Highlights From Summer 2011 Blenheim Series

July was superb from the intimate setting of our inaugural Surf & Turf Classic at Blenheim Farms to the series of July shows at Showpark in Del Mar. We eased into August by wrapping up at Showpark and heading north to the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park in San Juan Capistrano for two weeks, where we welcomed the USEF Junior Hunter Finals, West Coast and more. The grass field was all dressed up for the occasion and we congratulate all who had the opportunity to participate in this prestigious event.

See Junior Hunter Finals Full Press Release…

The much anticipated indoor and medal finals season is passing quickly. We opened it with the CPHA hosting their first equitation final for juniors and amateurs in the Blenheim Covered Arena. Kicking off a slew of medal finals throughout northern and southern California, including the CPHA Foundation Finals for three age groups down in Del Mar and the ASPCA Regional Finals back at the Blenheim Covered Arena, we offer ample opportunity for year-end goals as well as preparation for those heading east for Indoors.

Speaking of indoors, World Cup Qualifiers are in full swing. We are pleased to host three $50,000 CSI-W events in three locations, Del Mar, San Juan Capistrano and Las Vegas.

We look forward to seeing show jumpers, hunters and medal finalists in Las Vegas this November. The schedule includes the inaugural North American League Finals (NAL) for five divisions, the PCHA Adult Equitation Medal Finals and FEI classes on Thursday and Saturday as well as a $20,000 1.35M Speed Classic on Wednesday and a $10,000 Winning Round class also on Saturday.

The flavor of the season was certainly in good taste, not just with the competition but socially as well. From Mardi Gras to Casino Nights to Elegant Evenings, the mix of good sport and good fun was prevalent this year. Look for the Socially Speaking details below.

Starting with a weekend of jumper classes at Blenheim Farms and ending with the $25,000 Blenheim Summer Classic I Grand Prix, we hosted some hot as well as some cool competition.

Show Jumping Fun For Everyone
Pleased with the turnout we had for our inaugural weekend show at Blenheim Farms, Course designer Robert Ridland set some great tracks – the show jumping was super. Virgo with Eduardo Sanchez Navarro aboard won the highlight $15,000 1.45M Jumper Classic but we would like to thank and congratulate all who participated in the Surf & Turf Classic.

Showpark Series Week One: Classic Classics
From low to high, hunter and jumpers, the Showpark Summer Festival classics were competitive. The highlight $20,000 1.40M Jumper Classic welcomed thirty-five entries. With fourteen in the jump-off, the second round was a race to the finish. Nine of the fourteen were split amongst three riders. Michelle Parker returned on all four of her mounts – Socrates De Midos, Reina, Soloman’s Pride and Xei Ha – Jaime Azcarraga also qualified each of his three mounts – Zalerno, Gangster and Matador, plus John Perez came back on two – Utopia and Arezzo. Five went double clean, Perez and Utopia held the lead at 31.01 until close to the end when Azcarraga on Matador slipped in at 30.74 for the win.

Showpark Series Week Two: An Azcarraga Extravaganza!
An impressive 1.50M track set by Canadian Michel Vallaincourt tested thirty-four horse and rider combinations representing six countries in the $30,000 Racing Festival Grand Prix, presented by Royal Champion. Eleven pairs answered the questions asked on course and qualified for the jump-off. Of the eleven, four were in the Azcarraga family, including once again every entry Jaime Azcarraga entered – Gangster, Matador and Celsius – and son Gonzalo Azcarraga on Richard Cimble.

Vallaincourt’s course was a solid 1.50M, with scope and distance tests. Knowing he had varying levels of experience in the lineup, the designer was careful to set elements that would challenge but not overwhelm the group. He remarked, “When I set a course I try to have a good balance by not asking the same questions. I knew I had top horses, so I stayed quite stout, but everything is approachable.”

With five double clean performances, it was young Gonzalo Azcarraga and his bay mount Richard Cimble who mastered the fastest time. When asked if he had ever beaten his father before, the twenty-year-old equestrian stated, “Not in a grand prix.”

Proud of his prodigy, Jaime Azcarraga commented, “Eleven riders tried to do it but he went fastest.” Picking up second, third and ninth, plus keeping the win in the family, it was an Azcarraga extravaganza.

Full Press Release, photos and results…

High Performing Hunters
On a Hunter Derby note, Davlyn Farm’s Come Monday with Christa Endicott piloting won the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby. Simply lovely to watch, the talented mare handled all the course challenges for a well-deserved win in a field of twenty-nine competitors. Showing her skill, junior rider Ashley Pryde on Truly took second.

Showpark Series Week Three: Can’t Catch Cantano!
Twenty-eight couples took the test set by Catalina ‘Catsy’ Cruz of Monterrey, Mexico in the $30,000 August Festival Grand Prix, presented by EquiFit, inc. Right from the start she combined turns with forward distances, then halfway through riders had to collect to the triple combination, the cause of quite a few rails on course. Her first time designing in coastal California, Cruz commented with a smile “The field is good with good footing. I would like to return, for certain. I hope they want me back.”

With four to ride, Californian Kirsten Coe qualified three of Ilan Ferder’s horses for the jump-off, Baronez, Tristan and Vernon G. Mexican Jaime Azcarraga’s Gangster and Celsius were clean in round one. Add Californians Rusty Stewart on Bristol (owned by Grey Fox Farm), Susan Hutchison aboard Cantano (owner at time, El Dorado 29) and Michelle Parker with Tula Pinnella’s Xei Ha to the five qualified by Coe and Azcarraga for eight to return in the jump-off.

The race was on for the win. First and last to return, Coe and Baronez had four faults and eight faults on Vernon G. Choosing not to jump-off on Tristan, he automatically ended eighth. Next Azcarraga on Gangster posted the first double clear in 39.031, taking the lead for a short while. Stewart and Bristol had a miscommunication at the second to last fence and crashed through, but galloped on to complete the round with just four faults. Known for speed, Hutchison piloted Cantano to a fault free and fast 36.43, securing the number one spot. Parker put in a gallant effort on Xei Ha, stopping the clock in 39.032, just .001 seconds slower than Azcarraga with Gangster, which ultimately placed Gangster third and Parker fourth. Determined to catch Cantano, Azcarraga returned on Celsius. Double clear in 36.59, a mere .14 seconds behind Hutchison, Azcarraga settled for second place.

With post victory exuberance, Hutchison spoke proudly of her sponsors. “My most prized possession is my beautiful new Allon huntcoat, it even has my name in it. I have on my Der Dau boots. Cantano wore his Fleeceworks pad and his EquiFit boots, which he loves. I truly appreciate and send all a big thanks to all the sponsors.”

Full Press Release, photos and results…

Blenheim Summer Classic I: A Lark For Clarke
The $25,000 Blenheim Summer Classic I Grand Prix welcomed a small but mighty group onto the International Field at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park. Course designer Jack Robson built a straightforward track with just enough questions to challenge the field, narrowing down the jump-off round to four couples. Of those four, 25-year-old Australian Lane Clarke piloted three. The young Aussie rode all three mounts double clear and took home the top prize by delivering the fastest double clean round of the day aboard the nine-year-old chestnut mare Semira De Saulieu, owned by Charlotte Gadbois.

The jump-off just got better and better with each ride. Clarke returned first on Mickey Hayden’s McLord’s First John, with a neat and efficient ride in 42.82. The only other rider to join Clarke in the second round was Jenni Martin McAllister aboard Glados (owned by Marnco). Galloping in next, she shaved just over a second off Clarke’s time, double clean in 41.64. Shortly after, Clarke was ready to give it a go on Granville’s Casseur De Prix. Stopping the clock at 40.80, he not only beat his own time by two seconds, he also topped Martin-McAllister. Now the winner for certain, Clarke entered on his final mount relaxed and was able to master the jump-off track once again in a nimble 39.99 for the win.

Clarke spoke to us as he signed autographs for adoring fans. “I wanted to be efficient and clean to put pressure on Jenni. Obviously not enough pressure, because she answered back with an even faster round. So I remembered the track I took and essentially left out strides wherever I could,” the winner remarked.

Always appreciative, Clarke recognized a list of people who made this victorious day possible. “Thank you to everyone at Blenheim EquiSports and my sponsors and owners, Mickey Hayden, the Spicers, Charlotte Gadbois and Antares. And a big thanks to all my clients, family, friends and girlfriend for coming out to support me.”

Full Press Release, photos and results…

Blenheim Summer Sizzles – Brazilians Blaze
The Brazilians were blazing on this superb summer day, with representing riders taking the top two spots in the $35,000 Summer Classic II Grand Prix, presented by EquiFit, inc.

Course Designer Guilherme Jorge, also Brazilian, set a straightforward course that jumped well. Ten horse and rider couples mastered the track, resulting in an exhilarating jump-off.

“Many horses came in today that hadn’t shown all week,” commented Jorge. “Since I didn’t know each horse, I didn’t want the track to be too difficult for the field. Although ten was more than I had planned, the class worked out to be a great one.”

Then the Brazilians blazed the way – winner Eduardo Menezes on his Reflection Mercedes Benz stopped the timers clean in a quick 42.07, melting more than two seconds off Parker’s time. Josephina Nor-Lantzman on her Chello Z came close, fault free in 42.95, finishing second in the class, pushing Michelle Parker on Cross Creek Farm’s Socrates De Midos Parker to the third spot, who lead in 44.52. Rusty Stewart rode Grey Fox Farm’s Bristol efficiently in 46.21, picking up fourth for their efforts

With the San Juan Summer Festival and Kids Day, the crowd was pleased with the equestrian entertainment. Per usual the weather was idyllic. Menezes, who is based in Mexico but chose to live in California this year, is pleased with his decision. “They really take care of us. Grass field, good designers, I love it here.”

When asked about his win and his plan, Menezes explained with a smile, “The wife and the groom are happy, so I’m happy.” About Reflection he noted, “I bought the mare in January of this year. She’ll go to Showpark next week and also the World Cup Qualifiers. The goal is to prep for the Olympics.”

CPHA Kicks Off Medal Finals Season
The competition didn’t end in the grass field however. Down in the Blenheim Farms Covered Arena the CPHA Medal Finals third round for the Amateurs and the Juniors were beginning as the Grand Prix was ending. After two rounds over two days, the top ten returned for a final performance.

Sitting separately each of the three judges, Leo Conroy, Anne Braswell and William Sparks, gave the winners well-deserved high scores. Topping the Amateurs was Sophie Verges riding Salerno, scoring an 86, 90, 90 in the final round, finishing 7.5 points ahead of the second place rider, Julia Nagler. Verges trains with Leslie Steele. With fifty competitors battling it out in the junior ranks, Demi Stiegler stole the show with third round scores of 93, 90, 90, almost thirty points ahead of second place finisher Hannah Von Heidegger. Stiegler rode Vigo to the win. She trains with Archie Cox as well as her mother Robyn Stiegler.

Full Press Release, photos and results…

Showpark Summer: Jumpin’ Josephina
The International Grand Prix Field in Del Mar was on fire as ten horse and rider couples raced for the win in the $40,000 Showpark Summer Classic Grand Prix, presented by California Horsetrader. Of twenty-three entries, ten managed to master the track clean and ten others ended the day with just one rail down.

The top six finishers were double clean. First to return in the second round was Josephina Nor-Lantzman on Chello Z. Setting a slick pace without rubbing a rail, the pair stopped the clock clean in 36.27. New Zealand’s Guy Thomas gave it a go on Lavito (owned by Signe Ostby) also clean but a touch slower in 37.18, ultimately finishing third. Australian Harley Brown aboard Oak Park Group’s Cassiato galloped in next, also double clean in 38.59, picking up fifth for the day. Veteran Rusty Stewart on Grey Fox Farm’s brilliant Bristol picked up fourth, clean in 38.37. David Vainer of Mexico aboard Vario was careful and clear in 42.39, earning the sixth place spot. The young yet fearless Karl Cook riding Uno De Laubry (owned by Signe Ostby) came close, stopping the clock clean in 36.98, just .71 seconds behind the leader for second place.

Although the pair has earned several top placings since stepping up to the grand prix level less than a year ago, including second last week, this was Nor-Lantzman and Chello Z’s first major win. The talented Zangersheide has blossomed under Nor-Lantzman’s guidance. With her father Fabio Nor as her coach for the last decade, all is proceeding as planned. “We bought him as a five year old with the intention of doing this,” Nor-Lantzman explained. When asked about the day, the young pro proclaimed, “I thought the course was technical and big enough, yet not too much. Going first in the jump-off I tried to put the pressure on with tidy turns and taking advantage of his big stride in the long gallop. It worked out well, he was clean and uncatchable!”

Coming out of a very successful Amateur career, Nor-Lantzman turned pro just this year.

Foundation Flair: CPHA Foundation Equitation Champions Shine
The CPHA crowned three champions during the Showpark Summer Classic: Conor Perrin in the 21 & under section, Alicyn Roy in the 22 & over section and Pilar Flournoy in the 14 & under section. Perrin trains with Nick Haness and Richard Slocum of Hunterbrook, Roy with Mary Gatti and Patrick Spanton of Rainbow Canyon and Flournoy with Mark Bone and Jamie Taylor of Huntover.

In a two round and required work-off format, the equitation riders not only had halts, trot jumps and more built-in to the courses, the top scoring riders competed in a final work-off. The first section to test was the 22 & over, where five competitors returned for further testing. Roy, who came in on top and tested last, executed a slightly different variation of the questions asked. Impressing the judges, she scored an 84 and earned the win. Five riders also worked off in the 14 & under section – the top three were all tied with an average of 85. Flournoy tested third and laid down a flawless ride. Pearl Theodosakis also rode well and finished in the Reserve Champion spot. Over in the grass field the competitive 21 & under section ended up with seven in the work-off. Perrin won both the first and second rounds with averages of 87 and 90.5 respectively, so he was a solid leader going in. Combined with his work-off score of 87.5, Perrin’s overall performance put him on top.

Full Press Release, photos and results…

The competition is hotter than ever as we jump into more FEI classes and Regional Medal Finals. The first of the three World Cup Qualifiers in our season, the $50,000 Grand Prix of Showpark, was September 3rd, on the International Grass Grand Prix Field. A little less than two weeks later, we went Indoors for the $50,000 Blenheim World Cup Qualifying Grand Prix in the Blenheim Covered Arena on Friday night, September 16th.

Showpark Simmers
The $31,000 Showpark Jumper Classic, a one round competition against the clock, presented by Summit General Insurance Agency had thirty entries. Anthony D’Ambrosio’s design had quite a few technical challenges as well as some scope tests.

Michelle Parker rode Tula Pinnella’s Xei Ha in slick style, finishing clean in 73.57 for the win. First in the ring, Parker not only set the pace, she illustrated that the course could be jumped without fault. Only one other competitor was able to match that clean ride, eighteen-year-old Alec Lawler aboard Glen Devon.

Brown Brings Home The Blues
Australian Harley Brown and his 18.2 hand mate Cassiato earned the blue sash, the top prize money and valuable World Cup points for a job well done in the $50,000 Grand Prix of Showpark, presented by The Grand Del Mar. Of the twenty entries in the World Cup qualifying class, this pair was the only match to master Anthony D’Ambrosio’s course without fault.

After watching the first two horses complete the track in less than 75 seconds, D’Ambrosio shortened his time allowed from 80 to 76 seconds. Two horses later, Ilan Ferder’s Combina with Kirsten Coe, was fault free over the jumps but stopped the clock in 78.51, scoring one time fault. Thirteen entries later Uwwalon and Michelle Spadone were gorgeous around the course. But with a time of 78.47 they too scored one time fault.

When asked after the class about the time allowed decision, the veteran course designer D’Ambrosio said “I thought the decision was perfect when the first few horses had times in the low seventies. I think if you asked the riders they would agree that those with time faults rode careful and clear, not as conscious of the time.” Knowing the riders want to be challenged with these World Cup Qualifers in order to be prepared to compete at a World Cup level, D’Ambrosio set a course that did just that. He continued “It was a good result over a tough course – I believe they got what they wanted.”

Brown planned for the tight time in his ride. “Cassiato is a big and slow type, I’ve had time faults before. I always go in thinking the time is going to be tight.”

Sitting with his six-year-old daughter Zoe at the autograph table, Brown was beaming after a fantastic day. In his fifth season with Cassiato, Brown’s bringing along several more horses. Earlier that morning his five-year-old horse Cash finished first with three clean rounds in the Young Jumper Championships.

For full results, see Results and Press Sections…

Evening Attire is Equestrian
Every evening is a busy one during the Blenheim Fall Tournament. On Wednesday we welcomed thirty-three entries into the $31,000 Blenheim Jumper Classic, presented by Summit General Insurance Agency. Coming south directly after designing for the Masters in Spruce Meadows, Leopoldo Palacios set a super course and the riders rose to the occasion. Thirty-one horse and rider combinations competed in a one round competition against the clock tonight in the $31,000 Blenheim Jumper Classic, presented by Summit General Insurance Agency. Karl Cook and his partner Uno De Laubry (Signe Ostby owner) set a fast time early in the class, clean in 64.57, and held the lead throughout.

With option lines as well as inside turn options, rollbacks, jumps on both ends off short turns and two combinations, Palacios tested the group. “I think the class was good. They got a small taste tonight but the real deal will come on Friday.”

For full results, see Results and Press Sections…

Ladies Night! Coe Operates for a One-Two Victory
Twenty couples toured the track designed by Leopoldo Palacios in tonight’s $50,000 World Cup Qualifying Grand Prix, presented by Equ Lifestyle Magazine in the Blenheim Farms Covered Arena. Of those twenty we saw four fault free trips, all ridden by talented young women.

Palacios designed a track with a variety of tests, difficult to jump clean yet not difficult to get around. Each of the twelve numbered efforts came down with the exception of fence eight. The back rail of the final fence, a wide liverpool oxer in front of the in-gate, came out of the cups most often, catching about a third of the class.

Third in the order and first clean was nineteen-year-old Saer Coulter riding Corpernicus Stable’s Cash 51. Several tried, but none succeeded until Kirsten Coe galloped in on the high jumping Combina (Ilan Ferder, owner), who didn’t touch a single rail. Soon after another solid female show jumper, Michelle Spadone, rode Morgan Hill Partner’s Uwwalon without fault. Not another couple went clean until Coe returned on her second mount, Ilan Ferder’s Baronez, and then there were three fabulous females to return on four horses.

The jump-off was a true test of speed and accuracy, as the time allowed was tight and two of the four contenders ended up with time faults. First in, Coulter on Cash 51, had the time but lowered three jumps on course to finish fourth. Coe and Combina again did not touch a rail, but exceeded the time allowed for a score of two time faults, which ended up second. Spadone also went beyond the allotted time and hit the final jump for six total faults and third for the night. Determined to not have a time fault, Coe returned on Baronez and jumped double clean to clench the win.

The excitement didn’t end there. Throngs of fans lined up at the autograph table directly after the event. Meredith Michaels Beerbaum and her husband Markus Beerbaum joined the group of tonight’s top riders in penning their names on autograph sheets galore.

For full results, see Results and Press Sections…

Geller Gets Top Prize IN ASPCA Regionals
Thirty-six leading West Coast junior equitation riders competed in Blenheim Farm’s covered arena on the evening of September 17th in the ASPCA Maclay West Coast Regional Finals. With thirty returning for the flat phase and four for the work-off, it was Morgan Geller aboard Fabricio who finished on top. Geller and up to twenty more riders earned an invitation to compete in the 2011 ASPCA Maclay National Championship at the National Horse Show November 2nd – 6th in Lexington, KY.

Not new to the winners’ circle, Geller and Fabricio won the 2010 CPHA Medal Finals, a 2011 $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby and the 2011 USEF National Junior Hunter Championships, West Coast. The talented teenager explained, “The course was straight forward, more based on smooth turns and style. I was nervous all day about going first, but in the end it was better because I didn’t sit around and watch everyone and get even more nervous!” With a busy show schedule upcoming, Geller will compete in the USEF Talent Search Finals West Coast next week and head back east for the Capital Challenge, Harrisburg and the National Horse Show where she’s qualified in both the junior hunters and the medal finals.

Although winning is glorious, placing in the top sixty percent of the class possibly up to twenty-two riders will earn an invite to the prestigious finals in Lexington this November. Once the eight final regional competitions throughout the country are complete, the exact number of qualified riders per regional will be announced.

Full Press Release, photos and results…

Socially Speaking
What a social life our exhibitors have led this season. Back in the spring we hosted the Tango Party on the San Diego Polo Club grounds. The summer kicked off with the Great Train Robbery at the Vintage Steakhouse and a lovely Evening at Arden Cottage. July began with a catered lunch for all the riders on both days at the Surf & Turf Classic. The month ended with a marvelous Mardi Gras Celebration at Tres Palomas in Rancho Santa Fe. August opened with a Casino Night at the Dana Point Harbor, the following week a Softball Tournament and BBQ and we enjoyed a magnificent Evening of Art, including diamonds, Ferraris and sumptuous snacks from Vintage at Fairbanks Valley Ranch in Rancho Santa Fe.

Room for Grooms
Gorgeous horses presented by their grooms adorned the field for the Grooms Class, presented by Hill, Piibe & Villegas Immigration Attorneys, in Showpark as well as at Blenheim in August and September. With a $500 prize to the winner, the competition is intense. We look forward to the final class of the series at the Las Vegas National this November.

Splendid Spring

From Blenheim Spring to royal weddings to Rolex events running simultaneously, equestrian sport excelled this season. Grand prix praise, high performance hunting and jumping, Americans in Germany and in Kentucky competing for high stakes, third-world charitable efforts, the Simpsons and more inside this edition of our e-news.

The super spring season continues in California at the Del Mar Horsepark in May with the Ranch & Coast Classic, offering the $50,000 Grand Prix of California and another $10,000 USHJA High Performance Hunter Challenge. Socially splendid, Friday includes a repeat of last year’s outstanding exhibitor Tango Party and the kids can play and bounce at Kids Day on Grand Prix Day, Saturday May 14th.

More spring happenings on the east coast include the 2011 IHSA Nationals and two weeks of Kentucky Spring at the fabulous Kentucky Horse Park. Plus the historic Devon Horse Show & Fair welcomes top horses and riders from around the country late in May.

Santana Stables is seeking an “A” level show jumping rider, with American citizenship and fluent in Portuguese, to join their team. To learn more, visit the Santana site and click News.
The Spring Series is the beginning of a nine-month season of sensational shows in southern California. Blenheim EquiSports produces over twenty events highlighting every division from short stirrup and green rider to high performance hunter and show jumping challenges.

With a full calendar of classes, the three week series featured $130,000 in Grand Prix prize money, $40,000 in 1.35m Jumper Classics and a $10,000 USHJA High Performance Hunter Challenge.

What a great way to kick-off spring with three weeks of excellent events. From the competitors, owners, trainers, grooms, braiders, shippers to everyone on staff, Blenheim is truly grateful to all who contribute to the success of our horse shows.

Twelve horse and rider teams raced against the clock in the $20,000 1.35M Jumper Classic jump-off on Saturday afternoon April 2nd. And on Sunday three Californian show jumping veterans and one Aussie battled it out in $40,000 Orange County Register Grand Prix.

Richard Jeffery tested the 47 entrants, both amateurs and professionals alike, with his challenging track including multiple combinations, a water element with a rail as well as a skinny jump in the $20,000 1.35m Jumper Classic.

While a dozen horses managed to secure a place in the jump-off, it was Canada’s Carla Diewert and her mount Vaquero who secured the win by laying down the fastest of six double-clear rounds in 35.92. Second place went to Francie Steinwedell-Carvin aboard Twistar (owned by Prentiss Partners) who stopped the clock just over a half a second slower (36.45), just missing the top time. Riding Utopia La Cantera, John Perez cruised around the shortened track in 37.79 to round out the top three.

Twenty-seven horse and rider participated in the $40,000 Orange County Register Grand Prix on Sunday of Week One. Designed with the larger purse in mind, the Richard Jeffery course proved challenging as only four riders piloted their mounts without fault. First to go Lane Clarke aboard Granville’s Casseur De Prix (owned by Granville Equine) and fourth in the ring, Hansen and Archie Bunker were fault-free. Not until the twenty-third pair negotiated the first round course, Hutchison and Cantano (owned by El Dorado 29), and then a few horses later, the clever nine-year-old Bristol (owned by Grey Fox Farms) with Rusty Stewart in the irons, made it four clean.

With the disadvantage of being the first duo to take the shortened track, Clarke and Granville’s Casseur De Prix needed a quick time and a clean ride to put the pressure on the three pursuing competitors, who were all solid veterans of the sport. Clarke lowered the height of one fence midway through to pick up four faults, a time of 35.60 and the third place ribbon. Hap Hansen and the athletic Archie Bunker (owned by Linda Smith) set the second round stage by laying down a double-clear performance in 39.72. But Susie Hutchison and Cantano were hot on their heels and effortlessly flew around the shortened track in 34.95. Stewart and his young partner Bristol also lowered the height of one fence midway through the second round, crossing the timers in 37.71 seconds for a fourth place finish.

This week fifty entries galloped onto the grass for the Friday’s 1.35M Jumper Classic. Canadian course designer Peter Holmes built a welcoming track, challenging enough but not overly technical. Although rails and refusals occurred on course, fifteen pairs negotiated the course without fault. Clean rides were sporadic initially until the thirty-second horse on course galloped in. Joie Gatlin and Odyssey, a pair that often is seen blazing around a jump-off, started a streak of seven clean rounds in a row.

Setting the pace early on, Saree Gordon aboard Tomboy Farm’s Olana were the first team to return. They cruised around clean in 44.21, holding the top spot for several horses, but ultimately finishing third. Speed demons Gatlin and Odyssey, took the lead by shaving off just under a second, stopping the clock at 43.37. With two rides in the second round, Canadian Brian Morton mastered his plan by the time he galloped in on Spitfire. Edging out Gatlin, Morton managed to cross the timers in 42.32 for the win, pushing Gatlin to the second place position.

A large field of forty-seven horse and rider combinations competed in the $40,000 Spring Classic II Grand Prix at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park on a cool April afternoon. Course Designer Holmes tested riders technically with distance as well as time-allowed challenges, causing an abundance of jumping and time faults across the board. Despite the difficulties, ten riders managed clean, workmanlike rides around the first round track.

While 19-year-old Saer Coulter and her partner Springtime (owned by Copernicus Stables) appeared unbeatable with their blazingly fast ride over the shortened track, veteran Susan Hutchison and her partner Cantano delivered an exciting performance to edge out Coulter for their second grand prix win in two weeks.

“I’ve never gone that fast before, so it’s nice to know [my horse and I] have the ability,” exclaimed Coulter. “I was confident with my jump-off ride but I knew if anybody was going to go quicker, it would be Susie.”

Indeed feeling the pressure from Coulter’s double-clear, 41.39 performance, Hutchison masterfully piloted Cantano around the shortened track in 40.20 seconds, shaving over a second off the young rider’s time.

“When Saer did the eight strides from the vertical to the oxer, that cinched it for me,” commented Hutchison. “I knew the eight had to be done for the win and luckily [Cantano] was right there with me.”

It was a good Friday for junior rider Morgan Geller as she topped an impressive field of 44 entries in the $10,000 USHJA International High Performance Hunter Challenge during week three of the Blenheim Spring Series. And the junior rider reign did not end there. On Saturday, hotshot high school senior Lucy Davis fired around the jump-offs, claiming the top prizes in both the $10,000 1.35m Jumper Classic and the $50,000 Royal Champion Grand Prix.

With a very inviting first round for the High Performance Hunters, course designer Scott Starnes offered several options for riders to illustrate style, manner and flow. The thirteen who returned for the Handy Round all scored in the eighties or above. Amongst a group of eleven riders (John French rode three of the thirteen horses) four junior riders made the cut, Destry Spielberg and Rumba, Whitney Downs on Coffeetalk, Samantha Sommers aboard Small Kiss and Morgan Geller riding Fabricio. The Handy Round included a tall white coop as fence one, a very tidy turn to an oxer at fence two, a jump out of the field at fence five and back in again as fence nine plus a hand gallop to the final jump. Rails, refusals and circles ensued for quite a few including 2010 Champions Parker and Katie Gardner, who had won the first round. Of those who mastered the handy aspect, Geller and her mount Fabricio earned scores in the nineties plus bonus and handy points for the win.

Saturday was stellar weather-wise and otherwise at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park. Olaf Petersen, Jr. designed some of his trademark courses, technically challenging with a tight time allowed. Thirty-three horse and rider combinations galloped on to the International Field for the $10,000 1.35m Jumper Classic with seven going fault-free. Lucy Davis riding Old Oak Farm’s Hannah turned in the fastest double-clean ride in 34.04 for the win, just ahead of barn mate Saer Coulter on Asgard 17 (owned by Copernicus Stables) with 34.94. Also close but not close enough were veterans Mandy Porter on Pacifica Riding Club’s Eastwood and Susie Hutchison on SIG International’s Sig Feng Shui who stopped the clock at 35.20 and 35.38 respectively finishing third and fourth.

Thirty more horse and rider couples competed for prizes in the late afternoon $50,000 Royal Champion Grand Prix. Again course designer Olaf Petersen, Jr. asked multiple questions and gave a precious amount of time to answer them. One tenth of those who attempted were clean – Canadian Samantha Buirs on Total Touch, American Lucy Davis on Nemo 119 and Australian Harley Brown on Angelli.

Second to go in round one and returning first in the twisty eight fence shortened course, Buirs rode Total Touch without touching a rail. Her turns were tight and she galloped where she could, truly setting the pace at 50.92 for the other two competitors. “I wanted to go clean and give Lucy something to run for,” the young Canadian explained.

And run she did, as Davis and Nemo 119 had a very forward pace and even with a bit of a slip in the final rollback turn, crossed the timers in 49.44. “I watched Sam go. She was very fast. I felt I had been a bit slow early on so I picked up the pace. Then I couldn’t get him back so I had to leave one out,” said Davis of her ride. Both girls agreed the course was thoughtful, technical and certainly challenging.

Highlights From The 2010 Blenheim Fall Tournament

This fall horse show was chocked-full of evening excitement. To kick the week off, Wednesday night Blenheim Farm’s Covered Arena was host to the $30,000 Blenheim Jumper Classic, presented by Royal Champion. Jumping into Friday, with another competitive evening, the $50,000 CSI-W Grand Prix, presented by Cavalor, riders were vying for prize money and points on the World Cup leader board. In addition to the show jumpers, qualified Big Eq riders also competed under the lights on Saturday in the 2010 ASPCA Maclay Regional Finals.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010: $30,000 Blenheim Jumper Classic
Course designer Guilherme Jorge built a 1.50 meter class for the 40 entrants, which served as a solid speed course. Topping the class was Keri Potter and her own Rockford I who sailed around the track clean in 73.10 seconds. Second place honors went to the fabulously consistent couple of Bristol (Grey Fox Farms, owner) and Rusty Stewart. Posting a clear round on her other mount Coco (Redfield Farm, owner), Spadone crossed the timers in 76.23 seconds to take home the third place prize.

Friday, September 17, 2010: $50,000 CSI-W Grand Prix
The Guilherme Jorge designed course welcomed twenty-eight horse and rider couples into Blenheim Farm’s covered arena for the $50,000 Blenheim Fall CSI-W Grand Prix, presented by Cavalor, on the evening of September 17th. Four jumped clean in the first round to earn a spot in the jump-off, but it was the East Coast pair of Michelle Spadone and her talented mare Melisimo who presented spectators with the only double-clear ride of the night for the win.

In order to use the indoor space well and test the riders appropriately, Jorge presented sixteen challenging efforts that demanded a well thought-out, accurate ride. “Since the ring is not too small, I was able to build a real World Cup qualifying course,” the Brazilian designer explained. “The triple was an oxer-oxer-vertical combination so it was a scope test and the double with the liverpool [under the first fence] was at the end of the course so it was more of a technical challenge.”

As the sixth pair to take on the first round course, Spadone and her 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood, Melisimo, (Morgan Hill Partners, owner) were the second duo to cross the timers clean and advance to the jump-off, following the first to do so, Richard Spooner aboard Ace (S&B LLC, owner). Soon afterwards the young and talented firecracker, Ashlee Bond, rode her chestnut horse Cadett 7 to a clear round. Also fault free was the tried and true team of Australian Harley Brown and Cassiato (Oak Park Group, owner) who were sixteenth to go.

As the second rider to step up to the second round challenge, Spadone knew she had to be both quick and clean. “I had to worry about two of the fastest riders (Bond and Spooner) so in the jump-off, the main thing was to be fast,” Spadone noted.

After her winning ride, the victorious Spadone said of her five-year equine partner, “[Melisimo] is great and I am lucky to have her. She really likes the atmosphere of indoors best.”

The young equestrian star has already competed in two World Cup Finals and now seeks to be on the list heading for Liepzig, Germany, the location of the 2011 FEI World Cup Finals. For a nice change of scenery and the chance to ride with a keen training couple from San Juan Capistrano, Spadone will continue to compete on the West Coast.

 “I decided to come to California because of Joie Gatlin and Morley Abey; they are amazing people,” said Spadone. “I love Joie because she is so competitive and she really makes you want to win for her.”

Riding in the second position for the victory gallop was Bond and her superstar mount Cadett 7. The duo pulled an unfortunate rail mid-way through the second round course but set a blazing time of 39.79. Spooner and the gorgeous bay stallion Ace went first in the jump-off and had a super ride until the gallop to the last fence. The crowd groaned as the rail fell for four faults in a time of 40.97, which placed him third. Last to tackle the jump-off track, Brown and Cassiato had two rails part way through. Knowing he wouldn’t beat the other three, the rider voluntarily withdrew for a fourth place finish.

“The jump-off was difficult,” reflected Jorge. “It is up to how hard the horses and riders try. I think it was good jumping; the four who qualified proved they are up to the level of World Cup competition.”

First to enter the ring, Tani Zeidler of Canada and her mount Ranville (Zeidler Farm Canada Inc., owner) negotiated Jorge’s track without a rail but incurred one time fault, exceeding the time allowed by less than one second for fifth place. El Dorado 29’s Cantano and Susan Hutchison rounded out the top six by laying down the fastest of the four fault rides. After pulling a rail on the second element in the triple combination, Spooner picked up seventh place for his ride aboard Pariska 2 (C&S Partnership LLC, owner).

Highlights From The Four-Year-Olds, IJF September 9-10, 2009

Blenheim was host to the International Jumper Futurity Finals this week. With a goal to encourage and promote the breeding of top sport horses, the IJF competition offers an opportunity to showcase young horses in the early stages of their training. Considering that most of the entries have very limited or no show ring experience, the competition is designed to be inviting for the equine youngsters as well as showcase their talent.

On Wednesday each horse was ridden in a 90-second ‘freestyle’ flat phase with trot and canter circles in both directions including demonstrating a lengthening and shortening of stride. Then they remain in the ring and jump a straightforward 3’ course. The next day the course was set at 3’3” and could include simple double combinations. Each horse that completes both rounds was awarded $1,000 and additional prize money was awarded by the judges in these categories: Movement/Type, Consistent Performance and Grand Prix Potential.

EquestriSol News: August 17, 2009

Welcome to August – a big month for horse shows and newsletters. We printed two editions this past week – one recaps Showpark’s Summer Series, the other covers this month at Blenheim.

We are so grateful to have met and worked with Katie Kotarak this summer. She went well beyond the call of duty and became an invaluable part of our team. Now back at school, Katie will be working for us virtually until she graduates.

Contact us now to be a part of upcoming newsletters. We now offer online advertising with great introductory prices. Wishing all a great end to summer and a fabulous fall. See you at the shows!


Conversations With Equestrians: Linda Allen

By Jackie McFarland

An Afternoon Chat with Linda Allen
Yet another world-renowned course designer, Linda Allen, sat and spoke about designing and beyond. Her talents were well utilized at Blenheim June Classic I, where she not only built for many jumper divisions, the $30,000 Grand Prix but also the tracks for the final Young Rider trials. We sat with Linda and her canine companion Willow. This endearing Papillion pup is making her debut in Aachen this summer. Lucky dog!

EqSol: How did you become a course designer? What is your horse history?
LA: I rode for a number of years mostly on horses I trained myself – thoroughbreds off the track. I competed up to the international level. Due to back injuries and a number of surgeries, I had to quit riding. But I wanted to stay in the sport. Course designing was the way I chose to do so.

As I rider I realized what an important role the course designer played in whether you advanced as a rider. So I learned the mechanics by setting for small shows. I’ve been designing as a career steadily since ’82.

EqSol: Your course design mentors?
LA: When I competed I became friends with Pamela Carruthers and often picked her brain. Also Bert de Nemethy and Dr. Arno Gego. How do you determine difficulty for these important Young Rider trials?

LA: It’s a two-fold situation – the Zone wants to send the strongest riders it can. But the trials shouldn’t be the end game; instead they lead up to the event. I try to provide the building blocks for riders for future events without discouraging them. The right team for this given year should be clear based on the results.

It’s great for the riders to have the trials over three days. The format follows the championships – the difficulty builds up height wise and can go to 1.50M. If a rider doesn’t do fairly well here they aren’t likely to make the team.

The courses ask a lot of different kinds of technical questions. Using the water a lot – because usually at that event the open water is a big factor.

EqSol: How the course like the one today evolves for you…
LA: It’s difficult because you have three important classes in one week. I want variety from one class to the next – to not repeat the same questions. So first I develop the key elements – combinations and technical lines and then build from there. Sometimes it happens in ten minutes, other times it takes much longer. Either time you fool with it a lot until you are happy. Focus on protecting…

LA: Today I designed the Young Rider tracks first and then tracks for the other classes. When designing for grass you have to move jumps a lot, thinking about not only where the jumps are but also where they will be – because of the ground. First you protect the horses, try to keep their work as pleasant as possible. Protecting the horse in turn takes care of the rider. A close second here is protecting the grass – keeping the ground not only good for Sunday but for the upcoming weeks. And last, but not least, you take care of the ring crew – they work hard.

Along with course designing across the world for many years, Linda has a long list of accomplishments including developing an organization, publishing a book, 101 Jumping Exercises for Horses, and giving clinics.

EqSol: Can you tell us about your involvement in the development of young jumpers?
LA: I helped to start this organization in the US that has evolved into two programs – the International Jumper Futurity for breeders and purchasers of young horses which consists of three different opportunities for four-year old showcases – East, Midwest and West Coast. And the Young Jumper Championships developed from the IJF for nominated 5, 6, 7 and 8 year olds.

We’ve grown this year, which I am impressed with since this is a trying time in the industry. Although things are slow to change, we are building the foundation for developing young horses in a systematic way. It is still challenging, there is no culture or system for young horses here. Some in the sport have more interest than others.

About fifteen years ago Germany developed a completely different approach. You cannot build for Young Horse classes without a special license – it’s a minimum of 10 years to get to the highest ‘S’ level. Young jumper classes are scored, not timed. Each round receives a 1-10 score for quality of jump, carefulness, rideablilty – a horse you want to take home. The horses are beautifully broke with a lofty jump. The concept was very unpopular at first. All the jumper judges had to get a new education. Some fabulous riders came from this division like Marcus Ehning, Marco Kucher, and Christian Ahlmann. It’s taken very seriously. Germany is the only country that does it this way.

Side note: In a country so devoted to the ‘hunter’ and its scoring system, is this German system worth considering in the US?

EqSol: And your future plans?
LA: Heading to Aachen later this month, I’m going to present a paper there. I’ll stay on to spectate throughout the show, the only way to stay current in our game. Frank Rottenberger is the resident designer. He took over some years ago and does a good job – he was one of my assistants in Atlanta.

Probably over the last five years I’ve accepted more clinic dates. So I’m booked with more riding clinics than designing now. I truly enjoy teaching. I’ve become more particular about where and when I build. I’m designing in Oregon next and for the Fidelity Classic on the East Coast. I’m also on the Ground Jury for the 2010 WEG in Kentucky.

EqSol: Are you planning another book?
LA: I did complete a DVD on course building, mostly for course designers at smaller shows to help them with technique. So they can get better results with less work and more tips to stay out of trouble.

I’ve been planning another book for awhile, I just don’t seem to have that chunk of time needed to get it written. I have a publisher that wants a more general topic – course designing doesn’t draw a wide audience. I’ve got a few different ideas. Someday…

Wishing we were joining you in Aachen. Someday… Thank you Linda and Willow!

Highlights From The 2009 Blenhiem June Classic

June Classic II Grand Prix

With long galloping distances, no water jump and the last line set towards home, Jack Robson designed what appeared to be a very inviting course for the $30,000 June Classic Grand Prix, presented by EquiFit, inc.  However, after seventeen horses entered the ring, only two went clean, three had just one time fault, four had just one rail and many others had time faults along with rails.

Jill Humphrey, who was first on course with Kaskaya (Leone Equestrians Inc., owner) rode beautifully but accrued a single time fault, exceeding the allotted time of 90 seconds by .46. Second to attempt the course and first pair to go clean were Janet Hischer and Kenitra (Twisted Tree Farm Inc., owners). Eighth to go was Humprhey aboard Corralino (Katie Harris, owner) whom, having learned her lesson from the first ride, jumped the course fault free.

Clearly not as inviting of a course as it appeared, those nasty time faults proved to be a problem for half of the class.  Refusals and rails occurred at fence one, two and at each of the three elements of the triple combination.

Hischer and Kenitra were first pair to gallop around the shortened course for the jump-off where they laid down their second clean round of the day in a time of 42.12.  Humphrey attempted a tricky approach to fence three, resulting in a rail.  She then retired, handing the win to Hischer.

The three horse and rider combinaitons that ran into trouble with the clock, leaving them fractions away from the jump-off, were awarded third through fifth.  Alicia Jonsson Foster and her mount Don Francisco were just over the time allowed with 90.23, Humphrey finished fourth with Kaskaya, and Missy Froley aboard Bay Rose’s Oberon 48 took home fifth as the last of the one-faulters with a time of 90.78.  Joie Gatlin and her young mount Twindoline took down a rail at fence seven but proved to be the best of the four fault rides finishing sixth, Harley Brown and Cassiatio (Oak Park Group LLC, owners) clipped the fourth jump on course for seventh, taking home another portion of the prize money was Gatlin aboard her dependable SunCal’s King for eighth, and Erin Duffy rode Kir Royal to a ninth place finish, rounding out the four-fault trips.

Weather was perfect on this glorious SoCal Sunday.  After dining on delicious Argentinean fare atop the hill, many of the VIP guests stayed long after the event.  From pony rides to bounce houses, Kids’ Day was also a popular place for the younger crowd (and their parents).

Stay tuned for upcoming newsletters – from the Zone 10 Pony Finals to Spruce, Young Rider and Euro reports, Grand Prix action and more. The next newsletter will be in your inbox in less than two weeks and a special online edition coming in July.

June Classic I Grand Prix

The course for the $30,000 Blenheim Classic Grand Prix, designed by Linda Allen, was clearly a challenging 16- obstacle track. Out of the 23 horses that galloped onto the grass field, only three left all the rails up. Fourth in, Guy Thomas and Peterbilt (Peterbilt, LLC owners) were the first pair to go clean followed by Susan Hutchison and Muscadet de la Saveniere (Veronica Tracy, owner) riding eighth. Not until the seventeenth in the order did we see another fault free ride, New Zealander Anna Trent aboard Muskateer NZPH (Warwick Hansen, owner).

Trouble spots were seen throughout the course, including the second fence, an oxer on a bend, which lost its top rail a number of times, as did the next fence, a skinny vertical. The second element of the triple, 10B, also caught a few toes for four faults. Another course culprit was the water jump, set as a vertical, which proved spooky and resulted in a few run outs.

Thomas was the first to take a shot at the jump-off course finishing with a rail at 5B and a time of 38.97. Hutchison and Muscadet de la Saveniere were up next. They laid down their second clean, smooth trip with a hard to beat time of 38.33. Last to go, Trent tried to answer Hutchison’s call. Over the first three obstacles with ease, she then dropped two rails – one at fence four as well as one jumping out of the combination – solidifying the win for Hutchison.

Six horses were one rail away from a clean round, including Thomas on his second mount, Carino, fastest of the four-faulters for a fourth place finish, Gaby Salick and her young, talented mount Centuria Z had only 10B down for fifth, Joie Gatlin aboard the consistent SunCal’s King barely clipped the skinny to take home sixth, Lane Clarke and the crafty Kiss the Sky finished seventh, Hutchison on her second mount, Cantano had a heartbreak rail at the second to last jump, and Harley Brown on Cassiato rounded out the four-fault rides for ninth.

Team Send-off Celebration

Sunday was also selection day, as the Young Riders from Zone 10 competed in a challenging final two-round trial. After their multi-medal success at NAJYRC in 2007 and 2008, Zone 10 is certainly the team to beat in Kentucky July 22-26. Read more about it in this week’s Conversations with Young Riders below.

The Young Rider ‘A’ and ‘B’ Teams and the WCAR Spruce Teams, who will be competing at the Skyliner Tournament June 16-21, gathered in the hilltop VIP Tent for a well-deserved celebration during the Grand Prix.

Congratulations and good luck to all!

EquestriSol News: May 28, 2009

Welcome to summer! Loads of web site projects are in development, look for launch announcements in upcoming newsletters. Speaking of newsletters, there will be two coming your way in June at the Blenheim shows, so don’t miss out. Consider advertising – announce, promote, congratulate, thank – be a part of the newsletter craze!

We’re excited to welcome Katie Kotarak to the EquestriSol team. Interning with us for the summer, Katie will be a senior at St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana next semester. Come say hello – she’ll be joining us at many of the upcoming Southern California shows this season.

We love hearing from you, keep the feedback coming…

EquestriSol News: May 11, 2009

We are happy to announce a new website for Carleton Brooks. Although it is always interesting to learn more about our clients as we develop their campaigns, CB is especially dynamic. We look forward to adding to his site as he continues to tell us the stories. See this week’s Conversations With Equestrians for more.

A full schedule of summer newsletters is in the works. With fabulous content and also a continuing list of great events, look for us at Blenheim and LAEC shows. Not showing? Join our email list and receive it in your email inbox (close to 9,000 already do!). Great advertising opportunities both online and in print – be a part of the excitement! Contact us at 310.930.2744.

Fremont Hills: A Sanctuary for Riders in Portola Valley

By Erna Adelson & Jackie McFarland

Located in pastoral Portola Valley, Fremont Hills is an equestrian haven with a grounded nature. Each of the core team – Wendy Carter, Debbi Sereni and Missy Froley – has a distinctive background in equitation, hunters, and jumpers, so they can draw from their varied experiences for teaching all levels. “When we arrive in the morning, our goal each day is to make this day better than the last. We don’t say we specialize in one discipline, better said that every one of us contributes in many ways,” Wendy explains. So students at Fremont Hills benefit from not only a fabulous facility but also get to ride with three trainers at the same location—a prime opportunity for a diverse riding education, offering riders a library of experience to attain their equestrian goals.

Nestled between San Francisco and San Jose, Fremont Hills borders Woodside and Palo Alto and is easily accessible from Santa Cruz and Monterey. The group has 25 horses in training at the Portola Valley Training Center and eight others at nearby Bay Rose, where Wendy and Missy also train. They compete at prominent west coast ‘AA’ shows, including HITS, Blenheim, LAEC and Del Mar down south, as well as closer to home Menlo, Pebble Beach, Golden State, Brookside and Woodside. The team at Fremont Hills sees that each rider gets personal attention, providing a diverse program where each client progresses at his or her own pace. Missy commented, “We have ponies, 3’ hunters, 3’6” hunters, open horses and Grand Prix jumpers. Each of us have pieces that we’re good at, so we make a solid team.”

The three collectively agree that as the business manager, the communication hub between trainers and management, and the one who manages the pre-show details from schedule to entries, Debbi is the glue that holds it all together. More active in horse shows in previous years, (her son Matt Sereni won the 2003 ASPCA Medal Maclay Finals), Debbi knew she wanted to be able to spend more time with family when she adopted daughter Mia, now four years old. She contacted Wendy, who was working privately at Bay Rose, and convinced Wendy and Missy to take on a big piece of the training and traveling so Debbi could stay closer to home.

 By then, Missy and Wendy had been working together for several years, moving north from Coto de Caza in 2004, and already had a successful team dynamic—they have, in fact, spent the last seven years in working partnership. Missy started riding at the age of 6 with Jerry Daniels, then rode for a while with Michael Croopnick before she found her way to Caroline Bonham. She spent her junior career with Caroline where she excelled in equitation. Graduating from the junior ranks, Missy worked for Caroline until she met Wendy at Coto De Caza Training Center. Now, “We come as a unit,” Missy jokes, referring to her professional relationship with Wendy.

Wendy Carter grew up in Beverly Hills and also began riding at age 6, where she went on pony rides every weekend. That progressed into lessons at Foxfield Riding Academy where she credits Nancy Turrill and Joanne Postel for teaching her about the love of horses and the passion of riding, not just about winning ribbons. Wendy was lucky enough to ride with a variety of trainers through out her Junior and Amateur career, including Mike and Lolly Edrick, Bennett Kurtze, Jimmy Williams, Susie Hutchinson and Lucy Stewart, who collectively brought her success in the show ring as well as taught her how to be successful as a professional. She feels most indebted to three well-established professionals: Leslie Steele, Carleton Brooks and Scott Wilson.

At home in Portola, work starts at a reasonable 8:00 a.m. every day with lessons from morning until late afternoon. Everyone works together sharing in the duty of daily Starbucks runs. With such a busy competition schedule, an important part of the agenda is reaching goals and making time for fun. “At horse shows clients take what they’ve learned at home to the show ring. When they come out of the ring it’s about accomplishing their goals not necessarily the ribbon.” says Missy. “Having fun is also part of it. We try to do at least one night out with everyone since there are usually around 10-15 riders with us from Fremont Hills.”

Last year, the Fremont Hills team completed 145 days on the road, traveling to sixteen away shows, spanning northern and southern California. While they will stay closer to home in 2009, they always spend at least two weeks every year at Pebble Beach and Menlo. Past accolades include medal final champions, trips to indoors and grand prix placings, with several riders enjoying success in the show ring already this year. Missy Froley and Plein Air © Deb Dawson, other photos courtesy of Gail Morey.