December 2015 - Full House
Written by Kim F. Miller
Saturday, 28 November 2015 04:50
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The Las Vegas National Horse Show has come a long way, baby!

photos & report by Kim F. Miller

At the press conference following Saturday night’s exciting Longines FEI™ World Cup class, organizer Robert Ridland recalled the show starting with roughly 80 horses. This year’s running at the South Point Hotel & Casino Equestrian Center saw about 600, with several that had to be turned away.

FEI Longines World Cup winner Peter Lutz & Robin de Ponthual.

Simon Nizri & E Muze Yek.

Margie Engle & Royce in the 1.45M class.

Karl Cook & fhe Flying Ham.

Landing a spot in the Longines FEI™ World Cup North American League this year brought an abundance of participants to the National’s three FEI classes. There were 57 entries in the Thursday night 1.5M Speed Classic, from which the top 30 moved forward to Saturday’s showdown. As with preceding World Cup qualifiers in Sacramento and Del Mar, this class provided a great chance to see our familiar Grand Prix riders go up against some of the world’s best.


The victor was New York-based Peter Lutz on the gorgeous Selle Francais stallion Robin de Ponthual, one of eight to go clean over Olaf Peterson, Jr.’s first round course. We did get a local rider on the winner’s podium as Audrey Coulter and her new ride, Domino, were double clear to finish second.

WCE Medal Finals winner Emma Marlowe, right, enters the ring with reserve champion Nina Vogel.

Audrey Coulter & Domino.

In a nice coming full circle, Peter used to coach Audrey and her older sister Saer, at their family’s facility in the Bay Area. We haven’t seen much of Audrey lately. She took a break from riding to finish college at Dartmouth, then spent time in Belgium with top young champ Jos Verlooy. That’s who she got her newest mount, Domino, from and she said she’s based with Jos about half the year now. Third place went to two-time Australian Olympian Matt Williams and Valinski S.

Jos finished fourth aboard Sunshine.

Our local heroes did really well, too. Karl Cook, Rich Fellers and Will Simpson had just four faults, so they got some prize money and also points for the World Cup rankings in the West sub-league.

After five of the seven qualifiers in our region, Karl is first, followed closely by Will and Rich. Richard Spooner and amateur Allyssa Hecht stay well within striking distance of the top three rungs that will earn berths to the Finals in Sweden next March. There are just two more qualifiers to go out West: Mexico in January and Thermal in February.

Blenheim EquiSports was the first show organizer I’m aware of to incorporate sports stadium-style promotions: like t-shirt launchers that sent giveaways sailing to happy fans in the stands. In Vegas, a “glow show” was fun pre-game entertainment and I especially liked the Parade of Nations when riders entered the arena on foot, bearing the flags of the eight countries they represented. The show took place the day after the Paris bombings, and it was a special moment to hear the warm response California-based French rider Eric Navet received from the crowd.

Jamie Barge & Luebbo were 4th in the 1.45 $35,000 Las Vegas Winning Round class.

Nayel Nassar & Acita, winners of the 1.45 M.

Kudos to the Marlowe girls, both students of Leslie Steele at Acres West. On the same day, Nov. 14, Emma Marlowe maintained her lead in the West Coast Equestrians Medal Final in Las Vegas to win the whole shebang, with Citadel, while her big sister Gracie won the LAHJA Senior Finals in Burbank!

There was also great action in the various NAL finals in Las Vegas. These are season-ending championships for our region’s hunter and jumper, junior and amateur contenders and they have grown a lot in popularity.

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