January 19, 2014–All eyes were on children and adult jumpers Saturday afternoon at HITS Ocala as 43 competitors took to the $10,000 Marshall & Sterling Children’s/Adult Jumper Classic. Ten returned for the jump-off, but it was Natasha Werpy of Gainesville, Florida who bested the field in the irons of Liberty, a striking 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding, owned by Werpy’s mother Charlotte.
“He is a saint,” said Werpy of the mount she piloted to a double-clear ��performance. “I may make mistakes out there, but he is always there to cover for me.” Mistakes were hard to spot, however, when Werpy topped all jump-off contenders with over a second to spare. Her time of 43.82 proved to be pivotal when seven rode double clear over courses set by Doug Russell of Ocala, Florida.
Werpy only paused from praising Liberty for the win when she gave well-deserved credit to her trainer Chuck Waters. “He has a real talent for matching horses to riders,” said Werpy of Waters, who partnered the pair in 2012.
Clocking a jump-off time of 44.55 seconds, Mary McCoy of Ocala, Florida finished in second with her own Zorba. Arwen Nanson of Cowingo, Maryland was third with Melinda Cohen’s Cruisineety Z. Their jump-off time was 44.70 seconds, just fractions off McCoy.
Nicole Loochtan of Lincolnshire, Illinois was fourth aboard her own Rocos Anala with a jump-off time of 45.27 seconds and Sarah Scarnechia of Barrington Hills, Illinois rounded out the top five with her own Colonius in 45.30 seconds.
The stakes get higher next week when children’s/adult jumper riders take to Saturday’s $15,000 Marshall & Sterling High Classic in the Grand Prix Ring.