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Press Release


Jordan Coyne and Lazaro

Jordan Coyne and Cordovo

Barbara Ann Merryman and El Paso

Emily Jones

Ashley Foster and Leena L

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Photographs may be used free of charge only in relation to the PMG press releases they pertain to.

Southeast Medal Finals Wrap-Up

Written by: Carrie Wirth
Client: Southeast Medal Finals
Release Date: 2013-09-25

Jacksonville, FL – September 25, 2013 –  The Southeast Medal Finals was an overwhelming success with increased entries and interesting and fun new classes and divisions. The inaugural $25,000 Land Rover Jacksonville Grand Prix was added on Friday and the $5,000 Welcome Stake on Thursday. The Developing Sport Horse division presented by Team Rakowsky, also introduced this year, is a young jumper division in which horses were judged on style and potential.

The highly-anticipated ASPCA Maclay Regionals were held on the final day of the 2013 Southeast Medal Finals at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center. Ashley Foster of Brookeville, MD, executed Allen Rheinheimer’s course flawlessly aboard Leena L, owned by KMW Ponies LLC, to take home the coveted prize out of a total of 39 riders. Her life-long friend, Haley Waters, earned the second place prize with an impressive performance with Quito, owned by Chuck and Dana Waters. Barbara Ann Merryman, who won the Phelps Media Group Junior Medal on Saturday, came in third aboard Don Stewart’s Fernway Park.

Rheinheimer built a challenging course that asked many questions of the junior riders. The first line was an oxer to an oxer going away from the in gate. A tricky forward triple bar to a natural vertical then a quieter five to a natural oxer challenged some, while fence 8, a natural vertical then an immediate rollback to fence 9, had a number of riders cutting it too close.

Foster’s mother, Patty Foster, is a trainer and runs Rolling Acres Farm in Brookeville, MD, with her sister, Mary Lisa Leffler, who also rides and trains. She rides with Bobby Braswell and Courtneyde Hechavarria for equitation.

Earlier in the day, Gallant, owned and ridden by Millie Russell, won the SEMF Adult Hunter Classic  with a smooth and rhythmical performance over the beautiful hunter course in the indoor arena.  The pair also won the Adult Amateur 36+ Hunter Stake. Don Perignon, owned by Castlewood Farm and ridden by Barri Plant, earned the second place prize. The pair had a great show, also winning the Adult Amateur Hunter 18-35 Stake.

The win of the SEMF Children’s Hunter Classic went to Carriage Hill Farm’s Lavish, ridden by Jia Meininger. The pair also won the Taylor Harris Medal and the Children’s Hunter Stake 14 and under. Bismark, owned by Harriet Schiele and ridden by Marissa Damone, earned the red ribbon. The pair also won the Children’s Hunter 15-17 Handy and the Under Saddle.

The Phelps Media Group SEMF Junior Medal had 63 entries, a significant increase over last year. Rheinheimer’s course provided the riders with options to showcase their strengths. Twelve horse and rider combinations were asked back for the second round.

Meghan Flanagan, riding Fairfield Farm’s Thrift Shop, was the first rider to break the 80 mark in the second round, with an average score of 82.56. Her score would stand as the leader until Brett Burlington and Sunman went second to last. The pair scored an average score of 82.68 for their two rounds.

Then, last to go, Barbara Ann Merryman and Don Stewart’s El Paso edged Burlington out of the top spot with an average score of 85.68.

Merryman, who is studying at Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth, lives in the Baltimore area and trains with Kimberly Stewart. They contacted Don Stewart (no relation) to help them find a horse to ride in the Regionals on Sunday, where she placed third aboard Fernway Park.

For the inaugural $25,000 Land Rover Jacksonville Grand Prix, Allen Rheinheimer built an impressive and technical course that challenged the horse and rider’s ability to jump and turn, lengthen and shorten. Of the 23 horse and rider combinations, only three progressed to the jump-off round. First to go, Jordan Coyne and Cordovo, were clean in the first round and earned the right to return for the jump-off. Coyne won the $5,000 Southeast Medal Finals Welcome Stake on Thursday night aboard her other mount, Lazaro.

Thirteen rounds later, Daniel Damen and Mr. and Mrs. Chuck Waters’ Quintus 66 were the second to leave all the jumps intact. Immediately following Damen’s round, Kaely Tomeu and  Siboney Ranch’s Kalle also had a fault-free round.

Coyne was first in the order and first to go in the short course. Her round aboard the younger of her two horses was fast and clear. Neither Damen or Tomeu could best her performance and she maintained the lead that earned her the victory gallop

The final two classes of the Developing Sport Horse division kicked off the day’s competition in the indoor arena on Friday. The second and third rounds of the division were awarded to Carracci Blue, owned and ridden by Christina Kelly. The pair earned scores of 92 in the first class and 89 in the second, they did not compete in round one on Thursday.

Round one’s winner, Little Zegg and Silvio Mazzoni earned second place with their score of 84 in the second class Little Zegg had a rail and ended up in third place. Tempting, owned by Loretta Patterson and ridden by Danielle Grice of Northfield, MN earned second place.

The Developing Sport Horse division championship was determined by averaging the scores of the rounds. Temping and Danielle Grice earned the championship with an average score of 83.

In the EMO Championship, 41 top junior riders competed over Rheinheimer’s winding 3’3” course. The top 12 were asked back for the flat phase, then four of those riders were selected for more testing over fences. Claudia Billups and Warran, Ashley Foster and Leena L, Haley Waters and Quito and Molly Dinapoli and Vasco all returned for the final phase. The four riders were asked to canter two jumps, trot one, canter another, and halt without stirrups.

Waters’ performance aboard Quito was smooth and stylish and earned her the win of the class. This was foreshadowing of her win on Sunday of the ASPCA Maclay Regionals.

For the Southeast Medal Finals $5,000 Welcome Stake, 26 horse and rider combinations tried their hand at course designer, Allen Rheinheimer’s course. Ten would complete the course with faultless rounds to return for the jump-off round.

First in the order, Daniel Damen and Quintus 66, owned by Chuck Waters, had a clear opening round and progressed to the short course. He finished clean with a time of 30.659, establishing the time to beat. Then, Kaely Tomeu and Kalle, owned by Siboney Ranch, also left all the rails in their cups in the jump-off round and broke the beam at 30.858. The effort would eventually give earn the pair fifth place.

Jordan Coyne and her own Lazaro produced the next faultless first round. Coyne and her big Belgian Warmblood Lazaro sped through the short track, made tidy inside turns and saved time throughout the course, laying down a time of 27.692.

Silvio Mazzoni and Terra Honero, owned by Jessie Mazzoni, were the next to progress to the jump-off round. The pair successfully performed inside turns and were fast, but not fast enough to beat Coyne and Lazaro. Mazzoni completed the jump-off in 27.94.

Liza Finsness and her second mount in the class, Ormsby Hill, and Christy Israel and Cracky Z both were double clear but posted jump off times of 32.674 and 34.134 respectively, eventually earning them sixth and seventh place.

Coyne returned on a second mount, Cordovo, and attempted to beat her own time. The duo was clean, but came in at 28.898 putting them behind Mazzoni in third.

Coyne and Lazaro’s time would stand as the speediest and the pair would capture the win.

The Developing Sport Horse division, presented by Team Rakowsky, kicked off on Thursday. The first class of 4 and 5 year-olds competed over a 1.10m and 1.15m course. The division was inspired by European-style classes in which young jumpers are judged on their athletic potential.  Horses are judged on style, presentation, rideability and their potential to represent the United States in future international competitions.

For scoring, all horses start with 60 points. The judges and course designer determined the course’s optimal time with a time allowance of eight seconds below and above the optimal time.

Then, the judges awarded 1-10 points for style - jumping technique, presentation – fitness, condition and expression, rideability – smoothness, leads and appropriate striding.

Then points are taken away for faults: 5 points per knock down, 20 points for a refusal and two  points for each second above and below the time allotment.

In the first leg of the division, Little Zegg, a Dutch Warmblood mare owned by Jessie Mazzoni and ridden by Silvio Mazzoni, were awarded 88 points from the judges to win the class.

Additional horse and rider pairs had the opportunity to qualify for the Phelps Media Group Junior Medal Finals and the Southeast Adult Medal Finals. Molly Dinapoli earned the blue ribbon aboard Vasco, owned by Michael Kirby. Meghan Flanagan and Fairfield Farm’s Let’s Dance were second and Bailey Brasington was third aboard William, owned by Donald Stewart. All three train with Bibby Hill and Don Stewart. Emily Jones and Don Stewart’s Califernia and Megan Sullivan and Tanks a Million were first and second in the Adult qualifier.

James Lala and Bell and his Classic Company created the show in 2012 and experienced 100 percent growth in its second year. It was inspired by the New England Medal Finals , founded in 1978 by Mason Phelps.

“We love Southeast Medal Finals because it caters to the exhibitors,” said Shanon Bejarano who owns and trains out of Fairwin Farm in Sarasota, FL. “They make a fuss over the kids. They take the time to put them on the podium for award ceremonies and they host fun exhibitor parties. For us it’s close, convenient and affordable so more kids can come.” Bejarano shared that she used to take her clients to other finals but has put Southeast Medal Finals on her barn schedule because more of her clients can participate.

“We plan on tweaking a few things,” said organizer Bob Bell. “But, the core of the show is really going in the right direction. We want to thank all our competitors, parents, trainers and sponsors for another great Southeast Medal Finals. We look forward to next year!”

“We would love to see the Adult divisions grow,” continued Lala “I have some ideas, such as higher jumps, so when you’re done with your junior equitation horse you don’t necessarily have to get rid of him. The last junior year is not the end of riding. There is so much more to learn.”

The dates for next year’s show are: Sept. 18-21, 2014.

Please contact James Lala or Bob Bell with comments about this year’s show and ideas and requests for next year.



Susan Rindal (904) 655-5497 –

Bob Bell (843) 768-5503 –

James Lala (561) 906-6668-


Maker’s Mark

Land Rover Jacksonville

Cedar Street Advisors

Jerry Parks Insurance Group

Phelps Media Group International

Bruce Duchossios HND Stables, Inc.

John Deere

Jacksonville Tourist Development Council

Horse Shows Online

Classic Company

Geddaway Farm

Bridlewood Equestrian Center

Mandarin Equine / Adequan

James Lala’s Wellington Quarantine, LLC


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