September 25, 2012 – It was a full weekend for junior riders as the final four regions concluded their ASPCA Maclay Regionals. The anticipation was tangible as the nation’s top riders competed for the chance to attend the prestigious ASPCA Alfred B. Maclay Finals during the Alltech National Horse Show this fall at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY. Michael Hughes captured the first place honors for Region 1, with Lillie Keenan riding to the top of the ranks for Region 2. Meg O’Mara took the championship in the ASPCA Maclay Regionals for Region 3, while Taylor Schmidt rode to the top of the standings for Region 4.
The ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship class has been held since 1933, and it is one of the most prestigious competitions for junior riders in the United States. Its winners are some of the biggest names in the equestrian sport. Previous winners include: William Steinkraus in 1941, Frank Chapot (1948), George Morris (1952), Leslie Burr Howard (1972), and Nicole Shahinian Simpson in 1992. The 2010 ASPCA winner was Hayley Barnhill, and Sarah Milliren took the title during the 2012 Alltech National Horse Show.
The Grand Fall Classic in Westbrook, CT, saw great competition from riders this weekend, but it was Michael Hughes who stood out above the rest for the second consecutive year. Hughes laid down a beautiful round, and rode to the top of the leader board and the chance to battle the best at the ASPCA Alfred B. Maclay Finals. Abby Bertelson earned the second place spot, while Sydney Schulman rounded out the top three.
Michael Hughes wins the Region 1 ASPCA Maclay Regionals
Photo courtesy of Anne Gittins Photography
Region 2 was alive with excitement at Old Salem Farm when Lillie Keenan repeated her victory from from 2011, taking home the blue ribbon prize for her round over fences and efforts in the flat phase. 2011 Pessoa/USEF Hunter Seat Equitation Medal winner Schaefer Raposa followed on Keenan’s heels to take the second place award, while Elizabeth Benson rode to the third place honors.
Lillie Keenan wins Region 2 ASPCA Maclay Regionals
Photo courtesy of Sarah E. Latterner Photography
It was a fantastic finish to the Southeast Medal Finals in Jacksonville, FL, for Meg O’Mara as she successfully won the Region 3 ASPCA Maclay Regionals during her final junior year. Thirty-seven skilled riders navigated the equitation course, and the top six riders were asked to return to the ring for a test. O’Mara came out on top with a confident performance aboard Elevstar Farm’s Vancouver, capturing the coveted prize. Liza Fisness took the second place honors, with Hasbrouck Donovan securing third place.
Meg O’Mara wins Region 3 ASPCA Maclay Regionals
Photo courtesy of ESI Photography/The Digital Place
The Kentucky National welcomed junior riders to the Kentucky Horse Park, and inside the prestigious Alltech Arena, riders competed for the top of the rankings. It was an astounding event for Uphill Farm, as two of their riders landed the first and second place positions. Taylor Schmidt rode to the top of the standings, while Meredith Darst pinned second. Lizzie Van Der Walde was awarded the third place ribbon.
Taylor Scmidt wins Region 4 ASPCA Maclay Regionals
Photo courtesy of Shawn McMillen Photography
The top qualified riders from each region will travel to the 129th Alltech National Horse Show held at the picturesque Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY, for the ASPCA Maclay National Finals in November. The anticipation is high as the riders and their talented mounts compete for the coveted title.