The first-ever Southeast Medal Finals took place Sept. 21-23 at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center in Jacksonville, Fla. with much fanfare. Shelburne resident Geoffrey Hesslink qualified and finished in an impressive 4th place overall.
A field of 27 talented young riders competed at 8 am in the USEF Pessoa Hunt Seat Medal. Following that competition Hesslink and three other riders were called back for a second round workout to determine the final placing.
Last to go, Hesslink shared, “I saw all three other people try to go inside and move up and all three of them lost the counter canter. I was on top, to I thought I’d take the safe route and go around and get the right lead canter.” He received the judges’ nod for first place.
“Afrojack is a big black gelding−he’s awesome. I’ve showed him all summer,” said Hesslink, who has been riding with Don Stewart and Bibby Hill for seven years.
In the ASPCA Maclay class, 12 riders were called back for the flat portion of the class. Once again, it was Hesslink who won the judges’ approval.
“I rode a different horse, but I’m usually good on the flat,” said Hesslink about his Maclay win. “This is Carlos 365. I have only ridden him a few times before. He has a smaller stride but he’s really good. I thought the Maclay class was a little harder than the Medal. But I think I still did pretty well and he was so good.”