Devon, PA - July 1, 2011 - It was a beautiful night at the historic Devon Show Grounds as riders gathered at the Dixon Oval for the $10,000 Chester County Food Bank Mini Prix. A competitive group of horse and rider combinations tackled the challenging course for the highlight event at the first annual Brandywine Valley Summer Series, presented by Taylor Harris Insurance Services. The top prize went to Samantha Schaefer and Trezebees after they completed a double clear effort in 25.279 seconds over Tracey Weinberg and Larone, who scored the second place honors.
Jose Gamarra set a challenging first round track for the competitors, which featured a triple bar, a liverpool, a vertical-oxer double combination, and a oxer-vertical-vertical triple combination. Seven of the horse and rider combinations were able to master the first round without fault and advance to the short course. They began over an oxer-vertical bending line before making a sharp turn to the double combination. They then turned to a single vertical before galloping towards the finish line over the final oxer.
Samantha Schaefer was fifth in the return order aboard Trezebees, owned by Addison Phillips of New York, NY, and the duo was ready to win it. They picked up a quick gallop to the first fence and never held back. Schaefer was able to nimbly guide Trezebees through each of the difficult turns and they jumped straight to the top of the leaderboard with a blazing double clear effort in 25.279 seconds.
"Tracey [Weinberg] had set a very quick time so I knew I had to go for it," explained Schaefer. "Trezebees has a lot of scope so I knew I had to be very quick across the ground. She turned really nicely after the second jump and after the combination."
Schaefer continued, "I've always had green horses, so it's nice to have one that is so competitive and you know can win. Trezebees is amazing. She has a lot of natural blood, a lot of scope and she's so careful. Basically you just steer, and try not to get in her way!"
The talented junior rider is leasing Treezebees from Phillips through the end of the year. After two weeks of rest, the duo will compete at HITS Saugerties and then the 2011 North American Junior Young Rider Championships.
Tracey Weinberg of Lovettsville, VA, took home the second place prize in tonight's class with Larone. The talented pair made a very sharp turn to the last fence and set the time to beat at 27.047 seconds. "My strategy in the jump-off is to go as fast as you possibly can and leave the jumps up," she said after her ride. "Larone is 18, and so for him to go back-to-back is tough. After the combination he landed deep, he landed kind of hard, and so it took me a step or two to get him turned around. No complaints though, he was amazing!"
The third place award went to Janice Syphers of Gwynedd Valley, PA, and Cover Girl. They had a very quick pace to the first jump and completed a clear round despite a hard rub coming out of the combination, and broke the beam at 27.264 seconds.
The fourth and fifth place honors each went to Christina Serio of Kennett Square, PA and her Derbydown mounts. Serio had the slowest fault-free jump-off with Navarre for the fourth place ribbon, but had the quickest four-fault round with Volumia. They lowered the height of the last vertical, but stopped the clock in a speedy 26.257 seconds.
Rounding out the jump-off was R.W. Tull of Coatesville, PA, with Artful Dodger and Julia Fowler of West Hartford, CT, aboard Presco. They finished sixth and seventh respectively, after each pair earned four faults over the short course.
The $1,500 M&S Children's/Adult Jumper Classic was also held today, just prior to the $10,000 Chester County Food Bank Mini Prix. Jennifer Brennan had the winning ride aboard Ducky, owned by Shannondell Farm of Norristown, PA. The duo completed a double clear effort in 28.361 seconds, and their win today would secure the Children's/Adult Jumper Championship. Finishing in second and tying for the reserve championship was Andreas Deleyer of Tomball, TX, and Figaro, after they tripped the timers at 29.050 seconds. Also earning the reserve championship was the third place finisher, Amanda Hood of Washington, DC, and Boy-O-Boy, who completed a fault-free jump-off in 30.597 seconds.
Brennan has been riding Ducky for a year and was very pleased with her mount's performance. "Andreas was really last so I knew I had to go for it," she commented. "Ducky is wonderful though, all I need to do is steer. Brandywine has been a great show for us and it has been very exhibitor friendly!"
Earlier this afternoon, Julia Fowler of West Hartford, CT, took home the first place prize in the High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers for her consistent effort aboard Presco. Then, Alex Matz scored the winning prize in the Low Junior/Amateur Owner Jumpers with Counterfoil, owned by Laurie Jakbauskas of Kennett Square, PA.
The Chester County Food Bank was tonight's beneficiary, and is a non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization located in Downingtown, PA founded in 2009. The Chester County Food Bank is the central distribution point for 27 food cupboards and 42 meal sites that feed people on an emergency basis. The organization is able to achieve this through donations from individuals, corporations, schools, food drives, and through state grants from the Department of Agriculture. The Chester County Food Bank grows food on 18 acres around Chester County and over 40 farms save produce from their farm stands. They have also planted hundreds of 12 x 13 raised bed gardens at over 55 sites, including churches, schools, and the Chester County Public Library. For more information on the Chester County Food Bank and ways to help contribute please visit http://chestercountyfoodbank.org/.
Tomorrow, the exciting action at the Brandywine Valley Summer Series will continue with another evening class, the $3,000 Johnson Horse Transportation USHJA National Hunter Derby. On Sunday the jumpers will take center stage once again with the $3,500 High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers Classic and the $2,500 Low Junior/Amateur Owner Jumper Classic. The Brandywine Valley Summer Series will continue next week at the Devon Show Grounds and run through July 10, with a local day of competition on July 11.
For more information on the Brandywine Valley Summer Series Horse Show visit http://www.brandywinevalleysummerseries.com/index.html.
Photo Credit: Samantha Schaefer and Trezebees won the $10,000 Chester County Food Bank Mini Prix at the Brandywine Valley Summer Series. Photo By: Rebecca Walton/PMG.