Whitney Weeks and Subliem had their work cut out for them today, Oct. 24th, as they headed into the jump-off for the amateur-owner jumper classic, the final class of the division. Paige Johnson was leading on La Martinee with the only clear round, and Weeks, Southport, C.T., would have to be fifth or better in order to gain enough points for the championship.
But Weeks rose to the challenge and pinned second in the class, just behind Johnson, which was enough to give her the championship. “[Subliem] is really difficult to turn left, and so that roll back [to jump 4] was going to be hard,” said Weeks. “I was pulling so hard on my left rein, and she just dove to the right, so we missed our turn.”
Weeks said that trainer Joe Fargis had warned her about that turn multiple times. “I guess I just wasn’t listening well enough!” she said. “As it was, I left a stride out of the last line to try to make up the time. She’s so small and handy. It makes jumping indoors that much easier.”
Subliem and Weeks have been together for three years, and Weeks said the mare has taught her more than any other horse she’s owned. “She’s a professional when it comes to this stuff,” Weeks added.
Weeks laughed when she recalled buying Subliem from Holland. “My old trainer, Kent Farrington, has a business partner named Javier, who owned her. He’s obsessed with [Subliem]; she’s like his wife! It took us forever to convince him to let us bring her to the States.” Once she arrived, Weeks headed directly to the jumper ring, where they only spent a week in the low junior jumpers before moving up to the highs.
Weeks, who is a junior at Boston University studying English, says that although Subliem is great in the show ring, she’s not very huggable in the barn. “She’s actually mean in the barn. She runs her teeth up and down the bars and lunges when people get too close!” said Weeks. “But once she gets in the ring, she’s all business. She loves to show and definitely knows when it’s time to go.”
Weeks said she owes her success not only to Fargis, who keeps her calm when she’s frazzled, but to her family who traveled from Connecticut to watch her, and to her barn manager Carol Ferrara, who rode with her in the middle of the night to prepare the horses. “Showing is a family affair for me. My mom competed in the adult jumpers here and was second. This is really when we get to spend our time together,” said Weeks with a smile.
Jessica Springsteen also needed to earn high ribbons today in order to take home the tricolor with Stone Hill Farm’s Tiziano. She had placed first and fourth in Thursday’s over fences classes, but Samantha Schaefer and Perfectionist and Hasbrook Donovan and Eastwood were close on her heels.
She went on to win the stakes class and pin third in the under saddle, which clinched the large junior, 15 and under, championship. The two over fences wins also gave her enough points to earn the grand junior hunter championship. “Tiziano usually doesn’t do that well in the under saddle classes, so getting third today definitely helped with points,” said Springsteen.
Springsteen, Colts Neck, N.J., said that although this is only Tiziano’s second season competing at the fall indoor circuit, he’s very mature. “He’s just so confident,” said the 16-year old. “I never have to worry about him looking at anything or being nervous.”
Springsteen purchased Tiziano while she was in Europe searching for a junior jumper. After trying what seemed like dozens of horses, she rode Tiziano and fell in love with the sweet-natured chestnut gelding. “We originally bought him as an equitation horse,” said Springsteen, “But after he did so well in the hunters, we changed our plan. We never even made it to the equitation ring.”
Springsteen has been training with Stacia Madden of Beacon Hill Stables since she was 6 years old and actually lives directly across from the barn. “Sometimes I walk to the barn,” she said. “But we have a really long driveway, so sometimes I don’t,” she joked.