UPPER MARLBORO, Md. — Danielle N. Robinson, of Hainesport, N.J., got off to a rough start at the seventh Mid-Atlantic Equitation Festival held at the Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro, Md., Nov. 15 to 18.

However, she was all smiles as she exited the indoor ring aboard Juilliard after winning the last class of the weekend, the Novice Championship.

“I wasn’t expecting this at all,” said Robinson. “My weekend started off pretty poorly, so [this] feels really good. I’ve had Bodi [on lease] for almost eight months, and he’s very set in his ways, which has been a challenge for me, but he will try his heart out as long as [I] try out [mine]!”

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On Nov. 15, Robinson did not place in either of her Schooling Hunter 2’6 over fences classes. She was again out of the ribbons in both Open Equitation over fences 2’6 classes the next day. Things started to look up as she was second in the MAEF Novice Equitation Flat and fourth in the M&S Children’s Medal Horse 2'6. On Nov. 17 she missed out on the first of two Novice Equitation over fences 2’6” classes but was third in the second before capping the show off with the Novice Championship. 

Robinson expressed her love for MAEF and added that this win has made her ambitious to move up to a more challenging division next year.

The championship presentations and awards on Nov. 18 marked the end of the busy three-day event that featured more than $6,500 in scholarship awards, a famed costume team class, and more.

The venue’s coliseum witnessed over 700 trips throughout the weekend, with the additional covered ring welcoming more than 100 rounds. The first day's highlights included wins by other New Jersey riders. However, there was much more to look forward to.

Every year, the second day at MAEF is highly anticipated for its traditional Saturday College Fair and Equijet Team Class and Parade, and both did not disappoint for 2018. A dozen of the best schools in the country that offer riding and showing opportunities set up shop on the upper concourse for a meet and greet with prospective students and riders to discuss academics, scholarships, financial aid, and of course, horses, and the turnout was exceptional.

To add to the fun, Saturday evening offered riders the opportunity to express their creativity to the fullest in the Equijet Costume Class, which featured a range of crowd-pleasing themes such as Starbucks, Monsters Inc., and Donna and the Dynamos.

Although MAEF consistently encourages an enthusiastic and innovative environment, the show also puts a special effort into providing educational and scholarship opportunities to all of its junior and amateur athletes.

Throughout the weekend, over $6,500 in scholarship money was presented to the winning participants of MAEF’s scholarship programs.

“We formed the Mid-Atlantic Equitation Festival and scholarships to create an outlet to award young horsemen scholarships for college,” said Ellen Shevella, co-founder of MAEF. “Most sports have many scholarships available, and my event partner Mary Beebee and I felt that there were few opportunities for young athletes and horsemen in the Mid-Atlantic Region. We try to bring a mix of great competition, camaraderie, and fun at MAEF, and it seems to be a formula that both the riders and trainers love.”

As for final results, Sunday was a championship marathon, with riders competing in eight total championship classes for some of MAEF’s most prestigious awards. Special championship prizes included: County Saddles, IRH Helmets, custom LM Boots, Huntley Bridles, Charles Owen helmets, The Clothes Horse coolers and coolerettes, and more.

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

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