Liz Atkins and Undine took second place in the $30,000 Marshall & Sterling Grand Prix.
Wayne, IL – June 24, 2016 – Liz Atkins of Hampshire, Illinois and her Benchmark Stables riders were ready to take on the competition at the Showplace Productions’ Spring Spectacular series held at Lamplight Equestrian Center, earning numerous blue ribbons and top prizes. After a 2015 slowed Atkins down with rider injuries, including a broken ankle and a separated shoulder, she figured out how to keep her horses and customers going. They showed up to compete prepared and ready for business.
During week one, Atkins came out with a bang, riding to a clear round in the $30,000 Marshall & Sterling Grand Prix with Undine, to secure second place. Atkins and Carletta won the 1.30m.
Atkins, with her great string of jumpers, won the 1.30m on her Carletta and the 1.40m class on Undine. During week II, Atkins won the 1.40m class on Niro 8 and earned the Equis Best Turned Out Award. Niro 8 and Liz Atkins earned the Equis Best Turned Out Award.
Atkins just turned professional in 2014 and was named Top Young Professional Grand Prix Rider by USHJA that same year. She has been working hard to get back in the game, schooling her horses with professional Diane Carney at 6:00 am when schedules permit. Atkins then teaches the same exercises and skills to her riders when they come for lessons. Leslie Quillen and Timeless won the $1,000 Amateur Owner Classic two weeks in a row. Photo Andrew Ryback Photography
Customer Leslie Quillen and her horse Timeless, won the $1,000 Amateur Owner Classic two weeks in a row and ended up Champion in the 3’3” Amateur Owners week II.
“Liz's program has really helped me to find my confidence and to bring that confidence out in the show ring,” said Quillen. “Liz is super positive and always focuses more on the positive than the negative. She truly believes in my horse and me as a pair, which has been helpful to me because I have always known he was a good horse and to have your trainer believe in your horse as much as you is a great feeling. Liz wants to see all of her riders succeed and creates a program that is specific to each horse and rider. I have had my horse for two years now and we know each other well, so Liz has really worked on fine tuning and polishing the whole look and being consistent every time I go into the ring. She has really helped me to be passionate about riding and working towards goals. Also having a trainer who is more jumper focused, she has helped me with my pace which is helping me to become a more consistent rider and less timid than I tend to be. She is just a nice person and she works hard and wants the best for her whole team.” Madison Potts and Czech Mate made a clean sweep in the Adult Equitation Division.
Benchmark rider Madison Potts and Czech Mate were tough to beat in the adult equitation, winning the IHJA Adult Medal, the Adult Equitation on the Flat and the Ariat Adult Medal during week II and securing the Championship with a clean sweep week III. Stacy Ryback and Utopia III
Rider Stacy Ryback put in numerous clean rounds in the Adult Jumpers on her Utopia III, an accomplishment Ryback has been working on for awhile.
“My horse has been amazing,” said Ryback. “Liz’s program gives individual attention and a tailored program to each person. We go over the goals we are trying to achieve and she tailors the program to each individual. I like being in a smaller barn, the trainer can concentrate more on you and your horse.”
Kristen Franz and her speedy Radioactive, won classes in the Low Children’s Adult Jumpers during week three, putting their name at the top of the leader board with the fastest clear rounds.Liz Atkins and Time Out
Atkins took on the hunter ring with a beautiful horse named Time Out, owned by Maureen Leonard, winning several Low and Non-Thoroughbred classes during week III.
Atkins has a variety of riders, both juniors and adults, competing in divisions from the puddle jumpers to the grand prix and low hunters up to the Amateur Owner hunters. The mix of people creates a fun and relaxed barn atmosphere and at home, the barn is quiet, organized and beautiful with plenty of turnout and room to ride. Sam Wagner and Johnny Bravo earned ribbons in the Adult Jumpers.
“Every rider has something they are working on,” said Atkins. “They come to the show and have their own list of accomplishments they can check off. Ribbons aren’t the monitor of their success, it’s their own sense of accomplishment that’s most important. Ribbons are the icing on the cake. Each time they come for a lesson or go in the show ring, the goal is to improve at whatever level they are at.”
Atkins is looking forward to a great 2016 show season with her eager group of riders moving their way up the ladder to top ribbons. Atkins also has her sights on more grand prix competition for her talented group of horses.Benchmark Stables is a 20 acre farm located in Hampshire, IL (50 miles west of Chicago). The Atkins family purchased the farm in 2005, and built a top facility with multiple barns, riding arenas and turnouts. The stable is a state of the art facility with the following amenities:
- 30 12×12 stalls with rubber mats
- Keypad entry at front gate for security
- Heat in all barns
- 180×80 heated indoor arena
- 225×160 outdoor ring
- 6 horse Kraft horse walker
- Automatic fly system in all barns
- Several grass paddocks
- Full service care option
For more information visit her website at www.benchmarkstables.com.