Tuesday, Jun. 11, 2024

Maria Schaub Leads The ASPCA Maclay Finals After Round 1 And The Flat

After the first round and the flat phase of the ASPCA Maclay Finals, Maria Schaub sits atop the standings, and the judges—George Morris and Linda Hough—have called back 18 to ride again this afternoon.

The standby, in order of go (reverse order of standing) is…
Jennifer Walters
Hayden Warmington
Matthew Metell
Kate Salzman
Melissa Barton
Cathy Rolfs
Stephanie Underwood
Tatiana Dzavik
Carly Anthony
Shelby Wakeman
Lucy Davis
Mallory Olson
Katherine Newman
Kimberly McCormack
Elizabeth Lubrano
Emily Gardner

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After the first round and the flat phase of the ASPCA Maclay Finals, Maria Schaub sits atop the standings, and the judges—George Morris and Linda Hough—have called back 18 to ride again this afternoon.

The standby, in order of go (reverse order of standing) is…
Jennifer Walters
Hayden Warmington
Matthew Metell
Kate Salzman
Melissa Barton
Cathy Rolfs
Stephanie Underwood
Tatiana Dzavik
Carly Anthony
Shelby Wakeman
Lucy Davis
Mallory Olson
Katherine Newman
Kimberly McCormack
Elizabeth Lubrano
Emily Gardner
Michelle Morris
Maria Schaub

The first-round course really weeded out the field of 153 starters.  Morris and Hough designed a track that thoroughly tested the riders’ accuracy, control, and adjustability.  To begin, there was a very limiting dotted line, demarcated by potted bushes, and the first fence was an oxer off a short approach.  The riders had a small space at the very end of the ring to circle and get their pace before the first fence, and quite a few had stops at it.

From the first oxer, a bending line to the left led to a unique fence, a solid wall covered with orange and red leaves of ivy, without any wings. A few horses looked askance at this jump, but it didn’t cause too many problems.  But riders had to ride forward from the ivy fence in a bending five strides to a one-stride of oxers set along the wall. Some riders didn’t get enough impulsion after Fence 2 and ran into problems here.

Then, they cantered around the end of the ring and approached the most influential of the fences on course, the arched wall at Fence 4.  A simple arch of blocks, without any filler or groundline, made for an airy skinny fence.  Riders had many options to approach this fence.  They could take a long approach around a vertical, and jump the wall in a straight line a few strides out of the turn.  Or, they could slice inside the vertical and angle the wall from right to left.  The angled line was very impressive when well-done, but also was a real test of accuracy and honesty. 

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If the riders angled the wall, they negotiated a direct six strides to a Swedish oxer.  If they chose the wide approach to Fence 4, they rode a bending seven strides to the oxer.  The distance from that Swedish oxer to a vertical just after was extremely awkward—either a very tight four strides or a long three strides. 

From there, they rolled back to the right, and chose one of two gaps in the dotted line of bushes to approach a triple bar.  The vast majority of riders chose to go through the outside gap, giving them three strides off a tight right turn to the triple bar.  The key here was to keep the impulsion around the turn—some riders didn’t keep their horses going and either stuttered over the triple bar or had a stop there.  Only a few cut through the inside gap, taking the triple bar off an angle.  From the triple bar, riders rode a bending five strides to the left to a vertical-oxer-vertical triple combination, of one to two strides. 

After a canter around the end of the ring, riders came out of the corner to a plank vertical of wavy blue planks with stars on them.  This fence caused quite a few problems, as a number of horses spooked at it, and the top plank hit the ground frequently.  Riders finished with a direct seven or bending eight strides to a Swedish oxer.

Schaub rode a very impressive first round, negotiating the inside turn to the wall precisely, and rode with a real confidence.  The judges called her back in second—behind Gardner—for the flat phase, but she rides with a lot of poise and elegance on the flat and moved up to the top spot.  Morris rode a lovely round over the first course, and was called back in third for the flat.  When Gardner, of Carmel Valley, Calif., dropped to third after the flat, she moved up to second behind Schaub.

McCormack, who won the Pessoa/USEF Medal Finals two weeks before, had a nice first round, but was a little bit sticky off the ground at the first fence, and then had the plank vertical down.  She was in 10th for the flat phase, but her elegant flatwork moved her up to fifth.  Hannah Selleck, second to McCormack in the Medal Finals, didn’t have as good a day today—her first few fences were quite sticky and tentative.  But once she got going, she finished up quite nicely.  It wasn’t good enough to be called back for the flat, however.

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Tina DiLandri, third in the Medal Finals, had an even worse time of it.  Her horse seemed surprised by the triple bar off the turn at Fence 6, and put his feet back down after taking off, landing in the middle of the fence.  She carried on, but was out of the running.  Jessica Springsteen’s horse twisted a bit over the narrow wall, and she had a rail down at the planks, so she also did not return for the flat phase.

Elizabeth Lubrano had a lovely smooth ride over the course, and then kept her fourth-place spot with her flatwork.  Katherine Newman rode with a real polish and confidence, and despite a rail at the plank vertical, was called back eighth for the flat phase.  Her flatwork moved her up to sixth before Round 2.  Tatiana Dzavik moved up from 11th to eighth with her flatwork.  Cathy Rolfs and Melissa Barton made the most dramatic moves up the rankings with their flat phase work, going from 22nd to 13th and 30th to 14th respectively.

The three flat groups were…

Group 1
Jennifer Waxman
Cathy Rolfs
Taylor Kain
Caitlin Hope
Catherine Pasmore
Jennifer Walters
Samantha Harrison
Michael Hughes
Olivia Jack
Melissa Barton

Group 2
Tatiana Dzavik
Carly Anthony
Johanna Hyppa
Kate Salzman
Matthew Metell
Maya Bluestone
Hillary Neff
Hayden Warmington
Michael Desidero
Doescher Hobler

Group 3
Emily Gardner
Maria Schaub
Michelle Morris
Elizabeth Lubrano
Mallory Olson
Lucy Davis
Stephanie Underwood
Katherine Newman
Shelby Wakeman
Kimberly McCormack

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