Tampa, Fla. – September 3, 2017 – For the third and final day of the Southeast Medal Finals, horses and riders had a shot to prove themselves at the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center, with those pairs who performed the best over multiple days of competition rewarded with the championship title. Dominique Gonzalez and Euro D’Hyrencourt mastered the over fences and test portions of the Junior Medal Finals to claim the coveted winning prize under the indoor lights, while just down the path Meghan Abbott and Undercover put in the quickest double clean and clear time of 39.519 seconds to claim the top spot in the $1,000 Mini Mini Prix.
The first class of the morning, the Junior Medal Finals drew a competitive field of young riders to the Lykes Indoor Arena. The technical course offered pairs a number of chances to show off handiness and adjustability, which proved fruitful for some, but was the undoing of others. Playing into their penchant for unrelated distances and bending lines, Gonzalez and “Euro,” owned by Wadsworth Equestrian, rose to the challenge and laid down a seamless trip, earning a score of 86 from the judges panel to overtake the original class leaders, owner-rider Lauren Bramley and Irresistible with their score of 78. Gonzalez’s remaining competitors tried to chase her down in the first phase, but were unable to surpass her, solidifying her lead headed into the test.
Instead of electing for an over fences work-off, the judges panel challenged all riders to remove the stirrups from their saddles for a flat phase. No stranger to riding sans stirrups, Gonzalez maintained her position beautifully, once again demonstrating her equitation expertise to maintain the head spot and claim the Junior Medal Finals title. The championship was especially sweet for the young rider and Euro, as the duo had placed second in years past. Reserve in the class went to Bramley and Irresistible, followed by Raegan Landrum and her own Contano, who scored a 79 in the over fences portion of the final.
One of the prize money classes of the day, the $1,000 Mini Mini Prix sponsored by CWD attracted plenty of hopeful competitors to the Grand Prix Ring for their shot at the lead spot in the victory gallop and the majority share of the purse. Entrants were faced with a sweeping course of fences at the 0.95m height, and instead of returning for a jump-off with all clean contenders, stayed in the ring to ride their turn over the abridged jump-off track. Seven pairs managed to keep all the cups up and stay within the time allowed to move onto the jump-off phase, with Abbott and her own Undercover emerging with the first clear jump-off ride with a time of 39.519 seconds. Though three subsequent duos finished the short course without any rail, they were not able to trip the timers quickly enough.
Abbott and the 16-year-old Undercover retained their position atop the leaderboard to score the lion’s share of the pot and the blue ribbon. Melanie Markham and her own Diesel earned the runner-up spot with their clean jump-off time of 40.777 seconds, followed by Alyssa Croft with the ride on Jessica DiCampli’s CWF Penelope, who broke the beam in 43.633 seconds.
Numerous riders other than Gonzalez and Abbott also had reason to celebrate Sunday, including Texie Loyd, who won the Children’s Medal Finals aboard her own Maximillian E. Rachel Griffin and Kevin Eufemia’s Jasmin De Bornival 2 earned the top spot in the Adult Medal Finals, while the Novice Medal Finals were claimed by Kendall King and Alexandria Faulkner’s Cookie.
In the jumper ring, owner-rider Leah McCarter and Heart of Gold were victorious in the one of the largest classes of the day, the Low Child/Adult Jumper Finals, and the High Child/Adult Jumper Finals were won by Margaret Cobb and her own G. Padre Pio.
Sunday’s finals concluded the 2017 Southeast Medal Finals. Horses and rider enjoyed a weekend of competition and camaraderie, with many new champions crowned, and those hoping to enter next year have a whole year of qualifying possibilities ahead of them prior to the 2018 Southeast Medal Finals.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Dominique Gonzalez – Junior Medal Finals champion
On her reaction to winning:
“It feels really good. I’ve been coming to Southeast Medal Finals for three or four years now. The last couple years I’ve been second, so today I really wanted it. I really wanted this win, especially on [Euro]. Last year he was second, this year he is first now, and he just turned seven in July. He’s been so good.”
On her plan and ride:
“Usually I like to go first because I like to just get it done and not really watch too much, but today I went seventh I think. I saw the first person and the sixth go, and the first line looked really long, and I thought going in there that I have to go really moving. Everything else really came up in stride. I’m one of those people with unrelated lines, I don’t like to count, I just like to find it right. Everything else showed up well with him.”
On the no-stirrups test:
“For the flat test, we usually do – like the last few years we have done a second round over fences, like a work-off, so going in with no stirrups, I’ve had Don Stewart as a trainer and Bobby Braswell so I’m used to hour plus lessons with no stirrups. So I was like, ‘wow, this is easy, this is fine.’ ”
On her relationship with Euro D’Hyrencourt:
“He is super fun and I’m so happy that Wadsworth Equestrian bought him when he was four and I’m happy they gave me the reins on him. He’s been a great equitation horse and my dad [Terry Gonzalez] actually is my trainer for T.M. Hills [Farm International], so he has been helping me a lot the last few years. I’ve been able to really raise [Euro] since he was young, so he trusts me and I trust him fully, so when I take an inside turn I know he is gonna go for me no matter what. I’m just happy I have him.”
Meghan Abbott – $1,000 Mini Mini Prix champion
On her reaction to winning:
“I feel great. It’s super exciting for me because he is my old man. Now that he’s come back after the summer off he is doing great.”
“He feels fantastic. This is his first show back after the summer off. Our last show before this was in March. I’ve had him since he was seven, and he’s 16 now. We have a great relationship.”
On her plan in the ring:
“[My plan was] really just to have fun. That’s always my plan with that one because he is perfect all the time and if we go in and just have fun I know we will do well. That’s really all I ever try to do with him, and I know he will pull through for me. I know him and I know he is going to do his turns like he should, and I know that’s where we win is when he makes his turns. We stuck with the plan and it worked out, rode great, the course was beautiful and it rode just like we thought it would.”
Junior Medal Finals
Place / Rider / Horse / Owner / R1 Score
1. Dominique Gonzalez / Euro D’Hyrencourt / Wadsworth Equestrian / 86
2. Lauren Bramley / Irresistible / Lauren Bramley / 78
3. Raegan Landrum / Contano / Raegen Landrum / 79
4. Camryn Halley / I’ll Say JSF / Kelsey King / 76
5. Leah Rodman / Lago W / Steve Lockton / 74
6. Hadley Rahael / Ralahari / Hadley Rahael / 68
7. Lily Vassalo / Cambridge / Catrine Golia / 50
8. Michael Williamson / Commander In Chief / Christa Prater / 40
9. Siena London / Aragorn Hill / Michelle Guardino-Dettelbach / 35
10. Sarah Boon / Caramba / Beth Bowlen / 25
$1,000 Mini Mini Prix (0.95m)
Place / Rider / Horse / Owner / R1 Score / R2 Score / JO Time
1. Meghan Abbott / Undercover / Meghan Abbott / 0 / 0 / 39.519
2. Melanie Markham / Diesel / Melanie Markham / 0 / 0 / 40.777
3. Alyssa Croft / CWF Penelope / Jessica DiCampli / 0 / 0 / 43.633
4. Kristi Brownell / Caraban / WB Equine Acquisitions / 0 / 0 / 54.846
5. Reily Rieker / It’s Kosher / Reily Reiker / 0 / 4 / 40.270
6. Madison Jones / Bijoux Z / Madison Jones / 0 / 4 / 43.310
7. Leah McCarter / Heart of Gold / Leah McCarter / 0 / 4 / 57.735
8. Sophie Baron / Cavello / Jamie Stryker / 4
9. Lilly Nace / For Goodness / Dakota Schramer / 4
10. Devan Spence / Elyn / Devan Spence / 4
Crossrail Medal Finals – Annalise Murch and Azealea Decor
Short/Long Stirrup Medal Finals – Laurin Miller and Ellington
Novice Medal Finals – Kendall King and Cookie
Low Adult Medal Finals – Mia O’Brien and Dom Perignon
Low Children’s Medal Finals – Tori Knapik and Andricus
Children’s Pony Medal Finals – Nicole Farr and Good2Go
Junior Medal Finals – Dominique Gonzalez and Euro D’Hyrencourt
Children’s Medal Finals – Texie Loyd and Maximillian E
Adult Medal Finals – Rachel Griffin and Jasmin De Bornival 2
Crossrail Hunter Finals – Annalise Murch and Azealea Decor
Short/Long Stirrup Hunter Finals – Fiona Sutton and IRock
Novice Hunter Finals – Kendall Toshie and Pippy Long Stockings
Low Adult Hunter Finals – Mia O’Brien and Dom Perignon
Low Children’s Hunter Finals – Texie Loyd and Jumpin’ Jack Flash
Children’s Pony Hunter Finals – Nicole Farr and Good2Go
Junior Hunter Finals – Dominique Gonzalez and Euro D’Hyrencourt
Children’s Hunter Finals – Madison Ryan and Clever
Adult Hunter Finals – Rachel Griffin and Jasmin De Bornival 2
Pony/Beginner Jumper Finals – Agata Blaszczyk and Midnight Spark
Low Child/Adult Jumper Finals – Leah McCarter and Heart of Gold
High Child/Adult Jumper Finals – Margaret Cobb and G. Padre Pio
Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Finals – Marcus Barros and Biondetta
For more information on the Southeast Medal Finals, please click here.