Casino and Margaret O'Meara Hit the Jackpot in the Amateur-Owner 3'3" Hunters at the Equifest Series at Lamplight Equestrian Center

RELEASE: August 5, 2013
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: Brenda Mueller for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International

Margaret O'Meara and Casino win the CWD saddle presented by CWD representative Lindsay McKinnon at the Equifest Series at Lamplight Equestrian Center. (Brenda Mueller)
Margaret O'Meara and Casino win the CWD saddle presented by CWD representative Lindsay McKinnon at the Equifest Series at Lamplight Equestrian Center. (Brenda Mueller)
Wayne, IL
-  It was all about Margaret O'Meara today in the winner's circle at the Equifest Series at Lamplight Equestrian Center.  O'Meara had not just one good day or one good week at the series, but managed to top the charts both weeks with her pair of matching greys, Casino and Voice of Reason.

Last week at Equifest I, O'Meara of Kirkland, WA, rode to the Amateur-Owner 3'3" Championship on her mount, Voice of Reason and to the reserve championship on Casino.  This week for Equifest II, O'Meara was champion on Casino and reserve on Voice of Reason.  Adding to the list of wins, O'Meara also won the $1,000 Amateur-Owner Hunter Classic this week.  But the luck rolled on for O'Meara as she went on to win the bonus jackpot, the CWD saddle!

CWD representative Lindsay McKinnon, donated a CWD saddle to be awarded to the horse and rider combination with the most points in a single rated hunter division over the two-week period.  The winner, of course, was O'Meara and Casino.

"We're happy to support and promote the show," said CWD's McKinnon. "I think Debbie (McIntyre) runs a good show and she's one of our trainer sponsors, as well."

McKinnon has been the Midwest area representative for CWD for about two years, promoting and selling the custom saddles. 

"I believe in the product," McKinnon added. "The difference it makes in the horse's back is amazing, and it's the best balanced saddle for the rider."

Equifest show manager, Debbie McIntyre added, "I'm really pleased with the CWD sponsorship and also very excited that they have signed on for 2014 as well."

O'Meara was ecstatic, "Who doesn't want a CWD saddle?"

O'Meara credits her success to, "A great team, great horses, and a great trainer. With all of those elements, the stars align!" 

The discussion continued on to how her program has changed as she has become an older amateur rider.
"My goals haven't changed, but the horses have changed. It has to be the right horse.  They have to have the fastest front ends in the west, east and north!" joked O'Meara.

Trainer, Heidi Fish added, "The bottom line is it's all about preparation.  It's all about getting the right horse and knowing how to get it to the ring. If the horse isn't right, the rider can't do it." 

Fish continued, "It's also good to know when the horse is ready to move on.  Two years is the longest we keep them, and then it's time for them to move on and be successful for someone else."

In the Amateur-Owner 3'6" Hunters it was Shannon Kelly and Trust Me who rode away with the tricolor ribbon. Kelly of Chicago, IL, won two over fences classes including the handy round, was second, third and second in the under saddle. Trust Me was also champion in the High Performance Hunters this week with trainer, Tina Judge. Reserve champion went to Kalifornia and Heather Zuber of Zionsville, IN. Zuber also won two over fences classes, was second and third, but third under saddle gave her the reserve spot.

O'Meara mentioned earlier that some of her amateur horses have moved on to be successful junior hunters.

The most successful junior hunter at Equifest this week was Fidelia and Jenna Selati, taking the championship and the $1,000 Junior Hunter Classic. Selati lives in Winnetka, IL, and trains with Buena Vista Farm's Meagan Murray. Selati now has another championship to add to her list, racking up the points to qualify for the indoor finals. The Hanovarian chestnut mare has been champion in Kentucky, Traverse City and the Spring Spectacular, held at Lamplight in June.  Selati hopes to get a chance to ride at indoors before going off to study journalism in college.

Taking the reserve championship in the Junior Hunters was Ariano and Brooke Saltzman of Lake Zurich, IL.  Saltzman rides at Prairie Star Stables in Barrington, IL. Ariano also won some top ribbons earlier in the week in the Performance 3'3"-3'6" Hunters.

In the Pony Hunter Division, Hannah Bernstein rode away with the champion and reserve ribbons in the Large Pony Hunters aboard Woodland's Stevie Ray and Barcelona.  Bernstein also won the Pony Hunter Classic with her champion, Woodland's Stevie Ray.  In the Small Pony Hunters, Bernstein again took both champion and reserve. Blueberry Hill, owned by Natalie Jayne, was champion and Rico Suave, owned by Ponies and Palms, was reserve.

Today wraps up the two-week Equifest Series. Exhibitors were pleased with the improvements made at the Lamplight facility including five rings with new GGT footing, improved landscaping, the new Grand Prix ring, improved restrooms and remodeled office and food areas.