|Madison Sellman Wins ASPCA Maclay at Kentucky Summer Aboard Alvarez L|
|Written by Annan Hepner|
|Saturday, 30 July 2016 12:02|
Eighteen-year-old Madison Sellman of New York, rose to the top of 18 entries in Friday’s ASPCA Maclay horsemanship class in the Stonelea Ring at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show aboard her own Alvarez L.
“It was my first round here in Kentucky this year and I thought it went pretty well,” Sellman said. “I have not been showing consistently this summer and it was my first time in the show ring since WEF.”
She has ridden Alvarez, a 13-year-old Holsteiner gelding, for two years since purchasing him in Europe with her mom. After he was imported, Sellman moved to train with Stacia Madden at Beacon Hill Show Stables in New Jersey.
“Alvarez is my only horse and he is my partner for life,” she said. “He is typically lazy, but once I get him going he has great self-carriage and is a simple ride. I’ve done equitation with him since we bought him and he really excels at it.”
The equitation course consisted of a challenging eight stride bending line, but Sellman impressed the judges with her fluid jumping round and flawless flat phase.
“Lately I’ve been working on my release over the jumps,” Sellman explained. “I feel like I have been consistent in my riding, and I’m continuing to work on being stronger in the basics.”
The pair plans to compete at regionals in Kentucky later in the summer, and Sellman has her eyes set on qualifying for the Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals, the WIHS Equitation Finals, and the ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship Championships.
“We have been working on consistency with Alvarez because he can get stiff,” Sellman explained. “I work on loosening him up, making sure he is really with me and allowing him to push off the ground over the jumps.”
The Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) hunter phase also took place in the afternoon at the Stonelea Ring with 30 entries. T.J. O’Mara of Rumson, New Jersey, impressed the judges with his ride on Walstib Stables LLC’s Kaskade and earned a score of 93.
“She was a little fresh in my lesson yesterday, so I was a bit skeptical about how her rideability was going to be today, but she was great,” O’Mara explained. “She really had an open stride, she felt great and I was confident throughout the course.”
O’Mara has been riding the 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare for three years, and the WIHS hunter phase was their first class together at the 2016 Kentucky Summer Horse Show.
“I thought the long approach oxer and the last vertical in the course really tested how straight your horse was, so I had to focus on having an opening rein at those jumps with an outside leg,” O’Mara explained. “The lines rode a little easy for me and overall it was a straight forward course.”
O’Mara said he has been working on getting his lower leg stronger this season and not leaning too far forward with his body, as well as his release.
“She can be a bit strong, but I really try to be as soft as possible with my hands and support her with my leg,” he continued.
The incoming freshman at the University of Kentucky plans on balancing his studies for the agriculture economics major as well as competing in the indoor circuit during the fall semester.
“I plan on leaving my equitation and jumper horse with my trainer so they can continue to work with them while I focus on school,” O’Mara said. “I will be in school for about three weeks before going to Maclay regionals, the USEF Finals, and the rest of the indoor circuit.”
Emma Kurtz placed second in the class with Dr. Betsee Parker’s Patrick, and McKayla Langmeier, the 2015 ASPCA Maclay Finals Champion, placed third on Frake Van Der Meer’s Carrilou. The WIHS jumper phase will take place on Saturday morning.
Upcoming highlights during the Kentucky Summer Horse Shows include the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby, the $10,000 Under 25 Grand Prix, the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic, and $50,000 Rood & Riddle Kentucky Grand Prix.