The major equitation championships are a highlight of the fall show season, but the less-known Mid-Atlantic Equitation Festival at the Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro, Md., offered memorable competition in the division last weekend after the other finals were over.
Run over three days, it features scholarship awards and high-end prizes in classes ranging from short- and long-stirrup to the 2-foot, 9-inch open equitation and qualifiers for those major title classes.
MAEF was founded by Mary Beebee and Ellen Shevella, who met in the 1970s. Their combined ideas formed the Mid-Atlantic Equitation Festival six years ago.
“It is so rewarding to see the fruition of our idea to create a special event focused on young riders, scholarships, and camaraderie,” said Ellen. “Every year, we are rewarded by seeing the fun the kids and young adults are having and how much they learn by jumping these great courses at a wonderful facility.”
New Jersey riders, who made up more than half of the entries, excelled in their classes.
Devon Thomas of Millburn won the the ASPCA Maclay and the USEF Medal qualifiers in her first season riding in them.
“This is a good show to get points [at] before the upcoming year,” said Devon, who also earned the show’s Young Rider Championship.
Keeping it all in the Thomas family, Logan Thomas went on to capture the Undergraduate Flat Championship and Low Children’s Adult Equitation Championship. Both are trained by Michael Desiderio of Tranquillity Farm in Chester.
Robert Beck of Hunter’s Crossing in Long Valley trained Amy Porchetta of South Plainfield, the Novice Equitation champion and Grace D’anza of Bernardsville, Pony Equitation champion.
Ashley DeLise of Pittstown took the $2500 R.W. Much Scholarship Winner. She is trained by Susan Vanblarcom of Summerfield Farm in Pittstown. Richelle Leber of Ev-Ry Farm in Mt. Laurel topped the costume class.
To learn more about the Mid-Atlantic Equitation Festival, go to www.midatlanticeq.com