2014 Mid-Atlantic Equitation Festival presented by Stübben North America Celebrates Tradition Through Teamwork
November 25th, 2014 10:35 AM | 1 Comment
Upper Marlboro, MD (November 21, 2014) Mid-Atlantic Equitation Festival judges Fran Dotoli and Scott Hofstetter praised the caliber of horses, riders and training at the third annual championships, modeled by co-chairs Mary Beebee and Ellen Shevella in the tradition of the New England Equitation Championships and presented by Stübben North America at The Show Place Arena, November 14-16, in Upper Marlboro, MD.
“It was a great event that highlighted the importance of equitation in an area with deep hunter/jumper tradition,” said Dotoli, of Chepachet, RI, an ‘R’ USEF judge and trainer of equitation and hunter national champions for three decades. “We hope our judging helped guide riders to note what we reward: a good two-point seat, a soft release and overall effectiveness.”
“I was really impressed with the quality of horses and ponies,” said Hofstetter, of Ocala, FL, whose 1986 ASPCA Maclay Finals win helped launch a career as a leading rider at Capital Challenge, Devon and Washington, conducting USEF Judges Clinics and Trainer Certification Programs and a seat on the USHJA Judges Committee. “We saw a show celebrating the equitation finals tradition through a major indoor event, while encouraging and teaching riders that they didn’t have to be ‘perfect’ and could learn from a second round. That’s great.”
Over its newly extended, three-day program, the USHJA Member’s Choice Award-winning show saw youthful partnerships end and begin, a runway model and ex-eventing prospect prove models of perfection, a teen title winner at her first-ever Maryland show, an American Thoroughbred win a second consecutive Jockey Club TIP award and the Saturday night debut of a Team Costume Class that delivered, Shevella affirmed, “A rollicking good time.”
Closing a nearly four year career together were Young Riders Champions for the Laura Pickett Memorial Trophy, Mary Elizabeth Cordia, 16, of Alexandria VA, and 12 year-old gelding, Welcome (aka, Clover): “I owe my success to his taking care of me.” Cordia went home with a new Stübben saddle of her choice and Welcome – who came from Ginny Edwards as a Children’s hunter — will next “take care” of trainer Jenny Graham’s son. Reserve were Sabrina Yekta, of Chester NJ, who trains with Ashley DiBongrazio Pankow at Redfield Farm, on Empire.
Christine Manske Lies, owner of Rintoo, ridden by Katie Kranking to Best Equitation Horse, Highest Score Finalist and Adult Rider Awards confessed, “When it comes to gratitude, I start at thank you, Charlotte Williams, for suggesting I entrust ‘Vinnie’ to Patty, Mary Lisa and Pam Saul, who entrusted him to Katie. When you buy a horse you have so many dreams and they include a victory gallop like this. He was born for the spotlight, we just had to find the right one.”
Patty Nicholson Foster, a two-time MAEF Leading Trainer Award winner, said the 10 year-old Canadian Sporthorse gelding came to Rolling Acres Show Stables in Brookeville, MD, from an Ohio three-day barn as a lease/sales prospect: “He didn’t like that job but turned into a great equitation horse.”
“Vinnie is special. This was only our second show. He’s smooth, adjustable and will jump anything,” said Kranking, a Wilhelmina Agency model whose winning style with Rintoo began in Friday’s Marshall & Sterling Adult Medal 3′ and culminated in the Adult Rider Championship for the Gary Zook Memorial Trophy and saddle of choice from Stübben North America. “We love Stübben at Rolling Acres so the saddle is awesome.”
Rolling Acres also had Flat Medal Finals champions in Brianna Sims, of Bowie, MD, and Clear Cove. Sims had the dual pleasure of accepting her trophy while learning of her acceptance to the NCEA program at Texas A&M University (where 2013 MAEF Young Rider Champion, Kristen Mohr, also studies).
MAEF Adult Rider Reserve Champions were Matthew Lowe and Redfield’s Carebryere. The 2008 VHSA and MHSA Adult Medal Finals reserve champion called his return to Upper Marlboro “good to be back on home turf.” (So good that Lowe’s first lesson on Emil Spadone’s hunter had only been four days before winning their MAEF tricolor!)
Strong rides like Lowe’s led to High Score Barn and $1,000 Leading Trainer Awards for Redfield Farm of Califon, NJ, and trainer Ashley DiBongrazio Pankow, who also won the inaugural Trainer Congeniality Award and trunk from CustomTackTrunk.com.
“The test was the best part,” said Morgan van Nortwick, of Leesburg, VA, the Novice Rider Champion for the Ross Reisner Memorial Trophy on Sara George’s senior mare, Serenity. The sixth-grader won her first custom boot fitting, courtesy of Roxane Mosley-Ginsburg of PommeNewYork.com, for her victor’s pair of DeNiro talls, plus a Classic bridle from HuntleyEquestrian.com. Winter Hill Farm trainer Tom Brennan praised his pair: “They help each other out whenever they can.” Reserve went to high school freshman Hayden Wilkes, of Shamong, NJ, on the solid Winslow Park for trainer Carolyn Desfor.
The Team Costume Class, featuring a Parade of Teams and unofficial “bribing” of judges, drew 39 creatively-appointed competitors for Charlottesville, VA, designer George Heston’s course, rousing laughter and cheers with each musical round, courtesy of announcer Kenn Marash. Flower Power Hippies, coached by Kelsi Okun and composed of Selman, Cordia and Devan Graham, had Peace, Love and Happiness (and the victory gallop); second were Bumble Bees Elizabeth Van Nostrand, Sabrina Yekta, Sabrina Mercadante with coach Tracy La Manna.
Graham, of Chevy Chase, MD, had been riding Don Stewart’s bay (better known as Bruno Mars) just two weeks before posting a high score of 90 for her tie-dyed team and credited “trust” in the gelding for their additional wins in the ASPCA Maclay, Pessoa/US Hunter Seat Medal and VHSA Hunt Seat Medal.
Sierra Fuentress of Owings Mills, MD, who trains with The McDonogh School and rode Guess Again for owner Lyn Pederson, earned the Sportsmanship Award and Donna Vale Memorial Trophy. Explained Shevella, “The Sportsmanship Award is voted by riders, trainers and peers. Many lovely ballot comments indicated Sierra was a deserving honoree. Runner-up was the always-cheerful Omar Del Valle.”
For a second consecutive year, Lansdowne, VA high school sophomore Mali Selman, who trains with Jonelle Mullen and TuDane Farm, accepted The Jockey Club Thoroughbred Incentive Program (TIP) Award for American Thoroughbred, Man of Steel, while sophomore Morgan Giordano of Jacobstown, NJ, and Magnanimous, making their Maryland show ring debut, rode away with the Owner High Score Thoroughbred Award.
Sunday’s College Meet and Greet Brunch delivered great food and networking with representatives of NCEA and Bridgewater, Centenary, Converse, Delaware Valley, Goucher, Randolph and Sweet Briar Colleges. MAEF presented a $1500 Maryland Practical Horsemanship Scholarship to Cary Hundley, who trains with James Prettyman and rode Beste Intentions, and a $1000 Maryland Horsemanship Scholarship (supported by a grant from the Maryland Horse Industry Board) went to Mary Podgovak-Miller, a self-trained rider from Salisbury, NC, who rode Luxus. A silent auction benefiting the MAEF Scholarship Fund was overseen by volunteers Joanne Riley, a NY-based designer with The Interior Edge, and Michael Mulligan of Merrill Lynch.
“What a great success this show has become,” remarked a friend of Pankow’s shortly after the Redfield Farm trainer accepted her awards. Every year, more equitation barns and trainers come to MAEF for its signature relaxed — and rewarding — format./div>
“Trainers are already telling us they want to bring more horses and riders next year,” said Shevella, who assures that she and Beebee, will “be ready.”
For complete results and more visit www.midatlanticeq.com.