Ava Lindsay

UPPER MARLBORO, Md. — The Mid-Atlantic Equitation Festival, presented by County Saddlery, remained unfazed by the northern winter storm and opened the Indoor ring to competitors early Friday morning at the Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro Md., for the first classes of MAEF 2018.

The seventh year of the event is scheduled to run through Sunday, Nov. 18, and will feature over 350 riders.

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Known as the “indoors for everybody,” MAEF offers a full range of classes and holds the reputation for having the most coveted awards at any horse show on the East Coast. Prizes include County saddles, The Clothes Horse coolers and coolerettes, Essex Classic shirts, Huntley bridles, LM boots, and more.

MAEF 2018 kicked day one off with 25 competitors in the 2’6” Open Equitation, one of the four height divisions that featured a second over fences class this year at MAEF. Ava Farley, of Chester, N.J., aboard Shine On Me, and Danielle Urbain, of Morristown, N.J., aboard Rosso Rossini, both piloted their mounts to the winning titles.

However, Rosso Rossini was not finished entering the winner’s circle. The 18-year-old gelding continued on to win the 2’6” M & S Adult Horse division and the Novice Equitation flat class with Urbain, in addition to both the M & S Dover Adult Medal 3’ and the Ariat 2’9” — 3” divisions with his owner, Miranda Scarpone, of Neshanic Station, N.J.

“He always loves this type of venue,” said Scarpone of the black warmblood. “We have been to Capital Challenge before and all of that, but I haven’t shown in five years and this is only my [second] horseshow back! I am proud of myself and [of him]. He just came back from a lease, so we are still ironing out the kinks and getting back in sync. He has been perfect for me in every class that we have been in.”

Scarpone added that she was happy to share her four-legged partner of eight years with Urbain for the week and expressed her excitement and goals for being at MAEF for the first time.

“Danielle’s horse was lame, and she really wanted to come [to MAEF], so I said why not? Here we are! I really like how big of a deal this show makes of everything,” said Scarpone, “They give everyone an opportunity to feel special and get in the big ring. It’s nice for everyone to have an opportunity to feel like they’re at finals! Hopefully, I will nab that championship class on Sunday! I would love that.”

Scarpone and Urbaine were not the only riders in the spotlight on Friday. The indoor arena held a total of ten divisions and eight flat classes, which featured multiple repeat wins, including those of Irene E. Powlick. The Salt Lake City, Utah, native captured the blue in both the 16-17 flat and the first MAEF Open Equitation over fences class and eventually took home the traditional MAEF Flat Championship along with a brand new Huntley bridle. Audrey Schulze, of Ridgewood, N.J., took the reserve tri-color aboard Famous-O and day one at the Mid-Atlantic Equitation Festival came to a close.

The rest of the weekend will feature a variety of scholarship award presentations, in addition to MAEF’s celebrated college fair, legendary costume class, and championship presentations.

To learn more about the Mid-Atlantic Equitation Festival, visit: www.midatlanticeq.com, or e-mail Ellen Shevella at theodhs@gmail.com.

About The Mid-Atlantic Equitation Festival: The Mid-Atlantic Equitation Festival is a USEF recognized horse show and offers a USEF Medal Class, ASPCA Maclay Class, NCEA Equitation, age group division championships in addition to its Sunday featured finals. MAEF is known industry wide for offering the best and most prizes on the East Coast and offers $6500 in scholarship awards. Past awards have included saddles, bridles, halters, coolers, coolerettes, stirrups, riding coats, shirts, breeches, boots, helmets, tack trunks, grooming boxes, half chaps, saddles pads, silver and extravagant ribbons.

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