Wellington, FL – Sept. 26, 2021 – It was a busy weekend of equitation competition during the ESP Florida State Fall, which hosted the Region 3 ASPCA/NHSAA Maclay Championship as the highlight event at Equestrian Village. The class saw young riders from across the southeast region compete for the chance to compete at the finals later this year. Thanks to consistent performances over the fences and on the flat, Ellie Aronson of Atlanta, GA, and Eva Fisherman’s It’s Easy Time emerged as the victors.
The pinnacle of equitation finals, the ASPCA Maclay National Championship will be held November 7 during the final day of the National Horse Show in Lexington, KY. Of the 43 riders that competed on Sunday, 24 riders will initially be accepted from Region 3. Once the total number of riders from all Regional competitions is finalized, additional riders may be accepted in order of placings.
Forty-three riders contested the first round course, set by Andy Christiansen (ECU), in the covered ring at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. Following the first round of competition, 32 riders were invited back for the flat phase, which was broken up into three groups, and ultimately just four riders were asked to return for the final test. After three technical rounds of competition, Aronson and It’s Easy Time were crowned the champions. Earning second place was Hailey Royce of Wellington, FL, and Elios, owned by Michael Dietrich. Third-place honors were awarded to Schuyler Dayner of Odessa, FL, and her own Gambino.
“My horse was perfect! Even though this is just our second show together, I felt like everything just came together really well,” Aronson shared. She continued to elaborate on the rounds, saying, “In the first round, I just tried to stay on a nice canter. He holds himself in a really nice frame naturally, so in the flat phase I was able to just focus on myself and hold my position. Then in the test I just wanted to go out there and have fun with it.”
Following this competition, Aronson, who trains with Missy Clark at North Run, will begin prepping for the finals, competing at a few other shows along the way. “I’ll be at the Dover [Saddlery/USEF Hunter Seat] Medal and I’ll be competing at the Washington [International Horse Show], although I won’t be competing in the medal there. Then I’ll be back here for the whole [Winter Equestrian Festival] circuit, which I’m really excited about because I feel like everyone I know is always here for WEF.”
Earlier in the weekend, Royce made a name for herself thanks to multiple victories in a variety of equitation classes. Starting on Thursday, Royce piloted Elios to first place in the WIHS Hunter Phase with a score of 84, and the pair also won the Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search 1* class. The East Coast portion of the 2021 Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals will begin on October 8 in Gladstone, NJ. Royce and Elios added to their success on Friday with top call in the ASPCA Maclay class, besting a field of 26 entries to earn another blue ribbon ahead of the weekend’s feature Regional Championship.
In the WIHS Jumper Phase, Mckenzie Clayton of Roxboro, NC, and Kristen Bond’s Bea Ready jumped right to the top of the scorecard with a score of 83. Combined with the duo’s third-place score of 77 in the WIHS Hunter Phase, their total tally of 160 points put Clayton and Bea Ready at the top of the overall leaderboard, securing first place in the WIHS Overall standings. Royce and Elios finished just behind the leaders in the reserve position with a final score of 156 thanks to 84 points in the Hunter Phase and 72 points in the Jumper Phase. The WIHS Equitation Finals will take place during the Washington International Horse Show at the end of October, when 40 riders will compete in the finals based on points earned in the WIHS Equitation classes held during the qualifying period. Traditionally held in Washington D.C., the 2021 event will be located at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in Tryon, NC.
The Dover Saddlery/USEF Hunter Seat Medal saw a large field of 21 horse-and-rider combinations compete for the top prize on Friday. Aboard Diador Van Der Heide, owned by Jordan Hill, Xavier Gomez of Wellington, FL, ultimately claimed first place following a standout performance over the 3’6” fences. Clayton and Bea Ready, having already accrued a series of impressive results, earned the second-place honors. Qualified riders will advance to the Dover Saddlery/USEF Hunter Seat Medal Final in Harrisburg, PA, at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show in October.
There were also a number of equitation classes at the 3’3” height that attracted talented competitors so that they could attempt to add more points to their names headed into the year-end finals. The Hamel Foundation/NHS 3’3″ Medal, which will host its championship in October at the National Horse Show, was won on Saturday by Clayton Farrell of Venice, FL, on Donald Stewart’s Sochi. The day prior, the USHJA 3’3″ Jumping Seat Medal saw Mya Borysiak of Marietta, GA, navigate her own Lexx to victory in the class. The Capital Challenge Horse Show in Upper Marlboro, MD, will host the EMO Insurance/USHJA 3’3″ Jumping Seat Medal Finals beginning on October 1 for East Coast competitors.
The final show in the ESP Summer Series will be the Rita & Irish Flynn Memorial, held from October 1-3, 2021. Immediately following, the seven-event ESP Fall Series will begin on October 7 with ESP October. The ESP Fall Series will run through the ESP Pre-Charity CSI3* show, which will conclude on November 21 ahead of the ESP Holiday Series. To view the ESP Fall Prize List, please click HERE.