Show Reports
August 2021 - Team USA wins Bronze at CDIO-Y Nations Cup Competition
Written by CRM
Friday, 30 July 2021 03:54
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California Young Riders, Christian Simonson and Katherine Mathews were 2/3rds of Team USA, who won Bronze at the CDIO-Y Nations Cup competition hosted at Future Champions in Hagen, Germany, from June 10-13, 2021.

This result marked the highest finish in program history for the U.S. Young Rider Dressage Team at Future Champions. Ten countries with 25 horse-and-rider combinations competed in the CDIO-Y, which featured talented young athletes from across Europe.


Christian Simonson (Ventura, CA) and Christina Morgan’s nine-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding, Zeaball Diawind, had the team’s top score of 72.010%, which was also put the pair in second place individually overall, beating out almost all of the top Young Riders in Europe. Christian and his other mount Hemmingway won Gold in their Young Rider Individual Test with a 71.033% in the CDI-Y at the same show, beating riders from Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland and more.

Katherine Mathews (San Marcos, CA) contributed to the team’s success when she and Soliëre, her 17-year-old Hanoverian stallion owned by Peridot Equestrian LLC, secured a 66.667%. They also secured a second Bronze medal spot on the podium individually for their 70.892 ride in the CDIO-Y Young Rider Freestyle Consolation Final.

Chef d’Equipe George Williams was proud of his team’s efforts in their first overseas outing and the first European competition for the Young Rider program in more than two years. After the Team Test on Day one, he said,

“I have been impressed with how this team has taken all the challenges in stride. Today they all rode well, putting their hearts into their rides, with a focus and determination to do their best,” said Williams. “Christian’s ride on Zeaball was beautiful, harmonious, and mistake-free. It was very moving to see our team on the podium, receiving their bronze medal and to think that today was their first time ever competing in Europe. I couldn’t be more thrilled or more proud of them.”

Christian/Zeaball and Katherine/Soliere are ranked number 1 and number 2 respectively on the Young Rider rankings in Region 7 (as well as number 1 and number 5 in the US, respectively, on the Dressage - FEI Dressage World Youth Ranking - Christian is also ranked 2nd on his mount Hemmingway, but he can only take one horse to NAYC), and as a result now get the chance to represent Region 7 at the FEI North American Youth Championships in Traverse City, Michigan on August 9-15th. Rounding out the Region 7 team are top ranked riders Miki Yang with her gelding Donavan, and Erin Nichols on her gelding Handsome Rob. The team leaves California the first week in August for the competition.

Christian was a part of the Gold Medal winning Region 7 NAYC Junior Team in 2017, and also won a Silver in the Junior Individual Test that year. Katherine and Soliere were 6th over at NAYC in 2019, and won the Young Rider National Reserve Championship at the 2020 Festival of Champions at Lamplight, IL.

Christian is from California, but has spent the last few seasons in Florida with his coach, Olympian Adrienne Lyle. In addition to being a top equestrian athlete, he has his pilot’s license, and loves to mountain bike. He is graduating from Laurel Springs School, an online college preparatory high school, he will be attending University of Texas, Austin this fall and will be working towards the Grand Prix as he prepares for the 2022 show season.

Katherine lives on her family farm, Peridot Equestrian Center, in San Marcos, and is trained by 3x Olympic medalist and California rider/trainer Guenter Seidel. Katherine is a rising senior at The Academy at Laurel Springs School. She is also an entrepreneur, having co-founded the luxury sustainable equestrian apparel company, An Capall Equestrian, with her mom, and is an accomplished artist, writer and plays classical guitar.

Team USA, Young Rider Bronze Medalists, Christian Simonson, Katherine Mathews and Melanie Doughty, Future Champions Nations Cup, HagenGermany 2021. Photo: Lukasz Kowalski

Mhristian Simonson and Zeaball Diawind in the CDIO-Y Young Rider Team Test at Future Champions, Hagen, Germany 2021. Photo: Lukasz Kowalski

Katherine Mathews and Soliere in the CDIO-Y Young Rider Team Test at Future Champions Nations Cup, Hagen, Germany 2021. Photo: Lukasz Kowalski

Christian Simonson and Zeaball Diawind, Katherine Mathews and Soliere, and Melanie Doughty and Fascinata during their honor round as Bronze medalists in the CDIO-Y Young RiderTeam Test at Future Champions Nations Cup, Hagen, Germany 2021. Photo: Lukasz Kowalski

Katherine Mathews on the Bronze medal podium for the CDIO-Y Young Rider Freestyle - Consolation Final at Future Champions Nations Cup, Hagen,Germany 2021. Photo: Lukasz Kowalski

Christian Simonson winning Gold in the CDI-Y Young Rider Individual Test, Future Champions Nations Cup, Hagen, Germany 2021. Photo: Jessica Eaves Mathews

 
August 2021 - Prize List Now Available for the LA Labor Day Classic, Flintridge Autumn Classic, LA Fall Festival, and LA National
Written by provided by West Palms Events
Friday, 30 July 2021 03:52
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provided by West Palms Events

West Palms Events is gearing up for a fantastic fall season with a full calendar of competitions in Southern California for riders of all levels. The prize list is now available for the LA Labor Day Classic (Sept. 1-5) at Los Angeles Equestrian Center, the Flintridge Autumn Classic (Sept. 30-Oct. 3) at Flintridge Riding Club, the LA Fall Festival (Oct. 6-10) at Los Angeles Equestrian Center, and the LA National (Oct. 13-17) at Los Angeles Equestrian Center.


All weeks will highlight grand prix classes, USHJA National Hunt and Go Hunter Derbies, and 2’6’’ Plaid Horse Carousel Derbies. Plus, all four weeks will include USHJA Outreach classes.

“We are looking forward to offering many special classes this fall,”  commented Dale Harvey, CEO of West Palms Events. “We are especially honored to host the prestigious Onondarka Medal Final, $10,000 PCHA Child/Adult Hunter Championship, and the $50,000 Grand Prix of the Pacific presented by EQ Consults at LA National.”

 

LA Labor Day Classic (Sept. 1-5) at LA Equestrian Center
USEF ‘National’ | Jumper Level 3 | PCHA ‘A’ | LAHJA ‘A’ & B’ | LEGIS League
•    LAHJA Rosewood Medal Final presented by Smartpak
•    LAHJA Betsy Woods Horsemanship Medal Final presented by Smartpak
•    LAHJA Stirrup Cup Medal Final
•    LAHJA Mary Jane Watson Medal Final
•    USHJA National Hunt & Go Hunter Derby
•    $30,000 Labor Day Grand Prix

Flintridge Autumn Classic (Sept. 30-Oct. 3) at Flintridge Riding Club
USEF ‘National’ | Jumper Level 3 | PCHA ‘A’ | LAHJA ‘A & B’ | SCHSA ‘A’ | LEGIS League
•    CPHA Horsemanship Medal Final
•    CPHA Child/Adult Medal Final
•    Equine Insurance SCHSA Challenge Medal Final
•    Flintridge Riding Club Open Equitation Challenge
•    USHJA National Hunt & Go Hunter Derby presented by LEGISequine.com
•    $25,000 Grand Prix of Flintridge presented by The Flying Spur Ranch
 
LA Fall Festival (Oct. 6-10) at LA Equestrian Center
USEF ‘National’ | Jumper Level 3 | PCHA ‘A’ | LAHJA ‘A & B’ | LEGIS League
•    LAHJA Junior Medal Final presented by LEGISequine.com
•    LAHJA Senior Medal Final presented by Hansen Dam Horse Park
•    Camelot Hunter Challenge Derby
•    USHJA National Hunt & Go Derby
•    Fall Festival Grand Prix

LA National (Oct. 13-17) at LA Equestrian Center
USEF ‘National’ | Jumper Level 4 | PCHA ‘A’ | LAHJA ‘A & B’ | LEGIS League
•    Onondarka Medal Final
•    $10,000 PCHA Child/Adult Hunter Championship
•    $50,000 Grand Prix of the Pacific presented by EQ Consults
•    $5,000 Open Equitation Challenge
•    $5,000 USHJA National Hunt & Go Derby presented by Fleeceworks
•    $5,000 GGT Footing 1.20m Classic
•    $5,000 1.40m Welcome Classic

The prize list and entry forms are available online: www.westpalmsevents.com. Entries can be submitted through www.EquestrianConnect.com or emailed to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Stalls are limited and expected to sell out. Please contact Adrienne as soon as possible to reserve your place. Entries for the LA Labor Day Classic and are due by Aug. 9. Entries for the Flintridge Autumn Classic are due by Sept. 6 and entries for the LA Fall Festival and LA National are due by Sept. 13. Then, save the date Sacramento International – NorCal Medal Finals and Longines CSI W-4* (Sept. 29-Oct. 10) at Murieta Equestrian Center. The fall edition of Riders Cup comes to LA Equestrian Center (Oct. 21-24), featuring the all-new $55,000 PCHA Jumper Championships.

We look forward to seeing you this fall!

 
May 2021 - A Golden Finish For The Gold Tour At Blenheim Spring Classic II
Written by courtesy of Blenheim Equisports • photos: McCool Photography
Friday, 30 April 2021 05:15
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courtesy of Blenheim Equisports • photos: McCool Photography

The highlight events of Blenheim Spring Classic II was the highly anticipated West Coast Gold Tour. Renowned Olympic course designer Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela built a 1.45m track and two 1.50m courses for the Gold Tour exhibitors in the grass Derby Field at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park. Keri Potter and Toscana set the pace winning the $7,500 1.45m Gold Tour Two-Phase. Thursday’s feature class was won by Will Simpson and Chacco P who raced to the blue in the $40,000 1.50m Gold Tour Welcome Speed Stake, sponsored by Competitive Equestrian. Finishing out the week on a high note was Luis Sabino claiming first and second aboard Camino Imperio Egipcio and Argan de Beliard respectively in the $100,000 1.50m Gold Tour Grand Prix, sponsored by the Inn at the Mission San Juan Capistrano.


The feature class of the West Coast Jumping tour was the $100,000 1.50m Gold Tour Grand Prix, sponsored by the Inn at the Mission San Juan Capistrano, held on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. Thirteen competitors navigated the first-round track, which featured thirteen numbered obstacles offering sixteen total jumping efforts, technical turns, a liverpool, and a water jump with a rail on top.

“This is a very beautiful ring and different than all the others and I believe the variety is most important in this sport today,” commented Palacios. “Here we break all the standards and are going with different – I have different fences – I have a fixed water jump that is different; I have a fixed low liverpool set under the shadow of the trees. I think it is very important to give the sport another dimension and this gives it.”

Luis Sabino and Camino Imperio Egipcio win the $100,000 Gold Tour Grand Prix

Luis Sabino and Camino Imperio Egipcio win the $100,000 Gold Tour Grand Prix

In an interview prior to the class, Palacios commented on his building process and reasoning behind his decisions claiming nothing to be over done but each fence having a question attached to it.

He predicted about four horses going clear and five ended up making it to the jump off. In the end, Luis Sabino took home first place aboard Camino Imperio Egipcio with a clean go in 43.122 seconds. Sabino claimed second place aboard his other mount Argan de Beliard with another clear effort in 43.525 seconds. Rounding out the top three was Hanna Mauritzson and Parkmore Lux who also jumped without faults in 43.797 seconds.

“Normally Camino is not faster than Argan,” said Sabino. “I figured if I did a clear round, I could put more pressure on them (the other riders) and I could be relaxed with the second horse.”

Hailing from Portugal, Sabino just added to the already amazing success he is having during his inaugural stent in California. His first and only other outing in the US was back in 2019 while representing Portugal at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon. This season, Sabino has had multiple top three finishes in the grand prix classes at the Desert International Horse Park with his biggest accomplishment placing first in the $137,000 FEI 1.55m CSI3* and winning the $36,600 FEI 1.50m, both aboard Argan de Beliard.

Sixteen competitors navigated the $40,000 1.50m Gold Tour Welcome Speed Stake, sponsored by Competitive Equestrian. Consisting of fourteen total jumping efforts and designed by top FEI course designer Leopoldo Palacios, the track was set on the impressive Derby Field at the 1.50m height.

The top three podium winners all jumped clean. Speeding to a decisive victory was Will Simpson aboard his own Chacco P in 67.149 seconds. With a time of 70.597 seconds, Chandler Meadows with Christy JNR placed second, and rounding out the top three was Luis Sabino and Argan de Beliard who finished on a time of 72.033 seconds.

“My horse was on fire today,” exclaimed Simpson. “First time on the grass but it was fantastic footing. My horse left out a stride in the first line but still made the inside turn, really felt good right off the bat.” About the course, Simpson went on to say, “It was fantastic. We had a lot of turns, we had the wall, the grass footing was perfect and just a lot of questions that Leopoldo asked out there. It really felt good to have a horse with confidence.”

Will Simpson and his own Chacco P win the $40,000 1.50m Gold Tour Welcome Speed Stake

Will Simpson and his own Chacco P win the $40,000 1.50m Gold Tour Welcome Speed Stake

Simpson and Chacco P, a twelve-year-old Mecklenburg gelding, are longtime partners in the show arena. The duo competes on both the national and international level with a recent third place finish in the $250,000 FEI 1.55m CSI4* at the Desert International Horse Park.

In a pre-event interview Palacios explained that this specific track was designed to “improve the horses for the future jump off class” and that “this is not a normal speed class at a lower height that they are able to go super-fast…..I think it is very important to have these types of classes….since speed is not the only factor.”

Palacios also expounded on the grass footing, mentioning its importance in developing a horse and showcasing the best of the sport. “Grass is better; at the really big shows, like Aachen and Calgary, that are the grand slam of this sport, they are on grass. Today, more natural is more important, and this Derby field is fantastic in my opinion. It is one of the best fields that I have built on.”

Twelve horse and rider pairings battled it out in the $7,500 1.45m Gold Tour Two-Phase. The fastest of the double clear and the winner of the class was Keri Potter and Toscana. Claiming second was Matt Archer and Luigi VD Bisschop; third place was awarded to Kyle King and Enzo.

The Bronze level of the West Coast Jumping Tour returns to Blenheim EquiSports during the third week of the Blenheim Spring Classic Series. Additionally, week three features a $75,000 1.50m Interactive Mortgage “Ticket to Ride” Grand Prix and a USHJA International Hunter Derby.

Keri Potter and Toscana claim victory in the $7,500 1.45m Gold Tour Two-Phase

 

 
April 2021 - Kellerhouse, Turner and Billys Lead Galway Downs International
Written by by Kim F Miller
Thursday, 01 April 2021 21:58
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by Kim F Miller

Mid-50s temperatures, wind, a little rain and new arenas for dressage gave an early season opportunity to test equine energy management and focus during Galway Downs International dressage and show jumping today.

At the CCI4*-S, Erin Kellerhouse and Woodford Reserve had just the right balance of rarin’-to-go and relaxation. A quarter-point show jumping time penalty during the day’s ending light rain put them on a 30.1 to lead the field of 12 pairs.


“That was one of the best tests we’ve had,” said Erin. “He is definitely getting stronger and happy with the work, and I am learning the little things I need to do to keep him that way. He wants to try so hard, sometimes he gets away from me. And there’s still a lot to improve on, which is exciting.”

The weather and new dressage court didn’t faze “Woody.” One of many things Erin has learned in her six years with the 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse is that “too much dressage is too much confinement on show day.” Instead, she gave him an early morning gallop in her jumping saddle. “I let him be free.” The knowledge is a luxury of their longtime partnership. Erin has always brought young horses along to the lower FEI levels, but Woody is the first horse she’s had a chance to get to know and learn with through to their first CCI4*-L, accomplished very successfully here last fall.

Erin Kellerhouse & Woodford Reserve. Photo: TheWestEquestrian.com

Marc Donovan’s show jumping track offered another opportunity to advance their learning curve. With time faults often an issue, Erin “made myself take every inside turn.” Though they had a niggling .4 fault, Woody’s habitually clean jumping habits got even better. “I think it kept him on his toes. He was jumping out of his skin!”

It’s hard to imagine tomorrow’s cross-country -- though challenging -- will throw them anything they can’t handle, but Erin isn’t taking anything about Clayton Fredericks’ design for granted.

Helen Alliston and Ebay are close behind. The elegant pair earned a 30.7 from dressage judges Peter Gray and Helen Brettel to stand second. They held that position after going fault free in the Grand Prix arena except for .8 time faults for a 31.5. In retrospect, Helen said she wished she’d taken some inside options, but the plan of going fast on the outside lanes still led to a clear jumping effort. “He felt great,” she said of her 12-year-old Oldenburg. “I’m excited for tomorrow.”

Emilee Libby was thrilled with the 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood Jakobi’s day. Show jumping in a snaffle bit was especially exciting, and with the sense that “I could ride him more forward and still trust that he would come back.” Their 33.7 dressage performance stayed as is thanks to double clear show jumping, moving them from 4th to 3rd going into cross-country.

Erin and Helen gave their thumbs-up to the new dressage courts, outfitted with all-weather footing and located where a grass jumping ring and grazing area was in the recent past. “It’s less buzzy,” noted Erin of the atmosphere compared to the Grand Prix Arena where international dressage had been held previously. Set amid trees and a short walk from the jumping rings, the arena setting was appreciated by both riders for its calming vibe and especially so on an otherwise animated morning, weather-wise.

Exhibitors on breaks loved the Grand Prix Arena, which has a literally brand new permanent VIP pavilion with a lovely seating and viewing area.

Young Riders Rule 3* Roost

Between a horse injury and a human injury, 18-year-old Haley Turner and her 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse, Shadow Inspector, had half their first four years together stymied. COVID waylaid show results for much of their third, but a strong second half to 2020 is rolling into a stellar 2021. Double clear jumping kept them ahead of the 13-pair pack on a 27.1 dressage score for this pleasing-to-watch pair.  

Downtime for the East Bay Area team was well spent. They are students of Bea and Derek DiGrazia’s Stillwater Farm, and work additionally with dressage coach Volker Brommann and jumping coach Alexis Hellfrich. “It’s all a big help and keeps us in consistent work even when we can’t get over to Bea and Derek in Carmel,” Haley explained.

The normally laid-back “Chief” showed extra energy this morning in dressage, perhaps due to the frisky weather. More likely, “I think he knows when he’s doing well!” The extra amperage continued in the Grand Prix ring and Haley harnessed it for a double clear effort to maintain their lead. Haley is 18 and in the midst of a gap year after graduating high school early.

Fellow young rider Alina Patterson moved into second after a flawless stadium round held her 29.3 dressage test in front of Peter Gray and Michelle Henry.

Professional Sabrina Glaser is thrilled with the effort so far of Cooley Mr. Murphy, who’s new at the level.  They had one rail and no time issues to stand on a 33.2.

Can Be Sweet in the 2*

Lauren Billys and her 9-year-old German Sporthorse Can Be Sweet got their groove back today. Their 25.8 dressage test in front of Helen Bretell and Carolyn Lindhom ranks high in their history. “It was one of his best,” said Lauren, who also has her 2016 and 2021 Olympic partner Castle Larchfield Purdy in the 4* division. “He (Can Be Sweet) was very uphill and showed what his movements can be. It felt like a very harmonious test.”

Time-faults-only show jumping was a reassuring round after a disappointing outing in the 2*-L last fall. “I was a little nervous to come in and rewrite history, but he is back on his form.” She expects cross-country to be challenging with an appropriate mix of galloping stretches and spots where a carefully measured approach will be critical.

Miranda Olagaray and the 8-year-old Trakehner Tangueray’s double clear jumping bounced them from the #7 spot to #2, on their 34.7 dressage score. They are followed by fellow clear jumpers Madison Temkin and MVP Madbum.

Schedule & Sponsors

The international divisions conclude Friday, March 26. The CCI4*-S begins at 1 p.m.; the 3* at 2:10 pm, Open Intermediate at 3:10, then 2* at 4:10 pm, all Pacific Standard Time. All will be live-streamed on www.RideOnVideo.com. Competition through Beginner Novice starts Friday and continues through Sunday.

Exhibitors from throughout the Western United States and generous sponsors make the Galway Downs International Horse Trials the perfect international season opener.

Thank you to these supporters:
•    Presenting Sponsors: Equine Insurance, CWD & Devoucoux  
•    Silver Sponsors: UVEX, Kerrits, Temecula Creek Inn
    Bronze: EquiFit, Shires, Home2 Suites, Mary’s Tack & Feed, Tina Fitch Photography, American Horse Trials Foundation, Auburn Laboratories, Inc., California Riding Magazine, California Horsetrader, Ride On Video, Stotz Equipment and Symons Ambulance
 
Visit www.galwaydowns.net for more information.

 

 
April 2021 - LEGIS League Finals
Written by by Brooke Goddard & Augie Miller • photos: GrandPix
Thursday, 01 April 2021 20:09
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LEGIS League Hosts its Hunter/Jumper Finals at Desert International Horse Park

by Brooke Goddard & Augie Miller • photos: GrandPix

LEGIS League riders traveled from all over the West Coast to compete in the LEGIS League Finals at the Coachella Valley Classic (Feb. 19-21, 2021), co-produced by LEG Shows & Events and Desert International Horse Park. LEGIS League Finals welcomed hunter, jumper, equitation, and medal riders.


The LEGIS League, proudly sponsored by LEGISequine.com, awards ribbons and special prizes such as embroidered saddle pads and riding vests to the champion, reserve champion, and top ten riders in each category. Medal final champions also earned special winner packages, featuring either a rafting trip or a Marriott vacation getaway.

Amateur rider Susan Kruse sealed the LEGIS League 1.00m Child/Adult Jumper Final Championship and was thrilled about her experience at the Finals. “It’s the highlight of my life,” she expressed.“It was so much fun getting to qualify to get here. Then we got here, and I had one of the best rounds of my life. The horse before me was so fast and clean and so I knew I had to go for it completely.”

LEGIS League prizes were also a highlight among the finalists. Anne Sherwood, an adult amateur who topped the LEGIS League 3’ Child/Adult Equitation Final, has competed in previous LEGIS League Finals and was very excited about the prizes. “I cannot say enough about the prizes,” she shared. “They’re really fun and creative.”

The LEGIS League is already gearing up for the 2021 LEGIS League Finals. Look for additional qualifying opportunities coming soon. Join online and start earning points to qualify for the Finals!

Congratulations to the LEGIS League Champions!

•    Victoria Baeza and her VF Pardon My Dust trained by Linda Cooper
    Champion: LEGIS League Mini and Cornerstone Medal Final Combined
    Champion: LEGIS League 2’ Stirrup Hunter Final

•    Francesca Barbano and her Basil trained by Julie Conner-Daniels
    Champion: LEGIS League Child/Adult Medal Final

•    Angeline Tronset and her South Pacific trained by Paige Wagter
    Champion: LEGIS League .70m Child/Adult Jumper Final

•    Mari Waltner and her Firehouse trained by Paige Wagter
    Champion: LEGIS League .80m Child/Adult Jumper Final

•    Bettina Vange and her Something Lovely trained by Susan Locke
    Champion: LEGIS League .90m Child/Adult Jumper Final

•    Susan Kruse and her Carat trained by Susan Locke
    Champion: LEGIS League 1.00m Child/Adult Jumper Final

•    Nancy Butano and Burlington (Greg Tomb, Owner) trained by Kyle King
    Champion: LEGIS League 1.10m Jumper Final

•    Isabel Davis and her #cute trained by Linda Cooper
    Champion: LEGIS League Walk-Trot Final

•    Natassha Ledon and her Conteros trained by Jennifer Vancheri-Porter
    Champion: LEGIS League Intro Cross Rail Final

•    Deborah Bray and her Poseidon trained by Laurie Cunningham
    Champion: LEGIS League 2’ Stirrup Equitation Final

•    Ava Park and her Lykke Li-Terma Z trained by Michelle Morris
    Champion: LEGIS League 2’3” Demi Hunter Final

•    Phoebe Levy and Ocean Power (Heatherly Davis, Owner) trained by Heatherly Davis
    Champion: LEGIS League 2’3” Demi Child/Adult Equitation Final
    Champion: LEGIS League 2’6” Equitation Final

•    Mila Slutzky and her After Hours trained by Robert Sean Leckie
    Champion: LEGIS League 2’6” Hunter Final

•    Madeline Luddy and Triple Crown (Copper Lane Farm, Owner)
    Champion: LEGIS League 2’9” Child/Adult Hunter Final

•    Jacob Kemppainen and Hendriks (Hope Glynn, Owner) trained by Elvenstar
    Champion: LEGIS League 2’9” Child/Adult Equitation Final

•    Meghann Murphy and Furstentusch N
    Champion: LEGIS League 3’ Child/Adult Hunter Final

•    Anne Sherwood and her Cassito trained by Michelle Morris
    Champion: LEGIS League 3’ Child/Adult Equitation Final

 

 
December 2020 - Desert Dressage
Written by photos and text by Kim F Miller
Wednesday, 02 December 2020 03:40
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“show

Venue and inaugural competition spark excitement.

photos and text by Kim F Miller

California dressage enthusiasts have big praise for the inaugural Adequan Desert Dressage presented by Buffini & Company. Held over two weeks, starting Nov. 12 at the Desert International Horse Park in Thermal, the CDI and national show attracted all of the West Coast’s top players.

Steffen Peters and Suppenkasper danced their way to domination in the Grand Prix divisions. The four-time Olympian summarized first week sentiments after their first win on Thursday with a 77.413% in the FEI Grand Prix CDI3* sponsored by Elizabeth Keadle.

 


Anna Buffini & FRH Davinia La Douce

Steffen & Supperkasper

Ben Ebeling and Illuster Van De Kampert won the FEI GP Freestyle CDI U25 and dad & Olympian Jan Ebeling, right, won the FEI Intermediate II CDI3* on Bellena.

“We arrived two days ago and I drove around with my mouth open,” Steffen explained. “The last time we were here was about seven or eight years ago and I just couldn’t believe how much was improved and the resources that were put into this place. It is absolutely beautiful. That (Grand Prix) arena, truly, I am not exaggerating, has Olympic quality. When you come in with the big gate and the spectators where they are, that has Olympic quality. I cannot wait and hope that maybe one day something really big will happen here.”

 

(Editor’s Note: Per COVID safety protocols, spectators were not allowed, yet the Grand Prix ring drew other exhibitors when Steffen and his contemporaries went to work.)

Steffen and “Mopsie” returned Sunday to win the FEI GP Special, and he and his wife Shannon Peters rode several horses and coached clients through the two weeks.

Dawn White O’Connor & Bailarino

Jan Ebeling & Bellena

Jennifer Hoffman & Rondoro Noblesse

Hot on their heels in the Week 1 Grand Prix divisions were Anna Buffini and FRH Davinia La Douce. Anna has only had the mare for one month and was thrilled to be back in the big ring on such a spectacular horse. They earned a 70.319%.

The San Diego-based young professional was equally excited about the venue, the show organizers, etc. “This is probably one of my favorite venues I’ve ever ridden in.” She complimented everything from the responsiveness of the show staff to an expansive vibe in which “the horses don’t feel closed in and stressed.”

“This could absolutely help the West Coast dressage world,” she continued. “Thank you to (organizer) Thomas Baur and everybody who helped put this on. It’s really necessary that we have these and for everybody to support them.”

Charlotte Jorst and Jan Ebeling were among others to have stellar CDIs, but it wasn’t just the big names who enjoyed the show. Week 1 was Sandra McNamara’s first dressage show. The amateur and her 17-year-old Connemara, Pioneer, have always evented, but they decided to give dressage a go after moving to the Palm Springs area’s La Quinta earlier in the year.  With the help of their coach Liz Morton, they won the USEF Training Level Test 1 Pony class and had a terrific time.

“All of the people here were really nice,” Sandra reports. “Everybody was rooting and clapping for everybody else. The venue is so pretty and everything was just outstanding.”
    

Guenter Seidel & Equirelle

Shannon Peters & Disco Inferno

Claire Robinson & Glamour Boy

A Flourishing Venue

The Desert International Horse Park is very familiar to hunter/jumper riders over its many years as home to the many-week HITS Thermal circuit. In August of 2019, a group of exhibitor families purchased the venue and the hunter/jumper shows, under the Apex Equisports banner. The improvements they’ve made have been widely praised by people in that discipline and the dressage show debut seems another great indicator of the future.

Earlier in the fall, the DIHP hosted reining competition, on one weekend concurrent with the National Sunshine Preview hunter/jumper show, which was in itself a new mix of high quality experience and lower costs.

Terri Sue Wensinger & Quintessential Hit

Ben Ebeling & Illuster Van De Kampert

Christine Kohler-Ekstrand & Dark Berry

Next up is the three-week Desert Holiday circuit, including 5* rated jumping on Week 2, then Desert Circuit Jan 19 through March 21, with February’s Coachella Valley Classic woven into February.

In our August, 2019 issue, Apex Equisport leader Steve Hankin said there were three components to the venue and the shows’ success: the facility, the competition and the hospitality. The group certainly seems off to a great start on all counts.

Visit www.deserthorsepark.com for more details and complete show results.

 
December 2020 - LAHJA Medal Finals
Written by photos: ESI
Wednesday, 02 December 2020 03:13
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“show

Fun in the sun for Los Angeles hunter/jumper contenders.

photos: ESI

The Los Angeles Hunter Jumper Association (LAHJA) was proud to host all seven of its 2020 medal finals at the National Sunshine Preview (Oct. 23-25), co-produced by LEG Shows & Events and Desert International Horse Park. Congratulations to all of the medal finalists who competed at the Medal Finals Extravaganza!

Read on for highlights from the medal finals. Plus, make sure to follow LAHJA @rideLAHJA on Instagram to check out exclusive content and video interviews with our medal finals champions.

 



 

Charley Stowell (Elvenstar, trainer) laid down three consistent rounds and earned the overall championship in the LAHJA Junior Medal Final presented by LEGISequine.com.

After three rounds and a work-off, Anne Sherwood (Michelle Morris, trainer) earned the championship in the LAHJA Senior Medal Final presented by Hansen Dam Horse Park.

After two rounds and a work-off, Georgia Bass (Karen Perlow, trainer) took top honors in the LAHJA Betsy Woods Horsemanship Medal Final presented by SmartPak.

The top four riders worked off after two tough rounds of competition, and it was Lily Grosz, trained by Elvenstar, who earned the championship in the LAHJA Rosewood Medal Final presented by SmartPak.

With two rounds and a work-off for the top four, Nicole McMillion, trained by Elvenstar clinched the win in the LAHJA Pony Medal Final presented by Elvenstar aboard Chynna Walker’s large pony, Oh Wonder 21.

After two rounds of competition, Amalia Goshtigian, trained by Stephanie Haney, topped the LAHJA Stirrup Cup/ Mary Jane Watson Combined Medal Final with her own Nimbus.

 
November 2020 - Way To Go!!
Written by CRM
Friday, 30 October 2020 01:10
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Zone 10 brings team bronze and individual gold home from the Prix des States back East.

With wide eyed thirst for a chance at a win, the four riders from USHJA Zone 10 traveled all the way across the United States to compete, leaving from California and arriving in North Carolina. The goal, to ride well and leave the jumps up for a chance at a Team or Individual Medal standing when all is said and done.

The team, Delaney Batter/Evolinus, Trent McGee/Boucheron, Elisa Broz/Volstrups Cody and Violet Lindemann Barnett/Picobello Choppin PC headed east to a competition none of the riders had been to before.

 


The Neue Schule/USEF Junior Jumper National Championships and Prix des States provides an opportunity for United States Junior riders to compete against their peers over multiple days of competition each fall.  The coveted Championship features both the Prix des States Team Competition, with Teams fielded by Zone, and an Individual Competition.  Fence heights are a maximum of 1.45m.

The 2020 Championships were held at the Tryon International Equestrian Center, Mill Spring, North Carolina, Oct. 8 - 10, in conjunction with the Pennsylvania National Horse Show. Riders 17 years of age and under went head to head over three days as the competition narrowed each class leading to the Team and Individual winners. The coveted results of Prix de States Team and the Individual competition were on the line. Zone 10 ended up in the Medals for both!! Zone 10 Team was bronze and Zone 10 Individual was gold!

Team is Full & Fierce

For the second time in many years, Zone 10 fielded a full team for the Championships and that pressure certainly played a part as the days went by. The team riders were all inexperienced at this level and this was their first shot at this level of medal competition.

The best part, according to Cassie Belmont, the Zone 10 trainer for Elisa Broz, “We loved getting to work as part of a team and having an opportunity to understand how important each team member is. Being there and watching other Junior riders from across the country was eye opening and helped our rider to step up their game. It was an incredible experience, and we are so grateful to Zone 10.”

Cassio Rivetti handled the trainer role for the other three riders, two of his own students and one for trainer Archie Cox who was in California showing with his other riders. “These riders were well prepared to get here and ride ready to win,” said Cassio. “It is always a pleasure to work with juniors who know their horses and go in to do their best.”

Michael Endicott was the Zone 10 Chef de Equipe and worked tirelessly with the riders and the team. His main job, which always carries a bit of pressure to make the right call, was strategy in selecting which Zone 10 rider for the jump-off when it came down to two teams being tied for Bronze. “Trent’s horse, Boucheron, is a scrappy little chestnut mare, and when I watched her in the last of the team rounds she still had plenty of ‘go’ about her so I threw the task to Trent. The horse is careful and can be fast and turn quick, that is what we needed at that point. I just told Trent to ‘go get it’ and he did. Never stepped off the pedal, made incredible turns and was careful to the last jump to have the quickest jump-off time and a clear ride…we were bronze!”

Michael continues regarding the Individual Medal competition, “As we came into the Individual day, Violet was sitting second so the Gold was truly within her reach. She had an immense determination but a calmness about her for the final round. The horse, ‘Chop’ as he is known, is smart and quick and I knew they would give the rider coming back in first place a challenge. She needed to be clear, and she was.”

“For Zone 10 to field a complete team for the first time in years is pretty exciting, and they were all incredibly focused all week,” said Michael. “We are building a fantastic group of riders in this Zone, our Juniors and Young Riders can hold their own pretty much anywhere. I am excited to be the Zone Chef de Equipe and have a ground floor perspective as we look ahead.”

Cassio Rivetti, the consummate professional, actually got a bit excited as the days came to an end. “Was a good pleasure to help the California team and be a part of the improvement of the kids. I’m very happy with my two students, Delaney and Violet, for the Bronze Team win and Violet for the Individual Gold. Also, I really enjoyed assisting Trent to be the determining ride in the jump-off for the Team.  It was a fantastic week that we will never forget!”  

Zone Co-Chairs Kathy Hobstetter and Ned Glynn make time to meet with riders, trainers and the parents all year as the qualifying points begin to accumulate. Fresh off the Tryon win, Kathy Hobstetter explained a bit of the process. “Always being aware of how the Zone Juniors are doing throughout the year is part of what we on the Committee do. I watch the standings and watch the riders as the year goes on, want to be sure to get to actually see them compete and in the ring. I meet with them whenever they request time and want to ask questions. Meeting with Cassie Belmont and the Broz family this year at Sacramento was a delight. They are committed to the sport and interested in supporting Elisa in her quest for the top. Sending a note of appreciation for the Zone was well appreciated. ‘Thank you for preparing us for this incredible experience and advising us of options. We are inspired and grateful, what a great opportunity for Zone young riders.’”

“The Zone recognizes the importance of supporting the riders and these amazing programs throughout the year.” Kathy continued, “This year was extremely difficult for everyone, but it is important to sustain these programs to our best ability in the sport. We were honored to send these riders off on a quest for Medals, and it worked.”

Article provided by Zone 10. For more information, visit https://www.ushja.org/zones-affiliates/zone-10. If you’d like to get involved with the Zone 10 team, contact Kathy Hobstetter at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 
November 2020 - Del Mar International
Written by photos: Julia B Photography
Thursday, 29 October 2020 23:45
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Bond, Nichols and Leckie star in a sizzling season that is far from finished.

photos: Julia B Photography

The Del Mar International came wrapped up two weeks at the lovely Del Mar Horse Park on Sunday, Oct. 19. From prestigious medal finals to hunters on the grass field to incredibly competitive jumper classes, we saw some amazing rounds with horses and riders in top form.

The highlight event was the $50,000 Grand Prix of the Pacific presented by EQ International Real Estate. The competition was fierce with 53 horse and rider combinations taking to the grass field for their shot at a share of the $50,000 purse. Ultimately it was professional rider Ashlee Bond who took the championship aboard Donatello 141, owned by Little Valley Farms. This pair was top of the podium last year at Del Mar International as well!


In second place was Will Simpson riding Chacco P, owned by Will Simpson Stables Inc, and in third was Robert Blanchette aboard Chardonnay owned by RTS LLC.

Ashlee Bond and Donatello 141.

Ashlee Bond had a fantastic week in the office, also winning the $5,00 1.35m, the $5,000 1.45m presented by Jett Martin Equine Spa, and the $5,000 1.35m Speed Derby presented by Prestige Italia.

Sean Leckie and C'est Moi.

PCHA Child/Adult Jumper Championships

West Palms Events was honored to host the $25,000 PCHA Child/Adult Jumper Championships during Del Mar International. Juniors and adult amateurs who show at the 1.10 level were eligible to compete, and the championship event was held over two rounds, Friday and Saturday, with both scores combined to determine overall winners.

Junior Erin Nichols, who also competes Young Rider level dressage, emerged victorious aboard her mare Hindee. In second place was Jennifer Elliott aboard Comtess, and in third was Caroline Bell aboard New Delhi VH Waterschoot Z. Congratulations to all ribbon winners in this great championship.

The $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby presented by Fleeceworks was held in the main hunter arena on Friday morning. Taking the win out of 17 entries was Sean Leckie aboard C›est Moi owned by Breanne Karanikolas.

Second place went to Claire Archer riding her own Rimpoche, and third was won by Nina Alario riding Drop the Mic, owned by Sonja Petri.

Erin Nichols and Hindee.

Rider’s Cup

The West Palms Events 2020 season will wrap up with the West Palms Classic November 12 - 15 and the Riders Cup November 19 - 22! Both are at the Del Mar Horse Park. The latter features the $100,000 Grand Prix and it’s the middle of a three-show circuit in which the leading rider from all the shows’ big Grand Prix gets an extra $50,000 bonus. The first in this series is the Desert International Horse Park STX Grand Prix Nov. 7; then the Riders Cup Grand Prix Nov. 22; and back to the DIHP Dec. 13.

 
October 2020 - Medal Finals Round-Up
Written by CRM
Thursday, 01 October 2020 04:54
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Skylar Wireman dominates the beginning of the hunter/jumper medal season.

Skylar Wireman’s unstoppable streak continued with her win of the USET Platinum Performance Show Jumping Talent Search finals West, held at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park in San Juan Capistrano from Sept. 18-20. With Mandy Porter and Julie Winkel in the judge’s booth through the event’s flat, gymnastic and show jumping phases, Skylar emerged the champion after the fourth phase in which each of the four finalists rode their own horse, then each other’s, over a shortened 1.15m jumping style course on the venue’s beautiful Grand Prix field.

 


“For me, it is pretty unreal,” Skylar said of winning the title. “Last year I was fourth, so I made it to the final four, which was really exciting. Then, this year it was kind of surprising that I made it [into the final four] because I started in 18th after the first phase and I moved my way up to third after the gymnastics phase, and then I moved up to second after the jumping phase. It was really unreal for me. It still hasn’t fully set in.”

Skylar Wireman & Hot Pants. Photo: McCool Photography

 Skylar felt comfortable in Phase IV thanks to her past experiences. “I had ridden Parker Cliff’s horse last year in the final four, then I have done so much catch-riding for Nick [Haness] and several other trainers, so I am pretty used to getting on a strange horse and jumping a few jumps and going in. Also, I had watched a lot of those horses go for the past couple weeks, so I was pretty confident going into the final four.”

Skylar rode Hot Pants, owned by Lisa Halterman.

Kaitlyn Lovingfoss finished in reserve aboard James Hagman’s Hearty Hercules; Parker Cliff was third on Fandawest Rebel, owned by trainers Jill and Jan Humphrey; and Amber Ayyad was fourth on Common Sense, owned by Alicia Saxton.

Lanie Walkenbach & Let’s Go. Photo: McCool Photography

A week prior, at the same venue, Skylar topped the field at the NHSAA/ASPCA Maclay Region 8 Championships. Her partner was, again, Hot Pants, who earned the Vigo Best Equitation Horse Award, a perpetual trophy in honor of Robyn and Demi Stiegler’s retired equitation horse. The win positions Skylar to head to Lexington, KY, in November for the national finals. Reserve went to Sydney Young, a student of Jill Humphrey, and Stella Buckingham finished third.

Stella trains at her family’s Q of E Farm in the Los Angeles area.

Before the Regionals got underway at the Blenheim Fall Tournament, Skylar was presented with the Shelby Drazan Memorial Award in recognition of sportsmanship, integrity and passion. These qualities were made clear in an excerpt of Skylar’s application essay: “Work hard, pay it forward, dream big and go for it,” she wrote of her life motto.

Lauren Morlock & Mighty Quen.

Foxfield Medal Finals

The Oaks International Grand Prix Field also hosted the 49th Annual Foxfield Medal Finals on Sept. 13. Lanie Walkenbach finished first among 21 amateur contenders, riding Let’s Go. Emily Williams and Carlo were third, with Haylee Hall and Clearing in third.

Walkenbach, who attends college at Texas Christian University, expressed her excitement at having the opportunity to compete on the grass Grand Prix field. “I am currently on Texas Christian University’s Equestrian team, so I just come to show when I get the opportunity. I am so thankful that I had the chance to compete in such a prestigious final.”

She was also elated to compete in the finals with her teammate, Let›s Go, known as “Pedro” around the barn. “He is one of the smartest and coolest horses I’ve ever been on. I’ve had the opportunity to ride him off and on since January and I share him with my sister Paige.”

Grace Belmont & Quirin, pictured with barn-mates, mother/trainer Cassie Belmont, and assistant trainer Allison Sherred. Photo: GrandPix

Avery Glynn. & Sazerac Photo: GrandPix

Season Finale In Sonoma

In Northern California, the Sonoma Horse Park closed out its summer season with two medal finals and the Les Talents Hermés two-phase equitation classic Sept. 18-20.

Lauren Morlock fulfilled a longtime goal in winning the JRW Medal Finals presented by CWD, formerly called the Hudson & Co Medal. Avery Glenn was reserve champion and Kiera Hennigan was third.

Grace Belmont had her first equitation final win in the Pickwick Medal Finals presented by Equifit. The daughter of trainer Cassie Belmont, Grace rode Quirin to the win. Avery Glynn was reserve in this final, too, followed again by Kiera Hennigan.

Avery finished first in the large field contending the 3’3” Les Talents Hermés, earning herself a second trip to Paris. Bella Primavera finished second and Darby Bonomi, (our performance psychology columnist!) was third.

Kyle Cline & Cazz C. Photo: McCool Photography

USHJA 3’3” Jumping Seat Medal Finals West

Over four rounds in two days, Kyle Cline topped the field in the EMO Insurance/USHJA 3’3” Jumping Seat Medal Finals West, which concluded on Sept. 22 in San Juan Capistrano. Formatted similarly to the USET Talent Search, the competition is part of the jumper rider development pipeline.

“Over the course of the two days I felt that my rounds stayed fairly consistent with no large gap between the scores,” said Kyle. “I enjoyed competing in the Final since it’s such a competitive and well-organized class. The three phases are definitely one of the best aspects, pushing the riders at the top to stay consistent or giving others who didn’t do as well in one phase the chance to make it up in the next,” said Cline, of Laguna Hills. “Usually I don’t really feel pressure, but going into the final phase, there was definitely some inner tension to have a nice, smooth round.”

“I feel incredibly privileged to have been this year’s winner and am eternally grateful for Cazz C, who always tries his heart out, and the whole team at Bridgeport Farms for their constant hard work to better us,” he continued.

Elvenstar rider Charley Stowell finished second, followed by Quinn Ferreira, a student of Tina Yates.

 
March 2020 - Gold Star Clinic
Written by photos: Tori Bilas/USHJA
Monday, 02 March 2020 20:14
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Kirstin Coe coaches emerging jumper riders on “building a winning team.”

photos: Tori Bilas/USHJA

The U.S. Hunter Jumper Association Gold Star Clinics wrapped up after two weeks of bi-coastal educational sessions and mounted instruction with top clinicians, athletes and horsemen. The West Coast Clinic, held January 15-19 at the Desert International Horse Park in Thermal, was led by Kirsten Coe, while the East Coast Clinic, led by Todd Minikus, was held January 22-26 at the Jim Brandon Equestrian Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. A total of 42 athletes participated in the clinics, learning from the best throughout the four-day clinics that focused on this year’s theme, “Building a Winning Team.”

 


Leading the mounted instruction on the West Coast, Coe’s approach to the clinic was to provide the participants with knowledge they could take home and use effectively, regardless of the equipment or facilities they have at their disposal. “I think it was very clear, cohesive message from all the clinicians this year, not just myself,” said Coe about the week of educational opportunities. “It was all about discipline, how to correct the horse, the shape of the lines and the track, and ultimately this was one of the best first-round Nations Cups (modified format) we’ve had with the fewest amount of faults. They all applied what they learned all week and they did it really well.”

 

After three days of mounted instruction, the West Coast and East Coast clinics culminated on day four with teams competing in a Nations Cup-style competition over courses set by FEI Course Designers Michel Vaillancourt and Steve Stephens, respectively. The modified, two-phase format featured the first round as a Table II and the second as a Table II 2.d. On the West Coast, Chef d’Equipe Mandy Porter led the winning team of Leah Lively (1.10m), Alyce Bittar (1.20m) and Courtney Youell (1.30m), named Gone With the Wind, on a total score of 8 faults after the two rounds.

Though they all enjoyed the competition aspect, Lively remarked on how important the team feel throughout the week was: “We had a great team but it wasn’t just this team—I got to work with people that I usually wouldn’t get to meet. Everyone was pitching in to help one another—it didn’t matter if [they were on the same team.]”
    

Heavy On Horsemanship

Both coasts featured similar schedules, which included additional education from industry experts discussing horse health and nutrition, course building, media training, and different aspects of a competitive jumping team. Colleen Reed, who was the Stable Management clinician for both clinics and oversaw the care for the participants’ horses on-site, led a session that covered how to take your horse’s vitals, proper grooming and jogging for FEI classes.

USEF Youth Chef d’Equipe DiAnn Langer, USEF High Performance Team Veterinarian Dr. Geoff Vernon and the clinics’ respective lead clinicians discussed what, and who, goes into creating the winning team of a top rider, including veterinarians, grooms, trainers, and other essential personnel. In addition, Dr. Vernon talked about sport horse lameness, demonstrating what a veterinarian looks for during an exam and how to identify a lame horse, and Langer led a conversation about the Show Jumping Athlete Pathway, highlighting how a rider can utilize the program to progress in the sport.

Athletes in both clinics received media training from Brenda Mueller, Marketing4Equestrians and Chicago Equestrian Founder and Editor, where they participated in mock interviews, learning how to properly answer questions and how to manage their social media professionally. Platinum Performance hosted an equine nutrition session led by Dr. Darci Agin at West and Dr. Torri Maxwell at East, where both talked about the microbiome, the importance of proper gut health to help a horse perform at its best and how to read a feed tag. A hands-on session with farrier Leah Clarke delivered more knowledge and experience.

Each clinic also included a round table discussion with top competitors, which included answering questions created by clinic participants. On the West Coast, Coe, Dr. Vernon, Clarke, Porter and Rich Fellers led to conversation, while the East Coast featured Minikus, Granato, Margie Engle and Anne Kursinski.

Both clinics are now featured on-demand via Horse & Country TV through livestream provider EQSportsNet. Current subscribers to EQSportsNet can use their same login credentials to receive access through Horse & Country TV. New subscribers can join for just $10 to watch all on-demand coverage from both events.

The Gold Star Clinics are the pinnacle of the USHJA Emerging Jumper Rider Program, which identifies Jumper riders who have the skill and desire to excel in the sport, while educating riders to become well-rounded horsemen on their path to excellence. Individual medalists from the 2019 USHJA Zone Jumper Team Championships received the designation of Gold Star Emerging Jumper Riders, regardless of age, and were invited, along with their coaches and parents, to attend one of these clinics. The top two riders from the 2019 Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund/USHJA Emerging Athletes Program National Training Session were also invited to attend the Gold Star Clinic of their choice, as were a select number of Wild Card applicants.

The USHJA extends special thanks to Jenny Booth, The Otis Booth Foundation and the Pacific Coast Horse Shows Association for supporting the Emerging Jumper Rider Program, as well as the entire Desert International Horse Park and Jim Brandon Equestrian Center teams for hosting the Gold Star Clinics. The USHJA also extends its gratitude to our official sponsors Charles Owen, CWD, Parlanti and Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital for making these programs possible.

Team Competition - West

1. Gone With The Wind
• Alyce Bittar, Los Angeles, CA
• Leah Lively, Tualatin, OR
• Courtney Youell, Snohomish, WA
2. The Unicorns
• Riley Heath, Lake Oswego, OR
• Lauren Pleasance, Bend, OR
• Skyler Wireman, Bonsall, CA
3. Grey Gang
• Elisa Broz, Watsonville, CA
• Hannah Cowdrey, Camarillo, CA
• Kiley McCullough, San Tan Valley, AZ
4. Turn-N-Burn
• Betsy Checchia, Tucson, AZ
• Amanda Gomez, Norco, CA
• Alexis Mierzwa, Winchester, VA
5. Pro Stars
• Emmeline Adamick, San Francisco, CA
• Rachel Long, Horseshoe Bend, ID
• Erin Nichols, Yorba Linda, CA
6. Triple Threats
• Hanna Morris, Issaquah, WA
• Sydney Shelby, Santa Cruz, CA
• Carly Sweeney, Scottsdale, AZ
7. Solar Flares
• Grace Gallagher, Scottsdale, AZ
• Kayla Long, Horseshoe Bend, ID
• Lily Hackbarth, Scottsdale, AZ

Press release provided by the USHJA.

 
August 2021 - Michelle Parker Easily Does It in the $25,000 Markel Insurance Grand Prix at the Blenheim Red, White & Blue Classic
Written by courtesy of Blenheim Equisports • photos: McCool Photography
Friday, 30 July 2021 03:49
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courtesy of Blenheim Equisports • photos: McCool Photography

Michelle Parker and Easy Does It led from beginning to end of the $25,000 Markel Insurance Grand Prix on Saturday, July 3, during the Blenheim Red, White & Blue Classic in San Juan Capistrano, CA.


As the very first entry in the first grand prix to be held in the Olympic Sand Arena at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park, Parker and Easy Does It made easy work of the Manuel Esparza-designed course. The pair set the standard for the remaining 14 entries, with three horses and riders ultimately qualifying to join them for the jump-off.

 

Michelle Parker and Easy Does It win the $25,000 Markel Insurance 1.45m Grand Prix during Blenheim EquiSport’s Red, White, & Blue Classic.

As the first to jump clear, Parker was also the first in the ring for the short course, and she replicated her pathfinding clear round performance in a time of 37.471 seconds.

While all three additional riders finished within a second of Parker’s time, only Parker and Easy Does It delivered a double clear effort. Coming the closest to catching the duo were Hillary Ridland and Wonder Kid, owned by Mary Frances Looke, who finished in second place with only one rail down in a time of 37.508 seconds.

Michelle Parker aboard Easy Does It.

Third place with two rails in the jump-off and a time of 36.484 seconds went to Simon Schroeder and Alie B, and Joie Gatlin and High finished in fourth with eight faults and a time of 37.659 seconds. Rounding out the top five after jumping clear with just three time faults in the first round were Wendy Lee Thompson and Simpatica 33.

“He’s small, but he’s mighty and scopey!” said Parker of her winning mount, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Cross Creek Farms, Inc. “I got him in September. He was our COVID purchase. I actually tried him in March before everything shut down, but then we didn’t buy him until September.”

Second place finisher Hillary Ridland and Wonder Kid.

Since then, Parker and Easy Does It have been consistent performers in the grand prix ring, including in the Markel Insurance Jumper Series. Together the pair has contested three of the eight Markel Insurance events thus far this season and have finished in the top 10 each time out.

While their previous success has come in the Oaks International Grand Prix Field, Saturday’s inaugural grand prix in the Olympic Sand Arena seemed well suited for Easy Does It.

“I quite like the new ring; it makes the atmosphere even a bit more encouraging because the crowd is close to you,” said Parker, who was presented with a Shady Lady face covering and a $50 Topline Design Ribbon Wreaths gift certificate as part of her winnings on Saturday. “It’s a nice size, so the jump-off was quite galloping,” said Parker. “You could really get rolling.”

Michelle Parker and Easy Does It leading the victory gallop

Parker plans to return to Blenheim EquiSports in the fall and has her sights set on continuing to move Easy Does It up the jumper rank to the 1.60m level, as well as likely continuing to contest the Markel Insurance Jumper Series.

The 15-class series culminates this November at the Las Vegas National Horse Show, where the top 25 riders are invited to compete in the finale event. To view the series specifications and the full leaderboard to date, visit https://showpark.com/markel-insurance-jumper-series/.

While Sunday, July 4, marks the conclusion of the Blenheim Red, White & Blue Classic, Blenheim EquiSports is the #PlaceToJump all season long. The Blenheim Summer Festival kicks off July 21st at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park. Visit www.ThePlaceToJump.comto view a full show schedule and to learn more.

 
April 2021 - Jennifer Williams to Represent Team USA in The Dutta Corp. FEI Dressage Nations Cup™ CDIO3*
Written by courtesy of Entrigue Consulting, LLC • photo: Annan Hepner / Phelps Media Group
Thursday, 01 April 2021 22:07
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courtesy of Entrigue Consulting, LLC • photo: Annan Hepner / Phelps Media Group

The United States Equestrian Federation has announced that Jennifer Williams of Roy, WA has been chosen to represent Team USA on the FEI Dressage Nations Cup Team. Jennifer will be riding her Grand Prix mount, Millione, an imported 18-year-old Danish Warmblood by Milan, bred by Jurgen Olson of Denmark and owned by Millione Partners, LLC. Jennifer and Millione are currently on the Pre-Elite list for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.


Jennifer won the Grand Prix Championship at Lamplight in 2020 on Millione, and is now in Wellington, FL for the Global Dressage Festival season with 7 horses. So far this season, she and Millione, affectionately known as “Mickey”, have had personal best scores in the CDI 3* Grand Prix (71%) and Grand Prix Special (72%).

“I’m so grateful to be selected for the Nations Cup team here in Wellington. I feel very honored to be able to participate with my incredible partner Millione, and I’m very thankful for his owners and our very supportive team! Millione has been having a great season so far, we’re all thrilled, and I can’t wait to compete and ride with my teammates!”

 

 
April 2021 - Prize Money of Nearly $200,000 to be Awarded at Great American/USDF Regional Dressage Championships
Written by CRM
Thursday, 01 April 2021 21:46
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The United States Dressage Federation™ (USDF) and Great American Insurance Group are pleased to announce that prize money totaling nearly $200,000 will be awarded at the 2021 Great American Insurance Group/USDF Regional Championships. This prize money will be divided evenly among the nine regions and 35 divisions that are offered, allowing each region to present competitors with over $22,000 in prize money and awards. Prize money will be awarded to champions and reserve champions in each region and division. Champions will also receive an embroidered vest provided by SmartPak, official supplement feeding system of USDF, and an embroidered blanket storage bag provided by USDF. In addition to prize money, reserve champions will receive a saddle pad provided by the Great American Insurance Group, title sponsor of the championships.


“It is with great pleasure that we continue to provide recognition to these outstanding competitors through our sponsorship of the regional championship program,” stated Kathy Sedlak, Great American Insurance Group Vice President of the Equine Division.

“We’re so pleased that through the generous sponsorship support of Great American Insurance Group, SmartPak, and Platinum Performance, that we are able to see this program continue to grow and be so well received by USDF members,” adds Stephan Hienzsch, USDF Executive Director.

The Great American/USDF Regional Championships are presented by SmartPak and supported by Platinum Performance.  For more information about the Great American Insurance Group/USDF Regional Dressage Championships, please visit the USDF website at www.usdf.org, or contact the USDF office at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
 
March 2021 - Twin Rivers Ranch 2021 Season Preview
Written by by Kim F Miller
Monday, 01 March 2021 21:38
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by Kim F Miller

New show stabling, new cross-country obstacles, and upgraded infrastructure. These are among the ways the Baxter family made the most of the COVID-caused downtime that waylaid some -- but not all -- of last year’s ambitious plans for their Twin Rivers Ranch equestrian venue.

The inaugural Spring International CCI4*-L that was set for last April will now unfurl April 8-11, 2021, at the 500-acre property in central coastal California. Hosting an Adequan/USEF Youth Team Challenge concurrent with the Fall International September 23-26 is a new calendar addition.

 


Following up 2020’s resounding success with the first joint staging of the Dutta Corp USEA Young Event Horse and USEA Future Event Horse West Coast Championships is a major agenda highlight. Last fall, the Baxters wowed the eventing world by hosting these Championships concurrently and showcasing them as a stand-alone competition.

“The West Coast Championships were a great success in 2020, boasting record numbers across the FEH and YEH Championships,” stated the US Eventing Association. On Oct. 29-30 of this year, Twin Rivers hopes to build on that debut by welcoming, challenging and showcasing more young horses from throughout the Western United States.

“They set a real standard for what the Championships should be,” confirmed Debbie Adams, who travelled from her East Coast base to judge the 2020 Championships with Peter Gray. “I was just blown away by what a good job they did.”

Avery Noblitt & Cumani at the 2020 Winter Horse Trials. Photo: TheWestEquestrian.com

Permanent Show Stabling

The first competition of the year is the Winter Horse Trials, Feb. 26-28. Exhibitors will be the first to see the new, fully-covered permanent stabling with 36 12’ x 12’ stalls. Twin Rivers Ranch members get priority treatment for the new stabling. That’s in addition to year-round unlimited access to all open facilities -- for two horses with the same owner. Members are exempt from non-member fees at all schooling shows, and family members and/or additional horses can be added to the Twin Rivers Ranch membership at a modest additional cost.

Membership fees help Twin Rivers with maintenance and upgrades that have helped the facility become one of the favorite venues in the Western United States. Ample space, varied terrain for cross-country and carefully maintained dressage and show jumping arenas are among its assets. After coaching top contenders during the Winter Horse Trials last year, USET Eventing chef d’equipe Erik Duvander praised Twin Rivers’ continual upgrades. He credited the venue as a key destination for horses and riders on the top sport path.

“They are a progressive bunch,” adds Twin Rivers upper-level course designer Hugh Lochore of the Baxter family. Along with 5* eventer Andrea Baxter, organizer Connie Baxter has extensive eventing experience. Whirlwind Excavating owner Jeff Baxter happily applies his expertise and equipment to bringing Lochore’s ideas to life. “The venue has interesting topography and it’s a good canvas to play with,” Lochore explains. “It’s exciting when you put things on paper, then you have a team that is keen to get the bit between their teeth and make it happen.”

Lochore will return to Twin Rivers in March to continue work on the upper-level tracks in advance of the Spring International.

Also new is Ride On Photo by Tayler as Twin Rivers’ show photographer for the year. This is the talented Tayler Callie Walsh, a familiar face in the eventing world and daughter of Ride On Video’s Bob and Debi Ravenscroft.

People accommodations have expanded, too. In addition to discounted rooms from sponsor Best Western Plus Black Oak and on-site RV rentals from Getaway RV Rentals, Twin Rivers has increased its total of full-power/water RV hook-ups to 37.

Having resumed show hosting in July of last year, the Twin Rivers team has mastered COVID protocols to keep all exhibitors safe. Until further notice, spectators are not allowed.

Get Involved: Volunteer & Sponsor!

A generous volunteer incentive program continues through 2021. Full-day helpers receive $60 vouchers toward future competitions, half-day helpers earn $30 vouchers. Each shows’ volunteers are entered into a drawing for prize packs filled with useful goodies from Twin Rivers sponsors. Hours are tracked through the year for entry into a year-end raffle. Prizes include a Twin Rivers entry, stabling, cross-country schooling voucher and more.

Sponsors already on board for the year include Best Western Plus Black Oak, Getaway RV Rentals and Auburn Labs, manufacturers of APF Pro Formula. Sponsorships are still available and more partnerships will be announced soon. (Contact Christina Gray at Gray Area Events for sponsorship opportunities: email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )

The Calendar:

 

  • Winter Horse Trials:  Feb. 26-28
  • Fundraiser Combined Test: April 3-4
  • Spring International: April 8-11
  • Schooling One Day Horse Trials: May 23
  • Schooling Show: June 6
  • CDS Dressage: June 12-13
  • Summer Horse Trials: July 1-4
  • Area VI Adult Camp: July 30-31
  • CDS Dressage: Aug. 14-15
  • Fall International: Sept. 23-26 (Including the Adequan/USEF Youth Team Challenge)
  • USEA Future Event Horse & USEA Dutta Corp. Young Event Horse West Coast Championships (and an FEH qualifier), Oct. 29-30.
  • Schooling Halloween Horse Trials: Oct. 31


Fast Facts:

  • Location: 8715 N. River Road, Paso Robles, CA 93446. email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
  • Ride Times: Available www.twinrivershorsepark.com a few days before competition begins.
  • Results: www.twinrivershorsepark.com
  • Show Photographer: Ride On Photo by Tayler
  • Video: Ride On Video
  • Volunteer: www.twinrivershorsepark.com/volunteer
 
December 2020 - Galway Downs International
Written by photos & text by Kim F Miller
Wednesday, 02 December 2020 03:34
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Highly-praised season finalé bodes well for West Coast eventing future.

photos & text by Kim F Miller

An unprecedented 420 pairs contested the Galway Downs International eventing competition Oct. 28-Nov. 1 in Temecula. It was quality, however, not quantity, that left the lasting impression of this major finalé of the West Coast eventing season.

At the highest level, CCI4*-L, the International attracted the sport’s best: East Coasters Boyd Martin, Phillip Dutton, Liz Halliday Sharp, West Coast standard bearer Tamie Smith, newer 4* rider Rebecca Brown from Texas, and local favorite Erin Kellerhouse and Woodford Reserve making their debut, among others.

 


The CCI3*-L served as the USEF National championship, held for the first time out West. And the 3* and 4* featured the first West Coast staging of the Adequan USEF Futures Team Challenge. Ninety-five riders in the lower levels jumped on the new Challenge division to rave reviews.

 

All told, it was a high note on which to end what’s been a challenging year for all and it bodes well for the future of eventing in the West.
    

Boyd & Luke 140

Tamie Smith & Passepartout

Positive Experience

In finishing first and third in the CCI4*-L, with Luke 140 and Long Island T, Boyd Martin’s experience will likely lead him back to Galway Downs.

Martin said he’s been touting the winner’s international potential to his many-member owner syndicate for two years and “this weekend is the first real moment that proves it.” While Long Island T’s usual strong point, dressage, was off due to excess energy, Martin was thrilled with his cross-country and show jumping.

Martin said both horses’ experience set them up for 5* excursions and the overall experience will likely lead him back to Galway Downs from his East Coast base. “I’d like to come here every year. Especially for the young horses, it’s a great experience to fly out here. I’d prefer a trip like this than going overseas. It’s cheaper and the standard of competition is just as high. Plus, it’s good to support our American events. Sometimes I think it’s a little easy to run off to Europe.”

Martin described California as like “being in another country because I don’t know anybody out here.” Californians knew him, though. Many described the chance to watch Boyd and fellow East Coast-based master Phillip Dutton as a riding lesson unto itself.

He had high praise for the cross-country course newly designed by Australian Olympian Clayton Fredericks. “It was very challenging and both horses learned a lot.” Fredericks had been tasked with making the course tougher, in jumping efforts and pace, and there was consensus that he accomplished that.  Four missed flag penalties at one 4* obstacle, in particular, exemplified new tests of quick responses and control.
     

Elisabeth Halliday Sharp & Cooley Quicksilver

Asia Vedder & Isi

Tamie Smith Time

“You almost won your first 4*,” Tamie Smith told Passepartout after laying down a clean trip with .40 time faults in the final day’s show jumping to finish second. The horse’s next compliment came from USEF Eventing High Performance director Erik Duvander: “You know he is still just a baby, but he comes off like a professional.” Smith “absolutely” agreed with that assessment of her daughter Kaylawna Smith-Cook’s 11-year-old German Sporthorse. “That was the classiest round of all three phases. He did not put a footfall wrong.” They finished on a 32.40.

Tamie briefly has the ride on Passepartout during Kaylawna’s pregnacy.

The California-based 2019 Pan Am Team gold medalist has strutted the West Coast’s special stuff for several years now. She shared some advice with Texas-based Rebecca Brown, who finished 4th in the 12-starter field on Dassett Choice. “You can be based anywhere, you just need the right team,” Smith said. “You need the trainers that can help you develop your system. Erik (Duvander) has helped me understand that.”

Duvander was on hand all week working with several riders. As the head of Team Erik in the Futures Challenge, he suffered his first loss in the series. His team of Liz Halliday-Sharp, 4* rider Emilee Libby and young rider Sophie Click were second to Team Leslie Law (USEF Developing & Emerging Rider Coach), led by Smith, with Brown and young rider Charlotte Babbitt.

Charlotte Babbitt & 2AM

Sophie Click & Quid Pro Quo

More National Titles

In 2015, Smith hauled Mai Baum east, then onto the international radar by winning the CCI3*-L and USEF CCI3*-L National Championships at Fairhill International in Maryland. Mai Baum went on to be Smith’s 2019 Pan Am Games partner and has already earned his qualifying score for Tokyo Olympic consideration.

Does Elliot-V have the same potential? “Absolutely! 100% yes,” said Smith.

The 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood’s off-to-college owner Louisa Southworth declared his Thursday dressage test “magnificent” after watching in on the livestream. She drove to Temecula Saturday in time to see Smith don the USET pinque coat and win it all on a 30.20 that reflected just .40 in jumping time penalties.

Time faults on cross-country widened what was a very narrow dressage gap between runner-up Asia Vedder and Isi and Smith and Elliot-V. That grew with one rail at the liverpool, but Vedder remained thrilled with the finish. Outside of a break for hip replacement surgery earlier this year, the USEA Area VI chairman and Isi have been progressing steadily and gaining the notice of several sport leaders. “He’s hard not to like,” she said of the Holsteiner.

James Alliston celebrated his Halloween birthday Saturday with a third place CCI3*-L finish on Paper Jam. The Hanoverian/Thoroughbred had been his wife Helen Bouscaren’s ride until just four shows ago when “she very kindly said I could ride him” to fill a gap in his string.

The CCI3*-L National Championships also determined the National Combined Training Trophy recipient for the highest placed U.S. rider over the age of 16. Smith added that trophy to her crowded mantle, followed by fellow U.S. contenders Asia Vedder, Andrea Baxter, Alessandra Allen-Shinn, Auburn Excell-Brady, young riders Charlotte Babbitt and Sophie Click, and Stephanie Goodman.

The National Young Riders Championship and its John H. Fritz Trophy were at stake, too, for contenders aged 16-21. With eighth and ninth overall 3* finishes, Charlotte Babbitt and Sophie Click were champion and reserve.
Just a few days after the Galway Downs International, Smith loaded Ruth Bley’s En Vogue and Danito into the trailer and started the journey to Tyron, North Carolina, for the CCI4*-L National Championships in mid-November.

Karen O’Neal & Cafe Noir

Burnell, Bouscaren and Sanborn Take the 2*

With 3-year-old dinosaur paying little attention in their ringside family fan club, Lauren Burnell and Freedom Hill finished a flawless weekend to win on a 27.20. The dinosaur was her Halloween-costumed son, who had already offered his coaching before cross-country. “He told ‘Jack’ to go fast and Mommy to hold on,” and the pair ran with that plan. It helped, too, riding her second horse and fifth-placed finisher Counterpoint first in the 34-pair division. “I just went in and tried to replicate that. The amateur in me came out and I got a little frantic in the beginning, but then it was nice to focus on the plan that my coach Bec (Braitling) and I had come up with.”

Burnell has competed at the 3* level prior to having a baby and felt the weekend boded well for possibly moving back up to that level.

Helen Bouscaren and her new Hanoverian Irish Pop stayed on their 4th-ranked 30.50 dressage performance to rise to third, after cross-county, then second. Their jumping round rode like the breeze it appeared to be. “He is fast, sharp and fun. You can put him exactly where you want him,” she said.

Third place was earned by another of Bec Braitling’s riders, Audrey Sanborn and OBOS Quality Time. The Cal Poly San Luis Obispo communications student called it a high point of their finishes and a harbinger for moving up to 3* in the spring. She praised the flowing, curvy course as fun to ride and their double-clear kept them on a 31.30 dressage.

Erin Kellerhouse & Woodford Reserve

95 in the Challenge Divisions

The 95 contenders in three Challenge divisions took center stage Sunday with show jumping in the Grand Prix Arena as the final phase, just as the International contenders had done the previous afternoon. The fences were a tad lower, but the excitement was still high as national riders enjoyed an unusual spotlight.

Hatched 12 years ago at the Preliminary level, the Challenge format is designed as a transition between levels and as a special showcase. It functioned as intended, spotlighting horses under professional development and young riders and amateurs testing their readiness for new levels and/or fulfilling year-long training goals. With all but the liverpool fence in use from the previous day, the arena had plenty of atmosphere and course designer Mark Donovan and assistant Kelly James retained plenty of tests.

Seattle-based professional Karen O’Neal was thrilled with Cafe Noir’s 22 dressage score on Friday and his flawless rest of the weekend. The 7-year-old Holsteiner/Thoroughbred is owned by Leonie Padgett, who was also riding in the division.

Erin Kellerhouse closed out a happy weekend by riding Sonata GWF to first and LukeAtMe to fourth in Novice-Beginner Novice division.

Earl and Jennifer McFall are big fans of the Challenge format, and not just because Jennifer and Hallelujah DF won the Training-Novice Challenge and Earl and Illumanada were reserve in the Novice Beginner-Novice. “(Organizer) Robert Kellerhouse always has great ideas and this one is a fun way to give the lower levels a championship to work toward,” Jennifer commented.

Jennifer predicted it will be even bigger next year as word spreads of its success. Staging at the FEI venue and concurrent with the International competition was ideal, Jennifer added. “Plus, it’s cool that the West Coast has this unique competition out here: something cooler than they have on the East Coast!”

Jennifer McFall & Hallelujah DF

See You Next Year!

Praise flowed in long after the competition closed: for the quality, intensity and presentation of competition at all levels, the footing, the stabling and the viewing experience. With Kellerhouse’s ideas and positive energy as a strong gravitational force, support from Galway Downs property owner Ken Smith, partnerships with hunter/jumper show organizers Nilforushan EquiSports and other entities aligned to create a major milestone in the venue’s steady ascent as a world-class stage for equestrian sport.

Like Martin, most of the far-traveling riders said they planned to return, augmenting an already big base of participation from throughout the West.

Organizers Kellerhouse Presents had big thanks for sponsors: The American Horse Trials Foundation, Auburn Labs, California Riding Magazine, California Horsetrader, CWD, Devoucoux, Equine Insurance of California, Geranium Street Floral, Ride On Video, SmartPak, Sunsprite Warmbloods, Symons Ambulance, Temecula Creek Inn.

 
November 2020 - It’s How You Finish That Counts!
Written by by Raizy Goffman • photos: Kristin Lee Photography
Friday, 30 October 2020 01:14
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Camelot Events ends the show season on a strong and successful note.

by Raizy Goffman • photos: Kristin Lee Photography

Despite having to cancel most of its show year due to Covid-19 shutdowns, Camelot Events is ending the year with a bang!

The Camelot Classic found its way back to its old home base of Earl Warren Showgrounds. The showgrounds is in the process of an entire facelift, and the results so far have been amazing. (See full report, page 32). All the many exhibitors at this San Fernando Hunter Jumper Association’s Championship Show were delighted with all the new improvements. We had the largest attendance in over a decade with exhibitors that were more than ready to show.


The newly renovated Dome Arena became center stage for the 23 mighty 2’3” finalists. Earning the Championship ribbon and trophy was Ripley Erlich trained by Kathy Megla.  Reserve Champion was awarded to Lucia Koyama trained by Karen Perlow.

Judges, Ellen Gates and Chuck Majer credited the riders with point tallied from a jumping phase, with a built in trot jump test and a work off.

Caden Jacobs trained by McKenna Skelton took home the trophy as this year’s Medal Final Champion.  Marley Leonard, trained by Kim Baxter was Reserve Champion.

The Camelot Hunter Challenge Finals became two split Derbies this year. One Derby for Open Riders sponsored by Stephanie Haney of Open Arms Farm, and one for Junior/Amateur Riders sponsored by Nancy Frost of Sapphire Ridge. The winners bested the field by taking their own course and incorporating jumps and trail obstacles. David Josiah showed how it was done on Sofia Ellis’ Newton’s Law, while the large Jr/Am Derby was won by Jordyn Chafee on Surprise Party trained by Jeni Brown. The $5,000 Jumper Classic was won by Danah Zaman, who also won the Ride and Drive. Lots of ringside excitement was happening when Danah drove off in her very own Golf Cart while her trainer settled for second place and won the trail blazer bicycle!

Camelot Events is now looking forward to our last show of the year, the Camelot Autumn Jubilee, which falls this year on the week before Thanksgiving. On November 19-22 we will once again descend upon the Earl Warren Showgrounds for a happy, friendly, exciting show. This show is hosting the California Professional Horseman’s Association Child/Adult Medal Finals at 3’ and the Horsemanship Medal Finals at 2’6”. Due to Covid-19, CPHA is changing their point protocol for the 2020 medal season. For all CPHA and CPHA Foundation classes if you “participate” in one class you will be eligible to compete in the corresponding medal class. That means you need zero points to qualify. There will be a “last chance to qualify class” at the Autumn Jubilee the day before the Finals. This show is also hosting the USHJA Zone 10 Horse Of The Year Championships in Hunters, Jumpers, and Equitation. Be sure to join in the fun at the final show of 2020!

JrAm Cam Hunter Challenge - Surprise Party & Jordyn Chafee, trained by Jeni Brown.

Camelot Hunter Challenge Derby Open - David Josiah & Newton’s Law, owned by Sopia Ellis.

Danah Zaman on Billie Velocity, trained by Laura Kotimaki Hurd.

Danah Zaman, winner of the golf cart. Second place winner of the bike was her trainer Laura Hurd!

SFHJA 12 & Under Finals - Georgia Bass, trained by Karen Perlow, assisted by Stacia Ryan.

SFHJA 13 & Over - Billie Guerin on Bragging Rights, trained by Chad Mahaffey.

SFHJA 17 & Under - Caden Jacobs on Quality Silva, trained by McKenna Skelton.

SFHJA 18 & Over - Noelle Childers on Super Girl, trained by Joe Thorpe.

SFHJA Futures Finals - Ripley Erlich on Catch A Kiss, trained by Kathy Megla.

 
November 2020 - Woodside Day of the Horse, Reinvented
Written by photos: Nan Meek
Friday, 30 October 2020 01:02
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photos: Nan Meek

Woodside-area Horse Owners Association (WHOA!) volunteers worked for months to create a Day of the Horse weekend like no other for their 16th Annual Day of the Horse events, October 9-11. Woodside Art of the Horse went 100% online, the Progressve Trail Ride made social distancing fun, and the Drive-Through Family Fun Horse Fair delighted carloads of happy families. www.whoa94062.org.

 


 

WHOA! Co-Chair Fawni Hill on Progressive Trail Ride

Drive-Through Family Fun Horse Fair

Save A Pal Donated Cuddly Ponies for Kids

Petra Simms Sekerkova & Kladruber Serpa

Becky Witter & Quarter Horse 24 Karat Bling

Farrier Steve Wieberg hot shoes Champ

Safe & Delicious Trail Ride Stops

 
October 2020 - Congratulations to the 2020 LEGIS League Dressage Finalists!
Written by photos: Tamara with the Camera
Thursday, 01 October 2020 05:05
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“show

The Starr Vaughn Summer Dressage Finale, Aug. 21-23, at Starr Vaughn Equestrian Center in Elk Grove, CA, was proud to host the 2020 LEGIS League Dressage Finals. The LEGIS League is a popular awards program sponsored by LEGISequine.com, Horsemen Insuring Horsemen. Since 2018, LEGIS League Dressage has expanded to include 12 categories – encompassing all levels from Training Level through Prix St. Georges for juniors, amateurs, and professionals. Finalists enjoy special recognition and prizes, including embroidered saddle pads, jackets, and hats.

 


Mark your calendars for an upcoming opportunity to qualify for the 2021 LEGIS League Finals! You can start earning points at the Starr Vaughn Fall Dressage (Nov. 7-8, 2020). For more information or to join online, visit www.legisleague.com.

 

Look for additional qualifying shows coming soon as the LEGIS League expands its dressage program. You can join now and start earning points to qualify for the Finals. If you have suggestions for shows that you would like to see LEGIS League classes at, please reach out to our LEGIS League Coordinator, Danielle Skaar, at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Julia Mineikis & Fragipani - Champion, Intermediate I & II/Grand Prix FEI Open.

Katrina Ragsdale & Wrigley - Champion, Second/Third Level Junior.

Josh Albrecht & Indea KS - Champion, Training/First Level Junior.

Alexandra Duarte & Q Sieben - Champion, Training/First Level Adult Amateur.

 
May 2020 - Thieriot Stutes and Billys Top Twin Rivers’ Winter Horse Trials
Written by CRM
Tuesday, 28 April 2020 23:58
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Hill, McEvoy and Burnell win Preliminary divisions in Central California.

It was almost 20 years ago that the Baxter family purchased 500 acres in the sleepy Central California Coast town of Paso Robles. Where others saw fallow farmland, they saw the potential for international equestrian competition. And it was international competitors, Frankie Thieriot Stutes and Tamra Smith, who led the Advanced division at the Feb. 28-March 1 Winter Horse Trials, staged by the Baxters and their Twin Rivers Ranch team.

 


The team has grown and the venue has transformed in those nearly 20 years, but the mission remains the same: providing a West Coast stage for the pursuit of equestrian dreams at all levels -- and doing so with a distinctly California accent of warm, welcome-to-the-family hospitality. When they’re not out doing the myriad tasks that make Twin Rivers a favorite West Coast eventing destination, owners Connie and Jeff Baxter can often be found behind the central gathering spot’s outdoor bar, serving friends new and old with a smile. Their daughter Andrea Baxter contributes in many ways while pursuing her 5* eventing career. At the Winter Horse Trials, she finished fourth on her feisty Thoroughbred mare, Indy 500, in the Advanced division.

 

Lauren Billys & Castle Larchfield Purdy. Photo: Sherry Stewart

Frankie Thieriot Stutes & Chatwin. Photo: Sherry Stewart

Three hundred-plus pairs, from throughout the region, filled five dressage courts on Friday. Over the weekend, they tackled Hugh Lochore and Marc Grandia’s upper and lower level cross-country courses and the challenging Jose Nava-designed show jumping routes. With show secretary Christina Gray of Gray Area Events at the logistical helm, the schedule ran smoothly and all horses and riders made it back to their barns or beds safely every day.

The overall outcome would have boded well for the Twin Rivers Spring International, which was set for April 10-12 and would have included an inaugural CCI4*-Long division. Unfortunately, that was one of many events to be affected by the coronavirus. At presstime, it was hoped the competition could be held in June.

Lauren Burnell & Freedom Hill. Photo: Kim F. Miller

Bruce Hill & Bossinova. Photo: Kim F. Miller

Tamra Smith and Ruth Bley’s En Vogue had two rails to maintain their second-place standing in the Advanced Division. Downing one rail and staying in their overnight position were Helen Bouscaren and Ebay. The original field of 13 was led by Smith and Mai Baum, whose 18.4 dressage test would have been tough to surmount. However, they’d withdrawn after dressage by prior plan in preparing for the Land Rover Kentucky, which was later cancelled.

US Equestrian Eventing Performance Director Erik Duvander now spends a quarter of his time on the West Coast, coaching and monitoring team riders and those who may be contenders for it in the future. “It’s good to see how well they came out of last year and they are both stronger,” he said of Thieriot Stutes and Chatwin and Smith and Mai Baum.

Tamie Smith & En Vogue. Photo: Sherry Stewart

India McEvoy & Redbull. Photo: Kim F. Miller

It was an especially encouraging outing for Chatwin. After finishing an impressive fourth at the Luhmühlen 5* in Germany last June, Chatwin was sidelined most of the rest of 2019 with severe health issues stemming from a case of enteritis. For a long stretch, his survival was all the rider and the Chatwin Group cared about. “Just being here is spectacular,” said Thieriot-Stutes and winning is icing on the cake. The pair is on the US Developing Rider Training List.
Duvander also worked with West Coast members of US Equestrian’s Eventing 25 list, for their coach Leslie Law. These include Madison Temkin, Megan Sykes and Kaylawna Smith-Cook, all of whom held their own at Advanced: it was the first completion at the level for Sykes and Smith-Cook.

“It’s not just coaching,” Duvander said of his USET role when discussing the caliber of competition in the West. “Every time I come to Twin Rivers, I’m noticing the amount of work. They are constantly upping the game here.” The USET’s commitment to riders in the West coincides and to some extent has helped prompt coordinated efforts among riders, owners and organizers to raise the bar in all facets of competition. “In the past it was often said that you need to go East to make it, but it’s really important that riders be able to make it out here. Then, they can go back East and win. That should be the mindset.”
Intermediate

Megan Sykes & Classic’s Mojah. Photo: Kim F. Miller

Lauren Billys and her Rio Olympics partner Castle Larchfield Purdy planned to stay in the West in their prep for the 2020 Olympics, which now appear to be postponed until 2021. Phase one of Billys’ plan went perfectly with a wire-to-wire win at Intermediate. Nava’s roll-back and turning show jumping course enabled Billys to stay on plan with prioritizing efficient turns and accurate tracks to stay within the time. On Saturday’s cross-country, by new Twin Rivers upper level designer, Hugh Lochore, the pair picked up only .4 time penalty. They sealed the victory with double clear show jumping to finish on a 28.2.

Derek di Grazia and Ringwood Justice were also double clear with elegantly executed angles throughout the track. They moved up from fourth to second for a 33.5 finish. Eneya Jenkins and Lawtown Boy had two rails, to finish third with a 36.4.

Super hosts, Twin Rivers owners Connie and Jeff Baxter. Photo: Kim F. Miller

Preliminary

Fifteen-year-old Bruce Hill wasn’t pleased with himself, but had nothing but praise for his partner, Bossinova, in maintaining the lead in the Preliminary Jr/YR division with a clean show jumping effort: “He saved my butt!” There was no room for rails or time faults, and the Trinity Eventing student acknowledged he was a little nervous in the warm-up. “But my horse is awesome!” The pair assumed the lead after cross-country and finished on their dressage score of 28.5.
Haley Turner and Shadow Inspector were second on a 29.9 and Kathryn Canario and Kiltubrid Rhapsody finished on their dressage score, 30.9, to maintain third place.

In the Preliminary Rider division, Alliston Eventing student India McEvoy held the one and two spots with E’Zara and Redbull, respectively. The small animal veterinarian was thrilled with both horses’ performance. The 7 -year-old Red Bull had held the lead thanks to his lovely dressage test and 22 score, but show jumping is still a nerve-wracking venue for the Redwine youngster. Two rails Sunday forced him to hand the top spot to his more seasoned stablemate. E’Zara had a tougher time with dressage but was error free jumping, in and out of the ring, to take the win.

Madeleine Moore and Rogadina moved up steadily to finish third on a 41.6.

In the Open Preliminary, Lauren Burnell and Freedom Hill were unbeatable from their Friday 24.1 dressage score on through the weekend. Double-clear showjumping was easy, breezy, beautiful to the point that even their coach, Bec Braitling, couldn’t catch them. Braitling and Sunsprite Warmbloods’ Kirschblute 3, had a tiny time penalty, .4, in show jumping, dropping them to third, while James Alliston and Calaro went clean to finish second on a 26.7.

Volunteer Leslie van der Wal with the sponsor-donated prize pack. Photo: Kim F. Miller

Next Up

Riders weren’t the weekend’s only winners. Among the many volunteers needed to make the competition successful, Leslie van der Wal drew the winning raffle ticket for a generous prize pack donated by Twin Rivers sponsors. The Twin Rivers Ranch season is presented by Professional’s Choice and Auburn Labs. The Riding Warehouse and Best Western PLUS Black Oak are supporting sponsors. The volunteer grand prizes included a bottle of Auburn Labs’ APF, a Professional’s Choice tote bag, and a $50 Riding Warehouse certificate. The prize pack raffle represents phase-one of an incentive program to reward this important role in the sport.
    
For complete results, the latest schedule and other information visit www.twinrivershorsepark.com.

 
March 2020 - Collegiate Competition
Written by photos by Kim F. Miller
Monday, 02 March 2020 19:52
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IHSA competition showcases good horsemanship and good fun.

photos by Kim F. Miller

UC Berkeley’s Cal Equestrian hosted an Intercollegiate Horse Show Association competition for Zone 8, Region 1, the weekend of Feb. 1-2 at Iron Horse Equestrian Center in the East Bay Area’s Pleasanton.

The IHSA was formed by Bob Cacchione in 1967 to enable college students to continue or begin an equestrian experience in an affordable manner and to compete on a level playing field with other universities. Team members do not have to own their own horse: instead, participating schools provide the horses. Teams hosting competitions provide horses for all competitors and riders draw names from a hat to determine what horse they will ride.

 


IHSA now counts 40 regions with eight zones, with 400 member colleges in 45 states and Canada. Its approximately 10,000 members compete in Hunt Seat and Western divisions. The IHSA has more schools and riders on the East Coast where it started, but the West is rising in both regular season participation numbers and in performances by the teams and individuals who qualify for the Nationals in the spring.

 

In addition to Cal, Stanford, UC Santa Cruz, Sonoma State, Santa Clara and Cal Poly fielded teams for the early February weekend. At a Stanford-hosted show the following weekend, Stanford secured its 15th consecutive regional championships and the 100th regular season victory for longtime coach Vanessa Bartsch.

Camaraderie within and between teams was evident when we visited the Cal Berkeley show. Good riding, good horsemanship and good fun were all in abundant evidence.

 

“Cassie

Friendly competitors.

Isabel DeLano of UC SC

Sonoma State team.

Cal Poly teammates discuss a round.

The Horse Draw.

Stanford Equestrian coach Vanessa Bartsch confers with riders.

Cal Poly Equestrian team.

 
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