Nancy Jones and Colorado Bring the Competition to Tampa

Nancy Jones and Colorado earned dual blue ribbons over fences in today’s Amateur-Owner Over 35 Hunters at the Tampa Bay Classic. Photo By: Emily Riden.

Tampa, FL – March 29, 2013 – Nancy Jones is coming off of a knee injury and going straight to the top of the leader board at the Tampa Bay Classic. She and her mount, Colorado, bested the competitive field in both classes of the Amateur-Owner Over 35 Hunter division this morning at the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center.

“I had a stirrup leather come off of my saddle in Ocala, and I tore my knee up really bad. I really thought I wasn’t even going to get to show,” Jones explained. “Today is the first day I’m back to doing the 3’3″.”

With sunny skies, quality horses and riders, and well-designed courses, today’s classes in the Tampa Equestrian Series provided the perfect opportunity for the Arkansas-native to get back in the show ring. There she won both the first Amateur-Owner Over 35 Hunter class and the Amateur-Owner Over 35 Handy.

“I’m kind of excited to be back,” Jones shared. “The courses rode beautifully. It’s such a nice big ring, and the footing is great.”

Joining Jones on this morning’s list of winners were Callie Smith and Darby Toben. The two riders dominated the first day of the Amateur-Owner 18-35 Hunter division, taking turns finishing in the one and two positions.

Darby Toben earned the top call over the first course with San Patricino II, owned by Doreen Toben. Smith came in a close second over the same course with Peron, owned by Smithfield Farms LLC. Over the handy course the roles were reversed, with Smith riding to the blue ribbon and Darby Toben claiming the red.

“This is my first time at Tampa, but I really like it. I think this is a great hunter ring. It’s really big, and the jumps are impressive,” Smith commented. “Peron was super today. He’s usually really spooky, and he can be a tough ride for a lot of people. It took a long time to figure him out, but once we got a system together he was really good. He was great today.”

With their finishes today, Jones will lead the quest for the division championship in the Amateur-Owner Over 35 Hunters, and Toben and Smith will sit tied atop the point standings for the Amateur-Owner 18-35 Hunters.

Prior to the conclusion of the Amateur Owner divisions tomorrow afternoon, the Junior Hunters will take to the Main Hunter Ring for their turn to shine over the Keith Bollotte designed courses in the first week of ‘AA’ hunter competition at the Tampa Equestrian Series. For more information about the 2013 Tampa Equestrian Series, please visit www.StadiumJumping.com.

Emily Riden for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International

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