Taylor Schmidt & Zana Wofsi Excel at Horse Shows by the Bay

Traverse City, MI - July 22, 2012 - Even though Taylor Schmidt has only been competing in the jumper ranks for little more than a year, when she went into the ring to jump off for the $7,500 NAL Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic she had confidence in her mare Zana Wofsi.  Knowing that Wofsi's strength is turning, Schmidt said she made her winning plan with the knowledge that they could master Michel Vallaincourt's jump-off test.

He challenged riders early in the jump-off by presenting a potential inside turn from Fences 1 to 2, or gallop around. If the riders chose to take the long route, they'd have to go all out to make up precious time. If they opted bravery and take a shot at the inside turn, they'd have to be accurate and execute the turn precisely. "After watching so many before me miss the inside turn, I had no trepidation about attempting it," said Schmidt. "To be competitive I knew I had to get it done and she was there for me."

By jumping to the top spot in the NAL Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic yesterday, Schmidt simultaneously captured the USHJA/Zone 5 Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Championships at the Horse Shows By the Bay Equestrian Festival, the 2012 designated competition to host the Zone 5 Championship Class.  Schmidt rides out of Batavia, IL which is part of Zone V which encompasses the states IL, IN, MI, and KY. 

Vallaincourt's first-round course consisted of 15 obstacles and a snug time allowed. A large starting field of 35 was reduced to 14 horse/rider combinations for the tough eight-jump second round.

The first four to go in the jump-off attempted the inside turn, albeit without success. The next group of qualifiers opted to take the longer route but faulted elsewhere on course. It wasn't until Zana Wofsi and Schmidt stepped into the Grand Prix Arena that the crowd saw the first to successfully negotiate the inside turn and finish with a fault-free and fast performance in 38.531 seconds.

The next couple of qualifiers again had trouble with the tight inside turn to the second jump, but then Corina and Olivia Jack galloped in the arena with determination. Rather than risk the turn that only one had mastered, Jack and Corina blazed around the longer route. It was close, but the clock stopped in 38.810 seconds, just 0.279 seconds off the winning pace.

Only two other contenders, Vertigo/Wesley Newlands and Von Dutch/Reid Patton were able to complete the second round fault-free. Neither Newlands' time of 41.914 seconds nor Patton's in 41.102 seconds was good enough to overtake the 16-year-old Schmidt and Zana Wofsi.

Schmidt's joy on winning both the NAL Prix and Zone 5 Championship class was evident with her gleaming smile. "I've only being competing in the jumper ranks for little more than a year, and my partnership with Wofsi began just four months ago, so it's quite an honor to have won the Zone 5 Championship class," she said.

The 8-year-old Dutch Warmblood and Schmidt have been on a roll during the Horse Shows by the Bay Festival, evidenced by yesterday's win and the dynamic duo's second big Classic win of the series. "We have one more week here in Traverse City, so I'll try to calm my nerves for our final attempt at winning the Series IV classic, but knowing that my mare loves the footing here, I'm optimistic," she said.

Final Results - $7,500 NAL Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic:
1st: Zana Wofsi: Taylor Schmidt
2nd: Corina: Olivia Jack
3rd: Von Dutch: Reid Patton
4th: Vertico: Naomi Bradley
5th: Rodrigo's Athena: Phoebe Murray
6th: Lifestyle: Lacey Gilbertson
7th: Horseflight.Com Remiville: Maisie McSwain
8th: Al Cantaro: Jazz Hawk

Final Results - Zone 5 Low Junior/Amateur Owner Jumper Championship:
1st: Zana Wofsi: Taylor Schmidt
2nd: Rodrigo's Athena: Phoebe Murray
3rd: Lifestyle: Lacey Gilbertson
4th: Chalvino Z: Kady Abrahamson
5th: Affier: Melissa Orlick-Zbierski
6th: Enzo: Sierra Fischer
7th: Horseflight.Com Remiville: Maisie McSwain
8th: Al Cantaro: Jazz Hawk

The R.F. Polk Family Hunter Ring wrapped up yesterday with the Amateur-Owner Hunters battling it out to the bitter end with coveted Championships at stake.

Under the watchful eyes of judges Bob Braswell and Tom Brede, Lacey Gilbertson and her Condanas earned the Amateur-Owner Hunter, 18-35, Hunter tricolor with Reserve Championship honors awarded to Catwalk and Lindsey Roberts.

In the Amateur-Owner Hunter, 36 and over, section, Arico and Katie Robinson earned the Championship, with just 1.5 points separating Reserve Champion Touchdown and Becky Gochman.

Robinson hadn't planned on attending Horse Shows by the Bay, however, her brother Charlie Jacobs convinced her to come for a week. "I've had such a wonderful experience at the show that I've decided to stay an extra week, and we're already making plans for 2013," said Robinson of her inaugural visit to Traverse City.

Full results can be found by visiting www.horseshowing.com. For more information on the Horse Shows by the Bay Series, please visit www.horseshowsbythebay.com.