Tag Archives: Jacksonville Equestrian Center

Drill Team National Championships at Jacksonville Equestrian Center Promises Exciting Performances

Photo courtesy of the Jacksonville Equestrian Center.

Jacksonville, FL (June 15, 2017) — This weekend, the Jacksonville Equestrian Center is proud to host the Southeast Mounted Drill Team Association (SEMDTA) National Open Drill Team Championships – a competition full of exciting choreographed equine performances. This will be SEMDTA’s fourth National Championship, and the first one held at the expansive Jacksonville Equestrian Center in Jacksonville, Florida. The event will be open to the public on June 16-17, and offers free parking and spectator admission.

Spectators can expect to see drill teams of all experience levels perform synchronized movements to music on their horses. An additional Theme Division will include costumes that correspond with teams’ music choices. The mounted competition will feature beautiful horses and talented riders with flags and costumes, who will compete in high-speed routines for National Championship titles.

According to the Linda Heusner, Executive Director of the Southeast Mounted Drill Team Association, participation is largely youth-based and the association offers youth, walk-trot, and 4-H/FFA divisions. The association offers adult and open divisions, as well. “This is mostly a youth sport, but we are beginning to get some adult teams to participate,” Heusner said.

The SEMDTA holds competitions throughout the year, offering classes in divisions such as Color Guard, Freestyle, Theme, and Rodeo. At this year’s National Championships, teams across age and class divisions will compete for awards and national titles.

“I am always looking for different venues to encourage teams from other states to come participate,” Heusner said. The Jacksonville Equestrian Center seemed the perfect choice for this year’s National Championships, with its expansive riding arenas, over 400 permanent stalls, a huge indoor coliseum that includes a 123,000 square foot arena, full RV hookups, riding trails, and plenty of additional space for venders and concessions.

Heusner’s love for drill team riding began when she worked with the Georgia Horse Council and organized drill team competitions. Even after leaving the council, she continued organizing the drill team events. “I have been with SEMDTA for about five years,” Heusner said. “I love doing it because I love the youth participating and coming together as a team. I have watched many young people grow up in drill, and I have made some great and long-lasting friendships through drill.

This weekend at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center, a total of 61 horses and 58 riders will make up the 12 drill teams competing for National Championship titles. Competition begins at 2:00 pm on Friday, June 16, and is expected to last until about 5:00 pm on that day. The excitement will resume at 9:00 am on Saturday, June 17, and the show will conclude with an award ceremony at about 3:00 pm.

Other upcoming equestrian events at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center include the Summer Dressage Schooling Challenge Showposium from June 23-25, presented by the First Coast Classical Dressage Society. This event will include a Classical Dressage Clinic with judge Brian MacMahon and schooling show classes. After that, the facility will host an All-Breed Horse Show on July 15, open to a variety of equestrians.

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center also offers non-equine-oriented amenities and plays host to exciting, family-friendly events throughout the year, utilizing every aspect of the expansive grounds for recreational and social events. With an indoor swimming pool, an 18-hole golf course, and other sporting facilities adjacent to the Jacksonville Equestrian Center, it’s a popular destination all summer long.

Sprawling over 80 acres and easily accessible from major highways in Jacksonville, Florida, the Jacksonville Equestrian Center also features access to miles of hiking and riding trails and a picnic pavilion. For more information and to find out about the Southeast Mounted Drill Team Association’s National Championships and other upcoming events, visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com or call (904)-255-4215.

Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Debbie Stegner (904)-255-4215
dstegner@coj.net
13611 Normandy Blvd.
Jacksonville, FL 32221

Crowds Flocked to Jacksonville Equestrian Center for Extreme Mustang Makeover

Photo courtesy of Christine Rose Photography.

Jacksonville, FL (May 26, 2017) – The Jacksonville Equestrian Center was packed with both people and horses for the facility’s first-ever Free Family Fun Day and the return of the Extreme Mustang Makeover competition. Saturday, May 20, saw a crowd of approximately 200 gathered to enjoy the wild mustangs, a bounce house, face painting, balloon animals, a vintage mustang car show, pony rides, a petting zoo, Gator Country 99.9 FM’s live radio show with prizes, and the nearby Olympic-sized swimming pool. The evening brought another crowd to the Jacksonville, Florida recreational facility for the popular Extreme Mustang Makeover Top Ten Freestyle Finale show.

The Extreme Mustang Makeover is a unique competitive event produced by the non-profit organization Mustang Heritage Foundation. Trainers are given 100 days to turn an American Mustang from wild to mild. The Jacksonville Equestrian Center’s beautiful facility was the perfect venue for trainers to compete for cash and prizes while displaying the trainability of American Mustangs in hopes of finding a suitable adopter for each Mustang entered. During the Top Ten Freestyle Finale, the trainer and Mustang pairs who scored highest in the weekend’s competition so far put it all on the line for the grand prize. Spectators cheered them on as they performed everything from standing in the saddle to mounted shooting to jumping obstacles.

Many of the Mustang trainers felt that the experience changed them just as much as it changed the Mustangs. “It made me start from scratch,” stated Ashley Mancuso, a trainer from Tallahassee, Florida. “I had to think about the communication I was giving to the horse because these Mustangs come to us never being touched before. So, everything they become is really what we are.”

This year’s Extreme Mustang Makeover champion, and winner of the $25,000 prize, was trainer Marsha Hartford-Sapp, who competed for her 8th consecutive year in this challenging event. She also won the champion title last year at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center. “The learning process that I get from every horse motivates me,” she explained. “For me to have an avenue where I can learn so much as a trainer, and make myself better as a trainer, and help a horse at the same time, is really a phenomenal opportunity.”

Hartford-Sapp won this year with the mare Chason Dreams. “I am so proud of this exceptional mare, who was nothing short of remarkable the whole weekend! She made my heart swell in the freestyle with how brave she was in the crowds and noise, and how much she tried for me.” Hartford-Sapp went on to say that Chason Dreams won another big prize by being adopted by her new owner, Cynthia Smoot, at the auction held directly after the Top Ten Freestyle Finals. “Cynthia was able to meet Dream on Friday before the competition, and their energy together was fabulous! I am so excited for the partnership, and I am beyond honored to be asked to continue training Dream for her new owner.” Hartford-Sapp is the owner and head trainer at Southern Oaks Equestrian Center in Tallahassee.

Photo courtesy of JRPR

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center was thrilled to host the Extreme Mustang Makeover to help bring awareness to the public about wild Mustangs and Mustang adoption. This year, even more people in the local community had a chance to meet the Mustangs as part of the Free Family Fun Day that the facility held in conjunction with the event.

Many Family Fun Day attendees enjoyed the chance to meet a different kind of Mustang, as the Jacksonville Mustang Car Club brought a bright array of unique Mustang vehicles to the grounds. Kids spent the day riding ponies, petting farm animals, jumping in a bounce house, and getting their faces painted. Lucky families went home with prizes distributed by Gator Country 99.9 FM, including buy-one-get-one-free horseback riding coupons for the nearby Diamond D ranch, concert tickets, and tickets to the Extreme Mustang Makeover Top Ten Freestyle Final.

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center is known as a family-favorite destination for equestrian and recreational events all year long. The 80-acre facility is easily accessible from major highways in Jacksonville, and features an enormous indoor arena, outdoor arenas, and over 400 stalls. There are also miles of riding, hiking, and biking trails accessible from the Jacksonville Equestrian Center.

For more information and to find out about other exciting upcoming events, visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com or call (904)-255-4215.

Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Debbie Stegner (904)-255-4215
dstegner@coj.net
13611 Normandy Blvd.
Jacksonville, FL 32221

Free Family Fun Day and Extreme Mustang Makeover at Jacksonville Equestrian Center

Photo courtesy of JRPR.

Jacksonville, FL (May 19, 2017) — The public is invited to the Jacksonville Equestrian Center in Jacksonville, Florida Saturday, May 20, for a day packed full of free activities for the entire family. The final day of the Extreme Mustang Makeover will be held simultaneously at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center, with several free events leading up to the Top 10 Freestyle Finals (a ticketed event on Saturday evening).

The exciting Free Family Fun Day will kick off early on May 20 at 8:00 am, when the Jacksonville Mustang Car Club will drive up to the Jacksonville Equestrian Center in unique mustang vehicles. Over fifteen mustangs will be on display during the event, alongside another type of mustangs – horses. The famous Extreme Mustang Makeover will introduce spectators to wild mustang horses who have spent the past 100 days with a trainer to prepare for the weekend’s competition.

The Extreme Mustang Makeover is open to the public at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center from May 18-20. From 8:00 am to 4:00 pm on May 20, the Extreme Mustang Makeover trail class and freestyle competition for youth trainers and their mustangs will take place.

Cool down in an Olympic-sized pool adjacent to the Jacksonville Equestrian Center anytime from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm on May 20, when the Cecil Aquatics Center will be open for swimming. There will be a $1.00 fee for Duval country residents, and a $1.50 fee for all other swimmers.

At noon, the festivities will jump into full swing with a free bounce house, free petting zoo, free pony rides, free face painting, free balloon animals, and a free magic show. These kid-friendly events will wrap up at 4:00 pm.

Jacksonville’s popular radio station Gator Country 99.9 FM will arrive on site at 1:00 pm. Gator Country’s Matt Basford will broadcast live until 3:00 pm, offering plenty of prizes. Prizes will include buy-one-get-one-free horseback riding coupons for the nearby Diamond D ranch, concert tickets, tickets to the Extreme Mustang Makeover Top Ten Freestyle Final on Saturday night, and more – so make sure to stop by to see Matt!

From 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm, the horses and trainers from the Extreme Mustang Makeover will be in the Jacksonville Equestrian Center barns, ready to greet anyone interested in meeting real mustangs face-to-face.

At 4:45 pm, doors will open to the facility’s enormous indoor coliseum for the much-anticipated Extreme Mustang Makeover Top 10 Freestyle Finals. The mustang and trainer pairs selected as competition finalists will perform amazing and entertaining feats in front of the crowd, vying for the winning title. Tickets to this event will be available at the door and are also available online at https://tix.extremetix.com/webtix/4300/event/69306. Tickets are $15.00 plus tax. Veterans will receive a $5.00 discount, and children under five years old are free.

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center is pleased to offer the local community a day packed full of activities and exhibitions on Saturday, May 20. To learn more about the Jacksonville Equestrian Center, which is home to community, recreational, and equestrian events year-round, visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com or call Alexis Newman at (904) 993-2053.

Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Debbie Stegner (904)-255-4215
dstegner@coj.net
13611 Normandy Blvd.
Jacksonville, FL 32221

The Luck Carries Forward from NBHA Shamrock Showdown at Jacksonville Equestrian Center

Photo courtesy of SDPhotography.

Jacksonville, FL (March 28, 2017) – It’s a combination of skill and a little luck that makes a winning barrel run, and barrel racers at the 2017 Shamrock Showdown found some extra Irish luck this month at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center, an 80-acre state-of-the-art equestrian facility in Jacksonville, Florida. Hundreds of competitors and their horses vied for payouts at the annual National Barrel Horse Association show, a highlight of the month for the Jacksonville Equestrian Center.

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center held the show in its 3,500-seat 150’ x 300’ indoor arena. In addition to the indoor coliseum, the facility boasts several outdoor arenas, over 400 permanent stalls, ample parking, and RV hook ups. The premier facility was excited to host the annual NBHA show once again, providing riders the opportunity to run for winning titles and their piece of large payouts over a three-day weekend.

Jennifer Lee-Sims of Elkton, Florida had lightning-fast rides throughout the weekend, placing first in the 1D women’s races every day, staying in the top five overall each day, and finishing the final day with a 15.033 time. Lee-Sims, who has competed at the Shamrock Showdown since the show’s inception, was happy to return to the Jacksonville Equestrian Center for another show. “It’s a great facility,” she said. “And it’s close to home.”

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center is a top destination for equestrians from across Florida and the country. For Lee-Sims, the convenience of traveling to a nearby venue has always been a huge draw for her and her students. Especially this year, as her 10-year-old homebred Quarter Horse Specta Hayday just recovered from an injury and has returned to the arena only recently.

“This was our first big win since his break, and I was so happy to see him come back so strong,” Lee-Sims said. “I am also very proud of all my students that come for lessons on all the improvements we have been working on to make them better in the arena.”

With youth divisions offered at the Shamrock Showdown as well, Lee-Sims’ daughter, Kaitlyn, had a successful weekend competing at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center as well, with top finishes throughout the show. She and her mother plan to continue running at big NBHA shows, and Kaitlyn, who’s been riding since she was two years old, will hit the Junior Rodeo Association shows throughout the rest of the year.

With the luck of the Irish on Lee-Sims’ family’s side, they will return to the Jacksonville Equestrian Center next year for another shot at the Shamrock Showdown’s pot of gold.

Other events at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center this month have included an all-breed open horse show, community night schooling, dog agility competition, dressage show, and reining show. The upcoming event calendar at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center includes more exciting equestrian and recreational events throughout the spring, and the facility’s staff wishes all future competitors a share of this season’s luck as they compete in the sports they love at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center.

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center hosts a spectrum of equestrian events, as well as other sporting, recreational, and community events at its expansive state-of-the-art facility. To learn more about all the facility has to offer, how to host your event there, or to request more information, please visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com.

Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Debbie Stegner (904)-255-4215
dstegner@coj.net
13611 Normandy Blvd.
Jacksonville, FL 32221

First Coast Classical Dressage Society Makes Jacksonville Equestrian Center Their Show Home

Photo courtesy of the First Coast Classical Dressage Society.

Jacksonville, FL (March 13, 2017) – With well-groomed outdoor rings, a 123,000 square foot indoor arena, and over 400 permanent stalls, the Jacksonville Equestrian Center offers everything an aspiring dressage rider could need to enjoy campaigning his or her equine partner. The Jacksonville Equestrian Center is quickly becoming the ‘go-to’ destination for dressage-focused equestrians in the local Jacksonville, Florida community and to riders traveling to north Florida from across the United States.

Host to the First Coast Classical Dressage Society’s annual shows and clinics, the premier Northeast Florida venue offers a world-class showing experience to the society’s members. Lisa Beardsley, Vice President of the First Coast Classical Dressage Society, said, “We have been having shows at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center for two years, since 2015. We have five two-day shows per year – 10 showing days.” The First Coast Classical Dressage Society plans to stick with the Jacksonville Equestrian Center long-term. “We have dates booked with the Jacksonville Equestrian Center through 2018, and ‘requested to reserve’ show dates through 2020,” said Beardsley. “We also hold educational lectures there at each of our shows on Saturday evenings.”

With approximately 45 members, the First Coast Classical Dressage Society has about 15 horses on average competing. The February 18-19, 2017 Winter Dressage Schooling Challenge Showposium, judged by USEF “R” Beth Barritt, included impressive test rides from Training Level through Intermediaire II at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center, and offered judge feedback following each ride to enhance rider education. On Saturday evening, riders attended an Ask the Judge Q&A for an opportunity to ask anything they wanted to know from a judge’s point of view.

The First Coast Classical Dressage Society’s next event at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center will be the Spring Dressage Schooling Showposium on March 24-26, 2017, which includes a Classical Dressage Friday Clinic with Dee Loveless, USEF “R” judge, and Winter Schooling Challenge Show Classes on Saturday and Sunday, judged by Loveless.

Jacksonville’s first-class equestrian complex has a unique history that started with a citizens’ initiative called the Better Jacksonville Plan. After closing its base at Cecil Field, the Navy gifted 2,000 acres to the City of Jacksonville for a regional recreational park. The crown jewel of that park is the 80-acre state-of-the-art equestrian facility, which provides riders the opportunity to compete in a multi-purpose coliseum with a championship 150’ x 300’ arena and ample spectator seating. Easy trailer access from artery roadways and up-to-date footing designed to promote sound horses are just some of the benefits discerning riders enjoy when competing at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center. Additional features include climate-controlled restrooms with showers, RV hook up sites, night security, on-site facility managers, lighted stabling and wash areas, concessions during events, and close proximity to hotels and restaurants. Attendees can also visit the nearby 18-hole golf course, an Olympic-sized pool, and miles of hike, bike, and riding trails with direct access to the Jennings Forest of over 3,225 acres.

Competing in Jacksonville takes the uncertainty out of the show ring experience, with affirmative answers to important questions regarding footing, stabling accommodations, and security. “The Jacksonville Equestrian Center is a quality facility and meets our needs for shows,” confirmed Beardsley. “For our members, high quality, safe footing for dressage horses offered in the center’s newly redone Dixon Square outdoor arena ranks high! For show management, the air conditioning and refrigerator in the show office are quite nice, as well as having onsite staff to deal with ring set up and maintenance or trouble shooting any issues, which are then fixed immediately.”

The First Coast Classical Dressage Society’s next event at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center will be the Spring Dressage Schooling Showposium on March 24-26, 2017, which includes a Classical Dressage Friday Clinic with Dee Loveless, USEF “R” judge, and Winter Schooling Challenge Show Classes on Saturday and Sunday, judged by Loveless. Additional 2017 shows are slated for June, September, and November. Confirmed 2018 show dates include February 17-18, April 21-22, June 23-24, September 22-23, and the November 17-18 Championship Show. For more information, please call (902) 252-5170 or visit www.fccds.org.

New events are always welcome at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center. Hosting successful horse shows and prime sporting, educational, and community events is the passion of the Center’s dedicated staff. To learn more about all the facility has to offer or to request more information, please visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com.

Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Debbie Stegner (904)-255-4215
dstegner@coj.net
13611 Normandy Blvd.
Jacksonville, FL 32221

From Gypsies to Ropers, Jacksonville Equestrian Ctr. Welcomes Horses and Riders from across US

Photo courtesy of SDPhotography.

Jacksonville, FL (January 22, 2017) – It’s another busy month at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center in Jacksonville, Florida – a top destination for equestrians and horse enthusiasts across the United States. For the sixth consecutive year, the Jacksonville Equestrian Center was proud to host nearly 100 horses and 150 riders from across the country this past weekend for the Florida Feathered Horse Classic and Feathered Horse Classic Gypsy National Championship. Now, the center is filled with agriculture professionals and equestrian facility managers for the League of Agricultural and Equine Centers Footing Academy and Symposium. Immediately afterward, the Jacksonville Equestrian Center will transform again into the competition grounds for the highly anticipated National Team Roping League Finals.

For Gail Shrine, owner of the Feathered Horse Classic competition series, the Jacksonville Equestrian Center was the perfect place to host her shows. “It is a great location, with a nice facility that continues to evolve as the needs of its exhibitors grow. We can’t wait to see the horses come back here in 2018,” Shrine said.

The Florida Feathered Horse Classic and Feathered Horse Classic Gypsy National Championship event at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center is part of the biggest and longest-running breed show series for Gypsy Vanners in the United States. “The Nationals drew huge crowds, and you could feel the excitement grow to a fever pitch for the Liberty class, which featured 22 individual horse performances to music,” Shrine recounted. “It was thrilling to see the class go down in Feathered Horse history as one of the most successful ever!”

Increasing the success of horse shows and events is the passion of the staff at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center, and new events are always welcome at the facility. Returning events, of course, are also a favorite at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center. The upcoming National Team Roping League Finals on January 26-29 surpasses even the Feathered Horse Classic series in the number of years the show has been held in Jacksonville – 2017 will be the twelfth year that the National Team Roping League Finals has been held at the facility.

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center’s unique history started with a citizens’ initiative called the Better Jacksonville Plan. After the Navy closed its base at Cecil Field, it gave 2,000 acres to the City of Jacksonville for a regional recreational park. The crown jewel of that park is its 80-acre state-of-the-art equestrian center. More great events are planned as the Jacksonville Equestrian Center welcomes another year of great equestrian, family, and educational events. The League of Agricultural & Equestrian Center Footing Academy and Annual Symposium is taking place on January 20-25, followed by the National Team Roping League Finals January 26-29. Next up will be the AKC Pals & Paws Agility Trials on February 3-5, the Jacksonville RV Show on February 9-12, and the First Coast Classical Dressage Show on February 18-19. Learn more at www.jaxequestriancenter.com.

Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Debbie Stegner (904)-255-4215
dstegner@coj.net
13611 Normandy Blvd,
Jacksonville, FL 32221

Barrel Racers Fill the Jacksonville Equestrian Center for the 14th Annual Fiddler’s Turkey Run

Photo courtesy of SDPhotography.

Jacksonville, FL (December 8, 2016) — Horses and riders from as near as the southeast United States and as far as Canada descended on Jacksonville, Florida for the 14th Annual Fiddler’s Turkey Run, held at the end of November at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center. More than 600 entries vied for over $106,000 throughout the three days of barrel racing competition.

The Fiddler’s Turkey Run has been held for the past seven years at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center, and has continued to grow every year. Paul Stanley, who assists Sabra O’Quinn in managing the Fiddler’s Turkey Run, said, “This is a great facility with plenty of stalls and RV hookups. We’ll be back next year!”

Many riders are already looking forward to a return trip in 2017 to the facility, which boasts a 3,500-seat 150′ x 300′ indoor arena, several outdoor arenas, and over 400 permanent stalls. Longtime Fiddler’s Turkey Run entries as well as new faces to the competition enjoyed the experience at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center this year.

“This was my first time here at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center, and I love it. This is a beautiful facility,” said Kaitlin Chieca of Vero Beach, Florida. “The grounds are wonderful. The people have been fantastic – this is a class act!” Chieca competed two horses at the Fiddler’s Turkey Run – her own “Jacob,” and Heidi Thompson’s “Pinkie.” She was happy with her results, especially as this was only her third show ever on Pinkie. Although for Chieca, the highlight of the weekend wasn’t the scores, but the trip around the barrels.

“The adrenaline rush when you shoot out of the alley way – there’s nothing like it,” Chieca explained. “It can be a little scary, but it’s worth it every time. There’s something about riding something this big and being in control of it – it’s just the craziest feeling. It’s awesome!”

Eleven-year-old Kaitlyn Sims of Elkton, Florida shares Chieca’s passion for barrel racing. Sims was the big winner Sunday in the Fiddler’s Turkey Run Open, turning in a blazing time of 15.08 aboard her Quarter Horse, Specta Goodtime. The pint-sized jockey has been riding since she was two years old and competes in junior rodeos as well as the barrel racing shows. Why spend so much time in the saddle? “I like being able to go fast,” Sims explained.

Sims and her mother, Jennifer Lee-Sims, are no strangers to the Jacksonville Equestrian Center. “We love this facility because it’s close to home,” said Lee-Sims. “We try to come to all the big events that they have here.”

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center was thrilled to once again host the Fiddler’s Turkey Run and all of its talented barrel racers. Sponsors for the Fiddler’s Turkey Run included Equine Medical Center of Ocala, Santa Fe Horse Transport, Wrangler, Formula 1 Noni, Sebelle Dymmek, Triple Crown Feed, Formula 707, 5L Performance Horses, and Seminole Equine Products.

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center’s 2016 calendar has several more exciting events planned before the end of the year, including the USDAA Pals & Pals Agility Trials on December 9-11, and Community Night Schooling on December 20. Parking and admission for spectators is free for all events.

For more about the Jacksonville Equestrian Center and to find out how to host your event at this multifaceted facility, visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com or call (904)-255-4254.

Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Debbie Stegner (904)-255-4215
dstegner@coj.net
13611 Normandy Blvd,
Jacksonville, FL 32221

Competitors Enjoy Another Year of Southeast Medal Finals at Jacksonville Equestrian Center

Dominique Gonzalez (Photo courtesy of Nicole Schultz)

Jacksonville, FL (September 26, 2016)  – The Jacksonville Equestrian Center was proud to once again host the Southeast Medal Finals – three exciting days of competition for equitation riders, hunters, and jumpers of all ages and levels – on September 16-18, 2016. Now in its fifth year, this special end-of-summer horse show implemented several well-received changes for 2016, including new classes and the return of the Jumper Finals to the World Cup Format.

Known for its combination of traditional and unique classes (such as the Equitation Team Challenge of the States, a team competition open to junior and adult amateur riders representing their home states), the Southeast Medal Finals drew a number of competitors and spectators from all over the Southeastern U.S. Those who could not attend tuned into the action through live streaming of the event by National Sports Broadcasting.

Phoebe Alwine, winner of the 2016 Southeast Junior Medal Finals at the show, has competed at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center before and always looks forward to her rides there. “I really like to show in the indoor coliseum,” she said, referring to the venue’s massive indoor arena, which can seat a couple thousand spectators. “I don’t normally get to show in an indoor arena, so it’s a nice change. I will likely return next year with my jumpers and my equitation horse.”

Alwine, who is based out of Boca Raton, Florida and trains with Jane Fennessy and Vinissa Blann of Carriage Hill Farms in Delray Beach, captured the blue ribbon with Fennessy’s nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood Quasa Grande, a catch ride for the competition. “Riding Quasa Grande, a different horse, was such a fun opportunity,” she said. “The most difficult part of the competition was adapting quickly to a new horse, but I love doing that, and I learn more when I do so.”

Sabrina Schmidt from Barrett Farm in Oviedo, Florida also faced the challenge of competing on a new horse at the Southeast Medal Finals. Schmidt teamed up with a friend’s horse, The Only Exception (known as “Gatsby”), not long before the competition, when her original mount was unable to compete. Despite Schmidt and Gatsby’s short time together, they won the Silver Medal in the Ovation Low Adult Medal Final, and the Bronze Medal in the Southeast Low Adult Hunter Final. “I could not be happier! This was my second time competing at the Southeast Medal Finals. I love these finals and can’t wait to come back next year,” Schmidt said.

Dominique Gonzalez of Ocala, Florida, who trains with her father Terry Gonzalez of TM Hills International and Don Stewart of Don Stewart Stables, also brought home a handful of gorgeous ribbons to display in her barn. Like Alwine, Gonzalez is a return competitor to the Jacksonville Equestrian Center and the Southeast Medal Finals, and she brought three horses to the show this year. While many competitors consider the Southeast Medal Finals to be an end-of-summer season culmination, Gonzalez sees it as the perfect warm-up for the winter season. “Competing at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center gives me the opportunity to prepare for all of the indoor series later in the year,” she explained.

Gonzalez captured a double victory in the Junior Hunter Finals, placing first with her own horse, eight-year-old Belgian Warmblood Ingo de Kalvarie, and second with six-year-old Belgian Warmblood Euro D’hyrencourt, owned by a client of TM Hills International. She also placed third in the Equitation Challenge with Ingo de Kalvarie, second in the Southeast Junior Medal Finals with Euro D’hyrencourt, and first in the Junior Jumper Finals with 13-year-old Coca II, a new horse that she recently began to lease. Gonzalez was thrilled with the performance of all three horses, especially considering that two of the horses had never shown indoors before this weekend.

“I just got Coca two or three weeks ago, and this was only my second show with her. It was also Euro’s and Ingo’s first time in that indoor arena,” said Gonzalez. “That was a bit nerve-wracking for me. I had to learn how to help them through the turns and to settle into that ring well, but it went great and I was super happy with them after that weekend. I think I learned a lot about my horses.”

Gonzalez is eager to return to the Jacksonville Equestrian Center to take advantage of its indoor arena and stabling, which includes over 400 permanent 10’ by 10’ stalls designed for horses’ comfort and safety, each with electric and hot water. “I love the show grounds, and I love the barns. We will definitely be attending several shows in Jacksonville next year,” she said.

Penny Gorton, head of the Jacksonville Equestrian Center Business Development and Board Director for the Northeast Florida Equestrian Society, was glad to hear it. “We loved having the Southeast Medal Finals back at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center for another year,” she said. “All the riders and horses should be so proud of a job well done. We hope to see you all back here again next year!”

After the successful completion of another year’s Southeast Medals Finals, the Jacksonville Equestrian Center is turning its attention to a variety of upcoming equestrian and non-equestrian events, including the Jacksonville BUBBLE RUN™ on October 1, Community Night Schooling on October 18, and the Greater Jacksonville Agricultural Fair Association 4-H Horse Show on October 21-22. For more information on upcoming events and the Jacksonville Equestrian Center’s facility and amenities, visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com or call Penny Gorton at (904) 255-4227.

For more information, contact:
Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Penny Gorton 904-255-4227
PGorton@coj.net
13611 Normandy Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32221

Favorite Mustang Trainer, Jimbo Albritton, Embarks on Next Wild Horse Training Journey

Photo courtesy of SDPhotography.

Jacksonville, FL (July 14, 2016) – It’s been over two months since the Extreme Mustang Makeover drew crowds to the Jacksonville Equestrian Center to watch recently tamed Mustangs perform impressive feats before being auctioned off to permanent homes. Local Jacksonville trainer and Extreme Mustang Makeover entry Jimbo Albritton, though, has still not gotten his chance to exhibit his Mustang in the competition due to a last-minute injury. So after spending time this summer training at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center, Albritton will be heading to the next Extreme Mustang Makeover with the support of the Jacksonville community behind him.

It was a perfect example that things don’t always go as planned – especially in the horse world – when Jimbo Albritton’s assigned Mustang mare, Penney, tore a suspensory before the Extreme Mustang Makeover at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center in May. Albritton opted to pull her out of the competition rather than have her endure any unnecessary pain. Although the rules of the competition still stood for Penney – the Mustangs must be auctioned off after spending 100 days working with a trainer – there proved to be luck in store for Albritton and the Mustang mare.

Albritton’s “lucky Penney” has had her fair share of luck (especially since landing in Albritton’s care). Instead of her going to a new home, one of Albritton’s sponsors purchased Penney for him so that he could continue to give her the care she needs to heal.

“Penney is now doing much better than expected and is healing great,” Albritton said. “She is now getting some monitored turn out in a small paddock. She has not been lame at all. She will have a re-check with her vet most likely in the beginning of August, and then hopefully we can start riding her again. It may be a far stretch, but we do have a ranch horse show at the end of September that I think she would be very successful in. If the vet clears her to work, I may try conditioning her back for that. If not, we will wait to do those shows next year and, in the meantime, she will be my go-to horse at the ranch for working the new colts and cow work. She will also be ridden by my two-year-old little girl Kendall, because that is who she really belongs to!”

While Penney rehabilitates, Albritton is keeping busy with many other endeavors, including signing up for the next Extreme Mustang Makeover competition that will be held in Fort Worth, Texas, on September 15-17. For this competition, he was assigned a new Mustang called Cassius. The 100 days that Albritton spends transforming Cassius from a wild horse to a trained horse will include riding and clinics at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center. The 80-acre facility features an enormous indoor arena for all all-weather riding, several outdoor arenas, more than 400 stalls, and accessibility to miles of trails.

Albritton and Cassius will be at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center for the Double Up Horsemanship Clinic on July 16-17, a clinic that Albritton is co-instructing with Mike Woodard. While Cassius isn’t quite ready to participate in the clinic, Albritton plans to trailer him out to get him exposure to a new setting and the stimulus that horses experience at an event.

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center is proud to be a part of helping the area’s favorite Mustang trainer with his newest project, and also stands behind Albritton in his efforts outside of the arena. Albritton is currently dedicating time to helping two local residents overcome tragedies. On July 9, he held a benefit barrel race for Jacee Beth Thomas at Albritton’s facility in Green Coves Springs. Barrel racer Thomas was injured in an accident when a train struck her car, and she is now on the long and costly road to recovery. Albritton hopes that the proceeds from the event will help provide Thomas and her family with some financial support.

Albritton is also working with the organization Dreaming of Three to help brighten the life of Kasen, a young cancer patient. Albritton plans to host an event that will let the young boy experience the animals on Albritton’s ranch amidst friends, family, and supporters in Jacksonville. Albritton also hopes to have a blood donation bus at the event, as Kasen is in need of blood donations. For more information on how to contribute to these efforts, contact Albritton at james.albritton@rocketmail.com.

Meanwhile at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center, other events open to the public will immediately follow the Double Up Horsemanship Clinic. Next up will be Community Night Schooling on July 19, and then the #GetLikeHeather Car Show on July 30. For more information, visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com or call Penny Gorton at (904) 255-4227.

For more information, contact:
Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Penny Gorton 904-255-4227
PGorton@coj.net
13611 Normandy Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32221

Florida RV Trade Association Regional Chapter Donates $15,000 to Jacksonville Equestrian Center

Left to right: Harold Bullington, Ken Lloyd, Peggy Fuller, Patti Tebow, Jerry Tempio, Joanne Connell, and Penny Gorton. (Photo courtesy of SDPhotography)

Jacksonville, FL (July 8, 2016) – After the Northeast Florida Chapter of the Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA) spent years enjoying the success of its annual Jacksonville RV Show at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center, the FRVTA decided to give back to the center in a big way. The FRVTA recently donated $15,000 to the Jacksonville Equestrian Center to go towards making improvements to the already exceptional facility, which hosts everything from FRVTA RV shows to dog agility trials to major equestrian events year round.

According to the FRVTA Region 6 Treasurer, Gerard (Jerry) Tempio, “The decision for the FRVTA to make this donation was based on trying to help the community and the partners that help FRVTA grow in northeast Florida.”

Thanks to the generous donation, the Jacksonville Equestrian Center will be able to amplify RV accessibility at the center, ultimately adding more dual-amps for RV use at the center’s south parking lot, which currently offers 78 parking pads.

The donation is a result of several years of quality partnership among the FRVTA, the Jacksonville Equestrian Center, and the support of the public, who have flocked to the Jacksonville Equestrian Center for previous FRVTA events.

“We’re just happy that the public has supported our two regional RV shows every year, which has really put us in a good financial position to make the donation,” Tempio said.

Speaking on behalf of the Northeast Florida Equestrian Society (the board that manages the Jacksonville Equestrian Center), Joanne Connell expressed her gratitude. “This is huge for us, and the board is so grateful!”

Connell explained that the donation – which the board hopes to double through a matching grant – will have the ability to make a strong, positive impact on the community.

“Working along with the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, these types of donations help us to make capital improvements that will attract more people, bring in additional shows and events, and generate more economic impact of the west side of the city,” Connell said.

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center is currently a popular destination for local Jacksonville residents as well as people throughout the southeastern U.S. The facility often opens its riding arenas to the public, and the Olympic-sized swimming pool, miles of trails, golf course, and recreational park that surround the center are available year-round. On weekends, the Jacksonville Equestrian Center is bustling with horse shows, dog agility competitions, 4-H events, or concerts. Along with its impressive outdoor amenities on 80 beautiful acres in Jacksonville, Florida, the Jacksonville Equestrian Center features a massive 123,000 square foot indoor coliseum and horse barns with over 400 permanent stalls.

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center is actively seeking additional donors to make further capital improvements, including an open-air covered area, two additional rings, a schooling area, and a livestock cover.

For more information about the Jacksonville Equestrian Center or how you can help the facility impact the northeast Florida community, visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com or call Penny Gorton at 904-255-4227.

For more information about FRVTA, call the association at 813-741-0488 or visit www.frvta.org.

For more information, contact:
Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Penny Gorton 904-255-4227
PGorton@coj.net
13611 Normandy Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32221