Show Reports
October 2018 - Split Rock Sonoma International
Written by CRM
Thursday, 27 September 2018 19:33
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Rufer rules at the inaugural $100,000 CSI2* Grand Prix.

After two times coming in second, Karrie Rufer finally made it to the top of the podium Sunday winning the $100,000 CSI2* 1.45m Grand Prix with Morning Star Sporthorses’ Mai Tai 2 at the Sonoma International CSI2*, part of the Split Rock Jumping Tour.  


Created by show jumper Derek Braun in 2015, the Split Rock Jumping Tour set out to “revolutionize the sport of show jumping in the United States.” Providing an “unparalleled experience” for competitors, sponsors and spectators is the tour’s mission and Braun was happy to add a West Coast stop with this year’s addition of a of the Sonoma International CSI2*, Sept. 5-9, at the Sonoma Horse Park (California Riding Magazine, Nov. 2017).


“It’s great to be out here in Sonoma. The facility and the layout work perfectly for my type of event,” said SRJT founder Derek. “The main thing I’m trying to create through this is that riders of all levels, whether it be top riders or lower level riders, that when they hear Split Rock is running the show they know exactly what they’re going to get. They know that all the things that matter are going to be taken care of.”

Karrie Rufer & Mai Tai win the $100,000 Grand Prix on Sunday. Photo: Grand Pix Photography

During the show’s Sunday finale, six of the 48 starters advanced to the jump off round in the 1.45m Grand Prix, including Rufer and Shawn Casady, who had already faced off once before this week. But, Rufer and the quick-footed Westphalian gelding were ultimately the fastest, stopping the clock at 44.895 seconds after two clear rounds.

“It was a lot of déjà vu. The nice thing was that when I was second to Shawn [Casady] the other day I was on my other horse, and I know [Mai Tai 2] is so much faster,” Rufer said. “He’s just naturally speedy across the ground. He’s bold but he’s careful, so I knew there were things I could do on that horse today that I couldn’t do on the other one.

“It comes down to a little bit of luck, a good horse and your day,” she continued. “It’s my first CSI2* win and with a horse that I brought up since he was a 6-year-old. Every time I ask him for more he just gives me more.”

Lindsay Archer set the pace for the class as the first clear round of the division with Rhys Farm LLC’s Jarpur, and she kept that momentum going into the jump-off earning second place with a time of 46.265.

Casady graciously settled for both third and fourth place, but not before soaking Rufer with the celebratory champagne. Highpoint Farm LLC’s Durango VDL went through the timers in 46.599 seconds for third, and his stablemate Cicomein VDL, who is owned by HKC Collection LLC, had a four-fault jump off round in 46.682 seconds for fourth.

Mandy Porter, Karl Cook and Shawn Casady. Photo: Grand Pix Photography

Saturday’s Young Stars

The future of the sport was showcased Saturday with young horses dominating the competition. The 8-year-old stallion Menelik, ridden by Karl Cook, had the stand out performance of the day to win the $5,000 Animo 1.40m Youngster Bowl, a class designed for 7- and 8-year-old horses.

Signe Ostby’s Hanoverian, who is by Monte Bellini and out of Statella P, produced two picture perfect rounds with a jump off time of 46.668 to secure a podium finish.

“The horses are all young, so you want to go as fast as is reasonable for them,” Cook said of his strategy for the class. “It’s kind of a hard line to walk-you want to push them, but not too far. My goal was to push as hard as he felt he could handle.”

“He’s a really good guy to have around. He’s very professional. He doesn’t get psyched up before he goes in. He knows the job,” Cook added.

Mandy Porter and Wild Turkey Farm LLC’s WT Leapfrog, a 7-year-old Holsteiner stallion by Lio Calyon and out of Grandessa, took second after two clear rounds and a jump off time of 47.995. Stopping the clock at 49.293 seconds for third place was Shawn Casady and HKC Collection LLC’s Ariana, a 7-year-old KWPN mare by Cantos and out of Chup A Chup.

Descanso Farm’s Rumpleteazer DF continued her dominance of the 5-year-old classes, winning the $1,000 Animo 5-Year-Old Final Saturday with Will Simpson in the tack. Two foot perfect rounds and a jump-off time of 29.611 secured the top spot for the Warmblood mare by Flexible.

Riding for Altaire Ventures, Hallie Buttenwieser piloted Ezmeralda EH Z, a Zangersheide mare by Emerald Van’t Ruytershof, to a top finish in the $1,000 Animo 6-Year-Old Final after producing two clear rounds and a jump off time of 35.671 seconds. 
Juniors & Amateurs

Sabine Cooper earned a win in the $7,500 1.30m Medium Junior/Amateur Final with her Juweel van Maarle. She was the only rider to take the risky inside turn to fence three of the jump off, and it made the difference in her winning 38.123 second time.

In a nail-biting jump off finale, Sydnie Young and Madison Breen’s Lambert Louis clinched a win in the $7,500 1.20m Low Junior/Amateur Final with a time of 31.943 seconds.  

Kaley Cuoco’s Big Bay City generously hosted a gala fundraiser for Ride On Therapeutic Horsemanship. She’s pictured here with her husband, Karl Cook, who was also a big Split Rock winner.

Lauren Little and her Ultra d’Eclipse took their second win of the weekend in the Free x Rein 1.0m Low Child/Adult Speed class. The pair stopped the clock at 57.66 seconds after a beautiful clear round.

Emma Catherine Reichow her Cubiki were untouchable in the $1,000 1.40m Junior/Amateur Speed class. They were quickest across the ground in 68.829 seconds with a clear round.

Olivia Williams and her Cansas were congratulated with an eruption of applause after their win of the $500 1.10m Child/Adult Speed class. Their efficient clear round gave them a time of 56.011 seconds, which was the best of the group.

Professional Bert Mutch was a big winner earlier in the week and summed up competitors’ sentiments about the show. “I’ve dreamt of doing Split Rock. It’s such a nice event with an international look to it. It’s exciting to have this kind of competition in Northern California to raise the bar and really help our sport, so I came here very well prepared.”

The 2018 Split Rock Jumping Tour schedule includes five FEI shows in four outstanding venues. Earlier this year, SRJT hosted The Kentucky Invitational CSI3*, a new event held concurrently with the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event at the Kentucky Horse Park. It was followed by The Lexington International CSI2* at Split Rock Farm in Lexington, Kentucky. In addition to the Sonoma International CSI2*, SRJT was set to host The Columbus International CSI2*, September 26-30, and The Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Columbus CSI3*-W, October 3-7, both at the Brave Horse Show Park in Columbus, Ohio.

Edited press release. For more information, visit

October 2018 - Kudos to Krupnick Geffen, Buckingham & Sanders
Written by CRM
Thursday, 27 September 2018 19:22
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Counter intelligence carries the day for CPHA Foundation Equitation Championship winners.

As summer draws to a close, 119 equestrians in three age sections hit the books - the USEF Rule Book, that is - to practice the equitation tests that are uniquely built into the two rounds of the California Professional Horsemen’s Association Foundation Equitation Championships. Those who had put in extra hours with the counter-canter had an edge throughout the Championships, held Aug. 25-26, at the Showpark Summer Classic at the Del Mar Horse Park.

With over 50 starters, the 21 & Under division was the biggest of three. Designed to be more of a jumper-oriented test than the 14 & Under and 22 & Over divisions, the 21 & Under was held on the expansive grass Grand Prix field and included a liverpool. Notably, the courses held in the smaller sand arena for the other two age groups were no less demanding.

Counter Canter Required

Judges Bobbie Reber and Frank Williard worked with course designers Catsy Cruz in the big field and Scott Starnes in the sand ring to establish the tests asked within the track. 

CPHA President & Shadowbrook Farm trainer Jeni Brown has a busy day with three students competing, one in each of the CPHA Foundation Championship’s three divisions: Sara Markham, Charlotte Murray, and Morgan Yorlando.

Among other tests such as a trot jump and a required number of strides, riders in the 21 & Under section were asked to execute the counter-canter midway through the course on day one and between fences 3 and 4, connected by a 90-degree turn on day two. 

For the 22 & Over and 14 & Under sections in the sand arena, tests included a halt and counter canter on the first day and on day two a set number of strides from fences 2 to 3 as well as a counter canter on a left bend from a swedish oxer to a grass-draped vertical option towards the end of the 3’3” course. 

There were no instructions on how to get the counter-canters and various interpretations were seen, with those who pulled off landing on and holding the counter canter nicely rewarded by the Judges.

Consistency paid off for Jaime Krupnick Geffen aboard Conux. Her 83 and 82 scores from Saturday and Sunday put her first in the 22 & Over’s four-pair work-off, which she nailed for an 85.  With scores of 81 and 82, thirteen-year-old Stella Buckingham was sitting second going into the work-off. She and Nom De Guerre were smooth and efficient with the two lead changes the judges requested as the work-off’s finish, leading to an 84 score to secure the win in the 14 & Under section. Finishing the day, 16-year-old Sophia Sanders and Cipriani logged one of their biggest victories yet, thanks to 85.5 and 88 initial rounds and a commanding 88 score in the work-off for the victory in the 21 & Under section.

22 & Over winner Jaime Krupnick Geffen gets a hug from 8-year-old son, Cole.

Jaime Krupnick Geffen: Mother, Business Owner & Amateur

Mother and busy business owner, Krupnick Geffen has a full plate to keep riding at a top level since she returned to the sport two years ago, after an 18-year hiatus.

Riding Georgy Maskrey-Segesman’s Conux, Krupnick Geffen relished the challenging questions asked. “With courses, the harder the better,” she said. “I love it when they’re technical and you just go turn to turn.”

Alex Maida & Calligraphy get their third place swag in the 22 & Over division.

Precise riding made the most of Conux’s adjustability, resulting in consistently smooth efforts. “The best part for me was the counter-canter. My goal was to land on the right lead and hold it. I wanted to jump the Swedish oxer with some impulsion because it’s a big jump, and I knew he could hold the counter lead. It was just a matter of whether I gave him the correct aids.”

Jaime Krupnick Geffen & Alex Maida.

Saturday’s leader Kassy Perry and Cappo 7 were just one point behind in the work-off, with an 84 score, to finish overall second on Sunday. Alex Maida and Calligraphy had a two-round average of 81 and a work-off score of 82, for third. Rounding out the adult contenders was Jessica Smith and Rexar. They finished with scores of 81 across all three rounds and fourth place.

As the 22 & Over Champion, Jaime went home with a cooler, the Victor Hugo Memorial Trophy, and other prizes.

14 & Under winner Stella Buckingham with reserve champ Stella Wasserman, left, and Amber Ayyad, third place finisher.

Stella Buckingham Didn’t Need Her Back-Up Plan

Referring to the Round 2 test, champion Stella Buckingham had a plan. “I was most nervous for the counter canter,” she said. Although she landed on the counter canter and held it, she was ready for an alternate ride. “Whether you held it or did a simple change, either way it was difficult because the next jump was so close. If my horse swapped leads I was going to change through the walk right away. But I hoped for the best and got it.”

Returning for the work-off with an average of 83.5, and sitting second, Buckingham impressed the judges with a bold work-off, and the highest score for the win.

Looking forward, the 13-year-old is excited about venturing into the jumper ring with a new horse, but will continue to build a solid foundation in the equitation arena.

Along with more great experiences, Buckingham earned the opportunity to add her name to the perpetual trophy sponsored by Grand Prix legend Hap Hansen, who was on hand to present.

Stella Wasserman was a close contender with a two-round average of 80.25 that was boosted by an 84 work-off to earn the Reserve Championship aboard Sky Hawk. Also earning spots in the work-off, Amber Ayyad and Theodore were third, while Sophie Bluhm and Quadro ‘D’Ag finished fourth.

Sophia Sanders, winner of 21 & Under division.

Sophia Sanders & Cipriano Took the Grass Field in Stride

In only their second appearance on a grass jumping field, 16-year-old Sophia Sanders and the 8-year-old Hanoverian Cipriano excelled. Their first experience was a month ago for the USHJA Hunterdon Cup, which “didn’t go as great as things did today,” Sanders laughed. “You live and learn.”

During the intervening month, the Northern California rider, who trains with Patty Ball, emphasized balancing exercises, especially counter canter and tight turns. “It paid off,” she said.

In their 18 months together, Sanders and Cipriani have won a few Northern California medals, but “this is the biggest by far.”

Once again, the winning pair mastered the counter canter in their first Sunday round by landing and holding it between fences 3 and 4, which likely sealed their top seat for the work-off.  “I think that really helped us, because few others did it.”

With the leading two-round average of 86.75,  Sanders had to wait it out as the other top three pairs tackled the work-off. “Seeing everybody do so well made it especially nerve-racking,” she said.  Sanders held her lead, earning the highest work-off score of 88.  

Reserve Champion Tessa Darling came into the final round with an  84.5 average, topped by an 85 work-off score.  Third went to Katherine Dash and Need I Say, with an 85.75 average and score of 82 in the work-off.  Rollin Sykes and Nat King Cole were fourth after an 83.5 average and an 80 work-off.

Trophies, boots, sashes, stall plates, caps & more!

California Professional Horsemen’s Association president Jeni Brown was thrilled with another strong turn-out for these West Coast competitive finals that enable the region’s riders to be challenged without having to travel back east. And, she feels that they are great preparation for those who do go East for medal finals. Brown expressed gratitude to host show Blenheim EquiSports for “always making these something very special.”

Trainer’s Row.

Winner Jaime Krupnick Geffen seconded that opinion. “The CPHA always does such a great job: the nicest finals and the nicest awards.” Much appreciated sponsors are a big factor,  including DaMoors Tack & Feed, Outdoor Outfitters, James Klein Insurance and Great American Insurance.

Championship prizes include a ribbon, rider and horse sash, a perpetual and keeper trophy, flowers, a medal, coolers, a stall plaque, cap and a pair of DeNiro Solento Boots, with the champion trainer also receiving a stall plaque. Reserve and third place finishers were decorated with a ribbon, rider and horse sash, flowers, a medal, a cooler and hat, while fourth through 10th placed finishers received a ribbon, medal, flowers and a hat. All entries recieved CPHA gift bags.

Press release provided by Blenheim EquiSports.

September 2018 - Show Report: Hunterdon Cup
Written by photos: Kim F. Miller
Wednesday, 29 August 2018 22:10
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Lovingfoss locks in win in a competition unique for more than its horse-switching work-off.

photos: Kim F. Miller

Of the 47 riders who competed in the third annual USHJA Hunterdon Cup Equitation Classic - West Coast, presented by Intermont Equestrian at Emory & Henry College, Kaitlyn Lovingfoss stood out with the top score in each round to take the win. On a gorgeous day, July 23, at the Del Mar Horse Park, the unique equitation class challenged riders to show their skills over courses set by Thomas Hern.

The Cup’s already unusual horse-switching final work-off became all the more so when all six riders omitted what the judges intended to be jump #2, resulting in no scores for that round. At the press conference afterward, the riders graciously accepted their mistake, some noting that they’d privately questioned the judge’s course instructions but set those aside when the first few riders left out that fence.

The upside, said one judge, was that they’d never make that mistake again.

The final group of 6, out of 47 starters, had a short warm-up on their swapped horse before tackling the work-off.

Although relatively new on the West Coast, the Hunterdon Cup has been an annual event for East Coast riders since 2005. The class, named after George Morris’s farm, Hunterdon, tests each rider’s ability to adjust to a hunter course on an equitation mount. It is unique as one of the few remaining competitions in which finalists typically switch horses for a final work-off.    

This year’s West Coast judges were Joseph Dotoli of Chepachet, RI, and Robert Crandall of Wellington, FL. They both valued course designer Thomas Hern’s choices in creating the tracks, and reflected that his designing gave both rider and horse opportunity to shine.

“Tommy’s courses were terrific. They gave enough challenges to the riders so that they had to work at it a little bit, and the handy round really helped show which riders could take advantage of the track,” said Dotoli.

Winner Kaitlyn Lovingfoss, right, and reserve champ Tessa Darling celebrate great efforts before knowing the final standings.

Round One is a classic hunter course. Round Two is handy hunter course, and Hern’s track included going up and down a sloping hill, with a trot fence at the top, while fences #5 through #8 included two combinations and two option fences. The top 20 riders returned for round two in reverse of first round scores. As a final test, the judges brought back the top six overall to switch horses and complete a work-off.

Lovingfoss, aboard Elvenstar’s Caracas 89, earned a two-round total of 178 points with a 90 in Round One and an 88 in Round Two, which appropriately averaged out to 89, given her mount’s name. Trained by Jim Hagman and the Elvenstar team, the 16-year-old had the highest scores in both rounds. (For the story on this horse’s miraculous recovery from a huge stomach tumor, search “Caracas: Miracle Horse” on
Horse Swapping

During the work-off, Lovingfoss switched mounts with second place finisher Tessa Darling, whose horse Lolita, owned by Ashland Farms, was awarded Best Equitation Horse overall. Darling, of Corona Del Mar, California, remarked that their horses “could not be more different,” but that she was proud of how they both adjusted to their respective new rides.

Fourth placers Emily Williams & Carlo

“My favorite part was definitely switching horses,” said Lovingfoss of Canyon Country. “I love the pressure and I love riding other horses, so that was really fun for me.”

Each of the top riders expressed their gratitude for the amazing horses they have had the opportunity to ride. Lovingfoss described Caracas 89 as “brave” and “a great partner,” while Darling said that Lolita gives her the confidence she lacks in the show ring.

Sixteen-year-old Darling, who rides with John Bragg of Bridgeport Farms, was the only one of the top four who had never competed in USHJA Hunterdon Cup before. Her scores of 85 and 87 were impressive, earning her that second spot just six points behind Lovingfoss.

Fourth place finisher, 16-year-old Emily Williams of Santa Clarita, regularly trains with Stephanie Haney and was assisted by Archie Cox during the class. Williams worked on her consistency and timing throughout her rounds, and she was grateful for the ride Allen’s mount, Durango, in the work off.

Third place, Jordan Allen & Durango

The class featured a highly unusual situation in that all six riders in the work-off missed one jump called for in the test. The result was that nobody received scores for the work-off and the placings going into it became the final standings.

The top two finishers were recognized with prizes from the class’s extraordinary sponsors, and riders were pinned through 10th place. Sponsors included Intermont Equestrian at Emory & Henry College, Essex Classics, Charles Owen, Inc., CWD, Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital and Pharmacy, Parlanti and Professional’s Choice. A keeper trophy was donated by Diane Carney and Lynn Jayne.

Edited from a USHJA press release.

July 2018 - WCHR West Coast Hunter Spectacular
Written by photos: Kim F. Miller
Friday, 29 June 2018 23:14
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An unusual do-over, various ages and experience and beautiful hunters make for a stand-out class.

photos: Kim F. Miller

A bright clear morning and handsome hunters galloping on a big grass field made the WCHR West Coast Hunter Spectacular spectacular indeed. An unusual twist, in the form of a re-ride for the eventual winner Jamie Taylor and L’Con Reyes, made it even more so. Throughout the morning jog, course walk and early rounds, questions floated around about what role, if any, handiness would play in the judging of the two-round competition. The class specs say the second round “should include elements that allow horse and rider to demonstrate brilliance, rideability and handiness.”

June 2018 - Spry Septuagenarian
Written by photos & report by Kim F. Miller
Thursday, 31 May 2018 19:45
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Del Mar National not acting its age!

photos & report by Kim F. Miller

Celebrating its 73rd year during three weeks of competition April 17-May 6, this illustrious show proved itself a spry septuagenarian. To those of us around long enough to have “DEL MAR!!” be the pinnacle of our show calendar as juniors, it’s delightful to have the event still be something truly special in these very different times. Exhibitor and fan-posted photos and videos on the Del Mar Arena jumbotron were one of my favorite modern era touches, and they reflected the wide-spread excitement.

June 2018 - Show Report: Rosé in May
Written by CRM
Thursday, 31 May 2018 19:41
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Park Owner, Linda Starkman giving Cheers to Hunter Classic winner Tarrone Seaton

Competitors, horses and fans take in the fun at the Paso Robles Horse Park’s first USEF-rated show.

Just after celebrating their third anniversary, the Paso Robles Horse Park Foundation (the Park) team was thrilled to open its gates to competitors of Rosé in May, the first Park-managed United States Equestrian Federation rated show. Held May 17-20, this boutique show sold out early and even expanded to offer a few more competitors the opportunity to join the excitement.

March 2018 - Fast Draws In Desert Showdown
Written by Kim F. Miller
Tuesday, 27 February 2018 21:25
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Nassar, Madden & Porter take top honors in the last leg of the FEI Longines World Cup League West.

article & photos by Kim F. Miller

It was a small field of 19 that tackled the final leg of the Longines/FEI World Cup Jumping North American League West. But there was plenty at stake with big points to decide which three riders from our league will earn a spot at the FEI Longines World Cup Finals in Paris April 11-15. Well, really two riders. With 58 points going into the Feb. 10 class, Richard Spooner had locked up his spot already.

February 2018 - Rose Parade Ready
Written by photos by Kim F. Miller
Wednesday, 31 January 2018 19:18
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photos: Kim F. Miller

The 28th Annual Equest Fest drew a packed Equidome at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center on Friday, Dec. 29 as equestrian groups readied themselves for Rose Parade appearances. It was color galore and a great day for celebrating the role of horses in so many people’s lives.


January 2018 - Dressage Holiday Special
Written by content corralled by sales associate Anne Hempy
Wednesday, 27 December 2017 01:18
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Santa is among the stars at Cornerstone Events competition at Los Angeles Equestrian Center.

content corralled by sales associate Anne Hempy


Katelyn Mosle had a busy weekend competing with 6 horses in classes ranging from Training Level to FEI Intermediate 1. She is pictured here with Diavolino 5. They placed 2nd in both the FEI PSG and I-1. Photo: Tamara with the Camera

Santa with Velvet WD and Emma Weinert O’Rourke. Photo: Marissa Krupa

Hilda Gurney celebrating her victory with Iris in the mare’s first Prix St. Georges. Iris is co-owned by Hilda and Rick Roeder. Hilda’s students (L-R) are Vicky Matisi, Tara Federico, Emily Goldman, Amy Ewing, Alison Kaulakis, and Barbara Parkening. Photo: Adrienne Bessey

Adrienne Bessey and Dido winning the FEI Freestyle, Intermediate I. Photo: Barbara Bella

One of Santa’s canine friends sharing his love and his wish list. Photo: Marissa Krupa

Santa celebrating ugly Christmas sweaters with Lifestyle and Weejee and (L-R) Amanda Barr Olson, Nicole Bhathal, Marcus Bhathal, Alex Bhathal, Pat Hart, and Kelsea Nataren.Photo: Marissa Krupa

Santa with MHS Magnestar and JR/YR Alexa Brown. Photo: Marissa Krupa

Nick Wagman won the Open Grand Prix on both days with two different horses that Nick has trained up the levels. Both horses are owned by Beverly Gepfer. Saturday’s win came on Zenith (see other photo of Nick) with a score of 70.5, and Sunday it was Don John (this photo) who took the blue ribbon with a score of 70.3 in his Grand Prix debut. Photos: Terri Miller Photography

Nick Wagman won the Open Grand Prix on both days with two different horses that Nick has trained up the levels. Both horses are owned by Beverly Gepfer. Saturday’s win came on Zenith (this photo) with a score of 70.5, and Sunday it was Don John (see other photo of Nick) who took the blue ribbon with a score of 70.3 in his Grand Prix debut. Photos: Terri Miller Photography

Nicole Weston riding Magical Creation, owned by Terry Rosoff, in Fourth Level. Photo: Barbara Bella

December 2017 - Show Report: Zone Jumper Team Championships
Written by CRM
Thursday, 30 November 2017 23:32
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US Equestrian Youth Chef d’Equipe DiAnn Langer led the riders meeting with more than 60 riders along with their parents and trainers present. Photo: Megan Lacy/USHJA Archives

Headstart on the Jumping Athlete Pathway for contenders in Thermal.

The final set of 2017 USHJA Zone Jumper Team Championships wrapped up at the scenic HITS Thermal Desert Horse Park Nov. 12 with the Individual competition in the Zones 9 & 10 Jumper Team Championships. The competition ran Nov. 10-12 and offered team and individual competition for Jumper riders competing at 1.10/1.15m, 1.20/1.25m and 1.30/1.35m.

November 2017 - International Jumping Festival Highlights
Written by photos: Kim F. Miller & McCool Photography
Monday, 30 October 2017 21:00
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photos: Kim F. Miller & McCool Photography

Blenheim EquiSports’ late September show offered a full slate of hunter, equitation and jumping finales. Many of the stars pictured here will move onto the organizer’s final event of the year, the Las Vegas National Horse Show, slated for Nov. 14-19. Along with round five of the Longines/FEI World Cup™ Jumping league in the West, the Las Vegas competition hosts several showdowns. These include the Markel Grand Prix Series Finals, the Interactive Mortgage U25 Series Finals, the WCE Medal Finals, and the Show Jumping Hall of Fame JR/AO Jumper Final West.


September 2018 - Show Report: North American Youth Championships
Written by by Catie Stazsak
Wednesday, 29 August 2018 22:14
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Team dominance and three double-gold medalists highlight rebranded youth championships.

by Catie Stazsak

Rebranded with a new title after more than four decades as the North American Junior and Young Rider Championships, the 2018 FEI North American Youth Championships brought together some of the brightest young stars in the sports of show jumping and dressage. With numerous zones and regions represented, the United States dominated the podium, but a new division proved that Canada has an incredibly strong group of youth competitors coming up through the ranks.


For the first time in its 44-year history, a children’s division of show jumping was added to the Championships, showcasing riders in the 12-14 age bracket.

Capitalizing on this new opportunity was Team Canada, consisting of Charlotte McLaughlin (Bronan), Stella Chernoff (Filia van de Bisschop), Eric Krawitt (Wellington), and Olivia Stephenson (Chaccana). The quartet was positively dominant on the day, finishing on a perfect score of 0 to win the inaugural USHJA North American Child Rider Show Jumping Team Championship at the FEI North American Youth Championships. The silver medal went to the combined team of Zones 3, 4, 5 and 7 on 12 faults, while Mexico earned the bronze with a score of 20.

Both Charlotte McLaughlin, 14, and Olivia Stephenson, 12, put in double clear efforts for their team.

“This has been a goal of mine since I started riding when I was six,” said McLaughlin, Ottawa, ON. “I’m so proud to be doing this at such a young age. I never thought it would happen so soon, but I have to thank my amazing coaches and [chef d’equipe Beth Underhill] so much for this opportunity. It’s been amazing.”

The individual title came down to a three-horse jump-off, as Canadians Stephenson and McLaughlin, along with Guatemala’s Valentina Arenas Saravia, finished on perfect scores of 0 after three rounds of jumping. Ultimately, Stephenson prevailed over a final shortened track to claim the USHJA North American Child Rider Show Jumping Individual Championship. McLaughlin was silver, and Arenas Saravia received the bronze medal.

It was redemption for Charlise Casas (Rembrandt Blue), Alexandra Pielet (Helene VE), from Zone 5 in the USHJA North American Junior Show Jumping Team Championship. Casas and Pielet, both 17, finished out of the medals when jumping for their zone in 2017. Alongside team newcomers Paige Matthies (Dirkie Z) and Emma Kurtz (Pippi), they went all the way to the top of the podium in 2018, claiming gold with 17.88 penalties. Mexico West received the silver medal, and Canada was bronze.

Pielet earned a second gold medal when prevailing in the USHJA North American Junior Show Jumping Individual Championship. After three rounds of jumping, Pielet, who hails from Highland Park, IL, finished on just 5.36 faults. Representing Zone 4, Elli Yaeger (Waliba VDL) received the silver medal (11.80), just ahead of Puerto Rico’s bronze medalist, Claudia Villamil (Quite Close vd Smis, 12.00).

The competition was close in the quest for the USDF North American Junior Dressage Team Championships. Caroline Garren (Bell Angelo) clinched the gold medal for Region 3 with a team-high score of 68.606%. Juliette Cain (Mariska), Melanie Doughty (Fascinata), and Isabelle Braden (Dali de la Ferme Rose) joined her atop the podium; they combined for a team total of 202.787, just ahead of an even closer race for silver. Region 4 (199.362) clinched that medal, while Canada Central (199.151) earned bronze.  

U.S. riders claimed the top two spots on the podium in the USDF North American Junior Dressage Individual Championships. Garren was again atop the podium, riding to a score of 70.147%. Region 4’s Bianca Schmidt (Lou Heart) was silver, and Canada’s Chase Robertson (Winsome) received the bronze medal. The two riders finished with not only identical scores (70.029%), but also the same collective marks, so the collective mark from the judge at C became the necessary tiebreaker.

Garren’s individual gold was especially rewarding, considering her winning mount is the first horse she has ever owned outright and the first horse she has brought up from a young age. Her family acquired him three years ago when the bay was a 7-year-old.

“The feeling is so amazing,” she said. “It’s been a really wonderful experience growing and learning with [Bell Angelo], so to see all those years of work payoff is really exciting.”

Robertson didn’t need a tiebreaker when she rode to top honors in the USDF North American Junior Dressage Freestyle Championship. This time, her 73.775% score put her safely at the top, while Schmidt (71.905%) received the silver medal, and Garren (71.490%) rounded out the podium with the bronze.

Young Riders

A “dream team” of sorts came together for Zone 2 in the USHJA North American Young Rider Show Jumping Team Championship. NAYC veterans Katherine Strauss (All In), Ailish Cunniffe (Baloucento), and Madison Goetzmann (Prestigious), joined event rookie Samantha Cohen (Carmen) to notch a runaway victory for gold, finishing more than 20 points ahead of the silver medalists from Zone 10. Mexico brought home the silver medal—their first Young Rider medal in 10 years.

All four riders have already competed against seniors at the international level, with Strauss and Goetzmann both having jumped in five-star competition Spruce Meadows (CAN) in the past year.

“I’m so excited to help add a gold medal to Zone 2’s long list of medals,” said Strauss, 19. “We’re all extremely grateful and proud to represent a team that’s historically been so successful. There are so many riders who rode for Zone 2 who we all look up to today, like McLain Ward, Georgina Bloomberg, Reed Kessler, and the list goes on. We’re really thrilled to be here and to have the opportunity to gain this team experience.”

Daisy Farish (Great White) was nearly perfect in the USHJA North American Young Rider Show Jumping Individual Championship. The 17-year-old representing the combined team of Zones 4 and 5, and her 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding finished on a score of four after three rounds of jumping. Cohen earned a second medal with an individual silver (5.14), while Zone 1’s McKayla Langmeier (Durosa W) was the individual bronze medalist (6.28).

The combined Dressage Young Riders Team of Quebec and Alberta was the only group consisting of just three riders, meaning the trio would not have the luxury of having a drop score. But that did nothing to stop them, as Rakeya Moussa (Davidoff v.h. Trichelhof), Beatrice Boucher (Delfiano), and Camille Carier Bergeron (Baldacci) claimed the gold medal for Canada with a team total of 210.145. Region 4/7 finished with the silver medal and Region 1 earned bronze.

Zone 2 was kept off the podium despite team member Callie Jones (Don Philippo) delivering the day’s highest score, 71.823. But the 20-year-old only had to wait a day to get her podium moment. She won the USDF North American Young Rider Individual Championship with a score of 72.20%. Boucher, earning her second medal of the Championships, was the silver medalist, and Kayla Kadlubek (Perfect Step) of Region 1 was bronze. Anna Weniger (Don Derrick) moved up the podium to top the USDF North American Young Rider Dressage Freestyle Championship after contributing to a team bronze medal for Region 1. Her score of 74.225% catapulted her to the top of the leaderboard, just ahead of Boucher (72.800%) and Jones (72.775%).

“I have been fortunate enough to ride on some young rider teams the last few years, but winning an individual medal is way more than I ever imagined,” Weniger said.

Report provided by the FEI.

USDF Region 7 Dressage & USHJA Zone 10 Jumping Results

Young Rider Team Championship
    •    Christian Simonson & FRH Rassolini, 70% – 6th
    •    Ben Ebeling & Behlinger, 65.853% – 13th
Junior Rider Team Championship
    •    Kennedi Templeton & Cuby, 65.697% – 15th
Individual Young Rider Championship
    •    Ben Ebeling & Behlinger, 66.471% – 11th

Young Rider Team – Silver!
    •    Hannah Loly & Ayma de la Demi Lune, Ransome Rombauer & Emarkus RE, Natalie Dean & Chacco’s Goldy & Hayden Zadel & Triskel de Kerliven
Young Rider Individual
    •    Natalie Dean – 10th
    •    Ransome Rombauer – 11th
    •    Hannah Loly – 13th
    •    Hayden Zadel – 27th
Junior Team – 5th
    •    Emma Catherine Reichow & Cubiki, Ty Simpson & Why Not, Katherine Brewer & Kangano, Alyce Bittar & Lara Croft B
Junior Individual
    •    Clea Caddel & Campari – 15th
    •    Ty Simpson – 19th
    •    Alyce Bittar – 20th
    •    Katherine Brewer – 21st
    •    Emma Catherine Reichow – 24th
Childrens Team -- 4th (just one fault off the podium!)
    •    Dylan Laiken & Callao, Caroline Mawhinney & Flashback VDS, Nell Cunningham & Quntana, Alexa Leong & Hertogin ter Drie Leien
Childrens Individual
    •    Caroline Mawhinney & Flashback VDS – 7th-tie
    •    Dylan Laiken & Callao – 12th

September 2018 - Show Report: Pony Jumper Championships
Written by CRM
Monday, 13 August 2018 18:04
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Zone 10 repeats golden performance.

USHJA Zone 10 riders went to the 2018 USEF National Pony Jumper Championships in Lexington, KY, hoping to return West with gold medal titles for the second year in a row. After strong performances in both the team and individual competition, they got their wish.

Zacko Hardin earns individual gold title at 2018 USEF National Pony Jumper Championships. Photo: Megan Lacy/USHJA

New to the championships, Zacko Hardin, 12, of New Cuyama, rode Patty Arnett’s The Girl Next Door to a gold medal finish with no faults over the three days of competition. “Dinky” (A P Jet—Brookserendade) as she’s known at the barn was born as a twin and is a 14.1-hand Thoroughbred registered with the Jockey Club.

“I’m so overwhelmed and excited. I honestly thought I was going to cry,” said Hardin after the win on Saturday evening, August 11. “All my friends came from Utah to support me. Everything just felt great. I didn’t have a doubt about a distance to any jump, anything at all. I felt like it was the best round I have ever had on her. This was the most amazing experience I’ve ever had.”

Sydney Flashman rode Focalize Dew Drop to a silver medal finish in the Individual Final. Photo: Megan Lacy/USHJA

Zone 10 teammate Sydney Flashman, 16, of Pasadena earned silver with just two time faults in the final round aboard Focalize Dew Drop, owned by Finley Hamilton.

“It feels amazing, unreal,” said Flashman of her silver medal finish. “I have come here to do the jumpers for two years. The first year I stopped out in two of the four rounds, and last year I came hoping to get over the triple. This year it is an amazing feeling to have a pony that is so wonderful. I am just so lucky and overwhelmed.”

In bronze, Taylor Brinsfield, 14, of White Hall, Maryland, rode Kathleen Anderson’s Sprite to a four-fault finish.

The team Championships on Friday night brought great camaraderie and competition. With two returning team gold medalists and two new recruits, the Zone 10 team Zacko, Sydney, Hannah Attar and Tabitha Okitsu, led by Chef d’Equipe Caroline Sterckx, overcame the tension and excitement of the USEF National Pony Jumper Championships to defend their golden title from last year. David and Caroline Sterckx of Sterckx Stables train Sydney, Hannah and Tabitha, and top jumper rider Kristin Hardin coaches her son Zacko.

Tabitha Okitsu and Sydney Flashman participated on the gold medal team in 2017, and Okitsu went on to earn the gold individual as well. Okitsu recently participated in a Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund/USHJA Emerging Athletes Program Regional Training Session at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center with lead clinician Kip Rosenthal, which she felt helped prepare her for the Championships. Flashman noted that the Zone 10 team had chemistry right from the beginning.

“We all became friends really quickly. We all met at a show previously about a month ago, and we got along really well there,” said Flashman. “We all met again at the rider’s meeting, and we just really get along well together. We were all wishing each other good luck and congratulating each other. There’s definitely a really big bond between us and so that made winning really cool.”

The Championships courses were designed by Jasen Shelley. USEF Youth Chef d’Equipe and USHJA Show Jumping Technical Adviser DiAnn Langer presented awards throughout the championships and provided guidance to the riders on the new Show Jumping Athlete Pathway, a joint USHJA-US Equestrian effort that identifies and nurtures Jumping athletes as they advance through the sport to enhance future success for Olympic and international teams representing the United States. USHJA extends special thanks to the chefs d’equipe for all the teams.

“It feels great. It was really fun!” said Attar. “I’m really happy for the experience.”

This report is an edited version of a USHJA press release.

July 2018 - Temecula Valley National Horse Show
Written by photos: Kim F. Miller
Friday, 29 June 2018 23:09
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Porter takes another victory at successful series debut.

photos: Kim F. Miller

Nilforushan Equisport Events promised a great show when they announced the inaugural Temecula Valley National Horse Show early this year. As the new three-week hunter/jumper series came to an exciting conclusion June 2-3, there was broad agreement that the promise had been fulfilled. The atmosphere, the footing, the prize money and the courses were all applauded. And the big crowd gathered in perfect early summer weather June 2 got a great show in the $40,000 Aon Grand Prix that closed out the high jumping action.

June 2018 - Show Report: Verdugo Hills Hunter/Jumper
Written by CRM
Thursday, 31 May 2018 19:43
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Speed Stake Winner Brenna McGovern

Bittar & Wall log strong starts to the Series that continues through October.

Alyce Bittar got the Verdugo Hills May hunter/jumper show off to an exciting start by winning the Welcome Stake with Lara Croft B. The 17-year-old considered the track built by Joe Lombardo for the 1.35M $10,000 class as great prep for the weekend’s Grand Prix. As planned, the pair went on to win that class on Sunday May 21 at the Hansen Dam Horse Park.

May 2018 - Bitalica Is Brilliant
Written by CRM
Sunday, 29 April 2018 17:15
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Keri potter claims top honors in inaugural $80,000 csi 3* grand prix.

photos: Kim F. Miller

It was a spectacular Saturday afternoon at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park, as 23 competitors representing eight countries rode for the win in the $80,000 CSI3* Gold Tour Grand Prix. Seven riders posted clear rounds and returned for a remarkable race against the clock. Third to go in the jump off, Keri Potter (USA) aboard the 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding Bitalica (Julia Koetting, owner), beat the leading time held by USA’s Zazou Hoffman to take her second win of the week.

Earning Bitalica’s trust has been key to success, says $80,000 3* winner Keri Potter. (see story, this issue)

Keri Potter & Bitalica fly to the win.

World Cup Champions, Olympic Medalists, and CSI5* athletes, mixed with up-and-coming horses and riders, all faced the track challenges set by FEI Course Designer Olaf Petersen, Jr. that included a combination, a large California Grizzly Bear wall, an open water obstacle, related bending lines, scopey oxers and tall verticals.

The afternoon opened with a welcome speech from Blenheim EquiSports President Robert Ridland as well as recognition of the newly formed Founders Club, a group of passionate equestrians who want to raise the level of the sport on the West Coast. With $80,000 in prize money and all-important FEI status, the show marks a “rebirth” for the venue that first hosted international competition in 2000, Ridland said.

Along with being thrilled about her horses’ victories, Potter echoed many in praising the competition. “The FEI classes have been a big step up for California. It raises the horses and riders to a certain level that we should be at in order to compete with the rest of the world.”

Everardo Hegewisch & Ircos IV press through the jump-off timers to finish sixth.

Zazou Hoffman & Sampson II were second.

Guillermo Obligado & Tornado scale one of the Oaks International Grand Prix Field’s beautiful new jumps. They were seventh.

Canadian Jim Ifko & Un Diamant des Forets were third.

Harley Brown & Mylord Cornet race through a rollback turn as Founders Club members enjoy a center-ring view of the action. The Australian rider was fourth.

Guy Thomas & Jonkheer Z were fifth.

HITS Million & World Cup class winner Nayel Nassar gave someone else a chance to win this time around.

Cece thinks her mom’s win is dog-gone exciting!

March 2018 - SFHJA Awards Banquet
Written by photos by Kristin Lee Photography
Tuesday, 27 February 2018 21:15
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San Fernando Hunter Jumper Association showcases appreciation & accomplishments.

photos by Kristin Lee Photography

There was a special sense of warmth and appreciation in the room at this year’s 2018 San Fernando Hunter Jumper Association awards banquet. Held at the Porter Valley Country Club, the tone was set when you first entered the room. It just felt special. Tables were draped in black cloths with gold napkins with centerpieces of vibrant red roses in gold ceramic vases. But, it was the immense selection of awards and ribbons displayed around the room’s perimeter that was so visually impressive. Ten banquet tables covered in silver, pewter, crystal, trophies and tri-color ribbons waiting to go home with deserving recipients.

February 2018 - Show Report: The Adequan West Coast Dressage Festival #1
Written by phtoos by Terri Miller Photography
Wednesday, 31 January 2018 19:13
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Inaugural circuit attracts top talent who take top prizes.

photos by Terri Miller Photography

Over the course of January 3-February 17, the events of the inaugural Adequan West Coast Dressage Festival will unfold. The first week of showing was held at Galway Downs in Temecula, while the remaining three events began Jan. 17 hosted by the Del Mar Fairgrounds. These competitions serve as an alternative to the Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, FL.


December 2017 - Show Report: Galway Downs International Event
Written by CRM
Thursday, 30 November 2017 23:37
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Alliston, Bouscaren & Braitling take top honors.

As Galway Downs celebrates 20 years of equestrian competition, their stage was set for an exciting weekend of three-day eventing. The 2017 Galway Downs International Event was held Nov. 2-5 in Temecula, complete with award-winning food and evening entertainment including LeAnn Rimes. The show began with horses and riders dressed to the nines for the horse inspection. The Ground Jury approved 61 international pairs and all 29 Training Three-Day (T3D) competitors to begin competition, which got underway in the dressage arenas.

December 2017 - Show Report: 37th Annual Foxfield Medal Finals
Written by by Jaime Krupnick Geffen
Thursday, 30 November 2017 23:28
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Foxfield’s own David Scapa continues a great medal season by winning the Foxfield Medal Finals in early October on Dream Catcher.

Dreams come true during a true “family affair” weekend.

by Jaime Krupnick Geffen

Foxfield Riding School opened their gates and their “home” to 22 excellent Medal Finalists Oct. 7-8 in Westlake Village. After months of preparation and an extraordinary course built by Mike Nielson, the Foxfield Medal Finals began early Saturday morning.

November 2017 - Norco Horse Affair Is A Hit
Written by photos: Andrea Kaus Photography
Monday, 30 October 2017 20:52
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Something for everybody at inaugural weekend gathering.

photos: Andrea Kaus Photography

The First Annual Norco Horse Affair, presented by Fran and Bill Klovstad, owners of Thrifty Horse, was a big hit. It was held Oct. 6-8 at the George Ingalls Equestrian Event Center in “Horsetown USA,” Norco.

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