Tampa, Fla. – August 31, 2019 – Jumper competitors took center stage in the Grand Prix arena during the second day of the 2019 Southeast Medal Finals (SEMF). Riders competed in a Nation’s Cup format for the 0.85m Jumper Final, sponsored by Tenney’s Custom Saddlery, aiming to remain clear over two rounds of competition. Riders that remained on a zero fault score over the course of the two rounds were invited to the final jump-off to decide the top placings. Ultimately, it was Kasey Parker and Hamlet, owned by Rachel Williams, that earned first place.
For the first round, 18 competitors took the arena with only six managing to complete a fault-free round within the time allowed. Clear riders included Parker, Rebecca Holcomb, Stephanie Welborne, Janice Brodkin, Gretchen Swanson and Stephanie Engler. Following the second round, just four horse-and-athlete combinations remained fault-free in order to advance to the jump-off.
The pathfinder for the jump-off course was Swanson riding Broadway Joe, owned by Peggy Stevens. The pair completed a clear effort in 39.377 seconds to set the pace for the competitors that followed. Engler and her own Conquistadora attempted to take over the lead, but were just short with a fault-free time of 40.489 seconds. As the second-to-last competitor to tackle the jump-off, Parker and Hamlet entered the Grand Prix arena determined to take the win. The pair completed a swift, clean effort three seconds faster than the leading time to claim the top spot in 36.483 seconds.
The final competitor for the jump-off, Brodkin and Aber-Ka-Dabra, had an unfortunate rail on course, finishing on 4 total faults in 41.99 seconds. Parker’s quick clear effort was enough to hold her lead, ultimately garnering her the first place honors. Second place was awarded to Swanson aboard Broadway Joe, with Engler and Conquistadora rounding out the top three.
Parker, a 24-year-old based out of Sanford, Florida, trains with Peggy Stevens at Brookmore Farms. She has had the ride on Hamlet, an 18-year old Thoroughbred Warmblood gelding, for five years while his owner, Williams, has been away at veterinary school. This year marks Parker’s second year in a row returning to competition at the Southeast Medal Finals.
Earlier in the day, pony riders had their time to shine in the Stampede covered arena for the $500 Pony Handy Hunter Classic. Ultimately it was Susannah Morrell riding CYR Point Pulitzer Prize, owned by CYR Point Stable, that took home top honors. Finishing in second place was Bailey Benner riding Brighton Paragon, owned by Keith Alaimo, with Lilly Mack and her own Special Agent rounding out the top three. Morrell and CYR Point Pulitzer Prize also took home the championship honors in the Pony Hunter division, sweeping all three classes.
The Southeast Medal Finals will continue for one more day, concluding Sunday, September 1 with the final rounds of riding to determine the Southeast Medal Finals champions. Jumper riders will have two shots at the prize money in the $1,000 Mini Prix and $2,500 Mini Prix.
For more information about the 2019 Southeast Medal Finals, visit https://www.southeastmedalfinals.com/
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
“He is an 18-year-old Thoroughbred Warmblood and I’ve been riding him for about five years. We just brought him down to the 0.85m division, but I’ve been competing him in the lows. Because he’s getting older, we want to save him for when his owner gets back. She left for vet school about six years ago. He’s really fast and fun, and he pats the ground really well. He’s a seasoned jumper for sure, he definitely takes care of his rider.”
On the class:
“It went really well! We went clear in all three rounds, so that was nice. He was fast but controllable, so we were still able to make the tight turns and get around fast.”
On her jump-off strategy:
“For the jump-off it was difficult because there weren’t a lot of places to turn tightly, so I had to run a little bit but also get him back so that we didn’t crash through the jumps, which he handled very nicely. Sometimes he’s hard to get back once I start galloping, but I thought he did really well with that so that was exciting.”
On competing at SEMF:
“I was here last year and it’s fun to be back. I love it here. I love these showgrounds and I really love this jumper ring.”