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November 4, 2012

The ASPCA Maclay Blog

Judges George Morris and Hap Hansen have set a remarkably simple, yet testing, track for the ASPCA Maclay Finals. The ring looks quite empty with the sparse course, but as typical of a course Morris has a hand in designing, it is proving an excellent test. It’s basically two serpentines across the ring, and two runs down the center of the ring. If you click on the image at left, you can get a better picture of it.

Riders start over a green oxer ser out of the corner by the out-gate. They then make a sweeping right-hand turn to the trademark ASPCA wall. That’s followed by a smooth left-hand turn to a green triple-bar set in the far corner of the ring.

They then make a sharp turn left out of the end of the ring to a triple combination set down the center of the ring. The A element of the triple is set just three strides off the wall, so riders have to really keep their horse’s motor running around the turn.  The first two elements of the triple are optical verticals, with narrow standards and a gate that looks like a racetrack rail, with three vertical elements and one horizontal. There are two snug strides between the two verticals, and then one long stride to the C element, a white oxer. Immediately following, in a straight line, is a green vertical set four strides after the oxer.

Riders then turn out of the end of the ring to a Swedish oxer set in the corner by the in-gate, and turn left across the ring to a narrow wall with ferns on top, set without any wings. A right-hand turn to another Swedish oxer set in the far corner follows.

Riders finish with a long gallop down the center of the ring to a wide wall without wings. Other than the triple combination line, I don’t think striding is set anywhere. Riders are having to really ride off their eye and keep their horse’s impulsion through the turns.

Trouble spots so far have been horses having the gates of the triple combination down, or having an awkward ride out of a corner to one of the jump. Horses have been stopping at the triple combination, the ASPCA wall, and occasionally at one of the oxers in the corners.


• In the first 30, Meg O’Mara, the winner of the Pessoa/USEF Medal Finals two weeks ago, has been the standout so far. Michael Hughes pulled a rail in the triple combination. Shawn Casady was excellent. 

• In 30 through 50, Lillie Keenan turned in a lovely round (with auto releases!!!) and should get a call-back. Jenna Santi turned in a nice trip, as did Geoffrey Hesslink. Jacob Pope's round was quite lovely as well, and we should be seeing him ride again.

THE STANDBY AFTER 50 HAVE GONE
(in order of preference)

35 Lillie Keenan
46 Jacob Pope
18 Lauren Tyree
7 Meg O'Mara
20 Ashton Alexander
5 Michael Hughes
30 Shawn Casady
44 Kelli Cruciotti
21 Alison Cooney
13 Sarah Van Der Walde
32 Christina Antonucci
43 Geoffery Hesslink
47 Kate Morrison
33 Sara Nordstrom
6 Leylan Gleeson
8 Brittany Mirkov
23 Lauren Myers
39 Stephen Foran

• It's clear that this course might look simple, but it's catching a number of riders out. Horses don't seem as impressed with this arena as they do with the Farm Show Arena for the Pessoa/USEF Medal Finals—there aren't as many of them coming in and freezing. But some riders seem to have forgotten basic skills such as riding through a turn. The jumps set in the corners of the ring—the two green oxers and the two Swedish oxers—are nothing these horses haven't seen hundreds of times before, yet some are still stopping at them. This course is rewarding a rider who keeps their head about them, can ride forward through a turn, and can ride off their eye. 

One aspect about the course that is quintessentially George Morris is that there are no elaborate groundlines. The two Swedish oxers have four chrysanthemum pots placed as a ground line, but they only extend across half of the width of the jump. The two green oxers both have gates and boxes that reach to the ground, but no filler as ground line. The triple combination is of white rails with no ground line.

• In the 50 through 75 bunch of riders, Morgan Geller was quite good, as was her fellow Californian Hannah von Heidegger. Hasbrouck Donovan rode very well, putting in a very positive, forward trip.

• From 75 to 100, Tori Colvin really stood out. Her soft, fluid style has some nit-picky position flaws, but her overall polish and command of her horse's stride and jump are so complete. There's nothing stiff or posed about her. Sydney Shulman, who was third in the Pessoa/USEF Medal Finals, was solid, but had a bit of an awkward distance to the APSCA wall. Liza Finsness was solid with just a rub at one of the Swedish oxers. Chelsea Huss also had a nice round. 

Abigail McArdle not only made an inside turn from the second Swedish oxer to the long gallop to the wall, but her gallop to the wall at the last jump was dramatic and dead-on. Lydia Ulrich had a nice trip, too. Elizabeth Benson, winner of the Washington International Equitation Classic Final last week, had a very consistent round.

THE STANDBY AFTER 100 HAVE GONE
(in order of preference)

94 Elizabeth Benson
35 Lillie Keenan
46 Jacob Pope
80 Victoria Colvin
18 Lauren Tyree
92 Lydia Ulrich
7 Meg O'Mara
20 Ashton Alexander
74 Hasbrouck Donovan
5 Michael Hughes
30 Shawn Casady
52 Hannah von Heidegger
72 Adeline Audette
44 Kelli Cruciotti
64 Kristen Lutz
68 Michael Janson
77 Caitlin Boyle
87 Liza Finsness
91 Abigail McArdle
21 Alison Cooney
51 Nikki Diamantis
13 Sarah Vanderwalde
67 Morgan Geller
78 Chloe Schmidt
90 Chelsea Huss
32 Christina Antonucci
43 Geoffery Hesslink
70 Kristen Mohr
83 Sydney Shulman
47 Kate Morrison
84 Allison Haupt
33 Sara Nordstrom
57 Isabelle Caccamise
79 Alexis Graves
96 Jack Morgan

• In the 100 to 125 group, Reid Patton was quite good. Riders seem to be figuring out that riding a flowing track to fence 3, the triple bar set in the corner, is key. Riders who cut the turn seem to surprise their horses with the jump and run into problems. 

Hunter Holloway had a refusal at the first fence, but finished up well. Charlotte Jacobs was on her way to a lovely round, but her horse hesitated off the ground and had an awkward jump at the narrow wall at fence 7. 

• From 125 to the bitter end at 152, Kilian McGrath did a really nice job on a horse who definitely didn't want to play today. He stopped and spun a few times, but she did a good job to keep him going and finish the course. Savannah Jenkins was good, and then Luke Olsen got deep to one of the Swedish oxers and had a rail. 

Gabrielle Bausano and Catherine Tyree both had solid rounds. 

Schaefer Raposa had a lovely round as the next-to-last to go.

THE CALL-BACK FOR THE FLAT PHASE
riders are called back in three groups

GROUP 1

74 Hasbrouck Donovan
108 Taylor Schmidt
5 Michael Hughes
128 Katherine Strauss
30 Shawn Casady
52 Hannah von Heidegger
72 Adeline Audette
105 Reid Patton

GROUP 2

139 Savannah Jenkins
145 Catherine Tyree
152 Sophie Simpson
7 Meg O'Mara
110 Sylvia DeToledo
20 Ahston Alexander
127 Rebekah Chenelle 

GROUP 3 

94 Elizabeth Benson
35 Lillie Keenan
46 Jacob Pope
80 Victoria Colvin
151 Schaefer Raposa
18 Lauren Tyree
92 Lydia Ulrich
143 Gabrielle Bausano

The flat phase really shook things up! Lillie Keenan is now on top. Here's the order for Round 2, in reverse order of preference...

105 Reid Patton

52 Hannah von Heidegger

72 Adeline Audette

127 Rebekah Chenelle

30 Shawn Casady

128 Katherine Strauss

152 Sophie Simpson

74 Hasbrouck Donovan

110 Sylvia DeToledo

143 Gabrielle Bausano

151 Schaefer Raposa

5 Michael Hughes

7 Meg O’Mara

20 Ashton Alexander

108 Taylor Schmidt

80 Victoria Colvin

139 Savannah Jenkins

46 Jacob Pope

92 Lydia Ulrich

145 Catherine Tyree

94 Elizabeth Benson

18 Lauren Tyree

35 Lillie Keenan

The Round 2 course is just an exact replica of the first-round course in reverse! Except that they extended the distance from the green vertical to the triple combination, which makes it a long four strides now. 

Reid Patton got a deep distance into the triple, added a stride in the one-stride portion. Also had a rail at the last jump.

Hannah von Heidegger was very solid and positive.

Adeline Audette had a good round, with no real flaws.

Rebekah Chenelle had deep distance to both one of the Swedish oxers and to the ASPCA wall and had rails at both fences. 

Shawn Casady had a lovely second round, just with a few rubs.

Katherine Strauss also had a nice trip, though she looked a hair under pace over the first few jumps.

Sophie Simpson, the daughter of grand prix riders Will and Nicole Simpson, had a few distances that were a tad snug, but was solid.

Hasbrouck Donovan really cut the turn to the vertical before the triple combination, and then had to accelerate in the four strides to the triple. She didn't quite get there, and had a refusal at the A element.

Sylvia DeToledo had a very nice round.

Gabrielle Bausano rode very accurately and had a nice trip.

Schaefer Raposa had an absolutely lovely Round 2, with nice flowing lines and subtle adjustments. 

Michael Hughes turned in a lovely trip.

Meg O’Mara was a shade deep to one of the Swedish oxers and had a rub there, but was beautiful over the whole course.

Ashton Alexander had a round that would be hard to fault, very fluid and positive.

Taylor Schmidt had a very consistent round with no mistakes.

Victoria Colvin’s round was quite lovely, just with a few rubs.

Savannah Jenkins found a quiet distance to the first jump, then her horse kicked out at a lead change. She also had an awkward jump at one of the Swedish oxers. 

Jacob Pope had a very solid round.

Lydia Ulrich also had a lovely go, though the short two strides from B to C of the triple got a bit snug for her.

Catherine Tyree as well turned in a very solid round.

Elizabeth Benson rode a beautiful trip, with a wonderfully flowing track.

Lauren Tyree got a bit deep to the triple bar, and then had the front rail of the last oxer down.

Lillie Keenan had a lovely trip. It's up to the judges now to see if there is further testing.

There is further testing! The judges want four riders to come back into the ring. Catherine Tyree, Jacob Pope, Elizabeth Benson and Lillie Keenan are coming back. They're to change horses, with no grooms or help in the ring. Catherine Tyree and Jacob Pope are switching horses and Elizabeth Benson and Lillie Keenan are switching. This should be interesting--Lillie's horse is enormous!

Elizabeth Benson had some trouble getting on Clearway; her girth wasn't tight enough at her first attempt, but she was all good the second try.

They're to ride the entire final course again.

Catherine Tyree is first, Jacob Pope second, then Elizabeth Benson and Lillie Keenan.

Catherine Tyree found a bit of a snug distance to the narrow wall, but seemed to get an excellent sense of Jacob's horse's stride right away and turned in a solid round.

Jacob Pope gave Catherine's horse an absolutely lovely ride, very flowing on a horse with an enormous stride. 

Elizabeth Benson didn't get Clearway quite straight to the narrow wall, and he almost ran out, jumping just the edge it. The rest of her round was quite nice. The judges ruled her problem at the wall as a refusal, and ruled her off course because she had continued on to the next jump.

Lillie Keenan got a bit tight to one Swedish oxer and had the front rail down, but was good everywhere else. 

Final results are...

1. Jacob Pope
2. Lillie Keenan
3. Catherine Tyree
4. Elizabeth Benson
5. Meg O'Mara
6. Michael Hughes
7. Victoria Colvin
8. Lydia Ulrich
9. Lauren Tyree
10. Schaefer Raposa

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