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Liz Atkins and Undine Clinch the Win in the $5,000 1.40m Welcome Class at Equifest I

Liz Atkins and Undine managed the tight time allowed for the win in the $5,000 Welcome Class. Photo: Andrew Ryback


Wayne, IL – July 24, 2014 – Equifest I presented the $5,000 1.40m Welcome Class at Lamplight Equestrian Center in Wayne, IL. Canadian course designer, Greg Kuti, set the track for the field of 19 entries. Only four competitors were able to make it to the jump off with a tight time allowed taking its toll.
Liz Atkins of Hampshire, IL was the fastest four-faulter in the jump-off with her mount, Undine, to clinch the win with a time of 40.582. Atkins purchased the unbroke mare four years ago and now the pair is competing regularly in the 1.40m division.  The green horse is handling the Grand Prixs well and today’s class got them prepared for Saturday’s $35,000 Grand Prix de
“The time allowed was very difficult,” said Atkins. “You really had to stay on your track to get the lines right and stay in the time allowed. I rode Niro 8 first and he’s really efficient but I had 2 time faults. Undine spends a lot of time in the air so I knew I had to gallop away from the jumps and I made a few shorter turns to avoid the time faults. In the jump-off I let her gallop and she got a little flat in the short two stride where we had the rail.”

Kelsey Thatcher and Balougris SLZ were second by less than half of a second. Photo: Andrew Ryback

Kelsey Thatcher of Bluffdale, UT captured the second place spot with Balougris SLZ. Thatcher rides with Alex Jayne’s Our Day Farm in Elgin, IL. Thatcher was only .453 seconds behind Atkins with 41.036 and four faults.
“I had two (horses) in it so I think that helped,” said Thatcher.  “I really rode it like a speed derby so I wouldn’t have time faults. In the jump off, I knew no one was clean so I tried to be clean and a little fast but he shifted at an oxer and we had the rail.  I was very happy with the way he went today.”
Thatcher only had one time fault on her second mount, Everything and was one thousandth of second behind Amelia McArdle and Senioita De La Roque with McArdle taking the fifth spot and Thatcher sixth.

Stephanie Novas and ZaZa finished in third. Novas was fourth on Amyra R.  Photo: Andrew Ryback

Snapping up both third and fourth place was Stephanie Novas of Chicago with her Amyra R and ZaZa. Novas rides with Lance Williamson of Gurnee, IL. Novas was clean and fast on both mounts in the first round and moved into the jump-off. Novas is known for her speed on Amyra R and she did not disappoint in that category. With a time of 37.359, Amyra R was definitely the fastest but had 12 faults. ZaZa clocked in at 42.660 with 8 faults.
“I got a little too fast,” said Novas. “The short two stride was difficult after a long gallop which cost me some rails. I was slower on ZaZa but still had some rails. ZaZa is really game and has a powerhouse jump so she’s really a fun horse. It was a good set up for Saturday’s class.”
The Equifest I and II Shows are managed by Allen Rheinheimer and feature a $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby each week and the $35,000 Prix de Lamplight on Saturday afternoon each week. The two-week series concludes with the $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby along with a fantastic Derby Brunch. One Lucky exhibitor who competes both weeks will win a saddle from sponsor CWD.
Lamplight Equestrian Center has been host to a number of prestigious horseshows including the American Eventing Championships, The Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Championships and the U.S. Para-Equestrian National Championships in addition to countless first-class Hunter shows, Jumper shows, Eventing competitions, Dressage shows and Sporthorse Inspections.

Numerous facility improvements including GGT Footing, make Lamplight Equestrian Center Chicago’s premier horse show facility. 
For more information on any of the events, contact Anna Margalef at 630-546-5576 or visit the website at

Results $5,000 1.40m Welcome
Place      Horse                                 Rider                            Owner
  1           UNDINE                            ATKINS, LIZ                   BENCHMARK STABLES
  2           BALOUGRIS SL Z               THATCHER, KELSEY         PONY LANE FARM,
  3           ZAZA                                NOVAS, STEPHANIE        NOVAS, STEPHANIE
  4           AMYRA R                           NOVAS, STEPHANIE        NOVAS, STEPHANIE
  6           EVERYTHING                      THATCHER, KELSEY        PONY LANE FARM,
  7           NIRO 8                              ATKINS, LIZ                   BENCHMARK STABLES
  8           COCO 135                          KOCHER, ANDREW          KOCHER, ANDREW
  9           8ALTITUDE CWF                  KOCHER, ANDREW         ROSS, ALLISON
10           L’ETIOLE                             ATKINS, LIZ                   BENCHMARK STABLES

Horse show photos by Andrew Ryback Photography and can be purchased at Photos may only be used in relation to this release.