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Equifest II Wrap-Up: July 31 August 4, 2013

Written by: Kendall Bierer
Client: Lamplight Equestrian Center
Release Date: 2013-08-05

Wayne, IL – August 5, 2013 – The resounding cheers and applause could be heard throughout the Lamplight Equestrian Center as six horse and rider combinations faced off in Saturday’s $35,000 Grand Prix de Lamplight, presented by Saddler’s Row. It came down to a battle of speed as each consecutive rider bested the next, but it was Holly Shepherd and Triompf that came away the victors. Steve Schaefer and Caribe laid down an impressive double-clean effort to claim the second place, while Brittni Raflowitz and Elios scored the third place finish.

Laura Linback and Whittaker MVNZ, owned by Woodrun of Mundelein, IL, were the pathfinders over the first course, and they duplicated their clean effort in the jump-off. Knowing that she had some of the quickest riders hot on her heels, Linback entered the jump-off with determination to make them run for the chance to catch her time. She laid down a double-clean effort in an astounding 41.887 seconds, but her quick round would eventually rank her fourth in the standings.

Holly Shepherd had the next clear round with Skymiles, owned by Loretta Patterson of Omaha, NB, but they wrapped up their two-round effort with the most conservative of the times to take the sixth place position. They rode to two clear rounds, but their time of 42.554 seconds was moderate, although it did prepare her for her final mount of the jump-off, Triompf. With three more riders to go, Shepherd was sure to come back fighting.

Brittni Raflowitz and Elios, owned by Maarten Huygens of Wellington, FL, laid down the next clean round, finding their way in to the tiebreaker. This was their first time taking on a course of such measure, but Elios was prepared to give it his best. They used their speed on the ground, and took tight turns to shave the seconds, clearing the short track with ease while Raflowitz could be heard saying, “You’re such a good boy, you have this, only one more jump.” They tripped the timers in a mere 41.676 seconds to take over the lead.

The need for speed went into hyper drive as consecutive riders took their turn at the track, and Steve Schaefer was not going to let the 18-year-old Raflowitz steal his thunder. Aboard his own Caribe, he picked up a blazing speed from the in-gate and took the turns with a clear finesse. He took an inside turn to the ESI-oxer that none had sliced so sharply, and utilized the left turn to the double combination to help cut the seconds. He broke the beam in an astounding 40.221 seconds, also leaving all rails in place to jump to the top of the leader board.

The young Jennifer Jones piloted Cliff II to the time of 42.382 seconds, but they earned four faults for a heartbreaking fault in the vertical of the double combination. They would prove good enough for the sixth place.

It was the moment of truth when veteran Grand Prix rider Shepherd entered the ring as the final competitor to tackle the short track. When she left the arena earlier aboard Skymiles, and began to prepare her second mount, she thought Linback’s time would be unbeatable. Little did she realize that upon her return the rankings had changed and she would have to lay down a round like no other to catch Schaefer’s time.

Triompf erupted from the in-gate with an astonishing speed, and Shepherd used his stride and swiftness to her advantage. They sliced the turn from 1 to 2, but went a little wide to the ESI-oxer, It was there that Shepherd admitted that she had the resounding thought, “I want to live to see another day.” This thought didn’t deter the pair from slicing the turn to the vertical and then shaving the seconds during the turn in the double combination. The spectators were going crazy as she made it over the penultimate obstacle and raced toward the final yellow-and-blue oxer to take the win. She crossed the finish in 39.885 seconds, 3/100ths of a second quicker than Schaefer.

“I turned the corner from the in-gate and just started going,” Shepherd explained. “I chickened out a little bit from the ESI fence but when I didn’t like what I saw, I rode out more and put some slice on that. It was the turn going into the double-combination. He made an amazing rollback to the double combination, and I think that is where he really beat everyone else. The last jump was really far away, but I didn’t want to chicken out so I just kept going. I knew I had to go as fast as I could. You just have to keep kicking on him.”

Jumper Highlights: July 31 – August 4

The top horses and riders from across the country returned to the Lamplight Equestrian Center for Equifest II. The first day of competition commenced with the Open Jumper divisions in the Grand Prix Ring. Local resident Laura Linback led the way to the $5,000 1.40m Open Jumper class, as well as the $500 1.25m Open Jumpers with double-clear efforts across the board.

Taylor Flury was first to tackle the opening track with Role Model, owned by Aliboo Farm. They entered the ring on a mission, clearing each fence with ease as the rails went untouched. Although she finished with a clear round in 42.018 seconds, she wore a target on her back as each consecutive rider attempted to best her round. It seemed as though no one would surpass her double-clear effort - that is until Laura Linback of Mundelein, IL, took her turn.

Linback was the last to enter the class, and set the bar with her veteran mount Whittaker MVNZ, owned by Woodrun. Pushing her horse to open his stride and slice a turn to the fourth obstacle, a skinny vertical, they tore through the timers in 38.184 seconds. Their clear round was nearly four seconds faster than the runner up, granting them the top prize. Flury eventually earned the second place award for her efforts earlier in the class, and Holly Shepherd aboard Skymiles, owned by Loretta Patterson, claimed the third place finish.

Linback has a resume stretching back to her pony competition days, riding the traditional pipeline to the top of the standings in Grand Prix across the nation. Although she has given her mounts a couple of weeks off since showing at HITS Culpeper, she is back at the Lamplight Equestrian Center to make a splash.

Prior to the 1.40m Open Jumpers, Stephanie Novas rode Amyra R to the first place finish in the $500 1.30m Open Jumpers. The jump-off came down to three horse and rider combinations, but Novas picked up the blue ribbon Wednesday for her double-clear effort in 36.349 seconds, making her untouchable. Lisa Goldman and Roc Hudson took home the second place ribbon, while Linback rode Attention Please to the third place.

Earlier in the day Linback guided Clooney, owned by Woodrun, to the top of the leader board in the 1.25m Open Jumpers. Linback was once again the last rider to tackle the track, but she navigated it with finesse as Clooney jumped two clear rounds. She completed the shortened course in a mere 38.219 seconds to finish with another first place.

Although Jennifer Jones and Cliff II posted a speedy jump-off time sans faults, their time of 40.255 seconds proved only good enough for the second place. Brittni Raflowitz piloted Zacca Zoeloe and Elios to two clear rounds; however, she elected to save her mounts for another day and walk away with the third and fourth place ribbons.

The Grand Prix Ring was alive with excitement as Lisa Goldman and Centurion 3 rode to the top of Equifest II’s $5,000 1.40m Welcome Stake victory.  Eager spectators gathered at the Lamplight Equestrian Center to watch the country’s top riders compete during the $5,000 1.40m Welcome Stake, and the riders left nothing to chance as they soared over the fences and completed the  stake with an exciting four-horse jump-off. Holly Shepherd and Silverstone followed closely on their heels to pick up the second place award, while Lilly Ross and Pako took third place.

Lisa Goldman was the first to test the short track with Centurion B, owned by Mary Goldman. They showed no trepidation as they sped around the turns, shaving the seconds with a tight inside turn from the troublesome oxer to the vertical. Although she wasn’t sure about taking the turn prior to the class, she took her chances with Centurion B. Their quick turns combined with their large stride allowed them to break the beam in 35.029 seconds, riding to the first double-clear effort of the class.

Traveling 17 hours from Mobile, AL, Holly Shepherd and Silverstone, owned by Loretta Paterson, were refusing to take no for an answer this afternoon. Although Shepherd and Silverstone only began working together recently, their clear connection on the course was apparent. They laid down a more conservative effort, focusing on accuracy rather than speed Thursday, crossing the finish in 38.066 seconds for the only other double clear of the class.

Although Lily Ross and Pako, owned by Allison Ross, attempted to best the speed demon’s time, Goldman’s 35.029-second finish stood steadfast. Ross earned four faults for a rail down over the green-and-white oxer during the jump-off, riding to the third place position in 35.569 seconds. Shepherd returned to the ring aboard Skymiles, owned by Patterson, to take the fourth place position with four faults in 38.087 seconds, as well as the red ribbon for her earlier efforts aboard Silverstone.

The morning downpour left the new GGT footing in the Grand Prix ring nicely watered and sunny skies prevailed, leaving perfect conditions for Friday’s Junior/Amateur jumper classes at Equifest II at the Lamplight Equestrian Center.

First to take a swing at the jump-off was Hanley Morrison of Madison, MS, with SCS Luigi.  Morrison unfortunately had one rail for four faults and a time of 36.417. Then the chase began with Brittni Raflowitz of Palm City, FL, aboard K.T. Undercover.  Raflowitz buzzed around the track as the first double-clear round and set the pace at 32.176 seconds.

Turning up the heat was Stephanie Novas and Amyra R, picking up her usual speedy gallop; she blazed around clean with a time of 31.559 seconds.  Stephen Foran and Etienne B were next to challenge the clock.  Foran tried to gallop and make tidy turns, beating Novas by a fraction with 31.209 seconds.

Not settling to be outdone, Raflowitz and her second mount, Zacca Zoeloe, owned by Maarten Huygens, was faster yet, stopping the clock at 30.002 seconds and taking over the lead.

Last to go was Laura Linback and Clooney, who also put in a double-clear effort, hustling in the jump-off for a time of 32.265 seconds, leaving the top five horses just seconds apart. 

Foran is last year’s USHJA Emerging Athletes Program winner. He plans to compete in the equitation finals this fall with trainer Missy Clark. Foran and his dad, Steve, operate Liberty Farm in Lake Forest, IL, and have shown at Lamplight for many years.

This is Raflowitz’s first time showing at Lamplight. They have enjoyed being in Chicago and supporting the facility.  Horse showing is a family affair for the Raflowitzs.  Brett, her father, does the training and mom, Tracy, is the groom/organizer. Their family even took a trip to the Field Museum in downtown Chicago between the two shows.  Raflowitz, 18, will be doing the Grand Prix tomorrow on Elios, owned by Maarten Huygens. Raflowitz won the Welcome Stake and was second in the 1.40 Open Stake last week.

Finishing third in the Highs was Stephanie Novas and Amyra R, fourth was Raflowitz’s other mount, K.T. Undercover, fifth was Laura Linback and Clooney, and sixth was SCS Luigi and Hanley Morrison.

In the $500 Low Jr/AO Jumper class, six riders took their turn at a chance for the blue ribbon.  Five of the six made it to the jump off with Stephanie Novas again, setting the pace for the rest of the pack to try to catch on Aretina M with 30.461 seconds.  Giavanna Rinaldi was close with GPS Brilliante Disguise and a time of 31.269 seconds.  In the end, Novas held the lead for the win.  Finishing third was HH Radco and Caitlin Creel of Lake Zurich, IL, with a double-clear round and a time of 33.325 seconds.  Fourth went to Caruso and Libby Rudolf, who had a rail in the jump-off.  Fifth went to Double Dollar and Courtney Starring and sixth to C Cool, Giavanna Rinaldi’s second mount.

The 1.30m -1.35m horses also had a chance to jump the track Friday with Cliff II and Jennifer Jones of Marion, SC, taking the blue.  Holly Shepherd rode Loretta Patterson’s Rocketman to the second spot and hometown girl, Lisa Goldman rode Roc Hudson, owned by Ashleen Lee of Glenview, IL, to third place.

Some girls dream of the “Pretty In Pink” sweet sixteen fantasy, others fantasize of beautiful ballrooms and dazzling dresses, but for Stephanie Novas her sixteenth birthday marked a major accolade. Novas rode Amyra R to the $7,500 Cavalor High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic victory, riding to a blazing fast time that proved unstoppable for the final day of Equifest II at the Lamplight Equestrian Center. Brittni Raflowitz rode to the second place aboard Zacca Zoeloe as the only other double-clear effort.

Brittni Raflowitz and K.T. Undercover, owned by Michael Kirby, were the first to master the opening course. As the class’ pathfinder they navigated the jump-off course with great speed; however, they found fault at two fences, earning an eight-fault total in a time of 32.568 seconds.

Stephen Foran and Etienne B were the next to tackle the short track. They were able to beat Raflowitz’s time, but similarly earned eight faults during the double-combination and the final oxer. Although Foran’s time was the quickest of the class at 30.616 seconds, his efforts would eventually prove good enough for the third place.

It wasn’t until Stephanie Novas entered the ring aboard Amyra R that a double-clear effort even seemed possible. She picked up a blazing speed right from the in-gate, and raced around the shortened track, slicing as many turns as possible to shave off the seconds. They cleared the second round course in 30.758 seconds, leaving all rails in their cups.

Raflowitz was back to try to steal the lead aboard Zacca Zoeloe, owned by Maarten Huygens of Wellington, FL. They cleared the opening course, and retuned the jump-off to tackle the track. She sliced the turns with ease, but Zacca Zoeloe was a little longer in air, they tripped the timers in 30.814 seconds to take second place with only 1/10ths of a second costing them the lead.

Jorge presented a similar course for the $1,500 Low Junior/Amateur-Owner NAL Jumper Classic and the $1,000 Modified Junior/Amateur Owner Classic. Comparable to that of the High Junior/Amateur-Owner Classic, Jorge utilized an oxer-vertical-oxer combination, bending lines, rollbacks, a liverpool and the difficult vertical-oxer in-and-out.

The first rider to advance to the short course in the $1,500 Low NAL Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers was Giavanna Rinaldi with her partner GPS Brilliante Design. It seemed as though the pair had all of the answers, laying down a faultless jump-off in 31.644 seconds, Her time proved fast and good, but two more riders remained to challenge the young talent.

Novas portrayed her talent aboard the 8-year-old Dutch Warmblood Aretina M as she navigated the course with a speedy pace, but eight faults in the jump-off would keep her from the lead. She laid down the fastest round in 30.736 seconds for the eventual third place.

It was Catherine Hanlon and Helsinki, owned by Catherine Sheridan, who surprised the onlookers this afternoon. They took the first place with their blazing speed and double-clear effort. They surpassed Rinaldi with a time of 31.039 seconds for the win.

In the $1,000 Low Modified Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, Izabelle Quadracci and Senturo were the only pair to master the first round course. Heather Zuber and Steel Magnolia came in second, while Jose Ochoa and Indy 500 took third.

Hunter Highlights: July 31 – August 4

A typical Chicago overcast, misty day didn’t stop the professionals from putting in round after round in the hunter ring on day one of Equifest II at Lamplight Equestrian Center. There was no need to ride around puddles since the new GGT Footing held the water perfectly, allowing the hunters to perform well despite the rain. The straightforward and simple hunter track made for an inviting first day.

Starting the day without missing a beat, trainer/rider Tina Judge of Naperville, IL, won both High Performance/First Year Green Hunter classes aboard Shannon Kelly’s Trust Me. Judge has had the horse in her barn since importing him as a 4-year-old. The Dutch Warmblood is now 13 years old and has an excellent track record.

Owner Shannon Kelly shows Trust Me in the younger Amateur Owner Hunter division and has multiple championships and a trip to indoors under her belt. Judge started showing Trust Me in the hunter derbies when they first began. Judge also has a few derby wins and top derby ribbons on record with the gelding. Kelly has been showing the handsome bay in the derbies herself now.

In the 3’3” Performance Hunters, Judge again took a blue with Kesley Taylor’s Quidann and also placed second, flip-flopping wins with Kathleen Caya on Susan Schmitt’s Conelly, who was also first and second. Laura Trepte and Ariano, owned by Brooke Saltzman, held their ground for third in both classes. The top three will duke it out for the championship on day two.

Molly McAdow and Barina, owned by Nina Donnelly, had a super first day, making a clean sweep in the 3’ Pre-Green Hunter Division. They won both over fences and the under saddle. The pair also won the USHJA National Hunter Derby last week during Equifest I. McAdow rides for Lorrie Canady and Galway Farm in Long Grove, IL. 

McAdow and Judge each took second on another of their mounts in the 3’ Pre-Greens. McAdow was second on Lanie Bricker’s Charlie Brown and Judge took second on Gia Gulino’s Bennett.

The 3’3” Pre-Greens battled it out with Tim Sullivan’s Denmark winning the under saddle and placing second in both over fences with Sarah Robertson of Oakland, MI. Also in the hunt was Remy Martin with Erin McCabe riding. Remy Martin, owned by Nancy Gordon, won the first over fences, was fourth in the second class and placed second in the under saddle. 

Winning the second over fences class of the division was Laura Linback of Mundelein, IL, on Woodrun’s Slap-N-Tickel. The 5-year-old German Sport Horse also placed third in the under saddle and third in the first over fences class.

Course Designer, Allen Rheinheimer started to get the hunters in derby mode with Thursday’s courses which included plenty of brush, bending lines and a log trot jump for the handy rounds. Sunny Chicago skies made it a very pleasant day for showing in the windy city.

High Performance Hunters were the first to hit the ring. Tina Judge of Naperville, IL, gave her best today to get in the running for the CWD saddle, which will be awarded to the horse and rider combination earning the most points in a rated division.  Judge won all four over fences classes in the division and was second in the under saddle, earning the tricolor with Shannon Kelly’s Trust Me.

Katana O’Brien was able to steal the blue under saddle ribbon from Judge, adding a second, two thirds and the fourth in the over fences to win the Reserve Championship with Courtney Link’s first year horse, Limerick.  Limerick is an 8-year-old warmblood gelding O’Brien started showing in the First Year Greens at the Lake St. Louis Winter Series. O’Brien owns and operates KEE West Farm in Wildwood, MO, approximately 40 minutes from the Lake St. Louis shows.  Owner, Courtney Link, of Chesterfield, MO, rides the horse in the Small Junior Hunter Division as well. 

In the combined Performance 3’3”-3’6” Hunters, Kathleen Caya and Susan Schmitt’s Conelly won three of the four over fences classes, the second over fences, as well as the third in the under saddle to clinch the championship.  Conelly and Caya are no strangers to the winner’s circle.  The team won the USHJA National Hunter Derby at the Ledges Sporting Horses in July and at Showplace Productions’ Spring Spectacular at Lamplight in June. Caya will ride Conelly in the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby this week, as well.

In a whirlwind was Meagan Murray and Fidelia, owned by Jenna Selati, took the reserve championship in the Performance Hunters.  Murray, of Zion, IL, shipped into Equifest II planning to get the horse in the ring before the Junior Hunters.  Arriving 25 minutes before the under saddle, they tacked up, won the under saddle and the Open Hunter class, and placed second and third in the Performance Hunters to take the reserve. Murray operates Buena Vista Farm and just returned from Horse Shows by the Bay in Traverse City, MI.  Selati will show Fidelia in the Junior Hunters this weekend.

Sarah Robertson of Michigan rode Tim Sullivan’s Denmark to the Pre-Green 3’3” Championship.  Robertson, 26, rides sale horses for Sullivan’s Oakland Hills Farm. Sullivan has been coming to Lamplight for years and this is Robertson’s third year.

Taking the reserve spot in the Pre-Green 3’3” Hunters was Remy Martin ridden by Erin McCabe and owned by Nancy Gordon. The team won two of the over fences classes, as well as the fourth and fifth with a second in the under saddle.

Wrapping up the day with the Pre-Green 3’ Hunters was Molly McAdow and Barina. The pair won two over fences classes, placed second in today’s two classes and won the under saddle for the tricolor. Barina, owned by Nina Donnelly of Evanston, IL, won the USHJA National Hunter Derby during Equifest I, and they had their sights set on a prize for Friday’s derby.  McAdow and Barina just seem to hit it off, putting in smooth rounds trip after trip. McAdow had plenty of rides this week for Lorrie Canady’s Galway Farm in Long Grove, IL. Canady has a selection of young horses she brings up and shows, giving them a track record for their new owners. McAdow also rode Abby Simpson and Charlie Brown, owned by Becky Mati, to ribbons in the division.

The reserve championship in the Pre-Green 3’ Hunters went to Josey Gentry riding Leslie Richman’s horse, The Boyfriend.  Gentry placed first, third, fourth and fifth with a second in the under saddle to rack up points for the longer ribbon.

Kathleen Caya laid down two picturesque rounds aboard Bay View early Friday morning to take the win in the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby at Equifest II. The Lamplight Equestrian Center’s third day of competition opened to a light breeze and cloudless skies, the perfect atmosphere to set the scene for the derby riders. Caya piloted Bay View to the top of the leader board with scores of 88 and 89 to take the win and lead the morning’s victory gallop. Laura Linback and Slap-N-Tickelrode to the second place finish, while Caya also picked up the third place aboard Conelly.

Caya took an early lead with Bay View, owned by Vicki Vieaux, after scoring an 88 during the first round as the second pair in the order of go. They left nothing to chance out on the track, choosing to take all the high options and impress the judges with their finesse. Their first round proved good enough for the high score of 88 points.

Linback jumped up in the rankings aboard Slap-N-Tickel, owned by Woodrun, completing the first round for a score of 86 points. Slap-N-Tickel is only a 5-year-old, but on the derby course he rode like a an expert. They only had one hiccup during the lead change, but the majority of their course was flawless, they would earn their spot in the top 12 to return.

Caya also navigated Conelly, owned by Susan Schmitt, to the impressive score of 84, guaranteeing a two-mount return for the Handy Round. Defending Champion Molly Mcadow and Barina, owned by Nona Donnelly, earned a score of 85 for their Classic Round. It would all come down to the handy round Friday, with the top riders only separated by slightest of margins.

Tackling the devious handy hunter course was a task all of its own. The scores from the Classic Hunter Round carried over into the second-round competition, factoring into the overall score for each pair. Caya  earned a returning position for two of her mounts during Friday’s $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, entering first aboard Conelly. They rode to the second round score of 84.5 points for the overall score of 168.5. Although her score ranked high, Caya knew she still had the defending champions, Mcadow and Barina, yet to return.

Mcadow had her eyes set on the prize Friday, determined to take the win. After the opening fence, she made an inside turn to the outside oxer to show Barina’s athleticism and handiness, but an unforeseen spook stopped the pair in their tracks. She completed the rest of the course with the same finesse she had originally set to portray, however, the mishap cost them the win. They finished with the cumulative score of 129 points.

Laura Linback was the penultimate rider to return to the ring aboard Slap-N-Tickel. The bay gelding showed consistency throughout the course, jumping to the high scoring round of the day with 90 points. It seemed as though her final score of 176 points would be unbeatable, but the best was yet to come.

Knowing that she was up against rigid competition, Caya entered the ring and left nothing to chance. She opted to make an inside turn after fence 2 as a way of showcasing her handiness. That extra move was what gave her the Handy Round score of 89 points, granting her the lead. Caya knew that she had clinched the win, and was all smiles as she walked into the winner’s circle.

Leslie Richman of Lake Forest, IL, and The Boyfriend took the fourth place with the overall score of 167 points. Caya also nabbed the fifth place with Seneca for their score of 166.5 points. Shannon Kelly and Trust Me rode to the sixth place, while Brooke Saltzman and Ariano took the seventh place finish. Stephen Foran and Bronziet earned the eighth place, and Kristin Jungbluth and Konzerto placed ninth. Katana O’Brien and Limerick finished in 10th, while Sarah Robertson and Denmark pinned 11th. It was Mcadow and Barina who rounded out the top 12 to complete Equifest II’s $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby.

Junior and Amateur-Owner riders could not have asked for a more beautiful day to ride at the Equifest II Horse Show at Lamplight Equestrian Center. Pizza and ice cream parties made it extra special for exhibitors and their families, as well. 

Starting the day in the main hunter ring was the Amateur-Owner 3’3” Hunters. Margaret O’Meara was loving the ride today as she won both of the over fences classes on her horse, Casino.  O’Meara also took second and fourth on her second mount, Voice of Reason. 

The Amateur-Owners continued to navigate the bending line and the array of single jumps in the hunter ring to showcase their horses. In the Amateur-Owners 3’6” Hunters, it was Heather Zuber’s Kalifornia who won the first over fences class.  Colby Hassfurther and Optimized were second and Shannon Kelly’s Trust Me was third.  The second class brought Kelly’s Trust Me to the top of the list, Optimized and Hassfurther were in the middle of the pack again taking second, and Zuber and Kalifornia were third.

The $1,000 Amateur-Owner Classic left Margaret O’Meara as the winner with Voice of Reason.  O’Meara scored an 81 and an 83 to lead the way.  Shannon Kelly and Trust me scored an 83 and an 80.5, ending up in second place by only a half a point difference!  Margaret O’Meara took third on her second mount Casino, while Kalifornia and Zuber took fourth, and Optimized with Hassfurther in the irons wrapped it up.

Junior Hunters were next in the ring with Jenna Selati and her chestnut mare, Fidelia, winning both over fences classes. Taking second in the first class and third in the second class was Christine Hyler of St. Charles, IL, and This One’s For You.  The last horse in the top three was Ariano and Brooke Saltzman of Lake Zurich, IL.

Selati was tough to beat today and made the top call in the $1,000 Junior Hunter Classic with Fidelia.  Selati is no stranger to winning in the Junior Hunter division.  She usually has a second mount, Greytful, who stayed at home this week. Fidelia and Selati are trying to qualify for the indoor horse shows this year.  Racking up championships at most of the major shows including Traverse City and Showplace Spring Spectacular, they are well on their way.

It was all about Margaret O’Meara today in the winner’s circle at the Equifest Series at Lamplight Equestrian Center.  O’Meara had not just one good day or one good week at the series, but managed to top the charts both weeks with her pair of matching greys, Casino and Voice of Reason.

Last week at Equifest I, O’Meara of Kirkland, WA, rode to the Amateur-Owner 3’3” Championship on her mount, Voice of Reason and to the reserve championship on Casino.  This week for Equifest II, O’Meara was champion on Casino and reserve on Voice of Reason.  Adding to the list of wins, O’Meara also won the $1,000 Amateur-Owner Hunter Classic this week.  But the luck rolled on for O’Meara as she went on to win the bonus jackpot, the CWD saddle!

CWD representative Lindsay McKinnon, donated a CWD saddle to be awarded to the horse and rider combination with the most points in a single rated hunter division over the two-week period.  The winner, of course, was O’Meara and Casino.

The discussion continued on to how her program has changed as she has become an older amateur rider.

The most successful junior hunter at Equifest this week was Fidelia and Jenna Selati, taking the championship and the $1,000 Junior Hunter Classic. Selati lives in Winnetka, IL, and trains with Buena Vista Farm’s Meagan Murray. Selati now has another championship to add to her list, racking up the points to qualify for the indoor finals. The Hanovarian chestnut mare has been champion in Kentucky, Traverse City and the Spring Spectacular, held at Lamplight in June.  Selati hopes to get a chance to ride at indoors before going off to study journalism in college.

Taking the reserve championship in the Junior Hunters was Ariano and Brooke Saltzman of Lake Zurich, IL.  Saltzman rides at Prairie Star Stables in Barrington, IL. Ariano also won some top ribbons earlier in the week in the Performance 3’3”-3’6” Hunters.

In the Pony Hunter Division, Hannah Bernstein rode away with the champion and reserve ribbons in the Large Pony Hunters aboard Woodland’s Stevie Ray and Barcelona.  Bernstein also won the Pony Hunter Classic with her champion, Woodland’s Stevie Ray.  In the Small Pony Hunters, Bernstein again took both champion and reserve. Blueberry Hill, owned by Natalie Jayne, was champion and Rico Suave, owned by Ponies and Palms, was reserve.

Sunday wrapped up the two-week Equifest Series. Exhibitors were pleased with the improvements made at the Lamplight facility including five rings with new GGT footing, improved landscaping, the new Grand Prix ring, improved restrooms and remodeled office and food areas. For more information on the Lamplight Equestrian Center or a list of upcoming events, please visit


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