Source: News Release/Emily Riden and Kendall Bierer for PMG Inc.(edited)
Greg Crolick Earns 'Top Calls' and Tommy Feigel Rides Cliff II to the Top at
the Tournament of Champions
Greg Crolick Earns 'Top Calls'
As the five-days of 'AA' hunter competition got underway this morning at the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center, Crolick, of Top Call Farm, rode to multiple blue ribbons in the High Performance and Green Hunter divisions.
Course designer Robert McCune set a flowing first round course in the Main Hunter Ring that opened over a single oxer off the right lead, around to bending line away from the in-gate, then on to an outside line in front of the judges, a single oxer across the diagonal and ending over a vertical-oxer in and out along the far side of the ring.
Crolick's first mount, Carson, owned by Orchard Lake Farms, LLC., jumped the course with ease and came back to do the same in the handy round in the High Performance Hunter division.
"He definitely takes a little bit of a physical ride. You have to kind of use old school leg-to-hand and ride him around that way. He's quite fun, and a lot of fun to jump," Crolick explained.
Crolick and Carson finished second over the first course of the High Performance behind Trendy, owned by Caroline Kellogg and shown by Kate Conover, and the pair returned to win the blue ribbon in the handy class.
"He felt really good. He always comes out for the handy class and tries a little bit harder for the handy," Crolick shared.
Crolick returned to lead the jog in all three of the Green Working Hunter classes with Top Call Farm's Grey Street. The first year green hunter was just imported earlier in the year and has already seen great success in both Ocala, FL and Tampa with Crolick at the reins.
Grey Street's fluent jump, movement between the fences and handiness are what won him the blue ribbon in both the first course and the handy course of the Green Hunters, and his lofty, floating stride ensured the blue ribbon in the under saddle class, making three in a row for the grey horse.
Also earning multiple blue ribbons were Adrienne Iverson and Maximus in the Green Conformation Hunter division. Iverson and Maximus, owned and bred by Redfield Farm, were champions of the division in last week's Tampa Bay Classic, and they are leading the way for a repeat this week with blue ribbons in both of the over fences classes.
All three of the professional hunter divisions will conclude tomorrow as the champions are named in the Main Hunter Ring. In addition to the professional classes, Stadium Jumping's Tournament of Champions features a vast array of hunter classes for the amateur, junior and child alike.
Photo Credit: Greg Crolick and Grey Street won both of today's Green Working Hunter classes as the first day of Stadium Jumping's Tournament of Champions got underway. Photo By: Emily Riden.
Tommy Feigel Rides Cliff II to the Top
"Actually the first time I've ever ridden him was today," Feigel explained with a tone of surprise. "He's a new horse for me to ride so I did the 1.30m Jumpers first, and he was really good, and I did the 1.35m Jumpers. To be honest, I'm just getting to know him so it was actually kind of a surprise for him to win a class like that, but it's always nice to win."
Feigel continued, "The 1.35m was the same course as the 1.30m so I already knew where we were going, so I just kind of went in and went around the same. I thought he jumped even better than he did in the first class. He was the only clean, so I was a bit surprised actually."
Going immediately into the jump-off, Feigel repeated his 1.30m effort, navigating the short track with an assertive approach as he raced against the timer. Cliff II rose to the occasion, clearing all the obstacles with ease and finishing in a speedy 33.421 seconds.
"He's a real fast, careful horse, and those kind of classes really suit him. He was very fun to ride. He's got a lot of blood, but he's a real careful horse," Feigel explained. "That's my favorite type to ride. It's not actually that much work, you just have to kind of go with him and be there to support him just because he is so careful, and he stays off the rails so that makes my job really easy."
Aaron Vale rode to the second place honors with the fastest of the four-fault efforts aboard Red Lady, owned by Kelsey Bayley of Simsbury, CT. They had one unlucky rail during the first round, finishing in 74.146 seconds. The rails continued to fall for the other riders, with David Jennings and East Bound Down, owned by Hays Investment Corporation of Topeka, KS, taking the third place finish with four faults in 78.663 seconds. Jennings also collected the fourth place ribbon with Queen of Calla, owned by Full Circle Farm, with one rail down and a time of 79.010 seconds.
"I thought the courses were nice, especially coming for the first day of the horse show," Feigel stated. "We have a little bit of a short week starting on a Tuesday, so it was nice to have a nice, flowing course to start the week with and build up the confidence of the horses so that was great."
Feigel concluded, "Ocala was kind of slow with the quarantine and everything so our horses had a kind of easy circuit up in Ocala, so it was nice to come down to Tampa. I've been coming here for a lot of years now, and it's a great place to kind of keep going and catch up a little bit on the weeks that we missed up north. I love the show grounds, and I think that the management does a great job running the classes. They really make it nice for the exhibitors to be here, and it's really nice to feel so welcome at a horse show like this."
"Cargano is a Low Amateur horse, and his owner is not here this week. She said to have fun with him, and I had a little fun there in the jump-off. We kind of made a real sharp inside turn that I don't think anyone else made the rest of the day. So I followed orders - I had a little fun with him," Vale laughed. "Because of that one turn, I didn't really have to do anything crazy after that, and he won by two seconds."
Aboard Spirit of Alena, Vale turned in his second victory of the day in the last class, the 1.40m Open Jumpers. Vale had previously ridden Red Lady to a clean effort in the first round, but had earned eight faults toward the end of the short course. No other rider was able to master the first track, until he returned upon Spirit of Alena as the last pair to tackle the track. Vale guided Spirit of Alena to the only double-clear effort of the class, riding to a one-two finish in a time of 41.587 seconds. Although Maisie McSwain and Chanel laid down a beautiful first round course, the final rail fell to seal their third place finish with the fastest of the four-faulters.
"This is our first day showing Red Lady," Vale explained. "She's a little hard to warm up, but she's pretty good in the ring. I did two classes with her, and I think she might have been a little tired by that point, but she went around the ring real solid in the 1.35m and the 1.40m. I was real, real happy with her."
Vale continued, "By the time I was in there on Spirit, Red Lady was already the leader with two down in the jump-off so I wasn't even worried about going clean necessarily, just keeping Spirit calm and relaxed. We're pointing toward the $10,000 class on Friday so I didn't want to buzz him up. He knows how to go quick, so it's kind of a nice opportunity when you can win a class without having to use your horse too hard. You can keep training and work on their brain rather than just trying to win the prize money. It was a nice opportunity to give him a quiet relaxed jump-off, and hopefully he'll be riding nice later in the week and not anticipating too much."
For more information about the 2012 Tampa Equestrian Series, please visit www.StadiumJumping.com.
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