The 2020 Southeast Medal Finals kicked off Thursday, August 27 at the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center, bringing top athletes and their horses to Tampa, Florida for four days of sold-out competition. Sunny skies set the stage to make the perfect backdrop for junior, amateur and professional riders vying for top placings in a variety of classes. Racing to the win in the Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers was Madison Wayda Smith and Mithras ADB, while Shannon Dickinson and My Way took back-to-back blues in the Performance 3’6″ Hunters.
Madison Wayda Smith on Mithras ADB. Photo by Georgie Hammond/Phelps Media Group.
In the Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers, riders could choose to compete at the 1.20m or 1.30m height in the Grand Prix Ring. Electing to compete at the 1.20m height, Wayda Smith and Mithras ADB made easy work of the first round course. As the third combination to try their hand at the winding track, Wayda Smith and the 8-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding cleared the 11 obstacles in a time of 86.48 seconds, qualifying them for the jump-off immediately following. The amateur rider put in a tidy and smooth track over the shortened course, taking the inside turns and confidently galloping between the eight fences. Although the pair were clear over the fences, one unfortunate time fault was added to the scoreboard at the conclusion of their jump-off, giving them an unsteady lead with a number of competitors left to show. However, try as they might, none of the remaining combinations would qualify for the jump-off, making Wayda Smith and Mithras ADB the automatic winners of Thursday’s Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper class.
Wayda Smith originally bought Mithras ADB from Ilan Ferder, an international rider that is well known for his horse-and-rider matchmaking. Ferder started competing the young gelding on U.S. soil in December of 2018, working his way up to the 1.30m Jumpers. A former student of Ferder’s, Wayda Smith purchased “Mithras” in May of 2019. The amateur rider now trains with Kris Killam, who she credits for making her and Mithras ADB well prepared for Southeast Medal Finals.
On Mithras ADB, Wayda Smith said: “I have had Mithras for about a year and three months. I bought him in May of 2019 from Ilan Ferder. I was in Florida at the time for vacation and I called up Ilan to see if I could come take a lesson because I used to train with him when I was in high school. I was not in the market to buy a horse but I showed up and he said ‘You are riding this one. By the way, it is for sale and I think he would be perfect for you.’ The next thing I knew I was purchasing him!”
Shannon Dickinson on My Way. Photo by Georgie Hammond/Phelps Media Group.
Earlier in the day, the Performance 3’6″ Hunters took place in the Indoor Lykes Arena. With a collection of quality entries taking to the ring, Dickinson and the 11-year-old Warmblood mare showed their best to earn the top spot in both of the over fences classes. Dickinson and My Way, who is owned by Stacey Vertullo, are currently the top contenders for the division championship, which will be crowned Friday, August 28 upon the completion of one more over fences class and an under saddle class. My Way’s consecutive wins are one of many top placings she has acquired throughout the summer, as she claimed top placings in the Performance Hunters with Dickinson at Fox Lea Farm in Venice, Florida earlier in the season.
The 2020 Southeast Medal Finals will continue Friday, August 28 with hunter, jumper and equitation competition taking place in four separate rings throughout the weekend. Friday will feature the $3,000 3’0 Hunter Spectacular, the $1,000 2’6” Hunter Spectacular and the $5,000 Welcome Stake. For more information, click here.