December 2019 - Adrienne Sternlicht Tops Thermal World Cup
Written by text and photos by Kim F. Miller
Sunday, 01 December 2019 08:26
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“show

Nice touches from new owners at National Sunshine Series II in the desert.

text and photos by Kim F. Miller

After a two-hour drive out to the Desert International Horse Park, I was greeted with a complimentary water bottle at the spectator in-gate, then by a completely re-done women’s restroom, clean and thoughtful down to a sink-side tray with ponytail elastics and bobby pins.

 


Although the new Steve Hankin-led ownership and management group had only owned the venue formerly known as HITS Thermal for three months, it was instantly clear they meant business. Throughout my one Saturday, Nov. 9, at the National Sunshine Series II, compliments arose about the all-important footing and other amenities. As a fan and reporter, I was impressed by what is now a venue and series of shows owned and managed by local horse people and exhibitors.

 

East Coast-based Adrienne Sternlicht and Benny’s Legacy topped the 40-horse field in the $100,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ class. A student of McLain Ward’s and a member of the U.S.’ gold-winning World Equestrian Games team in 2018, 26-year-old Adrienne went last in a five-horse jump-off over Alan Wade’s track. Overcoming a case of “four-fault-itis,” she was clean and trusted the horse’s big stride to leave one out in two lines for the fastest time among three who were also clear in that round.

San Diego-based Keri Potter added another impressive finish to Ariell La Sirene’s resume for second. Hailing from Virginia, Adam Prudent and Baloutinue were fault-free, but, riding first in the jump-off, about two seconds slower than the winners for third place.

Longtime California-based favorite Jenni McAllister now lives in Santa Fe. She enjoyed a successful “homecoming” with Escada VS for fourth place. Canada’s Ben Asselin and Veyron were fifth.

With the 2020 World Cup Finals returning to Las Vegas, the quest to qualify is more intense than usual. Adrienne’s finish vaulted her to #3 in the East sub-league, and Keri’s finish put her into the #3 spot in the West.

Many of the Thermal contenders were headed to the following weekend’s Las Vegas National, where the Nov. 16 qualifier would likely mix up those standings.

The schedule was jam-packed with special classes and finals, but I focused on one I hadn’t seen before: the National Collegiate Equestrian Association Junior Hunt Seat Medal Finals. After two jumping and one flat round, the field of 28 was whittled to four pairs for a “bracket” style work-off modeled on the collegiate format: #1 and #4 and #2 and #3-ranked riders rode a shortened course on the same unfamiliar horse, then the top two of that round faced off on the same, again unfamiliar, horse.

Elisa Broz topped the standings going into and out of the work-off, followed by Devyn Stringfellow, Hannah Rohrback and Ireland Fravel in this interesting introduction to varsity collegiate competition. It was a super weekend for 16-year-old Elisa: She also won the USHJA’s 1.2-1.25M Junior Jumper Championships, one of several divisions of Zone Jumper Championships held during the Sunshine Series.

For complete results, visit www.deserthorsepark.com.

 

Winners Adrienne Sternlicht & Benny’s Legacy.

Elisa Broz won the NCEA Junior Hunt Seat Medal Finals.

Devyn Stringfellow was 2nd in the NCEA Junior Hunt Seat Medal Finals.

Adam Prudent & Baloutinue were third.

Jenni McAllister & Escada VS were fourth.

Canadians Ben Asselin & Veyron were fifth.

Ashlee Bond & Boheme De Fleyres were 9th, helping Ashlee into the #2 spot in the FEI Longines World Cup West sub-league and following her win in Del Mar in October.

Ringside misters were a nice touch on a 90-degree November day.

Pre-Grand Prix leadline cuteness.