GLADSTONE, N.J. – Aug. 15, 2018 – Hunters and Equitation riders competed at Monmouth at the Team for the third day of fun, friends and impressive competition. With the grand backdrop of the former training grounds of the U.S. Equestrian Team, the feature of the day was the $1,500 Bit O’ Straw Classic, sponsored by Signature Spurs. The event combined the best from the Low Adult and the Pre-Children’s Hunter divisions in a two-round event over a challenging Skip Bailey-designed course.
The top 12 of 28 horse-and-rider combinations returned for a second close round. Rachel Phillips (16 from Montclair, New Jersey) and Prince of Tydes earned the top spot. Phillips has had Prince of Tydes, a 2003 bay Hanoverian gelding, for a year but he had a minor injury that kept him from competing.
“We’ve been putting in a lot of hard work and I usually ride twice a day,” she said. “He’s just a really good horse. He always shows up and does a really good job.”
The pair were reserve champions of the Pre-Children’s earlier in the day. She trains with Melanie Verdesco and they’ve logged a series of wins and top performances in the 2’6” divisions. In May they nabbed the $2,500 2'6” Garden State Hunter Derby and walked away with the championship of the Pre-Children’s division. Last week the pair earned three blue ribbons in the Pre- Children’s at the Sussex County Benefit Horse Show.
“I’ve been coaching Rachel for eight years and she’s wonderful,” Verdesco said. “She’s a very good listener. I spend a lot of time with her and her horse and they’re an amazing team.”
Emma Sameth, 13, earned the red ribbon in the class with Contiki, owned by Windham Hill Farm. The pair also won the Top Trip of the Day, sponsored by Stal de Eyckenhoeve. Sameth trains with Michael Dowling.
“Tiki was just amazing like always, so that was really fun,” Sameth said. “He’s a new partnership. I’ve been riding him about a month. He’s so fun to ride.”
For someone so young, Sameth appreciates the heritage and history at Hamilton Farm. “We have the opportunity to ride at the Team, where the best have ridden,” she said.
Signature Spurs sponsored the $1,500 Bit O’ Straw Classic and presented a pair of personalized spurs to the winner, Rachel Phillips. Signature Spurs Specializes in fully custom and handmade, monogrammed jumper whips, personalized spurs, crops, stirrups and more. Ride in style. Go to signaturespurs.com to learn more.
Each year at Monmouth at the Team, the Marano family presents their perpetual trophy for the high-score award in the Pre Children’s division. The trophy is named in honor of their beloved horse, Stonewashed who passed away in 2016. Lizzie Marano has many fond memories of Stonewashed (Levi). This one she shared today.
At the Gladstone Horse Show four years ago, her daughter Madison Marano rode in their hunter class and had a wonderful round, but Levi remembered a recent school where trainer Michael Dowling had them jump out of and back into the arena. After their round, Levi must have thought he should continue. He jumped over the arena partition and out of the ring in stride as if it were part of the course.
Ella Witt (12) and her own Eastwood, were the recipients of the 2018 Stonewashed perpetual trophy. They were champions of a section of the California split division and won two classes and were second in another.
Trainer Leslie Verdi was excited for her student. “I’m very proud of her,” Verdi said. “She was also champion yesterday.”
Witt has competed at all the Monmouth at the Team shows and she did the Mini Stirrup at the Gladstone Horse Show.
“I haven’t had him for long and he’s been a really good boy,” Witt said. “It’s really an honor to win this trophy named for a such a special horse.”
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Monmouth at the Team thanks Dover for supplying our ribbons.
Monmouth at the Team returns Thursday morning for a full day of competition. The feature class of the day is the $10,000 Bobcat Derby, sponsored by The Nature Conservancy.