A weekend of mild temperatures and beautiful blue skies set the perfect backdrop for the kickoff of the World Equestrian Center Fall Series. The action-packed weekend featured horse showing both indoors and outdoors, and even hosted the very first USHJA Young Pony Hunter Championships on Sunday. Events were aplenty, with exhibitors testing their true riding skills on the mechanical shark in the Paddock Club on Friday night and gathering on the patio of the Paddock Club to watch the classic Black Stallion on the big screen Saturday night. While strolling through the halls on their way to and from the R+L Arena and the Bradley Arena, exhibitors couldn’t help but to stop and shop in the newly-completed Vendor Village.
Friday afternoon’s $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derbies, held in the outdoor complex, had the crowd cheering as Norderney, owned by Gesture LLC, and Belynda S. Bond sailed to victory in the Open Derby, followed closely by Charismatic, owned by Alexa Kaas and ridden by Linda G. Radigan, and Tristram 7, owned by Holly Hill Farm and ridden by Caitlin W. Venezia-White.
The Non-Pro derby was equally as exciting, with Honey Creek, owned by Copper Fox LLC and Kendall Meijer leading the pack, followed by Diamond Street, owned and ridden by Abby George, and Sietske Z, owned by Lyda W. Denney and ridden by Jessica Hameline. The derby action continued Saturday evening with an undeniable adorable performance by Boutonniere, owned by Jessica Robson and Izzy Beisel. The pair were followed up by The Great Gatsby, owned by Brooke Moore and ridden by Haylee Moore, and Vanderbilt, owned and ridden by Kelly Niemier.
Fall Series I Jumper classes commenced in the Sanctuary Arena beginning with the Welcome Stake 1.35m. Wilhelm Genn and Snow White dominated the $1,500 on Thursday afternoon taking top honors.
Saturday afternoon began with David Beisel taking the top three spots in the $4,999 Futures Prix 1.30m, taking the win aboard With A Little Help Sir, owned by Dr. Elizabeth S. Gillmore, claiming second with Five Star, owned by REV Media Marketing LLC and third with Cleared for Takeoff, owned by Dr. Elizabeth S. Gillmore. When asked about his mounts, David seemed more than pleased with their performances, “[With a Little Help Sir] and [Cleared for Takeoff] I hadn’t ridden since May, so it was good for them to come out like they did. Five Star I showed last week for the first time since May, so it’s nice to have them going again!”
The jumper action continued straight into the WEC Grand Prix 1.40m, with a first-round time allowed of 80 seconds. Of the 24 contenders, 12 returned for the jump off. The top three were quick and tidy, with their jump off times only separated by 1.139 seconds. However, it was Sharn Wordley, fresh off of competing at the World Equestrian Games, and his Rye Val De Mai that led the pack with an impressive jump off time of just 32.434 seconds. Sharn was confident when asked about Rye Val De Mai, “He’s experienced, he’s 14 years old. He knows what he’s doing.” Along with his prize money, Wordley received a $100 gift card to Dandy Products. Wordley was followed up by Audrey Robison and Gorky taking second and Linda G. Radigan and Balveneur taking third.
On Sunday morning, all eyes focused on the first USHJA Young Hunter Pony Championships in the Roberts Arena. The morning began with the $1000 Farnley Farm/Marsh Run Hunter Pony 5 & Younger Under Saddle, where Monarch Bay, owned by Harmony Sporthorses and ridden by Courtney Morton, took first place.
Next in was the 4-5 year old age group, beginning with the 2’ height. Crown Ridge Footloose, owned and ridden by Vanessa Mazzoli, was deemed Champion of the Farnley Farm/Marsh Run Hunter Pony 4-5 Year Old 2’ Championship, and Dressed N Dapper, owned by Emily Elek-Burtard and ridden by Alexandra Miller was Reserve Champion.
Vanessa Mazzoli also rode her pony Partly Cloudy to a Champion victory in the Hunter Pony 4-5 Year Old 2’3” division. With her two wins, Vanessa was presented with the Style Award for the USHJA Young Hunter Pony Championships. “It was a lot of fun,” Vanessa said about her experience at the USHJA Young Hunter Pony Championships. Taking Reserve Champion in the Hunter Pony 4-5 Year Old 2’3” division was Lapinwood Magic Show, ridden by Ryan Lindimore and owned by Jamie L. Mills.
The USHJA Hunter Pony 6-7 Year Old 2’ Championship followed, with So Charming, owned by Jessica Zandri and ridden by Devin Vega, winning Champion and Stonewall Brightside, owned by Emily Elek-Burtard and ridden by Alexandra Miller, taking Reserve Champion.
The jumps were raised to 2’3” as the next group of 6-7 year olds competed in the Championships.
Hopscotch and owner/rider Amy Krebs took Champion in the USHJA Young Hunter Pony 6-7 Year Old 2’3” division, while Sugarbrook Blue Sasafras, owned and ridden by Sarah Stary, took Reserve Champion.
The USHJA Young Hunter Pony Championships wrapped up with Amy Krebs riding Mary Mielenz’s (owner/breeder) Penten’s Pixie to a Champion victory in the USHJA Young Hunter Pony 6-7 Year Old 2’6” Championship, where Biscotti, owned and ridden by Signe Dixon took Reserve Champion.
The USHJA Young Hunter Pony Championships was designed to celebrate the dedication and commitment of pony breeders, riders, trainers, and handlers who devote their lives to developing remarkable hunter ponies, and trainers/breeders like Emily Elek-Burtard, who brought three ponies to the Championships, were excited about the opportunity to showcase their ponies. “It’s fun to see your own out there,” Emily said, “[The USHJA Young Hunter Pony Championships] has been really fun. I love being around all of the ponies.”
About World Equestrian Center:
Located in Wilmington, Ohio, the World Equestrian Center features more than 200,000 square feet of climate-controlled riding space, making it one of the largest indoor/outdoor equestrian sport venues in the world. The state of the art facility features premium footing, permanent stabling and onsite accommodations as well as more than 26 weeks of USEF rated Hunter / Jumper competition.
Dedicated to offering great sport and good fun in a family friendly environment, the World Equestrian Center promises their exhibitors an experience built on three core values: Quality. Class. Distinction.
In 2020, the World Equestrian Center will debut a brand new location, providing world-class equestrian competition and equestrian-inspired country club living, all adjacent to the fabulous Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club in Ocala, Florida.
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