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Rhian Murphy Wins MHJ Junior Medal Finals at Fieldstone Show Park

RELEASE: August 25, 2013
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: Phelps Media Group, Inc. International

Rhian Murphy piloted Phantom to the MHJ Junior Medal Finals victory during the 2013 Massachusetts Hunter Jumper Finals at the Fieldstone Show Park (Phelps Media Group, Inc. International)
Rhian Murphy piloted Phantom to the MHJ Junior Medal Finals victory during the 2013 Massachusetts Hunter Jumper Finals at the Fieldstone Show Park (Phelps Media Group, Inc. International)
Halifax, MA
- Top riders from across New England gathered at the Fieldstone Show Park for the 2013 Massachusetts Hunter Jumper Finals. After working all year to qualify for the prestigious event, riders competed in their respective divisions to earn the championship honors. The Junior Medal was award to Rhian Murphy, while Rebecca Clawson took home the winning honors in the Adult 18-35 Medal Final, presented by Draper Equine Therapies. In the Adult 30 & Over Medal Final, it was Robin Harkins and Swiss Miss taking home the top honors, and Taylor Svenconis led the Mini Medal lap of honor.

USEF course designer Thomas Hern designed the courses for Sunday's MHJ Medal Finals. The Junior Medal Final riders were tested by a technical course that challenged each of them with varying distances, positioning and strategy. The riders began over a single vertical set at the far side of the arena and then bent to an oxer in seven strides. They then made a left rollback over the yellow oxer. Riders were faced with the option to bend to the barrels or make a right rollback for a more indirect approach. They then took the natural oxer on the outside to a single vertical on the far side of the arena. A left turn brought them to a five-stride oxer-vertical line where they then made a right turn and took on the daunting combination. Hern utilized a vertical-vertical one-stride combination, and then three strides out included a second double combination featuring an oxer-vertical. Upon landing, they made a left rollback over the final single vertical to await their score.

The top 11 riders from the Junior Medal Final were invited back for the test. They had to canter the challenging combination line again, roll back to a single vertical, and jump the barrels without standards, all without stirrups. Before cantering back to the lineup, riders had to demonstrate two changes of lead along the long side of the area.

Alexandra Indeglia was the first to return, ranked 11th after the over fences, but she executed a brilliant test aboard Bravo Van De Kwakkelhoek to quickly climb the ranks. The duo found a perfect distance to each fence and easily demonstrated two flying changes of lead. Their effort was good enough to move to the third place position at the end of the day.

Samantha Peck was ranked third with Ensor after the over fences phase, but she also managed to produce a solid test. She rode Ensor confidently through the combination, and smoothly trotted her lead changes. The judge awarded their test with the reserve championship title.

The last two to test were Rhian Murphy with Phantom and, after earning an 88 over fences, they stood at the top of the leader board. The pair was slightly tight to the first fence in the combination, but jumped out easily and smoothly cantered the remaining fences. They then executed two precise changes of lead before joining the other riders. After a good test and brilliant first round, the judge awarded Murphy and Phantom the championship honor.

"During the first round, I just wanted to be as smooth as possible," admitted Murphy. "I was a little nervous about the barrels because he can be a little spooky, but he was so good about it. He was great all day."

Murphy continued, "There was a long wait before the test and I just didn't want to mess up. I don't think he realized he was jumping the first fence, but after that he was amazing."

"Before the Finals, we did a lot without stirrups and a lot of hard lessons," noted Murphy. "I like the equitation because it's about your talent. It means a lot to win this. I broke my hip a couple years ago, so it's been hard to come back, but Phantom has been great."

Ronnie Andersen out of Ronnie Andersen Show Stables, located on the Fieldstone Show Park grounds, trains Murphy-and this was not their only win for the day. Rebecca Clawson also rode to the top of the rankings this afternoon aboard Freeport as she took an 88 over fences in the MHJ Draper Therapies Adult 18-30 Medal Finals. She duplicated her efforts with flawless equitation when brought back at the top of the 12 to test in the under saddle. Clawson held the lead to take home the championship, while Carly Corbacho and Blue Highway rode to the reserve championship.

"I just wanted to try to maintain the standings and be smooth and look good on the flat," Clawson explained. "Freeport has been showing a lot all summer and he has been working and doing really well, so I felt really good out there. When they asked us to drop the stirrups at the beginning of the flat, I felt really confident. I know my horse really well, he doesn't normally do the equitation, but my other horse couldn't make it so we threw him in and he did a great job."

Clawson continued, "We worked on being really consistent before the shows. We are both really comfortable here since we have the luxury of riding in the rings and calling Fieldstone home. He is very upbeat and I think we really work well together."

Trainer Andersen elaborated on the wins, "They work very hard, and they are great girls with great families. The whole atmosphere here is great-it is such a team spirit. I think that their support is what really plays into it. I am so proud of them. They work hard, it paid off and today was their day."

During the MHJ Mini Medal Final, five riders who all scored over 80 during the over fences were invited back for the flat. First, riders sat the trot to the judge where they answered the question, "How many inches are in a hand?" The riders then had to show at the walk, trot, sitting trot, and canter before trotting into the lineup.

The championship title was awarded to 14-year-old Taylor Svenconis of Londonderry, NH, with her pony King of Spades. The second place award was presented to Emma Fletcher and Always Formal, while Brigitta Shepard and Onno Z took home the third place honors.

Svenconis has been riding King of Spades for almost four years, and she had very specific plan for Sunday's Finals. "My plan was to keep the same pace and not go slower and slower," she explained. "I was worried about the bending line to the diagonal line, because that is where we made a mistake last year. I really wanted to make a comeback."

"I was in third coming back for the under saddle, so I was just trying to do my best and concentrate on myself," she continued. "He's usually really good on the flat, sometimes a little lazy, so I just made sure to keep him going because it's been a long day. He is wonderful; he will give everything to you if you ask for it."

Svenconis concluded, "It really means a lot to win because we got King of Spaces when he was still very green and we trained him. It was a tough competition, so it's an honor to win. I want to thank my Nana, because without her I wouldn't be riding, and my trainer, Jessica Hunt from Senator Bell Farm, because she has helped me so much."

The next event in Ring 1 was the MHJ Children's Horse Medal Final. Danielle McIlquham came out on top with Coco Chanel for the championship, while Sarah Boral and Love On The Rocks were awarded the reserve championship title. Kianna Taylor rounded out the top three with Sinatra.

The MHJ Short Stirrup Medal Final was the first to be completed in Ring 3. The top 12 riders were invited back for the test, and the winning honors went to Marysa Fernandez and Tiffany, who scored an 85 over fences. Nina Wordell took reserve championship with Strawberry Smoothie, while the third place award went to Victoria Crostin and Pleasant Hills Grayson.

The MHJ Adult Mini Medal Final was next, and this time it was Julia Beady and No Doubt who scored the top honors and championship ribbon. Sheila Murphy was awarded the reserve championship, while Rebecca Hyde and Emmet took home the third place honors.

Later in the afternoon, Robin Harkins rode Swiss Miss to the first place finish in the MHJ Adult 30 & Over Medal Final, while Ring 3 concluded with the MHJ Pony Medal Final, and after the top 12 returned to test on the flat, it was Sydney North and Sunshine that earned the top call and championship award from the judge. Ava La Plant and Back In Black received the second place award.

Sunday  marked the conclusion to the 2013 show season at the Fieldstone Show Park. For more information about the Massachusetts Hunter Jumper Finals or the Fieldstone Show Park, please visit www.showfieldstone.com.

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