GLADSTONE, N.J. – Aug. 17, 2018 –The jumper divisions kicked off on Friday in the main ring at Hamilton Farm for Monmouth at the Team, presented by Precise Buildings. The 1.25m $5,000 Welcome Stake, sponsored by Equine Billing Services, was the featured event of the day.
The New Jersey skies held off rain as if by plan, and Monmouth at the Team show management wisely asked for riders to remain in the ring for their jump-off rounds.
Skip Bailey designed the track appropriately for the mix of professionals, juniors and amateurs, but also kept the time allowed fairly tight adding to the excitement. Fourth to go in the order of 37 horse-and-rider combinations, Pablo Mejia and his own Questionnaire were clear in the first round. Then, they sped through the short course and set the time to beat of 37.758 seconds. He remained on top of the leaderboard until 31st in the order, Penny Brennan aboard Darena MB, owned by Sarah Dockery, had a lighting-fast and clear jump-off round, tripping the timers at 37.727 and edging out Mejia by the slimmest of margins. Brennan’s time held the lead until the end of the class, and she and Darena MB led the victory gallop.
“That mare is so, so good,” Brennan said of the bay 10-year-old KWPN. “She’s so powerful, so quick, so scopey. She jumps two feet over everything she jumps. You have to be prepared and she hits the ground running. She’ll spin so quick on landing you’ll fall right off if you’re not careful!”
The pair have been racking up wins at Swan Lake, the Atlanta Summer and Aiken Spring Classics. Brennan is originally from Nottingham, England. More recently she’s lived in Loxahatchee, Florida but is currently training out of a New Jersey farm.
“Brittany Acker is my manager and rides for me.” Brennan said. “She takes care of my horses— top to bottom. I owe everything to her.”
Second-place finisher Mejia complimented Bailey’s course. “It’s not easy to build a 1.25m class with professionals and some fast horses, so I think it was nice, no one got hurt and it was a fast class."
Mejia, who is from Far Hills, New Jersey, won the Garden State Horse Show Grand Prix in May with his other mount, Real Love. He describes Questionnaire as unorthodox.
“I’ve had him for about two years,” he said of the Selle Francais gelding. “He’s a very fast horse, he jumps his own way but he’s very clever. He knows where the rails are.”
Mejia and Brennan both plan to compete in the $10,000 Mini Prix, sponsored by Horseflight, on Sunday.
Monmouth at the Team thanks Equine Billing Services for their sponsorship of the $5,000 Welcome Stake.
Equine Billing Services provides client-tailored billing and collection services to help trainers and barn owners focus on the care and training of horses and their clients, while leaving the time-consuming task of handling bookkeeping to the pros.
“What my clients really like is that we design their service to meet their existing business practices,” said Equine Billing Services founder Janet Rizzo. “With other services on the market, the client has to change the way they operate to fit a specific program. What we do is based on our clients’ processes. We find out how you want to operate and do what YOU want.”
FEI World Equestrian Games Team USA’s Devin Ryan Competes at Monmouth at the Team
Earlier in the day, Devin Ryan, recently named to represent the U.S. at the FEI World Equestrian Games, brought a group of his own and client-owned horses to warm up in the 1.20m. He placed first through fifth in the class.
“This year it worked out that I could fit it (Monmouth at the Team) in the schedule," Ryan said. “It was exciting to come over here and be able to sleep in my own bed at night. I’m 15 minutes from here (Long Valley, New Jersey). That made it even more of a bonus. it’s fun to come out and see people you’ve been around for years.”
Ryan explained that he starts young horses and brings them along with his students. It gives them the opportunity to pay a little less but, in the end, have a much more valuable horse. He purchased his FEI World Cup Finals silver-medal mount Eddie Blue in Holland as a 4-year-old. He had only been ridden for a month and had barely gone over poles on the ground.
“It’s a longer road and it’s more financing over time but it’s a nice way to do it,” he said.
Ryan and his clients will return for the $10,000 Mini Prix, sponsored by Horseflight.
Christina DeMattheis was presented with the Style of Riding Award, sponsored by Le Fash.
In the morning, the USHJA Outreach Program divisions, sponsored by the Sameth Family, (Far Hills, New Jersey) took place. The USHJA Outreach Program provides members with an opportunity to earn national recognition in classes from walk/trot/canter through the 3’ hunters, jumper and medal competition. The program is designed to celebrate riders as they advance through the competition ranks and offers year-end awards and certificates of merit.
Sponsor Spotlight: Precise Buildings
Precise Buildings is steeped in principles of faith, integrity and work ethic and a commitment to excellence and details. This long-standing foundation drives Precise to create the highest quality structures in the industry.
Founded in 2002 by entrepreneur John Fisher, Precise Buildings combines skilled Amish craftsmen with innovative engineering and design to create exceptional structures — from unique barns, riding arenas and equestrian facilities, to run in sheds, pole buildings and custom garages for car collectors.
Precise has built and restored private estate barns and arenas for individuals and investors, as well as equine veterinarians and professional and international riders.
The company’s handiwork can be found in all the equine communities on the East Coast with a concentration in the mid-Atlantic states.
Monmouth at the Team management is dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of historic Hamilton Farm, former home of the U.S. Equestrian Team and current home of the USET Foundation. Monmouth at the Team has joined forces with Precise Buildings, the show’s Presenting Sponsor, to hold a silent auction in the hospitality tent. All proceeds from the auction go directly to the USET Foundation Building Fund.
Monmouth at the Team returns Saturday for more jumper action at Hamilton Farm.