance."
Murphy recently learned that he has been selected for the USEF 2010 Show Jumping Young Rider Tour in Europe. He is excited for this prestigious honor and important opportunity. In May, Murphy will begin his tour in Eindhoven, Netherlands with two of his top mounts before the North American Junior Young Riders Championships competition at the Kentucky Horse Park this summer.
Shawn Casady proved his talent in the Pessoa USEF Hunt Seat Medal Class today. The top four riders were brought back for the equitation test including; Emma Kennedy on Lucky Jack, Molly Braswell on El Campeon's Danish, Shawn Casady on Eastwood, and Michael Murphy on Winnetou. The test consisted of entering the ring at a canter to a vertical followed by halting after the fence. Then, each pair had to pick up their left lead and canter a single to an oxer in-and-out, followed by a sharp left hand turn to a line. Finally, each team finished with picking up the counter canter on a left hand turn to a single vertical, leaving the ring at a walk.
Casady explained, "The test went great! It was a consistent round followed by a smooth test ride for me. The test was a little awkward because right after the halt you had to whip right over an in-and-out. Once I got over that I had to make a quick right turn to the outside line. The test seemed to work for us."
Casady and Eastwood have been a great pair over the last few horse shows. Casady explained, "Eastwood is owned by Kelly Tropin, but she allows me to show him. He is a very consistent and versatile horse that likes a leg to hand ride. You have to create the energy with him."
Eastwood and Casady are going to finish 2010 off with a few more shows. Casady said, " We plan on taking him to Devon and doing the equitation and hunters there. Kelly might show him this summer and I may do the Finals with him. I really enjoy riding this horse and it is a good situation because he is here to just be my horse. If Kelly wants to show him at any time then she is more than welcome to do so."
Casady has enjoyed coming to the Tampa Equestrian Festival because, "It is a nice circuit and very laid back," he commented, "We come here all year including summer, fall, and winter."
The Tournament of Champions will continue through April 10 at the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center at the Florida State Fairgrounds. Tomorrow hunter competition will continue with the Amateur-Owner Hunters vying for the division championship.
For more information about the Tampa Equestrian Festival please visit http://www.stadiumjumping.com.
ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship Class
1. Michael Murphy on Winnetou (Owner Elizabeth Patz)
2. Shawn Casady on Eastwood (Owner Kelly Tropin)
3. Samantha Pyle on Rio's Ricardo (Owner Augustine Walch)
4. Molly Braswell on El Campeons Danish (Owner Elizabeth Dove)
5. Reily Ricker on Andricus (Owner Reily Ricker)
6. Anne Wood on Macchiato (Owner Anne Wood)
USEF Hunt Seat Medal
1. Shawn Casady on Eastwood (Owner Kelly Tropin)
2. Michael Murphy on Winnetou (Owner Elizabeth Patz)
3. Molly Braswell on El Campeons Danish (Owner Elizabeth Dove)
4. Emma Kennedy on Lucky Jack Owner Jane Irenonger)
5. Hasbrouck Doren on Charon (Owner Redfield Farm)
6. Reily Ricker on Andricus (Owner Reily Ricker)
Photo Credit: ASPCA Maclay winner Michael Murphy on Winnetou (Owner Elizabeth Patz) Tournament of Champions at the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center.Photo © 2010 Lindsay Y McCall/PMG.