October 2019 - PCHA Power Houses
Written by photos: Captured Moment Photography
Tuesday, 01 October 2019 01:54
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Skylar Wireman, Melia Gross & Renee Rodda top PCHA Finals at 62nd Annual Portuguese Bend National Horse Show.

photos: Captured Moment Photography

Skylar Wireman had a red-letter weekend at the 62nd Annual Portuguese Bend National Horse Show (PBNHS) on Sept. 6-8 at Ernie Howlett Park in Rolling Hills Estates.

She captured the win in the Pacific Coast Horse Show Association’s Horsemanship Medal Finals for Riders 14 and under with a stellar work-off aboard Lisa Halterman’s Hot Pants. She dominated the Junior Hunters with her Captivated and was a force to contend with in the major jumper classes with Avalon. Skylar won the $10,000 Harman Family Junior/ Amateur Owner Jumper Classic and was third in the $5,000 Red Onion Jumper Classic. For her efforts, she was presented with the inaugural Carol Dean Porter Jumper Style of Riding Award from Carol herself.


Skylar topped the PCHA 14 and Under Medal Final out of 30 entries. “This was my first medal final win on the ‘A’ circuit,” she said. “I’ve been in the top ten for the past two years and this was my last year riding as a 14-year-old. It was super exciting to win.”

Skylar stepped up to the challenge and successfully executed a tough work-off. “The tracks were all very technical,” she explained. “Round three and the work-off had a lot of flying changes. They asked us to demonstrate lead changes at each end of the ring between the markers. Luckily, I went last in the work-off, so I was able to watch the other riders and made a plan to stay out and take my time to set up the changes.”

“It felt pretty amazing to win the medal final since each year I’ve moved up and last year I earned third place,” she added. “I love coming to this show because it benefits a good cause and there are wonderful sportsmanship awards. I’m looking forward to coming back again next year.”

Skylar also won the won Two Jacks Trophy for Overall High Point Rider, The Kazarian Family Trophy for High Point Junior Rider and the Bob Martin Trophy for Best Junior Jumper Rider.

Skylar Wireman (Shayne Wireman, trainer) and Hot Pants (Lisa Halterman, owner), Champion, PCHA 14 & Under Medal Final.

Miela’s Moment

Amateurs also get their day in sun at the specialty three-day show.

In the PCHA 18-34 Medal Final, Miela Gross, coached by Emily Esau Williams, celebrated her first medal final win as an amateur with her entire family there to cheer her on. “The Portuguese Bend National Horse Show is special to me because my grandma is from Rolling Hills,” Miela said. “My whole family rides – my mom, my aunt, and my cousins. My grandma is the one who encouraged me to ride horses and motivated me to keep going. I won the medal final on her 74th birthday so it was the perfect way to celebrate.”

Miela, a senior at UC Berkeley, was thankful for the ride on Washington (HD Horses, owner). “This was my first medal final as an amateur. I haven’t done a medal final for four years,” she said. “I’m majoring in physics and minoring in computer science and I don’t get to show too often during the school year. It was a fun experience for me getting to compete in the medal final. Washington is only 6-years-old and was imported less than a year ago. He’s got a fantastic head on his shoulders. I qualified for the medal final with him only three weeks ago and then started practicing with him one week before the show.”

Miela Gross (Emily Esau Williams, trainer) and Washington (HD Horses, owner), Champion, PCHA Adult Medal Final 18-34.

Miela and Washington topped both rounds of the competition out of 16 entries. “I really enjoyed the courses,” she said. “In the first round, you could get on a gallop and stay the same. The second round was a lot more technical, which played to my strengths. Since we were still getting to know each other, I was planning on staying more conservative. There was an inside option off a narrow jump to canter up the quarter line or along the outside rail. I had planned to go outside, but I could feel that he was right there with me and I decided to take the inside option. He really stepped up to the plate.” Miela’s coach, Emily Esau knew what it took to win as her name is etched on the 14 & under trophy.

No Red Ribbon For Renee

After placing second in both the 2016 and 2017 PCHA 35 & Over Medal Finals, Renee Rodda, (Rainbow Canyon Ranch, trainer) was thrilled to earn the championship. “I showed as a junior in the 14 & Under Medal Finals, so it feels like I’ve come full circle,” she explained. “I’ve actually been training with Kim Tasker and Mary Gatti since I was 9, so I have such a strong support group at the barn. My husband is also amazingly supportive. My trainers know me so well and really understand all my quirks.”

Renee is a veteran in the equitation ring, but this was her first medal final aboard her mare, Elusive. “My most challenging aspect of the medal final for me was that I was riding my hunter,” she explained. “My equitation horse wasn’t feeling 100 percent, so we decided that I’d ride my mare and just have fun.”

Renee Rodda (Rainbow Canyon Ranch, trainer) and Elusive, Champion, PCHA Adult Medal Final 35 & Over.

Renee and Elusive made a clean sweep in both rounds. “There were technical courses with challenging tests,” she recalled. “In the first round, we had a halt and a trot jump. In the second round, we had a halt and a counter-canter. She probably only counter-cantered a fence once before so it was incredible how she stepped up.”

“I really appreciate that PCHA goes above and beyond to make the finals really special,” she added. “They do a great job of making the participants feel special. It’s an event I look forward to every year. The volunteers do an amazing job and Robin Serfass puts on a great show.”

Since 1958, the Peninsula Committee Children’s Hospital members and their families have worked tirelessly to organize, staff, put on this show, and most importantly, have raised over $16 million for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. This year’s theme, “Harnessing Hope for Children,” characterizes the relentless efforts of those who work to bring hope for healthier lives to the young patients and their families at CHLA.

Press release provided by LEG Up News. For complete Portuguese Bend results, visit www.horseshowtime.com.