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Morgan Geller gets the top prize, scores USEF Junior Hunter win

From Horsetrader staff reports - October 6th, 2011 - Show & Event News

Morgan Geller and Fabricio, pictured with Bobby Drennan, Leo Conroy, Katie Gardner, James Hagman, Kay Altheuser and Custis Ferguson

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Morgan Geller and Fabricio, pictured with Bobby Drennan, Leo Conroy, Katie Gardner, James Hagman, Kay Altheuser and Custis Ferguson

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO — Thirty-six leading West Coast junior equitation riders competed in Blenheim Farm’s covered arena on the evening of Sept. 17 in the ASPCA Maclay West Coast Regional Finals. With 30 returning for the flat phase and four for the work-off, it was Morgan Geller aboard Fabricio who finished on top.

Geller and up to 20 more riders earned an invitation to compete in the 2011 ASPCA Maclay National Championship at the National Horse Show Nov. 2-6 in Lexington, KY.

With a long gallop to the first oxer, Scott Starnes’ course of 13 obstacles asked the riders to commit to a flowing pace right from the start. Followed by several related distances in bending lines, the track required accuracy and focus in an indoor setting. First to go in the posted order, Geller commanded the track as she often does with her fantastic partner Fabricio. Returning in the final group for the flat phase and on top in the work-off, Geller handled the pressure with precision and earned the blue.

In the flat phase, judges R. Scot Evans and Linda Hough asked each group for a lengthening of stride as well as to work without their irons. Several riders were solid in their seat and four were asked to return for further testing: Geller (James Hagman, trainer), Savannah Jenkins (Karen Healey, trainer), Alicia Gasser (Mark Bone, trainer) and Olivia Esse (John French, trainer).

The select group were asked to hand-gallop to a jump, turn to a trot-jump, flow in a bend to a single, then while turning left to execute a flying change to the counter lead, turn the corner and jump another single, halt and sit trot back to the line.

First to go, Jenkins had an unfortunate refusal at the trot jump but otherwise had an excellent work-off, including a flying change to the counter lead without an interruption in flow. The remaining riders all rode the test carefully and without error.

Not new to the winners’ circle, Geller and Fabricio won the 2010 CPHA Medal Finals, a 2011 $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby and the 2011 USEF National Junior Hunter Championships, West Coast.

“The course was straight forward, more based on smooth turns and style,” said the talented teenager. “I was nervous all day about going first, but in the end it was better because I didn’t sit around and watch everyone and get even more nervous!”

With a busy show schedule upcoming, Geller was to compete in the USEF Talent Search Finals West Coast and head back east for the Capital Challenge, Harrisburg and the National Horse Show where she’s qualified in both the junior hunters and the medal finals.

Although winning is glorious, placing in the top 60 percent of the class were possibly up to 22 riders who will earn an invitation to the prestigious finals in Lexington this November. Once the eight final regional competitions throughout the country are complete, the exact number of qualified riders per regional will be announced.

2011 ASPCA Maclay West Coast Regional Finals
1. Morgan Geller (James Hagman, Katie Gardner, Kay Altheuser, Custis Ferguson)
2. Olivia Esse (John French, Katie Taylor)
3. Alicia Gasser (Mark Bone, Jamie Taylor)
4. Savannah Jenkins (Karen Healey, Tasha Visokay, Melissa Jones)
5. Olivia Smith (Robyn Stiegler)
6. Conor Perrin (Nick Haness, Richard Slocum)
7. Gabbi Langston (Archie Cox)
8. Alexis Graves (Nick Haness, Richard Slocum)
9. Hannah Von Heidegger (Nicole and Will Simpson)
10. Demi Stiegler (Archie Cox, Robyn Stiegler)
11. Clementine Yost (Benson Carroll)
12. Sage Flynn (Hap Hansen, Trudi Fletcher)
13. Haley Webster (Patty Ball)
14. Kylee Arbuckle (Karen Healey, Devon Gibson)
15. Madison Bradshaw (Hope and Ned Glynn)
16. Devon Manze (Joe Thorpe)
17. Zoie Nagelhout (Archie Cox)
18. Rebecca Heller (Dick Widger)
19. Erin Fry (Robyn Stiegler)
20. Hannah Ellerbrock (Hap Hansen, Trudi Fletcher)
21. Grace Shelton (Karen Healey, Tasha Visokay, Melissa Jones)
22. Henley Adkins (James Hagman, Katie Gardner, Kay Altheuser, Custis Ferguson)

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One comment has been made on “Morgan Geller gets the top prize, scores USEF Junior Hunter win”

  1. Sugar Kass Says:

    Congratulations, you and your family are vey low key about how special and good you are. I am proud….Aunt Sugar

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