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

photos: Kim F. Miller

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

Jamie Taylor & L’Con Reyes, winners by tie-breaker!

Karli Postel& Banksy.

The top 12 scoring horse/rider pairs from the first round field of 32 returned in reverse order of their scores, with Jamie Taylor and L’Con Reyes the first to enter the Oaks International Grand Prix Field. Their original score would have put them low in the final standings, but they were granted a re-ride at the end of that round due to a “miscommunication” regarding the handiness factor. Even more unusually, that re-ride score put Jamie and L’Con Reyes in a tie with Karli Postel and Banksy, with a two-round total of 170.87 points. In this class, ties are broken by one panel’s score, working in Jamie’s favor this time out.

At the press conference with the top finishers, all were gracious about the circumstances and excited for the Spectacular’s opportunity to showcase their horses on the venue’s beautiful grass field. Jamie explained that she had received the wrong answer from whomever she asked about the handiness, hence the request for a do-over after watching other finalists take more handy paths.

The wide range of ages and experience among the contenders was another distinguishing factor for the Spectacular. Not hampered by a recently broken wrist, 12-year-old Stella Wasserman rode three horses in the class. She kicked off the competition on Boss, laying down an 88 that topped the field in the first go-round. She wound up fourth on Boss and 12th on Fine Design. Amateur rider Jacqueline Attwood-Dupont was thrilled to finish third with Spotlight. She works full time as a management consultant and doesn’t get to ride often between shows.

Jacqueline Attwood-Dupont & Spotlight.

Last year’s Spectacular winner Jenny Karazissis finished fifth on Big Shot, followed by fellow pro John Bragg on Now We’re Talkin’, while 13-year-old Augusta Iwasaki rode to 7th and 8th on Small Occasion and Vanderpump.

12-year-old Stella Wasserman went first with Boss & won the first round. She rode 3 horses, even with a broken wrist!

Jenny Karizissis & Big Shot, 5th overall.

John Bragg & Now We’re Talking, 6th overall.

Augusta Iwasaki & Small Occassion, 7th overall.

The riding was followed by the presentation of many awards made possible by the Spectacular’s many sponsors: Charles Owen, Inc., The Official Helmet of the USHJA; CWD, The Official Saddle of the USHJA; Parlanti, The Official Riding Boot of the USHJA; Professional’s Choice, The Official Horse Boot of the USHJA; Rood & Riddle, The Official Equine Hospital and Veterinary Pharmacy of the USHJA; Shapley’s, sponsor of the Best Turned Out Horse for USHJA Hunter Championships; as well as Awards Sponsor FITS Riding.