San Juan Capistrano, CA - Qualifying for the prestigious ASPCA Maclay Finals at the CP National Horse Show in Lexington, KY, requires a top placing in one of eight Regionals throughout the country. Four of those eight qualifying competitions awarded winners yesterday. On the West Coast, Blenheim EquiSports hosted the much-anticipated Region 8 class with 33 junior riders who had earned qualifying points throughout the year, each with the hopes of advancing to the Finals on October 31st - November 1st.
In an intimate indoor setting, the honorable Geoff Teall and Bill Ellis evaluated the young riders as they attempted to master the track set by Jasen Shelley. With two double combinations, a solid white wall without standards set across the middle of the ring and numerous bending lines, the course required planning, consistency and an accurate ride.
After the culmination of the jumping phase, 28 riders returned in three groups for the flat phase in reverse order of preference. All three groups were asked to demonstrate a walk, posting trot, sitting trot, canter, reverse of direction at the walk, return to the trot, sitting trot, and canter once more before they finished at the walk.
Judges Teall and Ellis required a work-off of the top six riders before the final placings were determined. Once again returning in reverse order of preference, riders were asked to canter directly to fence 6, hand gallop fence 2, counter-canter fences 4a and 4b, counter-canter fences 11a and 11b, trot fence 12, execute a finishing circle, and exit the ring at the walk. Michael Williamson led the way and executed a nearly perfect work-off with a bold hand gallop that ultimately moved him from the sixth to the fourth spot.
With a hard rub at fence 2 after her strong hand gallop, Claire Follmer held her fifth place position. Third to work off was 2014 Maclay Regional Finals West winner Sydney Hutchins. She had some trouble turning back to fence 4 when the horse dropped the counter-lead, which moved her to the sixth spot overall.
Alexandra Ladove rode a beautiful work-off and held on to her third place position. Miela Gross, recent winner of the 2015 CPHA Foundation Equitation Championships, executed all questions asked, but also had a rub at fence 2, finishing in 2nd place. Sitting in first place, Genevieve Meyer knew what she had to do to hold the lead and proved to be calm, cool and collected under pressure. After her command performance, Meyer and Coral Reef Cruise Z earned the top call in the 2015 ASPCA Maclay Regional Finals West.
Meyer complimented her mount. "He loves going in the ring and showing. He has a lot of personality and a great jump; he's a lot of fun," she said after her win. "This is my third time doing the Regionals, my second time on him. I thought the course was difficult enough. It was straightforward, but had its tricky parts, so I thought it was a good course. There were definitely parts to test the rider with a couple of options." Meyer heads East for the Medal Finals later this Fall. Best of luck to all the riders who have worked hard to qualify for the upcoming Indoor circuit in Harrisburg, Washington and Lexington.
New to the ASPCA Maclay Medal Finals this year, equitation riders can apply for the Leo Conroy Maclay Grant, which will provide up to five riders with financial aid so that they are able to participate in the Finals at the CP National Horse Show. The application deadline is October 1st, details here.
The Blenheim Fall Tournament concludes today with the USHJA Children's and Adult Amateur Jumper Regional Championships, and the $30,000 Markel Insurance Grand Prix. Next week, the International Jumping Tournament celebrates young talent with the USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals and the Blenheim Young Horse Finals, and also features a $30,000 Markel Insurance Grand Prix.
ASPCA Maclay Regional Finals West
Place - Rider - Horse - Trainers
1. Genevieve Meyer - Coral Reef Cruise Z - Vinton and Ann Karrasch
2. Miela Gross - Exquisite - Emily Esau Williams
3. Alexandra Ladove - Beau Van Het Keyershof - Robyn Stiegler
4. Michael Williamson - Long Island Ice Tea - Patty Ball
5. Claire Follmer - Arezzo - Karen Healey Stables
6. Sydney Hutchins - Gaudi - Elvenstar
7. Ransome Rombauer - Lalonde - Daniel Ighani and Karen Healey Stables
8. Kayla Lott - Caracas - Elvenstar
9. Mitchell Endicott - Freedom C - Pegasus Show Stable
10. Kelsey Fenger - Charming - Liz Hutchison