September 2015 - Winner's Circle
Written by CRM
Tuesday, 01 September 2015 23:44

Porter’s On A Roll

Mandy Porter is finishing summer in style. She won the $40,000 Bentley Grand Prix at the Menlo Charity Show up north the first weekend of August, then did the same at the $30,000 Markel Insurance Grand Prix down south in San Juan Capistrano the next weekend. Both victories came aboard David Murdoch’s Eminent.

Mandy Porter and Eminent. Photo: Captured Moment Photography

Mandy expressed her gratitude to the gray mare and to her sponsors. “She’s amazing,” she says of Eminent. “She has a big, big, big heart. And she’s fast, careful, and she just loves to do her job. I’m so grateful to David Murdoch for the opportunity to ride her.

“And I’d also like to give a huge thank you to all the sponsors that have helped me through the years - Purina, EquiFit, Devoucoux, FarmVet, Theraplate, and Equi-Feeds - all of them... It just makes the job that much easier when they can help us out.”

Part of the Blenheim Summer Classic, and presented by Davidson Communities, the 1.4 meter class offered an opportunity for a wide variety of rider experience, including 16-year-old junior, Sydney Hutchins, competing in her first Grand Prix, to experienced show jumpers, such as Lane Clarke, John Perez, Jenni McAllister and Nayel Nassar.

FEI course designer Pierre Jolicoeur kept all this and more in mind when he set the track. “I set the course with a lot of invitations; it has a nice rhythm to it, normal distances, not too many funny-looking jumps. I wanted to create balance, pace. You want everybody to go around and learn something, and you want the best horse to win.”

Six of the field’s 24 riders earned jump-off spots. Behind Mandy and Eminent, the top finishers were John Perez and Chianti Classico; Jenni McAllister on two horses, LEGIS Venice, then LEGIS Touch The Sun; Gabriella Salick and Centuria 2; and Sydney Hutchins and Zorlando.

The win put Mandy in the mood to go for the Markel Insurance Grand Prix Final, open to the top 25 riders in the 12-class series of qualifiers, and to be staged at Blenheim EquiSport’s Las Vegas National Nov. 10-15. Josephina Nor-Lantzman ruled the rankings at presstime, with four qualifiers to go, and the entire field so far ensures exciting competition between many West Coast favorites.

Pony Finals Champ

Augusta Iwasaki of Calabasas and her family-owned pony Bit of Laughter earned an additional reason to celebrate Saturday, Aug. 8, at U.S. Pony Finals, contributing more excitement to an already exceptionally successful week. With their score of 1,033.290 points, the pair grossed the highest marks of any Regular pony between the three size-based divisions to clinch the title of Grand Regular Hunter Pony Champion.
Augusta had perhaps the best week of any pony rider in Lexington, accruing three divisional championships - Small Regular Pony Hunter Champion aboard Bit of Laughter, Large Green Pony Hunter Champion with Kingston and Medium Green Pony Hunter Reserve Champion aboard Small Suggestion—as well as both Overall Grand awards—Grand Green Hunter Pony Champion with Kingston and Saturday’s honors with Bit of Laughter.
“I am very excited. It is like a dream. It is nothing that I could ever imagine. This is the first time that I have been Grand in the Greens and the Regulars, I don’t think I would be able to duplicate this,” Augusta said excitedly.
Bit of Laughter, called ‘Ceto’ or ‘Texas’ outside the show ring, wasn’t always the textbook example of the hunter he is today; he challenged the young rider at the onset of their career together. The champion team has been paired up since last year’s Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) after Bit of Laughter was sent to the family by Peter Pletcher, the renowned hunter rider out of PJP Farm in Magnolia, TX.

Jessica Pierce, of Ramona earned Reserve Champion Training Level 18-21 Years with Zeus, and on her horse Sterling, she won Reserve Champion FEI Level Test of Choice at the 2015 CDS Southern Jr/Yr Championships. Photo: James Laan Photography

Say farewell to helmet hair. The new E.C. Stylebar was onsite at the Del Mar Horsepark to rescue riders from the horrible hair days that can be part of summer showing. The mobile salon and barber company offers hair cuts, shampoo, blow drys, scalp massage, etc. For an appointment, call 858-997-5010 or 858-997-5008.

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