Kelsey Thatcher Snags the Blue in IHJA Equitation Class at 2010 Showplace Spring Spectacular I

Wayne, IL - As the temperature heated up so did the competition at the 2010 Showplace Spring Spectacular I at the Lamplight Equestrian Center.  The equitation classes began in the Main Hunter Ring at 8:15 AM and continued throughout the morning.  In the IHJA Junior Medal Kelsey Thatcher took home the blue for an outstanding performance on Sander.  Sydney Schaefer, aboard Atlantic 32, grabbed the blue in the Central Equine Junior Medal, and Nora Laue had a flawless performance to take home the win in the ASPCA Maclay.

All three classes featured a first round and then a test round.  In the IHJA Junior Medal the top four riders were invited back for the test phase of the class.  The first two riders, Lily Kubly and Caitlin Creel, took the same path to the four test fences.  The third rider to test, Sydney Schaefer, took a left turn off of the first fence where the other riders took the right hand turn.  When Kelsey Thatcher entered the ring she had a plan. Thatcher came off of the first fence and took the left hand turn like Schaefer.  She then exhibited an elegant turn to the left off of the last fence.

Thatcher commented, "Sander was really good today. He is a super nice equitation horse and always comes out ready to play."

Pony Lane Farm purchased Sander so that Thatcher had a strong equitation horse for the equitation classes at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF).  During this year's competition at WEF, Thatcher received multiple ribbons in the equitation classes, but they did not test every time.  "At WEF the equitation classes are difficult and I only received ribbons sparingly, so I do not have a lot of experiences with tests.  I always get nervous for some reason, so I just have to practice going all out and getting it done and showing the judge I want to win."  

Sydney Schaefer, who placed second in the IHJA Junior Medal Class behind Thatcher, dominated the Central Equine Junior Medal class.  Schaefer rode Atlantic 32 in the first phase of the class and had an outstanding round.  After a short pause in the class, the top four riders were also invited back for a test round. The riders test started off the right lead, followed by a right turn to an oxer, followed by a trot fence coming home, and riders then finished with a split rail fence off of the left lead. The first rider to try the test was Hunter Holloway.  The pair had a nice test but knocked down the top rail of the split rail fence.   Holloway earned the fourth place ribbon overall. The next rider, Lily Kubly, attempted the test.  Kubly had a flawless test round resulting in a third place finish.  Hayley Waters changed the test a little bit by adding an inside turn that was tight off of the first fence.  The duo had to immediately turn following their landing off the first fence.  Waters earned the second place ribbon overall.  Last was Schaefer, who navigated Atlantic 32 over the test round. The pair also took the right turn that was immediately following the first fence.  Schaefer then jumped the oxer going away, and trotted over the fence coming home.  There was a little hesitation to the trot fence but Schaefer overcame it. Schaefer's ride earned her the first place ribbon in the Central Equine Junior Medal.

Schaefer commented, " The class went really well today.  We had a break in between my round and the test so I was a little worried that my horse would be too quiet because of the break.  However, we went into the class and he was really good. "

Schaefer had a plan in mind before attempting the test phase of the class.  She explained, "On every test my plan is to never to be backwards.  I always want to move forward through the lines and the fences because moving forward gives you more options.  I saw the girl go before me do the inside turn and I was not sure if it was going to work. After she made the turn and went on to the next fence I saw that it was going to be fine, so I planned to take that same inside turn."

As Schaefer continued over the oxer she made a left hand turn to the trot fence coming home. "I was a little nervous when we approached the trot fence," smiled Schaefer.  "My horse was looking at the fence and he backed off from my leg a bit, so I legged him forward, he relaxed and we moved on with the test."

Scahefer added, "Atlantic can be a little lazy at times but he will also take me to the jump at other times."

The ASPCA Maclay class was quite competitive today.  All of the riders were invited back for the test portion of the Maclay.  Riders were tested on the flat at different paces to showcase their transitions, movements, and the rider's ability to use their aids effectively.

Nora Laue, riding Parrot Bay, earned the blue ribbon after the test phase.  Prior to winning the first place ribbon in the ASPCA Maclay class, Laue also won the Equitation 15-17. Laue noted, "When I went in to the Maclay, my horse felt great.  He was being really good.  I felt really good when I came out of the first round but I did not think it was going to be the best round overall.  There are many top riders in the country here!"

Laue continued, "As I stood in the line-up I was listening to the judge relay the numbers back to the announcer but I kept hearing the other ring's announcer.  I thought that maybe I heard my number in fourth place but I was so happy when my number was announced as the winner.  I was ecstatic.  Parrot Bay rode really well today; he was fabulous."

Laue has owned Parrot Bay since he was six years old.  Originally they bought Parrot Bay to use in the Junior Jumpers.  After a while, Mary Goldman, Laue's trainer, and Laue decided to move him into the equitation classes.  Laue noted, "I have enjoyed showing Parrot Bay in the equitation and I want to thank my trainer Mary Goldman.  She has been fabulous and I am lucky to have a great team."

Tomorrow's coverage of the 2010 Showplace Spring Spectacular Week I will continue with champion and reserve championships given to the Junior Hunter divisions.  For more information on Showplace Productions and the 2010 Showplace Spring Spectacular Horse Show Series, please visit

Top Photo Credit: Kesley Thatcher and Sander win IHJA Junior Medal at 2010 Showplace Spring Spectacular I.  2010 Showplace Spring Spectacular I.  Photo 2010 © Lindsay McCall/PMG.  
Middle Photo Credit: Sydney Schaefer and Atlantic 32 win the blue in the Central Equine Junior Medal at 2010 Showplace Spring Spectacular I.  2010 Showplace Spring Spectacular I.  Photo 2010 © Lindsay McCall/PMG.
Bottom Photo Credit: Nora Laue and Parrot Bay win ASPCA Maclay and Equitation 15-17 division at 2010 Showplace Spring Spectacular I.  2010 Showplace Spring Spectacular I.  Photo 2010 © Lindsay McCall/PMG.