Devon, PA - Two lively jumper classes made for an eventful first day of the Brandywine Valley Summer Series presented by Taylor Harris Insurance Services in Devon, PA this afternoon. Joe Fargis rode Mariposa to a victory in the the 1.20M Open Jumper class, while Amanda Hood piloted Hip Hop to a win in the Children's/Adult Jumper class. Both events were complemented by sunny skies and balmy breezes, making for an afternoon of pleasant competition for both horses and riders.
In the 1.20m Open Jumper class, Fargis finished first after speedily completing a double clear effort. In the first round, he and the talented Mariposa, owned by Sharon Simpson of Newton Square, PA, came in under the 70 seconds allowed with a time of 65.417. He repeated his success in the jump-off, finishing under the 36 seconds allowed with a final time of 32.620 seconds. Smiling as he cruised clearly around the course, Fargis made the challenging set of jumps look easy.
Designed by Jose M. Gamarra, the course posed a challenge to many of the other competitors in this first Brandywine jumper class. Time penalties and rail knockdowns abounded; however, a few riders and their horses were able to jump clear rounds and finish within the allotted time. Tracey Weinberg piloted Linda Z easily advanced to the jump-off and cruised through the short course with a time of 34.775 seconds, coming in second behind Fargis. Linda Z is owned by Fargis, of Lovettsville, VA. Christina Serio and Navarre took third place with a time of 66.916 seconds, completing the jump-off with a time of 35.033 seconds. Navarre is owned by Derbydown of Kennett Square, PA.
Fargis has ridden Mariposa for about two years, and was very pleased his talented mount. "The horse did everything I asked of her," he commented. "It's always tough to do the best you can, but there's no pressure except what you put it on yourself. I wanted to do well, and the horse said, 'OK, I'll do what you're asking me.' We have a good partnership; we like each other."
In the Children's/Adult Jumper class, Amanda Hood of Washington, DC rode two of her own horses, Hip Hop and Boy-O-Boy, ultimately winning with Hip Hop. With only 66 seconds allowed, Hood and her Hanoverian finished the first round without fault in 63.810 seconds. The duo also dominated the jump-off with a time of 35.333 seconds. Jennifer Brennan came in second aboard Ducky, owned by Shannondell Farm of Norristown, PA. She crossed the finish line right behind Hood with a time of 35.803 seconds. Earlier, she and Ducky cleared the course in a brisk 61.058 seconds. Rounding-out the top three was Andreas Deleyer riding Figaro, owned by Johannis Deleyer of Tomball, TX. Feeling the need for speed on both of his rides today, Deleyer finished aboard Figaro with a time of 55.618 seconds, and aboard Skylark in the same class with a time of 45.697 seconds.
Today's jumper events took place at the picturesque Devon Show Grounds, a favored location for riders of all levels. "It's a great ring and it's really fun to ride in," said Hood. "The Gold Ring is a great size, and it's always good to be at Devon. Brandywine is really nice so far, the weather's been great, and it seems like Louise [Serio] and everyone have made such a great effort."
Hood continued, "When it comes to jumping, I like the technicality combined with the gallop. Sometimes you just have to ride by the seat of your pants, but I like that it's intermingled with the technical stuff. I also like how - even though it's maddening - you can always do it better."
The quest to improve with every ride will continue at the Brandywine Valley Summer Series over the next two weeks. Later this week, riders will have the chance to participate in the $10,000 Chester County Food Bank Mini Prix on Friday and the $3,000 Johnson Horse Transportation National Hunter Derby on Saturday under the lights. The 'AA'-rated competition will continue for two weeks through July 10, with a local day on July 11.
For more information about the Brandywine Valley Summer Series, please visit http://brandywinevalleysummerseries.com/.
Photo: Joe Fargis and Mariposa triumphed in the 1.20M Open Jumpers at the Brandywine Valley Summer Series. Photo Credit: Robyn Keyster/PMG.