UPPER MARLBORO, Md. — The Mid-Atlantic Equitation Festival’s sixth year of competition was held Nov. 17 to 19 at the Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro, Md.

Several local riders came home with not only ribbons, but scholarships as well.

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This year’s show began with 147 horses and riders in the opening rounds of competition. The day concluded with MAEF’s Flat Championship Champion, with Kendall Fately, of Basking Ridge, N.J. taking reserve.

Nov. 17 also featured another star, Devon Thomas, of Millburn, N.J. aboard her mount of a year and a half, Cordino, who won three of the 12 divisions in the show’s Indoor Ring. Thomas continued to impress the judges throughout the weekend with wins in the USEF Medal 3’6” and the Young Rider Championship on Nov. 19.

“[It’s] so surreal,” said Thomas. “This is such a good end to the year.”

Thomas will continue on to Wellington, Fla. for the winter and is anticipating a successful year after her wins at MAEF.

“This is a good show to get points [at] before the upcoming year,” said Thomas.

Thomas, joined by Vincent Desiderio, of Chester, N.J. and Devon’s brother, Logan Thomas, also took first place in MAEF’s Team Competition 2’6”. The trio made their first appearance of the evening as one of 16 teams in the costume parade, where they were dressed to the theme of Mario Cart. They stayed in full garb for the following team class.

“We spent two months planning our costume!” said Thomas. “Last year [it] wasn’t the best, so we wanted to pull through this year.”

Each year, MAEF’s competitors pick different themes and dress up for the costume parade and subsequent team competition while barn members, family, and friends cheer from the stands. Consequently, the costume parade has earned a reputation as a signature MAEF event.

In addition to the show’s longstanding traditions, MAEF introduced some new additions to its sixth year at the Maryland arena, including $4,500 in scholarship awards.

The $2,500 MAEF R.W. Mutch Scholarship was presented to winner Ashley DeLise. DeLise, a Pittstown, N.J., native, also received a R.W. Mutch sterling silver medal, a jacket, and a winner’s sash for her win.

“It feels really good to win the scholarship,” said DeLise. “A lot of hard work went into it, so I am really proud of my horse and myself.”

DeLise was also the second place winner in the $2,000 Maryland Horsemanship Scholarship.

Sunday’s final rounds at MAEF ended on a high note with Cape May County, N.J. resident, Victoria McCann winning the Intermediate Rider Championship and Amy Porchetta, of South Plainfield, N.J., taking the Novice Rider champion title.

The show’s founders, Ellen Shevella and Mary BeeBee, were already eagerly awaiting MAEF 2018 and hoped to see the same, if not larger, turnout at next year’s event.

“We are always trying to find ways of allowing more young riders to participate in MAEF,” said Shevella. “With the addition of a second ring this year, I expect we will be maxed out in both in 2018.”

Shevella added that she is hoping that the show will offer over $8,000 in awards next year.

“Every year we expand the scholarship program,” said Shevella. “We tweak the schedule a bit and add and delete a few things to give the people what they want.”

In addition to the show’s evolving schedule and awards, MAEF embraces a unique and fun family atmosphere that has kept many barns and teams coming back yearly since the show’s humble beginnings.

“We love that it has become a real MAEF family,” added Shevella.

To learn more about the Mid-Atlantic Equitation Festival, visit: www.midatlanticeq.com

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