June 2015 - Winner's Circle
Written by Administrator
Friday, 05 June 2015 03:31

Paso Robles Horse Park's owner, Linda Starkman enjoys the Central California Memorial Day Classic.

Underway in Paso Robles

Rebecca Bruce and Bombastic B took home the first blue ribbon in the Grand Opening of the Fairway Field. That was a 1.0m class in one of four rings in action May 20, the first day of competition for the Memorial Day Central California Classic at the brand new Paso Robles Horse Park.

Jamie Taylor and Buddha in the Fairway Field Grand Hunter at the Paso Robles Horse Park

The 1.35m jumpers in the Fairway Field Grand Prix was a fun course and Marc Grock and Irish 77 took top honors with a blue ribbon. The breezy afternoon ended in the Fairway Field Grand Prix with the 1.40m jumpers. Out jumping all of their competition, Lauren Hester and Warinde B took home the final blue of the day!

In the Fairway Field Grand Hunter, Jamie Taylor and Cipriani took home the first blue ribbon awarded in the Fairway Field Grand Hunter. Later, we saw the Performance Hunters 3’3”, with Philip Cillis and Willow CBF putting in an impeccable round to take home the first place prize. Performance Hunters 3’6” closed out the day in the Fairway Field Grand Hunter, with Jamie Taylor winning another blue, this time with King’s Peak taking the class.

Collegiate Kudos

Congratulations to the Stanford Equestrian Team for representing the West beautifully in this year’s Intercollegiate Horse Show Association Finals, held April 30-May 3 in West Springfield, MA. The Cardinal finished overall fourth in the Collegiate Cup Hunter Seat Team standings, with several riders contributing to that accomplishment. They include Devon MacNeil, Cecilia Lang-Ree, Abby Bertelson, Caroline Soane, Davianna Olert and Claire Margolis.

Kudos also to Cal Poly Pomona’s McKenna Coveney, who was reserve champion in the AQHA High Point Western.

Hiller Farms' Center Court with John French. Photo: CapturedMomentPhoto.com

Center Court takes Center Stage

Calm and cool described the unusual weather as well as the unusually talented horse who earned the win in the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, during the early May competition. After a rainy morning that drenched Del Mar, the cool afternoon air created an interesting challenge for the high performance hunters. However, 6 year old Center Court, piloted by John French, impressed the judges from the first jump.

The 11 elements in the Classic Round included a three-obstacle line requiring five strides from fences two to three and three to four. The flowing course continued with several long bending lines and three 4’3” options.

The two panels of judges included the honorable Susie Schoellkopf and Mickey Maestro on Panel One and Bill Ellis sat with Rob Gage as Panel Two.

Four professionals earned two spots each in the Handy Round. With top 12 scores ranging from 156 to 184, Nick Haness returned in the twelfth position on Karina Sanchez’s Zanzibar and in the fourth position on the Spring Classic III Derby Winner, Countdown (Sachi Porto, owner). Michael Leon rode West Coast Equine Partners’ C Coast Z and Celano (Robert Peters II, owner) in the tenth and sixth spots. Tara Metzner was sitting eighth on Davlyn Farms’ Come Monday and third on Chad Keenum’s High Five. And finally Derby veteran John French piloted the top two horses, previous Derby winner Soldier (Elizabeth Gabler, owner) and the young Center Court (Hiller Farms, owner), who came into the second round with a pair of 90s, four points ahead of Solider and ten points ahead of High Five.  Emma Waldfogel aboard Kings Peak was the one amateur who battled it out with the pros in the second round.

The Handy Round required choosing an option of 3’6” or 4’3’ vertical as jump one, galloping up a small hill to negotiate fence three followed immediately by a trot jump, directly to another option with either a bold one-stride at 3’9” in and 4’ out or an even bolder 4’3” two-stride. Scores in the eighties with well-earned Bonus points made for an exciting end to the competitive class.

Known for his handiness, Haness and 7 year old Countdown moved up two places with 18 total bonus points combined with scores of 82 and 87, for a well-earned second place. But the equine star of the day was Center Court, expertly piloted by John French. The pair earned 88 and 88 with 11 total bonus points for a commanding ten point lead and the win.

French recognized the horse’s ability at a young age, and went slowly as he matured. “We bought him as a 4-year-old in England. I saw a video of him that I really liked. We didn’t do much with him last year, just a few shows. He turned six this month.”

“He is the bravest horse,” the winning rider explained. “We started him in the First Years in Thermal, but there aren’t too many horses that can jump the big jumps like he can, so I thought why not do him in the High Performance.  He was champion one week in Thermal, one week during the Blenheim Spring Series and also here at Ranch & Coast.”

French then commented on today’s performance. “I’m just really happy with him. His first round was amazing. It was one of those rounds you remember for a while. He jumped so slow and so high over everything.”

And the praise continued. “He’s probably one of the scopiest hunters that I’ve ever had. The fence could be 5’ and you could canter down to it slowly, and not feel like you have to leg him or tell him where to leave the ground, he just does it like no big deal. I think that is what is so appealing to the judges - he has that relaxed look and then jumps so high over the jumps, so effortlessly.”

Press release provided by Blenheim EquiSports.

Genay Vaughn and Donarweiss GGF. Photo: Michele Vaughn

West Coast Dressage Stars Earn European Opportunities

Many West Coast dressage riders will be far from home this summer having earned various competition and training opportunities throughout Europe.

Genay Vaughn and Starr Vaughn Equestrian’s Hanoverian stallion Donarweiss GGF will contest two European CDI-Under 25 competitions in July, thanks to funding through the USEF Developing Dressage program. The program is supported through an ongoing gift from USET Foundation trustee Akiko Yamazaki, owner of several of Steffen Peters’ equine stars and a much-appreciated supporter of the sport.

Genay may see familiar faces abroad as young friends Ayden Uhlir, a West Coast regular before moving to Florida, and Catherine Chamberlain of Murrieta, have been named to the US team for the CDIO-Y in Hagen, Germany, June 16-21. And, Cassidy Gallman of Poway and Lindsey Brewin of San Ramon are standing by for that show as first and second alternates.

At the Hickstead CDIO3* in July, San Diego’s Jennifer Hoffman and Orangevale’s Kasey Perry are on tap as USEF Dressage High Performance representatives. Kasey is also a European training and competition grant recipient and if her campaign to be named for the Pan Am Games squad pans out, another rider will be selected for Hickstead, where Florida’s Katherine Bateson-Chandler is also set to compete.

The list of European grant recipients also includes West Coasters Brian Hafner of Penngrove and Charlotte Jorst of Reno. Charlotte and Kathleen Raine of Murrieta are also set to represent the US in four European Nations Cups. Kathleen, too, with Breanna, is another Pan Am hopeful, so her summer whereabouts could also change.

Good luck to all, wherever they wind up!

Photo: Anne Amondson

Veteran Grand Prix rider Susie Hutchison is well known as a jumping rider, of course, but she’s also a longtime star with hunters. In April, Susie was inducted into the National Show Hunter Hall of Fame. Based in Temecula Valley, Susie was inducted into the Show Jumping Hall of Fame in 2009.

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 .