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Geoffrey Hesslink Rides to Top of $5,000 Equitation Challenge at Old Salem

RELEASE: May 11, 2014
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

North Salem, N.Y.  – Equitation and hunters were the main draw in the schedule today at the Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Show. Some of the best junior riders in the country went head to head in the $5,000 Equitation Challenge, presented by EquiFit, inc. Geoffrey Hesslink of Shelburne, VT, rode Belano V to the top of the standings over 26 entries. The Grand Amateur-Owner Hunter Championship was awarded to Bridget Hallman of Oyster Bay, NY, riding Do Tell.

Watch an interview with Geoffrey Hesslink.

The Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows run May 6-11 and May 13–18 at Old Salem Farm in North Salem, NY. The shows feature over 130 hunter and jumper classes each week, bringing together top competitors, including Olympic show jumpers, from across the country to compete for almost $500,000 in prize money.

Geoffrey Hesslink and Belano V (The Book LLC)
Geoffrey Hesslink and Belano V (The Book LLC)
The $5,000 Equitation Challenge presented by EquiFit, inc. had 25 entries. The top 12 returned for a second round. Hesslink and Belano V, an eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding by Untouchable owned by Heritage Farm, scored an 84 in the first round and sat in third place going into the second round. Their top score of 87 put them into the lead with a total of 171.

Hesslink described, “The first round was good. The biggest thing that Andre said was the time allowed. I tried to be as efficient as I could. I made one little mistake in the first round. In the second round, I wasn't on top, so I thought I'd just go for it and see what happens.”

Second place went to Megan MacPherson on Class Action. They led the first round with an 86 and scored 84.5 in the second round for a total of 170.5. Third place went to Yasmin Rizvi and Aslan with a total of 167, Clearway and Caitlin Boyle were fourth with 166.5, and placing fifth was Alexandra Maracic on Pioneer with a 166.

Hesslink is 18 years old and is a senior at Champlain Valley Union High School. Of today's class, he said with a smile, “I aged out last year, and this is my first time as an amateur doing the equitation. I was going into it thinking, 'We'll see how it goes.'”

As a working student for Heritage Farm, Hesslink has been riding and learning for the past year from the trainers there, including Andre Dignelli. He has had the ride on Belano for a year as well. “I know him really well. He came over last spring, and he was a good jumper. He still has a lot of jump in him,” he said.

The Equitation Challenge was over a course designed by Paul Jewell and included a liverpool, water jump, and natural logs. Hesslink said, “Belano is really confident about all the natural obstacles, and he's really easy and great to do over the water. I knew going into it that I could rely on him to jump those obstacles with ease. Those weren't even a problem.”

Hesslink said of his win, “I've been waiting for this for a long time. I've been working with Andre for a year. I've been a working student, and it's been a really great opportunity. I've learned so much. This is just paying off from all of the work. Andre has worked with me, and he's given me so much. I feel like this is the end result of it, and it's a really great feeling.”

Final Results: $5,000 Equitation Challenge presented by EquiFit, inc.

1 BELANO V, HERITAGE FARM, INC., GEOFFREY HESSLINK
84+87=171.000
2 CLASS ACTION, MERIDIAN PARTNERS LLC, MEGAN MAC PHERSON
86+84.5=170.500
3 AZLAN, PEACOCK RIDGE LLC, YASMIN RIZVI
83+84=167.000
4 CLEARWAY, HERITAGE FARM, INC., CAITLIN BOYLE
85+81.5=166.500
5 PIONEER, HERITAGE FARM, INC., ALEXANDRA MARACIC
80+86=166.000
6 SANCHO, VALERIE RENIHAN, KATE ROSS
79+82=161.000
7 JEFFERSON, BRETT BURLINGTON, KELSIE BRITTAN
75.5+85=160.500
8 COCO, FURTHER LANE FARM, SOPHIE MICHAELS
82+78.5=160.250
9 LINKIN, AUDREY KELLER, SAMANTHA COHEN
81+79=160.000
10 HELIO ROUGE, ALI TRITSCHLER, ALI TRITSCHLER
76+83=159.000
11 KASKADE, WALSTIB STABLES LLC, TJ O'MARA
78+71=149.000
12 ALCHEMY, ADAM RITTENBERG, ADAM RITTENBERG
75+65= 140.000

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