Tampa, Fla. – Aug. 30, 2020 – The final day of the 2020 Southeast Medal Finals got underway Sunday, August 30, bringing athletes and their horses back to the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center for an exciting day of crowning final champions. To start the day, Maddison Ramsey and Maguro topped the Junior Medal Final, presented by the Clothes Horse, before Laurel Blakemore and Fine Fleur led the victory gallop in the $15,000 Dr. Eli Farri Memorial Grand Prix.
Drawing a field of 22 competitors, the $15,000 Dr. Eli Farri Memorial Grand Prix featured thrilling top competition in the Grand Prix Ring first thing Sunday morning. With an adjusted time-allowed of 94 seconds, the 14-effort track featured two combinations and a multitude of inside options to shave seconds off of the clock. The third horse-and-rider combination, Audrey Muscari and Cingsley 2, were the pathfinders of the first round course, finishing in a time of 93.25 seconds. As time went on however, the course would prove to be a demanding one as rider after rider fell victim to the well-built fences and time restrictions. In the end, only four of the original 22 would qualify for the jump-off.
The shortened track once again left many options for athletes to navigate their mounts through inside turns. First to try their hand at the jump-off, Muscari and Cingsley 2 accomplished yet another clear round, stopping the clock at 42.28 seconds and putting the pressure on for the three remaining riders. Next to go, Blakemore made quick work of the jump-off. Slicing and dicing her way through the course, the amateur rider impressively finished on a time of 40.32 seconds without tipping any rails. Fellow barnmate Doug Schreider and Jericho followed, also posting no faults to the scoreboard. However, his time of 41.53 put him just shy of Blakemore’s lead and into second place, also bumping Muscari into third. Completing the head-to-head competition was Elizabeth Phillips and Fascinate, who broke the beams in a fault-free 44.85 seconds to name Blakemore and Fine Fleur the winners of the $15,000 Dr. Eli Farri Memorial Grand Prix.
Blakemore, who trains with Dana Waters in Ocala Florida, praised Fine Fluer for her valiant effort. A fairly new partner for Blakemore, the 15-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare is naturally quick across the ground and always puts in her best effort. The pair recently competed in their first grand prix at the Tryon International Equestrian Center and Blakemore is excited to continue campaigning the special mare.
In the Indoor Lykes Arena, the Junior Medal Final, presented by The Clothes Horse, stole the spotlight to kick-off the day. Ramsey and Kevin Eufemia’s 9-year-old Holsteiner gelding Maguro rode to a score of 86 over the challenging track, putting her in the lead following the completion of the over fences portion. All twelve riders were asked to return for the flat phase where judges asked the junior athletes to demonstrate correct position and suppleness at the walk, trot, sitting trot and canter. As each pair tried their best to climb the ranks with an exemplary flat, it became apparent that Ramsey’s three point lead from the over fences portion would be unshakable, ultimately leading her straight to the winner’s circle for the 2020 Junior Medal Final.
The reserve honors of the 2020 Junior Medal Final went to Schuyler Dayner and Gambino, who received a score of 83 over fences. Finishing in third place on a score of 81 was Paige Moose and Quintilus.
Following the same format as the Junior Medal Final, the Adult Medal Final, presented by All-Stars Therapeutic Services, took place shortly after in the Indoor Lykes Arena. Megan Erickson and Maguro were named the 2020 champions of the Adult Medal Final, with Rachel Griffin and Jasmin de Bronival Z finishing in second. Rounding out the top three was Morgan Mulcahy and Centara.
Sunday’s finals concluded the 2020 Southeast Medal Finals. Horses and riders enjoyed four days of competition and camaraderie, with many new champions crowned. Those hoping to enter next year have a whole year of qualifying possibilities ahead of them prior to the 2021 Southeast Medal Finals.
For more information about the 2020 Southeast Medal Finals, click here.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Laurel Blakemore – $15,000 Dr. Eli Farri Memorial Grand Prix winner
On Fine Fleur:
“This is Fine Fleur. She is a Belgian Warmblood that the Waters family brought over and Hayley [Waters] had a lot of success with. I got her last year and just did my first couple of grand prixs on her at Tryon over the past two weeks. I feel so lucky to ride this horse. I really am very fortunate right now.”
On her plan for the jump-off:
“She is fast across the ground so with only four horses, I didn’t want to do anything too risky. I just wanted to be efficient and let her speed carry us. I left a stride out to the last fence, which I sort of decided when I jumped the second to last jump and I figured I could make it because I watched the other horse do it. She is so game and she will always give it a try. She always does her best to get out of the way – she is just special.”
On showing at Southeast Medal Finals:
“It has been really fun! This was the only class I did but I came down yesterday. We always love coming here because even when it pours with rain, the footing stays safe, everybody is really nice and they work with you. We think it is a lovely show! It’s only an hour and a half from home, so we love coming back here.”
Maddison Ramsey – Junior Medal Finals winner
“This is Sushi. His show name is Maguro and we bought him as a 3* Eventer, so he didn’t jump flowers when we bought him! The equitation was a far off goal for us in the beginning and now he has come so far. We have had him for about a year and a half now. He is going to turn 8 years old in December and he is my special boy that I love very, very much. He was so good today and I am very proud of him. This was our first final together! We are going to Kentucky for the National Horse Show this year and in the future we will do the USET.”
On her plan for the course:
“The course had a lot of singles, so my plan was to go in, give him a good ride and stay smooth, slow and don’t rush anything so that we both don’t get nervous. The only thing I was worried about was the two-stride line after all of the singles. I just tried to have a nice, steady pace and it ended up working out really well! He was great and listened really well. He stayed adjustable and wasn’t nervous at all, so it really helped my nerves out a lot! I just wanted to be smooth, slow and not rush anything so that I didn’t make any hasty decisions.”
On showing at Southeast Medal Finals:
“I love this show! I know Jenn [Adams] personally and I come here every year. I love it! It is just amazing to have great ribbons, great classes and fun things to do. They manage the show really well even though there are so many people here. I think it is also really good practice because it is right before indoor finals, so getting into an indoor ring and practicing at a final is a great experience for me before going to indoors. It helps us be less nervous for indoors and makes sure that we are prepared. I think it is just the best horse show. I love it here!”
$15,000 Dr. Eli Farri Memorial Grand Prix:
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / R1 Faults | R1 Time / R2 Faults | R2 Time
1. Fine Fleur / Laurel Blakemore / Laurel Blakemore / 0 | 87.45 / 0 | 40.32
2. Jericho / Doug Schreiber / Doug Schreiber / 0 | 92.21 / 0 | 41.53
3. Cingsley 2 / Audrey Muscari / Derek Petersen / 0 | 93.25 / 0 | 42.28
4. Fascinate / Elizabeth Phillips / Elizabeth Phillips / 0 | 91.47 / 0 | 44.85
5. Vishnou un Prince / Zoubair Bennani / Zoubair Bennani / 4 | 81.99
6. Tout Bleu de Vains / Hayley Waters / Dana Waters / 4 | 85.73
7. Flashdance / Megan Wexler / Felyn Farms / 4 | 86.86
8. Charlene / Di Carlo Kris / Di Carlo Kris / 4 | 87.59
9. Just Luck / Hayley Waters / Dana Waters / 4 | 87.92
10. Crossfire 10 / Laurel Blakemore / Laurel Blakemore / 4 | 88.10
11. Renkum J’Adore / Justine Dutton / Justine Dutton / 4 | 88.19
12. Gangster CHS / Kris Killam / Top Horses LLC / 4 | 89.03