By Kate Pettersen and Sabrina Brashares for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Friday morning at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) began with 55 equitation riders competing for the blue ribbon in the EMO Insurance USHJA 3’3” Jumping Seat Medal at Ring 6. The class was held in a California split format with Taylor Landstrom riding Inferno to the Section A first place ribbon and Francesca Guidi piloting Come Monday to the Section B win.
The equitation medal consisted of two rounds, an over-fences phase and a flat test, for the top 10 riders of both Section A and Section B. Landstrom, of Excelsior, MN, and her own Inferno tackled the over-fences phase with ease and earned a score of 87 to put them at the top of the class.
“I picked up my canter and once we found the first jump, the rest of the course fell into place,” described Landstrom. “He knew what his job was, and I did my job, so I couldn’t have been happier.”
Landstrom and the eight-year-old Warmblood gelding by Etoulon VDL train with Three Ships LLC and this is their first year showing in the big equitation classes. The pair aims to qualify for the equitation finals this fall and hopefully ribbon in them as well.
“I got him last year at the end of circuit,” explained Landstrom. “He is my first equitation horse, and we have been growing together throughout the year. He is so special.”
Second place in Section A went to Rylynn Conway, of Fair Haven, NJ, and her own Crossbow. The duo earned a first round score of 80.
The Section B winner of the medal was Francesca Guidi, of Hingham, MA, and Michael Fletcher’s Come Monday. Guidi has had the ride on the nine-year-old Rheinlander gelding by Icarus since the summer, and the pair successfully conquered the 3’3” equitation finals together last year.
“I’m very familiar with him, and I’m so thankful that I can continue to ride him this season,” commented Guidi. “My goals with him this circuit are to get more consistent in the big equitation, since this will be my first year showing in that.”
Guidi and Come Monday train with Grazing Fields Farm and scored a 79.5 in the first round. The pair impressed the judges in the flat portion of the class to move up and take home the blue ribbon.
“It was a pretty technical course with a lot of bending lines and thankfully things that I’ve actually been working on at home,” said Guidi. “I had a really solid plan with my trainer about exact numbers and where I wanted to be, and I’m pretty proud because we executed our plan very well.”
Elianna Kirson and Sietske Z earned the red ribbon in Section B of the USHJA Jumping Seat Medal. Kirson, of Barrington Hills, IL, and Lyda Denney’s Sietske Z received a first round score of 83.
Competition on Saturday will feature the $37,000 CaptiveOne 1.50m Classic taking place in the International Arena and the THIS Children’s Medal 14 and Under in Ring 6.