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Wellington, Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, Wellington, Florida

Olivia Bloch and Emma Kurtz Dazzle Despite Overcast Skies and a Demanding Maclay Course

Jenna Sudol

Reporting from Wellington, Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, Wellington, Florida
Sunday, March 20, 2016 :: Posted 01:41:27 PM EDT

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Olivia Bloch Took Home Top Honors in Sunday's Maclay Section A Class

Wellington, Fla. – March 20, 2016 – The threatening storm clouds that hung overhead the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center's ring nine on Sunday morning held a silver lining for Olivia Bloch and Emma Kurtz. Despite isolated showers and a deceivingly difficult course, these girls were able to get it done, and take home blue ribbons in the highly competitive ASPCA Maclay section A and B classes.

Training under Frank Madden of Old Salem Farm, Olivia Bloch piloted familiar mount, Checker, to another equitation win at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in section A.

Bloch and Checker's apparent success in the show ring can be attributed to numerous factors including an excellent coach and unrelenting determination, but Bloch chalks it up to her longstanding relationship with her favorite mount. She said,"He is 7 years old now so I got him 2 years ago. He was really green when we got him. Since then he has obviously come a very long way and he is just really seasoned now. He has become so reliable and consistent. It’s nice to go into the ring and have that kind of horse. And for us, because we have come such a long way together, it’s even better.”

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Olivia Bloch and Checker

Sunday's course seemed easy enough at first glance but proved to be more difficult as riders found themselves tripped up by the bending lines or daunting first oxer. Judge Todd Karn described the course, "I thought it was pretty tough for a Maclay. I thought the first line was difficult if you didn’t have a brave horse. The first jump was a great big oxer right at the judges stand, although that line did make my job easier.” Karn joked.

Additionally, their were quite a few bending lines where the tracks required a move-up ride that competitors needed to commit to, so that’s where some fell short also." He said.

Bloch summed up the course as well, “It was a really long course. It was actually deceivingly difficult. When you walked it nothing really seemed that complicated, but then as I watched the course really seemed to be getting the better of a lot of experienced riders. I just wanted to make sure I got my strides because that seemed to be winning the class if you could just get the numbers.”

Despite these challenges, Bloch rode her plan and delivered a solid performance in the jumping phase, although Mary Elizabth Cordia and Thrift Shop caught Karn's attention over fences as well. Going into the flat, Bloch and Cordia were tied neck and neck.

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Mary Elizabth Cordia and Thrift Shop

Ultimately, Bloch took home the blue following the flat section while Cordia earned second place honors. According to Judge Karns, Bloch won him over with her strong position and effortless way of going under saddle.

“I thought it was a really strong group of riders. The two riders on top were really really good. I thought Olivia just had slightly better equitation on the flat. The girl who was second made an inside turn on course which I thought was to her favor but I felt Olivia was stronger on the flat and the Maclay being 50 percent, that’s very important. In my mind they were tied going into the flat. Olivia has beautiful equitation and even though she had the wider turn, I felt her equitation was stronger and deserving of that blue ribbon. The flat decided it for me.” He said.

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Olivia Bloch and Checker

Rounding out the leaderboard in third place of section A was Francesca Dildabanian and Checkland who executed a seemingly effortless trip during the over fences phase, which impressed Karn as well.

The sun peaked out from behind the ominous clouds during section B of the Maclay, shining most brightly on Emma Kurtz and Checkers.

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Emma Kurtz and Clearway

Kurtz has been riding Clearway, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker, in the Sunday equitation classes since week one of WEF. It is safe to say they have hit their stride during week ten. Their relationship as a team has certainly grown and their success depicts that. They seem to be firing on all cylinders, just in time for the George Morris class to be held next week.

Taking home second place honors was none other than, Beacon Hill Show Stables competitor, Madison Goetzmann, who has been seemingly unstoppable during the concluding weeks of WEF. Goetzmann is certainly one to watch during the George Morris class next week aboard reliable mount, Contelido.

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Maddie Goetzmann and Contelido

Third place honors of the second section of Sunday’s Maclay class went home to Alexa Schwartz supported by her beutiful grey mount, Future Fiddler.

Artisan Farms Week 11 at WEF will commence on Wednesday, March 23. This action packed week at WEF will include the ninth annual George Morris Excellence in Eq. class on Friday as well as the $130,000 Engels & Volkers CSI 4* Grand Prix on Saturday. Stay tuned to for the latest and greatest in WEF coverage!

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Alexa Schwartz and Future Fiddler

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Tori Colvin Cruises to First and Third Place in $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby
Kat Fuqua Pilots Somekindawonderful to $5,000 USHJA Pony Hunter Derby Championship
Scott Stewart and Kelley Farmer Claim Championship Titles in Professional Hunter Divisions During WE

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