From footing to fun social events, classes to catering, the team at Blenheim EquiSports was ready for the spring show season. Arenas buzzed with action often after dark. The Blenheim covered arena was the stage for the final west coast World Cup qualifier, and what a World Cup Finals it turned out to be. Easter Saturday at Blenheim included an egg hunt, brunch, face painting and a visit from the Easter Bunny himself. All this action took place alongside the Amateur-Owner Hunter Classic, where Mr. Bunny awarded first prize. Saturday of both week two and week three was grand prix day; both shows offered a $35,000 Grand Prix class. The VIP area came alive on Friday last week during the $10,000 COTH/USHJA International Hunter Derby, with a wine and cheese reception followed by a post derby party that truly rocked.
New this year, each exhibitor had the option to receive a Blenheim EquiSport’s Community Partners Card, offering special discounts at a list of local businesses. From cleaners to restaurants, riders and owners saved some green when using the Blenheim black card.
Blenheim Spring Tournament
After a busy show the first week, the World Cup qualifying season came to a close on this coast with the $30,000 Royal Champion Jumper Classic on Wednesday night and the $50,000 Orange County Register CSI-W Grand Prix on Friday night. Course designer Olaf Petersen Jr. set the tracks for the CSI-W week. Read more about him in Conversations with Course Designers in this issue.
It was a Canadian sweep both nights. Wednesday congratulations go to Karen Cudmore and Southern Pride for stopping the timers a mere tenth of a second faster than fellow Canadian John Pearce with third going to Chris Pratt. Saturday the only rider to navigate the course without incurring a fault was John Pearce and Chianto for the win. Fellow Canadians Cudmore and Pratt were clean over the jumps but both barely exceeded the 66-second time allowed and collected one time fault apiece. Cudmore, completing the course in 66.47, took second place aboard her young mount Ceonto. Third-place finisher Chris Pratt tripped the timers in 68.24 with VDL Groep Union.
On Thursday evening Jenny Karazissis topped a field of 22 entries to win the Open Equitation Classic. Always competitive amongst top trainers, junior and amateurs, the work off included switching horses and Jenny prevailed.
We now know who from the left coast traveled to Geneva, Switzerland for the Rolex FEI World Cup Finals on April 14-18, 2010. And due to volcanic ash from Iceland most are actually stranded there temporarily. With 106 points, Rich Fellers and Flexible were technically untouchable as the leaders for the West Coast as well as for the speed class in Geneva on Thursday night. Dropping a few rails through the remaining rounds, the duo ended up a creditable 12th place in the World Cup Finals. With a total of 92 points, Joie Gatlin secured her second place position in the qualifying list. She and the young Camaron Hills Quick Dollar gave it a go and held their own in very tough international competition.
After a very successful circuit at WEF this winter, veteran Richard Spooner only added two points to his score on Quirino 3 but hopped on a plane and got to Tampa in time to give it a go at the last east coast qualifier with Cristallo. He ended up with 12 more points and earned a spot on the west coast list with a final total of 88. Worth the effort, he had a gallant 7th place World Cup Finals finish coming from behind with a double clear final round.
And young Stefanie Saperstein deserves a mention. She rode well throughout the qualifying season, taking her total to a very commendable 79 points. She is certainly one to watch. More about the controversial FEI World Cup Finals in this issue’s EquestriSol News.
Blenheim Spring Classic II
While competitors filled the show arenas each day, on Saturday exhibitors and spectators alike were seen at the far corner of the facility for free “Kids Day” fun. Giggles of delight could be heard coming from the colorful bounce houses while other happy youngsters mounted up for pony rides, or played a round or two of mini-golf. The hillside was home to families enjoying picnics while watching the action on the International Field.
The clever course designed by Guilherme Jorge for Saturday afternoon’s $35,000 Blenheim Spring Classic II Grand Prix on the International Field took its toll on the twenty-five entrants with only one clean. Congratulations to Susie Hutchinson piloting El Dorado 29’s Cantano to her ninth grand prix win. Several of those victories happened right here on this field over the last few seasons. Becky Smith rode Fitzpatrick 2 to a clean round over the jumps but not against the clock, earning second with a 3 fault score.
Fastest of the four faulters was John McConnell riding Rancho Corazon LLC’s Katie Riddle. It was also nice to see so many rising young stars compete in the class, including Cayla Richards, 16; Lucy Davis, 17; Chenoa McElvain, 18; Stefanie Saperstein, 19; Veronica Tracy and Paige Dotson, both 20 years of age. Lucy had just one rail and took fourth on Old Oak Farm’s Nemo 119 and Stefanie incurred eight faults on El Sueno’s Cantalupi for tenth.
Seventeen riders reunited on the International Field on Sunday for the $5,000 Junior-Amateur/Owner Jumper Classic. This time owner and rider Richard Neal piloted Luke Skywalker to the win. Leslie Steele topped the field in the following class, the $5,000 1.40m Jumper classic, aboard Oh My Goodness.
But the action didn’t just take place in the jumper rings, the hunter and equitation classes were equally as busy. Pegasus Show Stable’s Truly Noble with Mitch Endicott in the irons took home the blue in the Pony Hunter Classic and the Medium Pony Hunter Championship. In the Large Junior Hunters 15 & under division, Destry Spielberg rode Dogwood Hill LLC’s Rumba to the tri-color as well as to a win in the Junior Hunter Classic. Iwasaki & Reilly’s Small Affair garnered two championships, one by winning every class in the Second Year Green Working Hunter division and the other in the Large Junior Hunters, 16-17. Theo Boris, Killian McGrath and Cassandra Kahle were the top names in the Big Eq this week.
Visiting publicist extraordinaire, Sydney Masters, sat down with Kenneth Vinther to discuss his recent trip to Seoul, Korea. Read about it in Equestrian Adventures in this issue.
Blenheim Spring Classic III
During both the Spring Tournament and last week’s Spring Classic II, the Young Jumper Championship qualifiers went on the International Field putting five, six, seven and eight year olds to the test in hopes of making it to the League Finals of the YJC late in the summer at Showpark.
Hundreds gathered on the hill and in the VIP Tent for the Friday afternoon $10,000 COTH/USHJA International Hunter Derby, honoring Arthur Hawkins. After two rounds of competition, Parker, a 9-year-old Dutch warmblood, ridden by Katie Gardner led the victory gallop for owner Caroline Miguelez. Gardner, an emerging professional, nabbed her first USHJA International Hunter Derby win which further adds to her impressive achievements from her days as a junior rider, such as winning the USEF Talen Search West Coast Medal Finals. The rest of the top five included Jenny Karazissis on Forbes (Tonia Look Cooker, owner), Melissa Doddridge on her Best Man, and Nick Haness on two entries, Gelato (Conor Perrin, owner) and Davlyn Farm’s Catwalk.
During the Handy Round of the Hunter Derby, attendees sipped wine and snacked on gourmet cheese while watching hunters gallop around two grass fields. Guest announcer for the derby as well as special guest DJ for the after-the-class party was none other than John Huntington, star of the A&E hit reality series INKED. Many riders kicked off their boots and put on their dancing shoes for the ACT I party presented by Blenheim EquiSports and Huntington Equestrian.
We were lucky enough to stop Huntington long enough for an interview; we plan to ink our own piece on the man behind the music and how he landed in our equestrian world in a future newsletter.
The fun and fierce competition continued on Saturday, with a course designed by Jack Robson. An interesting and entertaining individual, learn more about Jack and his jack in a newsletter from last year, Conversation with Course Designers. Thirty-five entries competed in the $35,000 Blenheim Spring Classic III Grand Prix. Robson designed a track that posed a variety of questions with seven pairs proceeding to a shorter jump off round. Only one rider on two horses produced double clear scores, as Ireland’s Jennifer Crooks had a one-two finish with her gray mares S.F. Uryadi and S.F. Tin Tin, respectively.
Close on Crooks’ heels was Michelle Parker. She had a faster jump off time but just one knockdown kept her from taking over the first place prize, ending up in third place aboard Cross Creek Farm’s Socrates de Midos. Consistent competitor John McConnell managed another excellent finish with partner Katie Riddle (Rancho Corozan, LLC, owner) and their four fault jump off score was good enough for fourth place. Fifth place finisher was acclaimed show jumper Hap Hansen with Nancy Markell’s His Horse. The other two riders to join the jump off were 17-year-old Paris Sellon, who took sixth place with her own Troyes, and Jenni Martin-McAllister rode to the seventh place finish with Riptide (Alison Friedman, owner). Jenni almost had two in the jump-off, but was less than a second over the time allowed on Maloubet de Rouet and had to settle for eighth.
Along with all the above, Blenheim is also coming to you online in a variety of ways. Look for the ‘Blenheim’ tab on PhelpsSports.com. If you’re not a member of Phelps, now is the time. There you will find details on all the above featured classes, including course walks.Become a fan of Blenheim EquiSports on Facebook and get connected with the latest updates, announcements and news. If you’re a tweeter follow Blenheim at twitter.com/blenheimeq.
Spring Series Results
|Blenheim Spring Tournament: $50,000 Orange County Register CSI-W|
|1||Chianto||John Pearce||Forest View Farm||0/65.63|
|2||Ceonto||Karen Cudmore||Blair Cudmore||1/66.47|
|3||VDL Groep Union||Chris Pratt||Stoeterij Duyselshof||1/68.24|
|4||Cantano||Susan Hutchison||El Dorado 29||4/63.00|
|5||El Sueno’s Quanto VL||Stefanie Saperstein||El Sueno de Amistad||4/64.11|
|6||Son of a Gun||John Pearce||Forest View Farm||4/64.84|
|7||G5||Chris Pratt||Indigo Farms LLC||5/69.45|
|8||Camaron Hill’s Quick Dollar||Joie Gatlin||Camaron Hills Farm||8/62.96|
|9||Southern Pride||Karen Cudmore||Blair Cudmore||8/63.74|
|10||Vivaldi||Mark Watring||Nancy Rosen||9/67.57|
|11||Cassiato||Harley Brown||Oak Park Group LLC||9/67.79|
|12||Cracky Z||Lauren Hester||Hester Equestrian||9/68.26|
|$35,000 Blenheim Spring Classic II Grand Prix|
|1||Cantano||Susan Hutchison||El Dorado 29||0/84.264|
|2||Fitzpatrick 2||Becky Smith||Becky Smith||3/92.091|
|3||Katie Riddle||John McConnell||Rancho Corazon LLC||4/82.101|
|4||Nemo 119||Lucy Davis||Old Oak Farm||4/83.870|
|5||Bristol||Rusty Stewart||Kandi Stewart||4/86.666|
|6||SF Shakira||Michael Endicott||David Robinson||8/85.330|
|7||Cracky Z||Lauren Hester||Hester Equestrian||8/85.519|
|8||McLord’s First John||Lane Clarke||Mickey Hayden||8/87.403|
|9||Santiago||Michael Endicott||Nicolas Nierenberg||8/89.373|
|10||El Sueno’s Cantalupi||Stefanie Saperstein||El Sueno de Amistad||8/89.565|
|11||Camaron Hills Shanroe||Molly Tala||Camaron Hills Farm||12/80.049|
|12||Vivaldi||Mark Watring||Nancy Rosen||12/83.697|
|$10,000 The Chronicle of the Horse/USHJA International Hunter Derby|
|Place||Rider & Horse||Owner||Score|
|1||Katie Gardner & Parker||Caroline Miguelez||177, 183.5 = 360.5|
|2||Jenny Karazissis & Forbes||Tonia Cook Looker||172, 187 = 359|
|3||Melissa Doddridge & Best Man||Melissa Doddridge||170, 184 = 354|
|4||Nick Haness & Gelato||Conor Perrin||173.5, 176.5 = 350|
|5||Nick Haness & Catwalk||Davlyn Farms||184, 166 = 350|
|6||Gail Ross & Toska||Pacifica Riding Club||167.5, 181 = 348.5|
|7||Hap Hansen & Billy||Ali DeGowin||167, 181 = 348|
|8||Peter Lombardo & Graziana||Janie Andrew||167, 177 = 344|
|9||Melissa Doddridge & Bentley||Pamela Doddridge||169, 170 = 339|
|10||Keri Kampsen & On Top||Laurel Ridge Sport Horses, LLC||168, 170 = 338|
|11||Devon Gibson & Copperfield||Richard Mazess||173.5, 163 = 336.5|
|12||Elsa Horrigan & Crimson Z||Star Lane Farms, Inc.||166.5, 160 = 326.5|
|$35,000 Blenheim Spring Classic III Grand Prix|
|1||S.F. Uryadi||Jennifer Crooks||Olivia Cox-Fill||0/0/42.119|
|2||S.F. Tin Tin||Jennifer Crooks||Olivia Cox-Fill||0/0/43.919|
|3||Socrates De Midos||Michelle Parker||Cross Creek Farms, Inc.||0/4/37.864|
|4||Katie Riddle||John McConnell||Rancho Corazon LLC||0/4/39.650|
|5||His Horse||Hap Hansen||Nancy Markwell||0/4/41.194|
|6||Troyes||Paris Sellon||Paris Sellon||0/6/51.958|
|7||Riptide||Jenni Martin McAllister||Alison Friedman||0/12/37.892|
|8||Maloubet du Rouet||Jenni Martin McAllister||Jenni Martin McAllister||1/84.290|
|9||Warco Van DeHalhoeve||Ali Nilforushan||Ali Nilforushan||4/77.260|
|10||Vivaldi||Mark Watring||Nancy Rosen||4/77.470|
|11||McLord’s First John||Lane Clarke||Mickey Hayden||4/80.215|
|12||Undiamo||Ali Nilforushan||Ali Nilforushan||4/81.146|