Abigail Lefkowitz and Ava Ellis Find Success on Final Day of WEF Week Seven

Wellington, Fla. – Feb. 24, 2019 – The final day of competition during Week Seven of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) kicked off bright and early Sunday morning as hopeful equitation riders descended upon Ring 9 to contest the ASPCA Maclay. Split into two sections due to the high number of competitors, Section A and Section B both had 30 entries, with the top 12 brought back from each section to test on the flat without stirrups in order to determine the final placings. In the end, it was Abigail Lefkowitz and Ava Ellis who stood out from the rest in their respective sections to earn first place and gain valuable points toward the 2019 ASPCA Maclay National Championship, hosted by the National Horse Show in November.

As the first rider in the ring, Lefkowitz was the pathfinder with her mount Top Saint Aubin. Not having the advantage of seeing the course ridden, she stuck to the plan her trainer, Michael Delfiandra, had given her and rode the track on a consistent pace. Lefkowitz leases Top Saint Aubin, a 12-year-old gelding, from Don Stewart and has been riding him since last June. Her trust in the gelding showed today as she rode a smooth course to take the win.

Farah Rizvi and Jarinka

Second place in Section A was Farah Rizvi, riding Jarinka, a 10-year-old mare owned by Emma Callanan. Third place went to Savannah Hemby and Chacco Star, an 11-year-old gelding owned by Ashland Farms.

Savannah Hemby and Chacco Star

In Section B, Ellis took home the blue with her ride on Campreoll. Going late in the order, she had the advantage of knowing where others had found tight distances or had difficulties getting down certain lines. Campreoll is a 13-year-old gelding owned by Missy Clark and is a true veteran to the equitation ring. This is Ellis’s third WEF season with him, and she hopes to continue to do the equitation classes, aiming for the George Morris Equitation Championship in Week Eleven.

Ava Ellis and Campreoll

Second place in Section B was awarded to Eliza Kimball and Cashman, an 11-year-old gelding owned by Carly Hoft. Third place went to Jennifer Staniloff and Clover, a 15-year-old gelding owned by Sail Horse Investments.

Eliza Kimball and Cashman

Week Seven of WEF wrapped up Sunday, February 24. Equitation competition continues during Week Eight with the Platinum Performance USEF Show Jumping Talent Search 2* leading the way Friday, March 1.


Abigail Lefkowitz – ASPCA Maclay Section A winner

On her horse:
“Aubin is from DonStewart, I have been leasing him ever since June of last year since my previous equitation horse got hurt. He is just so reliable, the sweetest gentle giant who would never do anything to hurt anyone. He is really the first horse in the equitation that I have ever really clicked with. I felt like the minute I got him I could finally focus on myself instead of just my horse. Though we still work on him I can focus on more on me now.”

On her season so far at WEF:
“This is my first WEF, I am normally in Ocala. I ride with Vanessa Roman, and I just started with Grafton Ridge and Michael Delfiandra. Vanessa is amazing, she has been my trainer ever since I was three years old.I am enrolled in school in New York and I come down here weekends, though not that often. This is only my third weekend in Wellington and I will be here for two more. It’s hard coming back and forth and managing everything but I love to do it and am hopeful that next year I can do it a lot more. I feel so fortunate and grateful to be able to train with Michael and Vanessa who both work tirelessly to help their riders get the results they want. I also really appreciate my two grooms here, Cesar and Adonias, who take incredible care of the horses.”

On the course today:
“I went in nervous since I was first. I was nervous about the hay bales and the spookier jumps, but Aubin is the best and he is not a spooky horse so I was confident in him. I was nervous about the lines since I didn’t get to see anyone go before me, but it worked out. My trainer goes into details for every line; for the six to six stride he suggested that I lope down there a little hunter-like, the seven stride was a little forward and the two-stride lines he always tells me to stay quiet since I always tip my upper body forward a little too much. And for my horse, I focus on shaping him to the left as that is his weak spot. He tends to dive in so I was trying really hard to push him out and keep him straight.”

Ava Ellis – ASPCA Maclay Section B winner

On the course:
“I liked the course and since my horse has a big stride, all of the lines were nice and flowy so that worked out for me. I saw some people go into the double and get a little tight and have to reach out, so I was worried about catching that nicely which I felt I did, so I was happy.”

On her horse:
“He is owned by my trainer, Missy Clark, I have been riding him for three years and this is my third WEF with him. I just love him and he is so fun to ride. I am really excited to win here today since I am now qualified for the George Morris class in Week Eleven and hopefully I have earned good points toward Maclay Finals.”

On taking their stirrups off for the flat phase:
“I definitely need to work on that, it was hard for some. I thought it was good practice because I don’t think I do it enough, and it makes me look at things I need to work on. But my horse was so good so that helped me a lot.”

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