Halley, Dayner, Jones, and Buda Come Out On Top in Southeast Medal Finals Equitation Team Challenge

Tampa, Fla. – Sept. 1, 2018 –  Horses and riders returned to the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center in Tampa, Florida, for the second day of the Southeast Medal Finals. Saturday marked the first rounds of finals getting underway in all three rings. Outside of finals competition, the day also featured the crowd-favorite Equitation Team Challenge, sponsored by SmartPak, as well as the Pony Handy Hunter Classic.

Team 3 walks the Equitation Team Challenge course

The highlight event of the evening, the Equitation Team Challenge, tasked three teams of young riders to form and execute a plan around an equitation course without any help from a trainer. The composite score from each of the team’s four members would total a final score, dropping the lowest score for each team. Each individual rider had the option to jump at either the 2’6’’ or 3’ height, with the majority electing to tackle the higher fences.

Camryn Halley and I'll Say JSF
Camryn Halley and I’ll Say JSF

Camryn Halley and I’ll Say JSF, members of Team 3, held the highest score for their team as well as the entire class with an 86. Also on Team 3 was Schuyler Dayner and Gambino riding to an 81, Makaylah Jones and Zeeland receiving a 73, and Emily Buda aboard By Design. After dropping the lowest score, Team 3 would ultimately come out on top with a composite score of 240 – a whopping 18 point lead over the second place team.

Team 2 would finish in second place for their total score of 222, with efforts from Hadley Wimsatt, Macie Sousa, Valerie Vogel, and Mckenzie Kreilich. Third place was awarded to Team 3, which included Caitlin Hooper, Sydney Bounds, Alexis Cruz, and Leah Harrison for their total score of 173.

Camryn Halley, Makaylah Jones, Schuyler Dayner, and Emily Buda

Earlier in the day, pony riders took to the Stampede covered arena to compete in the $500 Pony Handy Hunter Classic, sponsored by KL Select. The class was judged over only one handy round of competition, and without a classic phase to rely on, each rider needed to put their best foot forward during their only turn on course. Small, medium and large ponies and their riders all competed in the class, jumping the series of fences set at 2’, 2’6” and 2’9” dependent upon size.

Kendall Dean and Zoolander
Kendall Dean and Zoolander

The class winner was 12-year-old Kendall Dean and Zoolander, a large pony owned by Madison Spangle, claiming the blue with a score of 82. Finishing second to Dean was Isabel Bertelsen riding her own mount Tazmanian Devil with a score of 70. Rounding out the top three in the class was Emma Arnhols riding Cecilia Perry’s Colorful Scenario to a score of 69.

The Southeast Medal Finals will continue for one more day, concluding Sunday, September 2 with the second and final rounds of riding to determine the Southeast Medal Finals champions. Jumper riders will have two shots at the prize money in the $1,000 Mini Prix and $1,500 Mini Prix.

Kendall Dean and Zoolander
Kendall Dean and Zoolander

For more information on the Southeast Medal Finals, click here.


Camryn Halley – Equitation Team Challenge Champion

On her team’s strategy
“I think that our strategy was really just to do what we knew we could do well. Everybody had a little bit of a different plan, but we really just wanted to do what we were comfortable doing so that everybody had a good experience and had fun!”

On I’ll Say JSF
“We call him Levi, he’s 9 years old and I’ve had him for a year. I do him in the equitation and the International Hunter Derbies. He’s just such a good guy and does whatever I ask of him whenever.”

On showing at Southeast Medal Finals
“I think that it’s a great experience to be here at Southeast Medal Finals. Especially going into Regionals here in two weeks. I just think this was a great class to get to know people and to have fun and just to practice. I just really want to thank James and Jenn [Adams] for putting on this show. It’s such an exhibitor-friendly show and they’re so good about everything. It’s such a good experience for all of us and we all have a lot of fun here!”

Makaylah Jones – Equitation Team Challenge Champion

On her team’s strategy
“When we were walking the course, Camryn [Halley] was really good about this, she would ask ‘What is your horse like? Where is he good?’ We really tried to work with what we had and that really helped us.”

On Zeeland
“He’s an equitation prospect and I’ve been leasing him for the past six months. Sometimes we call him the fire-breathing dragon because he can get quick and jump hard. He takes a lot of work to get him to the ring, but when we get him there right he’s really good and performs like a great equitation horse. It’s been a great opportunity to ride him!”

On showing at Southeast Medal Finals
“I really like it here because they prep us, they put us in a full covered ring, so that when we walk into finals we know what we’re doing — especially with a horse like mine who has never been to finals. It was a great experience to know what kind of horse I’d have before going into that so I really like that about this show.”

Schuyler Dayner – Equitation Team Challenge Champion

On Gambino
“He’s just such a trooper. He’s older and he’s teaching me how to do the equitation.”

On showing at Southeast Medal Finals
“I love coming here. It really preps you for indoors. My horse has been there but it’s great to help prepare me for finals. This was a fun class to get to do just to meet people and have fun!”

Kendall Dean – $500 Pony Handy Hunter Classic

On Zoolander
“He is a very brave pony! He does anything you ask of him. He really wants to find the distance that’s huge – he wants to jump from the top of the standards down. I’ve been riding him for two years, and he’s about to go back to North Carolina with his family. We’ll miss him, and I’ll be moving up to a horse soon, but it’s been fun getting to know the pony world. He’s really brought me into the ponies!”

On her strategy for her course
“A lot of it is just trying to have so much fun! We go in the ring with a smile and a positive attitude and count our strides – Lauren [Schweppe], my trainer, is big on that. We’ve been working on really looking for our distances and not letting him get too far in the left corners.”

On showing at Southeast Medal Finals

“We live in Ocala, so it’s fun to enjoy the summer and come down to Tampa for Southeast Medal Finals! We enjoy having this horse show and coming here.”


Equitation Team Challenge
Rider / Horse / Score
*Indicates drop score

Team 3
Camryn Halley /  I’ll Say JSF / 86
Schuyler Dayner / Gambino / 81
Makaylah Jones / Zeeland / 73
*Emily Buda / By Design / 39

Team 2
Hadley Wimsatt / Global Entry / 80
Macie Sousa / Mojito Z / 72
Valerie Vogel / Cosino B / 70
*Mckenzie Kreilich / Snap Dragon / 68

Team 1
Caitlin Hooper / Winninton / 83
Sydney Bounds / Charleston / 50
Alexis Cruz / Duke of Earl / 40
*Leah Harrison / Brunello / 0


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