July 2018 - Winner's Circle
Written by CRM
Friday, 29 June 2018 19:36


Nina Vogel Tops Innovative Challenge

Over 60 junior and amateur riders took to The Oaks International Grand Prix Field for the second annual American Tradition of Excellence Equitation Challenge, presented by Whitethorne and held June 19-20. Home after her freshman year in college, 21 year old Nina Vogel aboard Pam Stewart’s Durango rode beautifully both days to earn a big win.

Nina Vogel and Durango. Photo: McCool Photography

The class took place over three phases, with the first day featuring a jumping phase over a 3’3” Equitation-type track and an educational presentation and Q&A phase with all riders, trainers, and judges that evening. On the second day, competitors took what they learned from day one and applied it to their ride in Phase 3, followed by a work-off of the top six scoring riders.

Georgey Maskrey-Segesman, of Whitethorne, LLC, founder and title sponsor of the event, made a point of explaining that this class is about education, and that winning is only a small part of the big picture.

Nina Vogel with Geoff Teall, Georgy Maskrey-Segesman, Bernie Traurig, and Charlotte LaRoux of Butet.

The courses were designed by Karen Healey. She also served as technical delegate and was on hand as a mentor to all participants, along with mental skills coach Tonya Johnston. Bernie Traurig returned as one of the honorable judges, this year joined by Geoff Teall, who, along with Robin Rost Brown, will be adjudicating the USEF Hunter Seat Medal Finals this fall. Traurig and Teall presided over each jumping phase and provided written comments for each competitor as well as scores in the open numerical format.

After a warm-up round on Monday and a mandatory rider’s meeting on Tuesday morning, Phase One commenced as riders tackled questions of adjustability, pace, and fluidity around the course.

Second-round Equitation Excellence course.

Riding early in the class, Rylee Shufelt set a high standard with a forward pace and smooth rollback turns, earning an impressive score of 95 poi

nts. Katherine Dash, who rode towards the end of the round, came the closest to catching that score with 89 points. Madeline James and Nina Vogel rounded out the top four scoring riders from Phase One, finishing with 88 and 86, respectively.

Phase Two took place at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel on Tuesday evening. As they entered, riders picked up the judges’ comment cards from Phase One. Soon after, Tonya Johnston gave a mental skills presentation to the group. Then riders and trainers watched a video presentation illustrating the history of traditional equitation riding. Traurig commented on how riding styles have developed over time, and which traditional techniques we can use today to further develop our riding skills.

Afterwards Traurig, Teall, Healey, Johnston, and Maskrey-Segesman answered rider inquiries. The unique opportunity to receive such extensive feedback from the panel highlighted the educational components of the class and gave the riders a unique leg up in the third phase the following morning, as well as a new perspective on the tradition of equitation.

Phase Three began at 8 am on Wednesday morning. Sixty-one entries returned to ride the course for the day’s competition, featuring a more technical track with lines requiring adjustability, a triple-combination near the in-gate, an airy swedish oxer, and two bending lines at the top of the arena.

Many riders found the second-round course difficult, especially the bending lines, one ridden off the right lead in five or six strides, and the other off the left lead in four strides. Riders who were able to execute a forward pace and an automatic release, as discussed during Phase Two, with the horse between hand and leg throughout, received well-earned solid scores from the judges.

“This class was fantastic because it was a learning opportunity and competitive opportunity,” Vogel explained in the post-event press conference. “Being able to get the judges’ cards was great because it let me know what I needed to do differently in the second round. The competitive atmosphere was great, and the event at The Ritz-Carlton was a wonderful learning opportunity. It was an honor to ride in this class.”

Press release provided by Blenheim EquiSports.

Carly Sereni & Walk This Way. Photo: Alden Corrigan Media

Sonoma Stars

Venezuela’s Angel Karolyi took home the blue for the second evening in a row during the mid-June week of the Sonoma Horse Park hunter/jumper series in Petaluma. Kal-EL, a wonderful stallion owned by Lucy Gigi Hewitt, jumped out of his skin in Friday’s $5,000 ProEquest Open Jumper Classic. Angel set a jump off time of 38.73. Hot on his tail was Matias Fernandez and Edelmann with 39.829 for 2nd followed by the final double clear Janet Hischer and Come Back Z on 40.505.

Angel Karolyi & Kal-El. Photo: GrandPix Photography

In the Circle Oak Equine Jr/Am Hunter Derby Carly Sereni had a special reason for winning the class, her son Weston. Carly had a dream of getting a team win shot that included Weston while he was still a toddler. Having returned to the sport at the end of last season as a rider and a mom Carly talked about the changes in her equestrian life, “It’s been different than I expected, priorities change, I don’t get to practice as much but luckily I do have my ’Steady Eddie’ (Walk This Way). This year I did not set any goals however I really wanted to have a Derby win, to ride more consistently and get fit again. I will finish out this year then make more solid plans for 2019. A pony for Weston is a hot topic but I think Matt is keener than me on the idea. I feel that I may be that horse show mom who can’t watch,” explained Carly.

Carly Anthony & Chacco. Photo: McCool Photography

Carly Anthony and the 12-year-old gelding Chacco were the only double clear duo in the Blenheim June Classic 2 Grand Prix, presented by The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel.

The top six horse and rider combinations in the first round were brought back to ride Anderson Lima’s jump-off track, which included many inside turns and a combination. In this unique dedicated jump-off format, Alexandra Biederman and Irish Ollie, LLC’s Sunday Cruise returned with a score of one time fault, ultimately finishing second.

“The course designer this week built fluid courses and the horses all jumped spectacular,” said, who has been on a roll all spring and summer. “It was challenging enough, but left the horses and riders feeling confident.”

Ashley Brien & trainer Michelle Morris. Photo: Kristin Lee Photography

Verdugo Hills Derby Winners

Consistency was key for Ashley Brien (Michelle Morris, trainer) and her horse, Stand and Deliver, as they clinched the win in the USHJA National Hunter Derby at Verdugo Hills June (June 15-17) at the Hansen Dam Horse Park in the Los Angeles area’s Lakeview Terrace.

“This was my first hunter derby with this mare,” Ashley explained. “I’ve had this mare for about three years. I got her while I was attending college in North Carolina at Duke University. Eventually, when I moved back to Los Angeles, which is where I’m originally from, she also came with me. She was perfect in the derby, and I couldn’t be happier.”

It was an enjoyable weekend filled with excitement at Verdugo Hills June. The Verdugo Hills Show Series sponsored by Valencia Sport Saddlery continues with the VH August Aloha (Aug. 17-19) and culminates with the VH Fall Festival (Oct. 4-7), which will feature Verdugo Hills Series Year-End Awards, $15,000 LEG Jumper Championships, LEGIS League Finals, and a 1.35m grand prix. Don’t miss out on the fun!

Kasey Ament and Soren Z. Photo: White Fence Equine Photography

Kasey Earns Colorado Cash

The second week of the competitive Summer in the Rockies Series (SIR) concluded on Sunday, June 17, welcoming victories for many competitors throughout the week. The Colorado Horse Park (CHP) hosted almost 500 horses for the five-day competition, numbers to be easily exceeded in the remaining five weeks of competition. In an exciting finish, Kasey Ament rode across the fast track and was named the winner of the $35,000 Holiday Inn Grand Prix presented by Trapper’s Chop House on June 16 aboard Soren Z. International course designer Oscar Soberon of Mexico City, Mexico, designed the courses for the week’s highlight jumper classes.

Ament and Soren Z, owned by Lornnah Investments, qualified for the victory with a jump-off time of 38.556 seconds. “The course suited him very well. He’s so scopey, but then in a minute, he can shorten and fit in a short distance,” Ament, of Agoura Hills, CA, said of the 2008 stallion. “I had the advantage with the inside turn. I’m not always the fastest rider, but if I count strides between, it makes me stay more forward.”

Reports excerpted from show organizer press releases. We welcome news from individual barns and riders, too.

Tricked Out Trikes

Born to be wild! Another highlight of the mid-June Sonoma Horse Park series was the Sonoma Horse Park Equitation - Transportation Team Challenge Sponsored by E-Wheels. The judging emphasis was put on riding style, technique and promptness in completing the course. Riders were awarded for swiftness and executing the course on the most efficient track, rider’s scores were combined to provide a team score in each round.

At Sonoma Horse Park we believe in a culture of fun, and this event is no different. This new elite group will be the founding members of the Sonoma Horse Park Weekend Warriors Bikers Club. Respect goes to the ten teams who moved forward into round 2 on Sunday morning. They earned their colors to win the highly tricked-out wheels. For winners mother and daughter team Hope and Avery Glynn it might be time to bring out those leather chaps, not to mention mirrored aviator sunglasses and old black leather jackets to get their road name Glynn For The Win embroidered on the back.

Top 8 Teams Sonoma Horse Park Equitation - Transportation Team Challenge Sponsored by E-Wheels. Photo: Alden Corrigan Media

The Winner’s Circle welcomes submissions and photos. E-mail them to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .