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Press Release


Stephanie Novas and Aretina M

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Stephanie Novas Pilots Aretina M To Top of Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers at Tampa Bay Classic

Written by: Kendall Bierer
Client: Morrissey Management Group (MMG)
Release Date: 2013-03-30

Tampa, FL – March 30, 2012 – Riders gathered early in the morning on the fourth day of competition at the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center. After last night’s $25,000 Tampa Bay Welcome Stake, it was obvious that the jumper divisions were feeling a competitive edge as the Low and High Junior/Amateur-Owner classes got underway in the Covered Arena. Riders went neck to neck for the blue ribbons, but it was Stephanie Novas and Aretina M who took control in the $1,000 Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers. Jordan Coyne continued her hot streak today, after coming off of the second place win in yesterday’s Welcome Stake, this time riding Cordovo to the first place finish in the $1,500 High Junior/Amateur-Owner Power and Speed class.

Course designer Michel Vaillancourt challenged horse and rider alike as the jumpers faced his demanding design. He implemented a vertical-oxer-vertical triple combination, several skinny fences, an oxer-vertical in-and-out, and utilized tight rollbacks as he tested the riders in their attempt to defeat his intricate course with fast and clear results.

Twenty-nine entrants took their turn at Vaillancourt’s track, and Mallory Vale and Spray Tan, owned by Thinks Like a Horse of Morriston, FL, were the first in the ring, as well as the first to post a double-clear effort. Although they kept a solid pace throughout the track, their time of 37.713 seconds would not stand. Callie Smith and Upstaire were the next pair to post a double-clear effort. They completed the first round without fault and moved into the jump-off. The pair quickly galloped to the first obstacle, and keeping their speedy rhythm throughout the course, they left all rails intact as they broke the beam in 33.187 seconds. It seemed as though no other rider would be able to beat their time and accuracy, that is until Hannah Holik and Santiago, owned by Czech Mate, LLC of Ocala, FL, took their turn.

Holik was able to duplicate Smith’s efforts, but her time was a full second faster. The pair was able to race toward home and trip the timers in 32.336 seconds, as well as fault-free. Each consecutive rider attempted to catch Holik’s time, but the rails fell and her time proved unmatchable. Although Erin Haas and Udo DV, owned by 2VR Show Jumpers of Morriston, FL, laid down a clean jump-off in 32.597 seconds, they fell shy.

Fifteen-year-old Stephanie Novas showcased her talent aboard Aretina M as she navigated the course with a speedy pace and clear finesse. She completed the first round without fault, and moved into the jump-off. She picked up a blazing pace from the start, and utilized her mount’s quick speed to set the new target time for her double-clear effort in the Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers. Her time of 30.547 seconds was impossible for the remaining riders to catch. Novas took the first place finish with only Maisie McSwain and Remiville coming close to her time with a clear jump-off in 32.478 seconds, eventually taking third.

“I just bought her before Indoors this year, so I haven’t had her for too long, but so far so good,” Novas smiled. “She is a lot better when she is going forward. She needs a little bit of a stronger ride, but she is game for anything out there. I just really wanted to use her stride and keep her moving out there, I didn’t utilize too many of the turns, but she has really good foot speed, so she was very quick.”

Holik was awarded the second place prize for her efforts aboard Santiago, while Erin Haas and Udo DV were awarded fourth. Callie Smith and Upstaire took the fifth place finish with their early trailblazing time, and Katie Tyler aboard Seattle 6 rounded out the top six finishers with her double-clear effort in 33.403 seconds.

“I really like it here, everything is so close together, and the management is great. The courses have been wonderful, I really liked it, and so did my horse. There weren’t any real surprises out there, it rode like it walked, and I was glad that it was my day out there,” Novas described.

The $1,500 High Junior/Amateur-Owner Power and Speed class also saw a highly competitive group of riders. Three horse and rider combinations were able to master the first round, moving into an extremely competitive jump-off. It was Jordan Coyne and Cordovo who emerged victorious.

Gunner, exhibited by Melissa Rudershausen, was the first to enter the ring and master the opening track. Instantaneously, she moved into the speed round where the race against the clock began. She was able to navigate the course with a timely pace, stopping the timers in 37.833 seconds, but four faults would keep her from the win today. Darby Toben and D’artagnan, owned by Doreen Toben of Califon, NJ, were the second of the entries to make it into the speed round. Toben completed the first round in 53.466 seconds leaving all rails in their cups, but the speed round proved challenging for the horse and rider pair. Attempting to go for the double clear, Toben used conservancy to her advantage, but an unlucky rail and two time faults knocked the pair into the third place position.

Jordan Coyne and Cordovo provided the most riveting first round, soaring through the triple combination, and taking the distances with ease. Immediately, Coyne focused on the need for speed. Her quick horse was able to make the hard rollbacks easily, and Coyne guided him to the inside turn leading to the final oxer, saving time and leaving all the rails in place. She raced for home with time and accuracy on her side, finishing in 37.103 seconds.

Coyne has been working with Cordovo for two years, having had imported him from Germany when he was a 6-year-old. “I love him, and he is a wonderful horse. He needs a little more of an aggressive ride, especially in the Covered Arena. It is a new ring for him, so he wants to hesitate a little. We have been in Ocala for the last nine weeks showing, so I have to be a little more prepared to be aggressive or for him to be spooky.”

Coyne finished second in Friday night’s $25,000 Tampa Bay Welcome Stake, riding Lazaro to the speedy time of 42.936 seconds with a double-clear effort. The 21-year-old was one of only three to lay down two clear rounds, and her trainer Derek Petersen was pleased with the outcome.

“It was good, she should have won, but when she missed an inside turn she lost the chance to take the first place last night,” Derek Petersen said. “I was still happy with the second place, she is becoming very consistent. I have been training her for about five years, and we are all pretty close. We just came off of competing in Ocala for nine weeks, and I think that she is doing very well with Cordovo. He is a young horse, and they are coming along nicely.”

Coyne concluded, “I wanted to be efficient and give him a confident ride today, so that he would be ready for the Classic tomorrow. I think this series is great, it is completely different—it is a great atmosphere, and I like it a lot. It’s great to be back.”

The Tampa Equestrian Series’ first week, the Tampa Bay Classic, will continue through Sunday, March 31 with the Grand Prix of Tampa—a qualifying event for the 40th Annual $200,000 Gene Mische American Invitational, presented by G&C Farm. The American Invitational will be the highlight event on the final day of the series, the Tournament of Champions CSI, to be held April 7 at the Raymond James Stadium. The world's top horses and riders will gather to compete under the lights during one of the premier show jumping events in the United States.

For more information about the Tampa Equestrian Festival please visit

Photo Credit: Stephanie Novas and Aretina M take home the blue with their speedy and accurate double-clear effort in the Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers. Photo By: Kendall Bierer/PMG. Photograph may be used only in relation to this PMG press release.


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