Tampa, FL - Sunday, April 1, 2012 - The first day of the Tournament of Champions got underway at the Bob Equestrian Center at the Florida State Fairgrounds this morning. The day was filled with sunshine and a cool breeze as riders stepped forward to compete over the challenging jumper course. It was Greg Crolick who stole the show aboard his very own Landino during the 1.30m Open Jumper class.
Today's classes were held in the Covered Arena with courses designed by Jose Gamarra. The first round of the 1.30m Open Jumper class featured 12 numbered obstacles with 14 efforts, including a liverpool, double combination and triple combination. During the jump-off riders were faced with a single oxer before making a left turn to a tall vertical. They then made another sharp left turn to a daunting oxer before making their way through the oxer-vertical-vertical triple combination. The course came to a close as riders made a left over the outside oxer-vertical double combination and a left turn over the final obstacle.
Greg Crolick and Landino were the only pair today to master the first round course providing a clear effort just within the time allowed of 82 seconds. Crolick was the third to enter the ring, and after seeing the prior two rounds, he expertly guided his mount over the first oxer and continued through the course very carefully, leaving all fences intact and crossing the finish line in a conservative time of 79.462 seconds.
"I have had Landino for about three years, and he is still a little on the green side, but is working his way up, hopefully to the Grand Prix classes," Crolick elaborated. "I competed with him last week, and it was very different for us since we haven't shown indoors in several months. I think he felt a little claustrophobic the first week, but he seems to have really stepped up today."
Going immediately into the jump-off, Crolick had to truly think on his feet. He took an assertive approach as he raced against the timer. Effectively, he was able to pilot Landino through the short track in a quick 34.225 seconds. "For me, the more I ride, the better it is. I love being able to show the hunters and then switch to the jumpers. They are two different mindsets, and although that can get to some people, I think it definitely helps me in the ring. Hunters are so hard to be so perfect and so effortless, where as in jumpers you can be more aggressive in areas and that equilibrium helps me," Crolick continued.
Danielle Amico and Sir Charles took the second place honors for their speedy time of 79.107 seconds. Unfortunately, the duo had an unlucky rail during the oxer-vertical double combination, and another later in the course. Her eight-fault total eventually earned the duo the red ribbon. Megan Edrick and Burg's Surprise B were put through their paces by the course, incurring eight jumping faults and three time faults for her cautious effort.
"The course definitely proved challenging today," Croclick described. "However, I really liked the course. Everything came up really quick with it being in the Covered Arena, but everything worked out smooth and off your eye. It was really well set and rode great, too."
"We absolutely love Tampa. We were down in Ocala for 12 weeks, and we decided that we were in no rush to hurry home to Michigan," Crolick explained. "We brought eight horses with us out here to compete with, we thought Tampa would be a great place to earn more points for Devon. I would definitely come back next year, it is such a great location and besides being a great spot for the horses, it is family friendly, too."
This week's highlight event is the 2012 $200,000 Gene Mische American Invitational presented by G & C Farm, being held on Saturday, April 7, at Raymond James Stadium. The Tournament of Champions will continue through April 7 at the Florida State Fairgrounds, before coming to a close during the American Invitational at 6:30 p.m. The top riders in the country will gather under the lights at Raymond James Stadium to compete for the crown jewel of show jumping.
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: Greg Crolick and Landino dominated the jumpers during the first day of the Tournament of Champions in Tampa, FL. Crolick was the only rider to guide his horse to a double-clear effort in the 1.30m Open Jumpers. Photo By: Kendall Bierer/PMG.