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Julie Welles Achieves the Gold Standard in USEF Show Jumping Talent Search at WEF

Wellington, FL – February 3, 2007 – The USEF Show Jumping Talent Search classes and the WIHS Equitation divisions, which were split into “A” and “B” sections, crowned their champions on Friday, with Julie Welles, Kimberly McCormack, Emma Lipman and Grace Socha bringing home the honors.

Welles, who recently turned professional, rode Hannah Goodson Cutt’s Sienna in section “A” of the USEF class, although the horse typically does the hunters. She rides with Missy Clark and North Run Farm.

“Overall, he’s just a really good horse,” Welles explained. “He’ll do whatever you want him to do, and he was really good on the flat. He’s really good in the handy hunters, which he won today, and he loves turning. He was more impressed by the turns and whatnot. I didn’t really expect to win because everyone else was on their own equitation horses, but it was nice.” Friday’s win earned her a gold medal, having won 20 USEF classes, which is the cut-off number for competition.

As far as her WEF plans as a professional are concerned, she said that they are going to take it slow. “WEF is a lot different. I’m done before the weekend. I’m so used to having the junior jumpers, junior hunters and junior equitation at the end of the week, and now I just flat the horses and help out at the barn. It’s a really big change, and I like it. I’ve been showing some of Missy’s horses in the jumpers and getting to know them a little better because they’re new horses. Hopefully, if all goes well, we’ll keep moving up. I’m looking forward to it.”

In section “B” of the USEF Show Jumping Talent Search, Kimberly McCormack piloted her own Sundance to the win.

The first section of the WIHS Equitation division was won by Emma Lipman and In Pursuit. The pair won both the hunter and jumper classes with scores of 95 and 91, respectively. Lipman, who is showing as a 16-year-old, is competing in her second WEF circuit with In Pursuit.

“I knew I had good rounds, but in the hunter phase, I definitely wasn’t expecting a 95. I was shocked. My horse was awesome; he was wonderful,” Lipman commented. “My goals are kind of the same as everyone’s. I’d kind of like to win a final this year. I have one year after this, but I’d like to try and win one this year, too. Last year, I was third in the Ronnie Mutch class with Percy, so I’d like to try to win that.”

The pair recently changed trainers and now work with Andre Dignelli. She noted that having another instructor’s perspective has been beneficial to her partnership with In Pursuit and her junior jumper Onyx. “It’s a very different change, and it’s very nice to have a different viewpoint on things. It’s already helped me so much – I’ve been with him for two months, and so far, it’s been amazing.”

As far as Dignelli is concerned, he said that Lipman just keeps getting better and better. “Emma just started riding with us after indoors. She’s a great kid, great attitude, but she has a really good eye and a really good feel. She’s pretty much won a class or has been first and second in all of her classes. I think you’re really going to see a top contender this year. She’s come right out of the box, getting it done, and yesterday she laid one down and got a 95 in the hunter phase. She has great natural skill, so we’re really excited about helping her and the future for her.”

In section “B” of the WIHS Equitation division, Grace Socha rode Aberdini, owned by DerbyDown Inc., to the win. The pair took second place in the jumper class and third place in the hunter class to earn the overall first place.

In the Amateur-Owner Hunters Over 35 division, Katie Jacobs Robinson and Blush took their second championship in as many weeks at WEF, with two firsts, one second and one third over the two days of competition. Reserve championship went to Caroline Moran and Just Jack.

Also winning their second championship of the festival was Alexandra Stathis and Davis Cup in the Small Junior 16 & 17 Hunters. In her last year of junior competition, Stathis is off to a good start.

Hunter competition for the second week of the 2007 Winter Equestrian Festival will conclude tomorrow afternoon. Championships will be pinned in the Small, Medium and Large pony divisions, the Adult Amateur Hunters, Amateur-Owner Hunters and the Small Junior Hunters 15 & Under divisions.

PHOTO CREDIT: Julie Welles, winner of a USEF gold medal, showing at the Winter Equestrian Festival. Photo by Jennifer Wood/PMG Pictures.


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