Wellington, Fla. – March 30, 2018 – The Platinum Performance USEF Show Jumping Talent Search 3* kicked off the final Friday of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). Thirteen athletes and their horses competed for top honors and after two rounds of competition it was Ava Stearns and Lauren Hough’s Mac One III.
Michel Ismalun’s (FRA) course challenged all of the horse-and-rider combinations with 11 obstacles. The course features technical components such as an open water fence, a bending line, and three double combinations. The time allowed for the course began at 79 seconds, however after the first two competitors finished their rounds with time faults the time allowed was adjusted to be 80 seconds.
At the end of the jumping phase of competition, all 13 athletes were asked to return to participate in the second round flat phase. Judges asked competitors to demonstrate the working trot and canter, counter canter, and sitting trot multiple times. The flat phase of competition ran longer than normal and had athletes and their horses first demonstrate the tasks all together, then the judge split the group up into two and had each group perform the flat phase once more.
Stearns and her horse, Mac One III, tackled Ismalun’s course will little errors. The pair went eighth during the day’s competition, which helped her make a plan to stay under the tight time allowed. Stearns is no stranger to success in the equitation ring, having just placed in third during the George Morris Excellence in Equitation class that took place during Week Eleven of WEF.
In second place was Maya Nayyar and her own Narco V A. The pair is trained by renowned equitation trainer Stacia Madden. Third place was captured by Daisy Farish and Maria Schaub’s Vagrant Z. Farish has shown consistent success throughout the duration of WEF. Farish placed fourth in the George Morris Excellence in Equitation class and also has demonstrated her versatility by placing in third during Week Eleven’s $50,000 Hermès Under 25 Grand Prix Final.
Competition during Week Twelve of WEF will continue with the week’s highlight event on Saturday, the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI5*.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Ava Stearns – Platinum Performance USEF Show Jumping Talent Search 3* Winner
On Mac One III:
“My horse’s name is Mac. I partnered up with him this winter, we did a little bit together last year. This year he has been my main USET horse and he has been so amazing. He is so willing to do whatever I ask of him; he wants to be really good. He always tried his hardest and he is so sweet. He is owned by Lauren Hough.”
On Friday’s course:
“My plan going in was definitely to keep my turns really neat so that I could make sure I was under the time allowed. I wanted to be really confident in my time allowed. I really liked the course today. I thought it was challenging and fun and it was a very good last week. My horse is so good to me always, so I wasn’t worried about anything specific on course, like the open water jump. I always know that he is going to be a very good boy. The flat class was definitely a marathon though, but it was still really good for us.”
On plans after WEF:
“Now that WEF is over, my trainers, Missy Clark and John Brennan, and I will head to Tryon.”
Platinum Performance USEF Show Jumping Talent Search 3*
Horse / Rider
1. Mac One III / Ava Stearns
2. Narco V A /Maya Nayyar
3. Vagrant Z / Daisy Farish
4. Cantoblanco / Raleigh Hiler
5. Fox Z / Sophie Gochman
6. Heroy Von De Hei / Mimi Gochman
7. Common Sense / Alexandra Pielet
8. Avalanche / Cooper Dean