Tampa, FL - Sunday, April 1, 2012 - On a hazy morning at the Tournament of Champions, the second week of the Tampa Equestrian Series, the hunters gathered in the tree-lined Main Hunter Ring. The competition was fierce as the first day got underway. Leslie Howard and ZippZoo put in an excellent effort in the First Year Green Working Hunters, and Greg Crolick aboard Imagine caught the judges' eyes, as well. It was a day for success Amanda Steege stole the show yet again, laying down smooth rounds in the Second Year Green Working Hunters, proving that the first week of competition was no fluke. Mary Euphemia took home all blues in the Performance 3'6" to 3'9" Hunters, making a clean sweep of the over fences and the under saddle.
The grey gelding, ZippZoo, owned by the Burr Associates, made his mark with Leslie Howard in the irons during the First Year Green Working Hunters. The talented duo won the first over fences class, executing a flowing, smooth and consistent round. It was Imagine with Greg Crolick of Birmington, MI, that put in the winning handy round, using perfectly executed rollbacks and a smooth transition to the trot jump to gain the edge of their competition.
"I've had Imagine for about five months, he's an absolutely lovely, easy, quiet and great jumping horse," shared Crolick about the chestnut Oldenburg gelding. "The course was very rideable. Last week he was a little spooky, but this week he fell right into his niche. This is our first time down in Tampa. I'm really happy to be here. It's a lovely horse show." Crolick also piloted the striking bay Holsteiner mare, Social Scene, to the second place in the handy class. Adrian Iverson and Fidelia put in a smooth round and were second in the first over fences class of the morning.
As the day continued, Balou with Lisa Arena firmly in the saddle put in solid rounds during the Second Year Green Working Hunters. The pair walked away with the blue ribbon in the first over fences, as well as in the under saddle. City of Angels, piloted by Megan Edrick, wowed the spectators in the handy round.
In the Performance 3'6" to 3' 9" Hunters division, it was a clean sweep by Mary Euphemia and Unbelievable, owned by Paula Pell of St Petersburg, FL. Together, they took the first in the over fences, the handy and the under saddle. "He's such a great horse," Euphemia smiled. "I feel great. I love that horse so much, we raised him from a baby. My husband broke him, we've shown him all through his career from Pre-Greens through Regulars. He's coming off a little time off at the moment, and he feels better than ever. He knows me so well and it is so fun when he goes like he did today."
It was Mary Euphemia again in the Pre-Greens with Summer Daze who took the win in the first over fences round and the hack. The pair fell just short during the second round of the over fences where Afellay owned by Red Field Farm and ridden by Adrienne Iverson, put in the smoothest and most rhythmic performance to win the blue. Winter Wonder and Amanda Steege delivered consistent rounds to land the pair in second place in both over fences classes.
Euphemia was thrilled with her day, and she could be seen standing in the in gate cooing to Summer Daze, whose barn name is Archie. Euphemia was clearly proud of the chestnut Hanoverian gelding's performance. Owner, Patricia Simpson Zeh, was on hand to give Archie a kiss on the nose after the hack and to congratulate Euphemia on a job well done. "He is such a great horse. I couldn't be happier with my day," beamed Euphemia.
Tomorrow riders will once again gather at the Main Hunter Ring to vie for the top honors as championships are awarded. The morning will begin with the Pre-Green Hunters, and the competition will only continue to grow more fierce as the day continues. During the Tampa Equestrian Series, riders will have the opportunity for championship and reserve championship honors in the Professional Hunter divisions, Junior Hunter divisions, and Amateur-Owner Hunter divisions. The event also features the Tampa Series Hunter High Score Circuit Awards in several hunter divisions, which will be awarded during the 40th Annual $200,000 Gene Mische American Invitational presented by G & C Farm, at Raymond James Stadium.
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.
Photos: Unbelievable and Mary Euphemia \; Imagine and Greg Crolick. Photos By: Carrie Wirth.