Saturday, September 18, 2010: ASPCA Maclay West Coast Regional Finals
The ASPCA Maclay championship class was first held in 1933 at the National Horse Show and has since remained one of the most coveted events for junior riders (ages 17 & under) throughout the country. The goal of the prestigious competition is to inspire young equestrians to not only develop superior horsemanship skills, but also encourage respect and compassion towards their equine cohorts. In order to qualify for Saturday evening’s West Coast Regional Finals, junior riders must have earned 25 points as of August 31, 2010. Best of luck to all who earned a spot in the finals, held in November at the Syracuse Invitational Sporthorse Tournament.
Thirty-nine leading West Coast junior equitation riders competed in Blenheim Farm’s covered arena on the evening of September 18th. With thirty returning for the flat phase and five for the work-off, it was 16-year-old Kylee Arbuckle aboard Kimberly Lynch’s D’Anconia Copper, who finished on top.
Scott Starnes’ course of fourteen obstacles asked the riders to commit to a flowing pace while riding the track. Eighth to compete in the over fences phase, Arbuckle (Karen Healey & Devon Gibson, trainers) showed mastery of the course and rode her mount with style and poise, earning her a spot in the top ten of the flat phase.
Following the jumping portion of the competition, the top thirty riders in the class were called back to work on the flat, divided into three groups of ten with the highest scoring riders flatting last.
Judges Kip Rosenthal and John Roper then chose their top five and asked them to return to the ring for a work-off. In reverse order, the juniors were asked to jump several jumps, including a trot jump and a rollback turn as well as to demonstrate two simple changes through the walk before returning to the line-up. Sitting second after the over fences and flat phases, Arbuckle had the advantage of watching three riders test before her, Audrey Coulter (Mary Manfredi, trainer), Clementine Yost (Benson Carroll, trainer) and Morgan Geller (Peter Lombardo, trainer). She clearly commanded the work-off requirements, having the most solid ride of the five. Sitting first after the first two rounds, Theodore Boris (Karen Healey, trainer) was the final junior to tackle the test. Unfortunately, he missed to the jump after the rollback turn, leaving the win open for Arbuckle.
“[Kylee’s] work-off was great,” commented Arbuckle’s trainer of three years, Karen Healey. In addition to being happy with her student’s test, Healey was also glad to see that Arbuckle’s over fences trip was scored properly despite pulling a rail on course. “Her first round was scored just how it should have been – as if the rail didn’t come down – and then four points were taken off of her [final over fences] score.”
Although winning is glorious, earning a place in the top fifteen will hopefully earn a spot in the prestigious finals in Syracuse this November. Once the final regional competition of eight throughout the country is complete, the exact number of qualified riders per regional will be announced.
SIN CITY IN NOVEMBER, SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO IN DECEMBER:
It’s time to gear up for a “suite” show in Sin City. All of the exciting event details are coming together for the Las Vegas National at the beginning of November and you don’t want to miss out. With a new VIP Lounge, fabulous Vegas parties with sweet deals for VIP and a show schedule spanning several divisions, there is no reason not to treat yourself (and why not bring your horse) to a place that offers a suite room right above your barn. Not to mention the nine restaurants, casino, theatres, shows, bowling alley and shopping just at South Point alone, with the Vegas Strip a free shuttle ride away.
Wrap up the competition for the year with the new show series here in San Juan Capistrano in December. The Blenheim Holiday Classic I runs from December 2nd – 5th, followed the next week by the Blenheim Holiday Classic II from December 9th -12th.