EquestriSol News: June 13, 2008

Congratulations to west coast junior riders Lucy Davis, Shelby Wakeman, and Laura Ware who took Devon by storm! In the younger small junior hunter section, Lucy and Clockwork earned a Reserve Champion. Shelby dominated the equitation with wins in the USET and the Maclay, plus received the highest score in all three sections of the USET. Laura and her large junior hunter Parker were Reserve Champions, winning the Handy Hunter Class and trotting in third in the Large Jr. Hunter Stake. Top score earners, they brought home the Third Fox Hill Memorial Trophy for the highest score of all junior hunters competing in their handy class at Devon. The trophy dates back to the 1940s! What a triumph in their last junior year, as Shelby and Laura head to college this fall.

And there’s more – JoAnn Postel and Nancy Turrill of Foxfield were honored at the National Show Hunter Hall of Fame Annual Awards Dinner held during Devon each year. JoAnn and Nancy were the first to receive this special induction for their contribution to the horse industry. The west coast is honored to have a family oriented facility as well-respected as Foxfield. Did you know that Meredith Michaels Beerbaum attended camp at Foxfield?

Creative Saddlery Goes Hollywood
Taking on new ventures, Nick Byassee is an associate producer for two new movies by Indie filmmakers Mark and Michael Polish (“Northfork” and “The Astronaut Farmer”). The first film “Manure” started production in May and the second “Stay Cool” will begin shooting in July. More movie news as we hear it…

Happy Summer
We’re planning a fabulous summer of newsletters and other marketing projects. Want to join in on the fun? Call Tammy Chipko at (818) 472-5930.

Highlights Oaks Blenheim June 13, 2008

Oaks Blenheim June Classic I Grand Prix:

The Linda Allen course for last week’s $30,000 Oaks Classic Grand Prix was ‘tight’. With almost a third of the 31 riders garnering time faults and a handful struggling to fit in a snug seven strides to the last oxer after the water jump, it was aptly described by rider Guy Thomas as “technical and challenging yet not killer.”

Of the five that made the jump-off, four went clean and fast. Second-in proved best as Guy Thomas and Peterbilt stopped the clock at 43.094, edging out Susan Artes and Presto B by just over a second. The three other contenders – Kona with Francie Steinwedell-Carvin, Cassiato ridden by Harley Brown and last Peter Breakwell on Lucas – tried but didn’t succeed in catching those two top rides.

Thomas was proud of his homebred Peterbilt. “I’ve got a diamond in this horse,” he beamed. “He just keeps getting better and better.” The pair head to Spruce Meadows with his family’s Willow Tree Farm later this week for a month of shows in Calgary.

Young Riders Team (pictured top row, l-r): Karl Cook, Hannah Selleck, Haley Roberson, Paige Dotson, Sophie Benjamin (alt)
Junior Team (pictured bottom row, l-r): Lucy Davis, Alec Lawler, Savannah Carr, Annie Laurie Cook, Shelby Wakeman (alt)

Young Riders Selected:

The Zone 10 results are in for the North American Junior and Young Rider Teams. Bringing in their two top scores from the six trials, the competitors had a tough week of classes not only resulting in two solid teams but also preparing these riders for the upcoming FEI North American Junior and Young Rider Championships presented by CN. Heading to Colorado Horse Park in late July, Zone 10 will be defending their title from 2007 where both the ‘A’ and ‘B’ Teams won the gold.

The only competition of its kind, the NAJYRC invites riders ages 14-21 from the US, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Bermuda and the Caribbean Islands to test their skills under FEI rules.

Good luck to our Zone 10 teams.

$10,000 Hunter Derby:

2008 marks the year of the hunter derby and as we’ve learned, it’s only the beginning. True to derby regulations, the $10,000 Hunter Derby at Oaks Blenheim took place on the Grand Prix field filled with natural obstacles. John French held the lead in both rounds aboard Jenny Van Konyenburg’s Type Cast and also garnered second aboard Aura. Once again there was a variety of entrants – juniors, amateurs and professionals – where hunters as well as equitation horses had the chance to hunt derby style.

Highlights Oaks Blenheim April 10, 2008

$35,000 Spring Classic II Grand Prix

Susie Hutchison and El Dorado 29’s Cantano
win the $35,000 Oaks Blenheim Spring Classic II
Grand Prix on Saturday, April 5th.
Photo © Bryan Gray for
Captured Moment Photography

With technical questions ranging from a tight time allowed to tight lines and rollback turns, the Richard Jeffrey course was a solid horse and rider test. Second to go, Amanda Tallman sailed around the course without a fault, setting the pace. Not until the 17th horse went, Laurus with Sarah Baldwin, did Tallman have a challenge for the jump off. Out of a field of 39, three more women joined this fault-free group – Cantano and Susie Hutchison, Lionell ridden by Erin Duffy and Heather Olson on Latina.

Congratulations to Susie Hutchison and El Dorado 29’s Cantano on a beautiful, clean ride in 48.28 for the win.

The grass hill, bleachers and VIP Medal Club were filled with exhibitors and spectators who came out to enjoy an afternoon of show jumping plus a Kids’ Day which included bounce houses, mini-golf, food & vendor booths.

Oaks Blenheim Spring Classic III

This week the thrills move back to the Blenheim Covered Arena for the Open Equitation Classic on Friday, April 11th at 7pm. On Saturday, April 12th, enjoy an Exhibitor Party at 6pm followed by the $35,000 Oaks Blenheim Spring III Grand Prix at 7pm.

Exhibitor Party Details

Who: All Blenheim horse show exhibitors are welcome
What: Gourmet hot dogs, mini-sliders, fries, beverages
Where: Blenheim Covered Arena in the VIP area
When: Starts at 6pm – First come, first served for food & seating
Note: Be certain to bring your ID. We will need proof of age to serve alcohol

Highlights From Oaks Blenheim April 2008

Keri Potter and Rockford I win the $50,000 Orange County Register CSI-W World Cup Qualifier Grand Prix

Kudos to the Keris (and a Karazissis) this past week!

Keri Potter garners the win in the $50,000 Orange County Register CSI-W World Cup Qualifier Grand Prix and secures a spot for the World Cup if she chooses to head to Sweden. And in the hunter arena Keri Kampsen topped the field in the $10,000 USHJA Hunter Challenge riding On Top, owned by Monarch International.

Second to go, Potter entered the jump-off thinking ‘just go for it’ which clearly paid off – she was fastest by just over ½ a second. Guy Thomas put in a great ride with a time of 31.28 but couldn’t beat Potter’s 30.71 seconds.

Jenny Karazissis wins the First Annual Arthur Hawkins Award of Excellence.

“The Blenheim EquiSports team has been great and I always enjoy coming to these shows. Riding in the indoor ring here is great practice for future indoor competitions,” Potter commented.

Kampsen was glad to be riding the Hunter Challenge in the covered arena as well. “It was a totally different feel indoors – it worked out well for me.”

“The entire event was well done from start to finish. It was great that it was for Artie Hawkins. Artie judged me when I rode small ponies.”

A final congratulations highlight for Week I of the Oaks Blenheim Spring Series goes to Jenny Karazissis. Recipient of the First Annual Arthur Hawkins Award of Excellence, Karazissis was honored for her contribution to the show hunter discipline.

Keri Kampsen and Monarch International’s On Top win the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Challenge.
Photos © Captured Moment Photography

This week Oaks-Blenheim will host what might be the most interesting event of the entire year. The “You Thought You’d Never Ride Again” Professional Challenge will take place on the main Grand Prix field on Saturday afternoon immediately following the Spring Classic II Grand Prix. With $5,000 in prizes awarded to the winners, this might be your one and only chance to root on some legendary trainers as they hark back to their youth in a two round jumper/equitation competition.

Highlights From Oaks Blenheim March 2008

Photo © Vinton Karrasch

We start off our Spring Series with a bang, as we host the final West Coast Qualifier for the World Cup Finals in Gothenburg, Sweden as well as two North American Young Rider Trials. During our Spring Classic I and June Classic II shows we will host the newly created USHJA International Hunter Challenge Derby.

In addition, and back by popular demand, we will once again present the Open Equitation Classic at the Spring Classic III Horse Show, to be followed the next evening by the exhibitor party and the Grand Prix. But what might be the most interesting event of the entire year will take place on the main Grand Prix field immediately following the Spring Classic II Grand Prix, the “You Thought You’d Never Ride Again” Professional Challenge.

This might be your one and only chance to root on some legendary trainers as they hark back to their youth in a two-round jumper/equitation competition!

Our horse shows are divided into three categories. Tournaments will offer Grand Prix events of $50,000 or more in prize money and “AA” rated hunters. Classics will offer grand prix events with prize money between $25,000 and $35,000 and “AA” rated hunters.
Festivals will feature jumper classics and “A” rated hunters.

In addition, our website showpark.com will continue to provide class start times and next day’s orders. Be sure to register your e-mail online so that we can send you our newsletter.

We are working diligently to exceed your expectations as we plan another exciting and challenging year of competitions. Enjoy the Oaks Blenheim Newsletter. We look forward to seeing you in 2008.

Best Regards,

The Blenheim EquiSports Team

Highlights From HITS Thermal March 2008

Sunday, March 16th
On a cool, breezy Sunday the HITS DC Championship Week comes to an exciting close with six horses racing against the clock in the jump-off, including Guillermo Obligado on Suleyman de Wulf Selection, World Cup contender Keri Potter on her mount Rockford I, Master of Faster Richard Spooner riding Cristallo, veteran Eddie Macken aboard Tedechine Sept, Canadian Jill Henselwood on Special Ed and Olympic hopeful Will Simpson on El Campeon’s Tosca, in the $200,000 HITS Desert Circuit Invitational Grand Prix. Only two managed to go double clear and we congratulate Richard Spooner and Cristallo on their victory.

Saturday, March 15th / Sunday, March 16th

The west coast was honored to host the R.W. “Ronnie” Mutch Equitation Classic. Challenging by design, junior riders were on their own for every aspect of the class – walking the course, preparing their horse and making decisions about the ride – plus the track included some technical adjustments and stride options. On top of all that, the class went at night under the lights in the Grand Prix arena and the weather was windy to say the least. The wind picked up towards the end of the second round, leading to management deciding to complete the class on Sunday morning. Congratulations to Carly Anthony riding the beautiful Vogue to the win, just one point ahead of Shelby Wakeman on San Francisco.

Friday, March 14th

Congratulations also to Tache Rouge and John French on their win in the $10,000 ASG Software Solutions/USHJA International Hunter Derby Classic topping a talented field of handy hunters. Held under the lights in the Grand Prix arena, professionals, amateurs and juniors competed in this special class. Under the scrutiny of four judges, the top 12 horses hunted around two rounds of courses that included a snake option jump, liverpool, trot fence and the anticipated long gallop to the last oxer.

All three of the highlighted events drew a great crowd. No matter what the weather, spectators had fun and participated in cheering on hunters, jumpers and eq horses.

To view all of the HITS Thermal press releases, please click here.

We’ve listed the Desert Circuit Champions and Reserve Champions by division below – congratulations to all the exhibitors and we wish you continued success throughout the 2008 show season.


Highlights From HITS Thermal February 2008

Mid-Circuit Recap

Starting off with a bang, Grand Prix rider Richard Spooner, the Desert Circuit’s all-time leading money winner, had two back-to-back wins, first on Gerry the Grey and then on Ezrah. The win on Ezrah was his 100th – only one other rider has achieved that number. Impressive!

Speaking of impressive, the EquiBase™ Arena Systems new covered ring, which is home to all four $50,000 Tourneau FEI World Cup Qualifiers presented by Adequan, has proven to be a great venue for horse, rider and spectator. The atmosphere is intimate, the footing fabulous and the courses challenging. Topping two exciting jump-offs, Rich Fellers and Flexible took the blues in both FEI classes. He now sits comfortably in the top 5 for the West Coast World Cup standings.

Here’s a list of the other 2008 HITS Desert Circuit Grand Prix winners:

• $25,000 Ariat Grand Prix, January 30th: Mark Watring/Sapphire

• $125,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by EMO, February 3rd: Joie Gatlin/Camaron Hills Shanroe

• $25,000 Ariat Grand Prix, February 7th: Kim Farlinger/Cordoba

• $50,000 Purina Mills Grand Prix, February 10th: John Pearce/Archie Bunker

With $375,000 of the $925,000 total Grand Prix prize money awarded, every Grand Prix at the Desert Circuit is a qualifier for the $200,000 Invitational Grand Prix on Sunday, March 16. The top 30 pairs will be invited to compete.

The Grand Prix ring hosted the hunters during the $10,000 ASG Software Solutions/ USHJA International Hunter Style Derby Classic Week III. Truly an exciting event to watch, riders have a chance to earn points in the handy hunter section by taking tight turns, jumping natural obstacles and maintaining a hunt-course gallop. Jenny Karazissis and Swoon out performed 26 other exhibitors to take home the blue for owners El Campeon Farms.

Kids Day at HITS Thermal
Photo © Flying Horse Photography

HITS Desert Circuit Salutes Its First Half Heroes 

Tara Spencer has dominated the pony ring at the HITS Desert Circuit. Just 11 years old, Spencer earned 24 blue ribbons and 19 red ribbons during the first half of the circuit. Impressive accolades include two Mid-Circuit Championships aboard Brookway Stables’ Tuscany in the Medium Pony Hunter Division and Keep Dreamin’ in the Large Pony Hunter Division. She was also named the Best Child Rider in the Pony division for all three weeks. Spencer is now off to HITS Ocala and will be riding for Don Stewart.

Also shining at HITS Desert Circuit is top hunter rider John French, who was named Mid-Circuit Champion on his mount Obelix in the Adequan Hunter Division. And his client Alison Baileys, riding her fabulous Tache Rouge, was High Point Mid-Circuit A/O Hunter 18-35, earning the Jennifer Marlborough Freeman Memorial Trophy.

The Pink Ladies at the Equine Idol Contest
Photo © Flying Horse Photography

More than a Horse Show – Fun in the Sun at HITS Desert Circuit

The special events calendar is in full swing. Entertaining events to date include a dog costume contest, the ever-popular Kids Day and a hilarious Equine Idol competition judged by Huntover Farm’s Mark Bone, Showbiz Magazine’s Kathy Hobstetter and Waldenbrook’s John French.

The second half features more out-of-ring festivities, including a fashion show, presented by Horse Connection Magazine, an exhibitor golf tournament at Indian Palms and the annual WCAR Fundraising Party at the Miramonte Resort & Spa in Indian Wells.

Highlights From HITS Thermal January 2008

HITS Thermal unveiled its new, covered EquiBase™ Arena Systems Ring on Saturday Jan. 26th when Nicoletta Von Heidegger of Chatsworth, California topped 26 competitors during the jumper phase of the Washington Equitation Classic at HITS Desert Circuit I.

On Friday evening, Feb. 1st , the innovative covered ring was the site of the first of four $50,000 Tourneau FEI World Cup Qualifiers, presented by Adequan during the 2008 HITS Desert Circuit. VIP Oasis Club Members will have exclusive access to a special area set up for these four World Cup Qualifiers. VIP Oasis Club Chef Ric Orlando and his team will present the guests with a fantastic array of hors d’oeuvres.

The EquiBase Ring features completely new jumps from Olaf Petersen and unique decorations from course decorator Evie Frisque. “Evie’s wonderful décor is beyond description,” said HITS Thermal’s Office Manager Donna Vale. “The combination of her skills and the new jumps make the ring a very elegant place to show.”

Used extensively throughout Europe for a number of years, EquiBase mats are made from 100 percent recycled PVC that has been proven to be environmentally friendly. The mats have a moisture-retention system on the topside while the underside ensures highly efficient drainage of excess water. The design of the mats helps to increase the stability of the footing layer in a ring by preventing “shear stress” or movement of the footing. This feature enables horse and rider to execute quick turns at high speed, making it ideal for Grand Prix show jumping. In addition, the mats have also been shown to provide shock absorption, which helps to protect ligaments, tendons and joints.

“Footing is the critical component in the long term health and soundness of these magnificent equine athletes,” said Joy Koch, Director of North American Operations for EquiBase Arena Systems International. ‘By making footing a priority, HITS is helping ensure that the horses competing at their venues will be able to perform at top level over the long haul. We applaud Tom Struzzieri, Fred Bauer and the rest of the HITS management team for taking this decisive step for the well-being of our top show-jumping horses.”

The EquiBase system is an integral part of HITS’ comprehensive plan to improve footing at both the Thermal CA and Ocala FL venues this winter. Koch and EquiBase Chief Executive Officer, Wolfgang Bacher, have supplied more than 2000 EquiBase mats and over 10 tons of EquiBase Geotextil Fiber for use in the new HITS Thermal indoor ring. The EquiBase mats at HITS Thermal are the very same design that were installed in Rome at the 75th Concourse Piazza di Sienna for the 2007 Samsung Super League Nations Cup and at the Hong Kong Jockey Club, which will host the equestrian events during the 2008 Olympics in China.

The FEI class in the new EquiBase™ Arena Systems Ring on Friday was one of three Grand Prix classes this week. First on Thursday, January 31st, was the $25,000 Ariat Grand Prix. On Sunday, February 3rd some of the West Coast’s most elite riders rode (through wind and dust) top international course designer Leopoldo Palacios’ route in the Grand Prix presented by EMO. The Ariat and EMO classes will take place in the Grand Prix ring.

Highlights From Seven Weeks Of Culinary Delights By Chef Ric

Chef Ric Orlando and his team have set a new standard for horse show dining and it’s yours for the tasting at Thermal. Now that the all-new HITS Oasis Club is open daily for breakfast and lunch at the HITS Desert Horse Park, members can savor the many fabulous flavors throughout the day.

“We’re from the Napa Valley and are very spoiled when it comes to fine dining,” commented Grand Prix rider Macella O’Neill. “Ric Orlando’s kitchen at the Oasis Club lives up to our highest expectations.” Renowned hunter judge Bucky Reynolds confirmed the acclaim, saying, “This is truly Five-Star dining at a horse show!”

Ric is the chef-owner of New World Home Cooking Co., a favorite dining spot for horse show competitors in Saugerties, New York. His impressive culinary resume spans nearly three decades with experience gathered at groundbreaking restaurants such as the Elm City Diner in New Haven, (the original) Harvest in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the Wild Goose in Boston, Sugar Reef in Manhattan, Yates Street and Justin’s in Albany, New York. Some of his many honors include the Zagat Award of Distinction, Culinary Institute of America Best of the Hudson Bon Vivant Award and American Culinary Federation 1993 Culinarian of the Year. His New World Home Cooking Co. received the 2006 Santé Restaurant Award for Innovative Cuisine.

Chef Ric’s eclectic background includes stints as a punk rocker, a fashion model, a poet, and a music video producer. Now, when his demanding chef schedule allows, he is working on a book with writing partner Jessica Bard, Ric Orlando’s Hudson Valley Kitchen.
“I relish this opportunity to present my unique style of cooking to a new west coast audience,” said Orlando. “We are delighted to bring a menu with South-of-the-Border and Asian influences to the HITS Desert Circuit. We’re adding our own southern California twist using my trademark Global Heritage and sustainable Clean Food.” Some of the delectable choices on the menu: Roasted Garlic Caesar Salad with Grilled Sugar Cane Shrimp, Jerked Pork Loin with Mango-Coconut Salsa, Chicken and Andouille Jambalaya, Curried Chicken and Mango Salad Wrap, Grilled Salmon with Chimmichurri and Arugula Sauce.

Desserts to die for include: Phyllo Cups with Lemon Curd and Fresh Berries, Chocolate-Glazed Macaroons, Chocolate Truffle Cups.

Enjoy breakfast Ric Orlando style with fabulous scones and Danish pastries complementing cooked-to-order omelets or try French toast with real maple syrup and twice-smoked grilled bacon and ham. Savor the shrimp grits!

Throughout the eight-week HITS Desert Circuit Chef Orlando plans to custom develop menu innovations. Ric will be out front meeting folks and inquiring about individual food preferences.

The HITS Desert Circuit VIP Oasis Club is available by membership only with both weekly and circuit price packages. Ask any show secretary for more information or call the horse show office at (760)399-9200.