Gladstone, N.J. – Aug. 18, 2017 – Monmouth at the Team continued its fourth day of competition at Hamilton Farm, headquarters of the USET Foundation and former training facility of the U.S. Equestrian Team. The highly-anticipated $10,000 Bobcat Derby, sponsored by The Nature Conservancy, was the feature attraction of the day. Friends, family and spectators got into the theme spirit and donned bobcat-ear headbands. Music filled the hollowed grounds of Gladstone and the spectators followed the competition with rousing applause for the best rounds.
The first round of the $10,000 Bobcat Derby included 104 horse and rider combinations at 3’, 2’6” and 2’ heights. The 15 pairs with the top scores at all heights combined returned for the second round. Beval Saddlery provided the prize of a Beval Artisan saddle. Beval, a retailer of fine equestrian tack and apparel with locations in Gladstone, North Salem, New York, and New Canaan, Connecticut, has mobile units at most major horse shows on the East Coast.
Jazz Johnson Merton flawlessly navigated her own Joe Cool, a gray Dutch Warmblood gelding, through Skip Bailey’s course, earning the high first-round score of 87 points. They maintained the lead in the handy round, earning an 86 from the judges. Kianna Luscher and Carissima W, a bay Mecklenberg mare owned by Northeast Equi-wave Therapy LLC, earned 82.5 in the first round and upped the ante in the handy with an 85, shooting the pair into second place. Melissa Feller and Friday, owned by Alex Wittig, were third after earning 83.25 in the first round and 83 in the handy.
“I thought it was a really nice the course. It was a little challenging and it presented well for all the levels,” said Merton, who trains with Samantha Davis at Cedar Lane Farm. “It was really nice that everyone could compete together.”
Merton shared that Joe Cool, who actually belongs to her daughter, Willa Merton, is a good, solid horse.
She was pleased with her experience at Monmouth at the Team. “I did not compete here last year,” she said. “I live in Pottersville, New Jersey, so it's in my backyard and it’s such a lovely venue, I hope to see more competitions here again.”
Second-place finisher Luscher agreed with Merton about the course. “I thought it was a really good course,” she said. “The bending lines in the first trip set apart the good from the bad. Coming out of the corners they were a little bit tough, but it was excellent. The lines rode great, and the striding was perfect.”
Luscher brought Carissima W from Germany five years ago as a 1.30m jumper. “As you can see, she wound up being my hunter,” Luscher said. “She is a very special horse, and I love her. We get along very well.”
Luscher, who is from Hawthorne, New Jersey, competed at Monmouth at the Team last year. “It is such a special place, the location, some of the greatest horses in this country have walked through the barns. It's very special. The facility is amazing, the barn is absolutely gorgeous, and the footing is great. I love this show, and we will be back.” She plans to compete in the upcoming $5,000 Welcome Stake, sponsored by ColorTACK and Equine Billing Services and the $10,000 Mini Prix, sponsored by Horseflight.
Meanwhile, it was raining ribbons for Jessica Carney and Hope, owned by Esperanza Imports LLC. First thing in the morning, Carney and her mount were champions of the Gladstone 2’ Hunters. The pair were first and third over fences and won the hack to take the division. They were also champions of the Pre-Children’s Hunter Pony Wednesday, sweeping the division.
“I think my trainers are helping me achieve my dreams,” said Carney, who is 12 and hails from Allendale, New Jersey. She trains at Saddle River Equestrian with Randi Cashman, Shelby Cashman and Caroline Norton.
“Hope is a fantastic hunter pony,” she said. “I am really lucky to ride her. I let Hope do her thing in the ring, and I lead her along the way and show her what to do. I am not quite sure what I want to do in the future, but I know I want to keep riding and always try to do my best.”
The Top Trip of the Day, sponsored by Stal de Eyckenhoeve, went to Jazz Johnson Merton and Joe Cool. The Top Trip of the Day from Wednesday went to Hannah Jablons and Portofino Ramiro. Stal de Eyckenhoeve specializes in the sale of sporthorses for equitation, hunters and jumpers. The Style of Riding award, sponsored by Le Fash, was presented to Melissa Feller. Le Fash produces equestrian fashion for stable to street.
Monmouth at the Team resumes Friday with the Outreach Program sponsored by the Sameth family, from Far Hills, New Jersey. Later in the day, the Level 3 jumper divisions kick off featuring the $5,000 Welcome Stake, sponsored by ColorTACK and Equine Billing Services. ColorTACK produces high-quality spurs and stirrups made to order in a range of colors from hot to conservative. Equine Billing Services provides an effective, accurate and secure solution to billing, tailored to the needs of equestrian businesses.
About the Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy works to preserve and protect nature and critical habitat. Their current initiative is Bobcat Alley. The goal is to preserve habitat for bobcats, New Jersey’s last remaining wild cats. Click here for more information about Bobcat Alley.