Tampa, FL - Today at the Tampa Equestrian Festival the best junior and amateur-owner riders competed for top prizes during the High Junior/Amateur Owner Jumper class and the Low Junior/Amateur-Owner class. Shawn Casady rode First Lady to a stunning double clear victory during the High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper class, after Bryn Rose Sadler was named the winner of the Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper class with Madagascar.
Philip J De Vita designed the courses for today's classes, which were held in the Covered Arena at the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center at the Florida State Fairgrounds. Both of the first round courses featured three difficult double combinations and a liverpool fence. For the High Junior/Amateur-Owner jump-off riders began over a single vertical and a single oxer. They then made their way through the to the vertical-to-oxer combination, where each team had the option of making a tight inside turn. Next, they made a tight turn from a single oxer to the liverpool fence and galloped home to a single, tall vertical.
Michael Murphy was the first to show over the course and qualify for the jump-off with All Star, owned by Centennial Farm. The pair was able to leave all the fences standing, but the duo lost some time when they had difficulty with the inside turn to the double combination. Murphy and All Star stopped the clock at 42.09 seconds, which earned them the third place ribbon.
Shawn Casady and First Lady, owned by Elizabeth Towell Boyd, were next to tackle the short course. The pair picked up a fast gallop to the first fence and easily covered the ground. They chose not to make the inside turn, but with zero faults they crossed the finish line in 39.67 seconds to win the class.
Darby Toben and Doreen Toben's Princeton also completed a double clear effort, but their time of 40.20 seconds would not catch Casady, and they took home the second place prize. Lacy Morrone Cramer and Beauty, owned by Equi-Sport LLC was the last pair to qualify for the jump-off. The duo was the fastest of the day, breaking the beam at 33.761 seconds, but they lowered the height of a single oxer and the final fence for an eight-fault total and the fourth place honors.
This is only Casady's fifth show with First Lady, but he is thrilled with the pairing. "First Lady is really great because she tries hard," he explained. "She's pretty easy, you just need to give her leg and guide her. She tries really hard and she does not want you to overpower, so you need to stay soft."
During the jump-off Casady decided not to make the tight inside turn to the combination, and it was a plan that worked well. "She was jumping really high and hard, so we needed to be straight to the fences," he commented. "She covers so much ground that if you slip right around you are going to have the same time."
Earlier in the day the Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers completed their first day of competition. The jump-off round for the class began with a single oxer before making a sharp turn to jump a bending line. Then riders jumped a single vertical in the corner before coming to the vertical-to-oxer combination. They finished by galloping towards home over a single oxer.
Three riders were able to complete double-clear efforts, and the first was the first on course. Darby Toben easily cleared all the obstacles with Cenzington 002, owned by Doreen Toben. They were able to stop the clock in 42.263 seconds for the second place prize. Hasbrouck Donovan rode Delilah to a clear effort during the short course, but the duo was unable to catch Toben's time and earned the third place honors.
Bryn Rose Sadler was the final rider to complete two fault-free rounds with Madagascar. The pair had a quick pace over all the fences during the jump-off. As they left each fence in tact they were able to cross the finish line in 35.503 seconds and earn the day's blue ribbon.
Sadler has only owned Madagascar for four months, but she has high hopes for the talented mare. "I am planning to eventually do the smaller grand prix classes with her," she commented. "She is a really awesome horse and I am really glad to have her. Today my plan was just to make it around clear and then go slow in the jump-off, but that was not the case. She felt really good so I went for it."
This is the first time Sadler has shown at the Tampa Equestrian Festival and she is glad she made the trip. She said, "It's a really cute horse show, very comfortable."
The Tournament of Champions will continue through Saturday at the Florida State Fairgrounds. This week's highlight event is the 2010 $200,000 Gene Mische American Invitational presented by G & C Farm. The top horses and riders in the world will come to compete during this exciting event, which will be held under the lights at Raymond James Stadium.
For more information about the Tampa Equestrian Festival please visit www.StadiumJumping.com.
Photo Credit: Shawn Casady and First Lady were fault free to win the Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper class at the Tampa Equestrian Festival. Photo By: Rebecca Walton/PMG.