Equitation Riders Farah Rizvi and Ava Ellis Close Out Week Nine with Wins at WEF

Wellington, Fla. – March 11, 2018 – The nation’s top equitation riders showed up early on Sunday morning to compete for top honors in the ASPCA Maclay and the Dover Saddlery USEF Hunter Seat Medal. Athletes and their horses tackled technical courses that involved an in-and-out combination in addition to a number of unique bending lines throughout the course. The courses, designed by Steve Stephens, used a total 13 obstacles to test riders in both the Maclay and the USEF Medal.

Farah Rizvi and Jarinka
Farah Rizvi and Jarinka

In Section A of the ASPCA Maclay, it was Farah Rizvi and Emma Callanan’s Jarinka that demonstrated the best round to earn the top honors. The pair only recently started competing together, but found great success during Sunday’s challenging Maclay round. During the first round of competition, 27 horse-and-rider combinations competed over Steve Stephens course. Following the first round, the top 12 scoring athletes were asked to return for a flat phase of competition. During the flat phase riders showcased their best sitting trots and more in front of the judges.

Maverick Helmer and Canterbury
Maverick Helmer and Canterbury

Coming in second behind Farah Rizvi was Maverick Helmer and his own Canterbury. The pair has had success in the equitation so far during the Winter Equestrian Festival, having won the Dover Saddlery USEF Hunter Seat Medal during Week Seven of competition. In third was Sophia Pilla and Poprocks, a horse owned by Piccolino Farms LLC.

Ava Ellis and Co Co Pop
Ava Ellis and Co Co Pop

Following the Maclay, the Dover Saddlery USEF Hunter Seat Medal took place and challenged riders with a specific set of tasks, including a direct canter in the ring to fence one. Despite competitive rounds by all junior equitation riders, it was Ava Ellis and Missy Clark’s Co Co Pop who came out victorious in Section A of the Dover Saddlery USEF Hunter Seat Medal. Ellis continued the winning streak for her trainers, John Brennan and Missy Clark, who also coached Farah Rizvi to her Maclay Section A win earlier in the day.

Erika Jakobson and Nobel Laureate
Erika Jakobson and Nobel Laureate

After a total of 28 athletes demonstrated their best efforts during round one of the medal, the top four horse-and-riders were asked to return for round two. The second round of competition had all competitors enter the ring, where they were then told to perform a shortened, but very specific, course. The test required athletes to counter canter a fence in addition to finishing on a halt directly following a forward line to a wide oxer.

Sophie Gochman and Contelido
Sophie Gochman and Contelido

Second place was earned by Erika Jakobson and Barn Rat LLC’s Nobel Laureate. Third place was captured by Sophie Gochman and Contelido. The pair were coached by renowned equitation trainer Stacia Madden.

The Winter Equestrian Festival continues for Week Ten of circuit on March 14, 2018. The highlight Saturday Night Lights will include the $132,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix 3* on Saturday, March 17.


Farah Rizvi – ASPCA Maclay Section A Winner

On Jarinka:
“I just started riding this horse a few weeks ago. She is so sweet and I love her so much. She loves to eat candy and Twizzlers. She is just the best horse, I love riding her.”

On Sunday’s course:
“When I went in I was really thinking about going to the bounce. I really wanted to get there steady, so I keep my body up tall and not knock through it because it was a little bit short. I think that when I went in I really focused on that and I just got it done. I’m really happy with it.”

On her trainer’s advice:
“My trainers are Missy Clark and John Brennan. They advised me to just start with enough pace and keep my body tall so that I could support Jarinka to the distances. They told me not to push through anything if I felt things getting a little bit tight. They also told me just to have fun and enjoy it.”

Ava Ellis  – Dover Saddlery USEF Hunter Seat Medal Section A Winner

On Co Co Pop:
“This is my first WEF showing him, so he’s new to me, but he’s very experienced. He’s pretty much perfect. I’ve just been working on getting more comfortable with him. He really listens to my voice, so when I say ‘Woah’ he just kind of melts and if I ask him to go forward, he does it. He is really well trained and he is super fun to ride.”

On Sunday’s course:
“[Co Co Pop] and I are still working out getting used to both leads with each other. I thought the course was fun though. It had a mixture of both leads and it had both forward lines and short lines throughout. During the test, we were a little bit on the slower side so I think that with the first two jumps being singles it was a little difficult. We then had to bump up our pace, but it was nice because it was a short line after that. It worked for him.”

On her trainer’s advice:
“John Brennan and Missy Clark are my trainers and during my Maclay round earlier today I was a little bit more rough with my riding so they really told me to just smooth out this round.”


Horse / Rider

ASPCA Maclay Section A

1. Jarinka / Farah Rizvi
2. Canterbury / Maverick Helmer
3. Poprocks / Sophia Pilla
4. Lego / Devon Thomas
5. Griffins Van D’Heyboght / Catalina Peralta
6. Bella Vida / Taylor Griffiths
7. Captain Krutzmann / Katy Merchant
8. Conaro / Hailey Johns

For results of Section B click here.

Dover Saddlery USEF Hunter Seat Medal

1. Co Co Pop / Ava Ellis
2. Nobel Laureate / Erika Jakobson
3. Contelido / Sophie Gochman
4. Jarinka / Farah Rizvi
5. Boukati B / Liliane Kaissar
6. Let’s Go / Julia Stone
7. Warran / Ned Cunniffe
8. Cool De Reve / Tess Lenihan

For results of Section B click here.

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