provided by RCEE
River City Equestrian Events recently emerged as the Sacramento area’s newest hunter jumper show series. Hosted at the world-class Murieta Equestrian Center, this new collection of SAHJA [Sacramento Area Hunter Jumper Association] approved schooling shows has quickly gained popularity in just a few short months. Debuting in January with RCEE I, the series caught the attention of local trainers looking for an opportunity to gain access to a venue that offered superior footing, jumps, and stabling all at affordable prices. RCEE II [May 7& 8], the second show in the four-part series, sold out in the weeks prior to the event, confirming the support for more schooling shows in the region.
Owners Nancy Gannon, Emma Hainze and Lauren Wasserman collaborated to form River City Equestrian Events, uniting with the common goal to produce an organized and sophisticated competition for the local equestrian community. Gannon, a Show Secretary with decades of experience along the West Coast, was first introduced to the hunter jumper world when her daughter competed at SAHJA shows in the 1990’s. “I’ve seen first-hand the importance of the SAHJA shows and the foundation they provide for both the riders as well as the trainers. Without shows like these, there are minimal opportunities to grow this industry and welcome new riders to the sport,” Gannon said. Hainze and Wasserman both started their riding careers at SAHJA shows. Hainze, now a local trainer owning and operating JEM stables in Wilton, echoed Gannon’s sentiments. “It’s critical for both students and professionals to have opportunities to show horses at venues like this [Murieta Equestrian Center] without paying the exorbitant fees that often come hand in hand with A-circuit competitions. In addition to providing an introduction for new riders, we are hoping our shows will serve as a launchpad for young horses, exposing them to all the elements they will find at larger, nationally-recognized events but doing so in an inviting manner.”
If the attendance at the show in May was any indication, Northern California’s equestrians are excited and eager for a new experience. The crossrail hunter classes saw over 30 entries in each class, with walk-trot classes coming in a close second at over 20 participants. Though many of the barns that attended came from the Sacramento area, trainers ventured from as far away as the East Bay and Chico area. With a hotel within walking distance and over 50 RV hook-ups on the property, there is ample opportunity for the show itself to become a staycation for the whole family.
Looking ahead, RCEE has two more shows scheduled for this season. In August, they will host the SAHJA tie-breaker show at RCEE III. This event will feature two hunter derbies as well as the SAHJA Medal Challenge. The $1,000 Equine Paver Solutions Open Hunter Derby and the $1,000 JEM Stables Jr/Am Hunter Derby will give riders a chance to test their skills over a traditional hunter derby course, featuring a handy round for riders in the top twelve positions after the first round. “It’s exciting to give riders an introductory look at classes they typically would only encounter at rated shows,” noted Hainze, who also serves as Course Designer for the RCEE events. “We are lucky enough to source our jumps through JB Horse Standards. The fences are new, brightly colored and inviting- all excellent ingredients to prepare horses and riders for greater challenges down the road.” Gina Ruth, owner and operator of Open Water Farms has attended both RCEE events this year. Praising the show for being “well-executed” with “inviting courses in the smaller divisions”, Ruth declared on Facebook “THIS is how we develop young horses in the US.”
In September the series will conclude with RCEE IV [September 24&25], featuring a $1,000 .85m Non-Pro Prix, co-sponsored by Hughes Law Group and Southern Cross Stables. The 2022 RCEE Series Champions will also be crowned at this show, awarding custom vests to the leading horses and/or riders in the twelve RCEE year-end divisions. “It is important to us that we take the time to recognize the achievements of our exhibitors. We are proud of our awards and our brand and this is a great way to highlight both,” remarked Gannon, who supplies many of the awards via her custom apparel business, Horsepower Embroidery Plus. “It has been so exciting to see the response for these events on social media. We love seeing the posts with our ribbons and prizes, knowing that these events are creating the same memories for our exhibitors that we ourselves have from our early horse show years,” Wasserman observed. Wasserman, the current Secretary for the Norcal Hunter Jumper Association and Competition Secretary for venues in Central California and Washington, has worked and competed at a wide range of levels within the hunter jumper discipline. “It’s paramount that events like these exist. For the health of this industry, it’s imperative that local schooling shows continue to thrive in order to introduce both new riders and young horses to this world without scaring them off with high costs and oversold events. The more successful shows like these are, the more riders and horses will continue to climb up through the ranks of the sport, strengthening the industry as a whole.”