Highlights From The Sept 2,3 2010 Blenheim EquiSports Show

September 2, 2010: First Indoor Class of the California Season

On Thursday evening of the Showpark All Seasons Summer Classic Blenheim EquiSports hosted the $30,000 Showpark Jumper Classic, presented by Royal Champion. With 42 entries, the event served as a warm-up for Saturday’s World Cup Qualifier as well as an opportunity to ride in the first indoor class of the California season. Scored as a speed class, eight pairs went clean, but fastest of the night were the new match of Jill Humphrey and Tao Tao 3 (Alicia Jonsson Foster, owner). Second place went to Richard Spooner and his partner Ace (S&B LLC, owner) with Keri Potter and Rockford I rounding out the top three.

September 4, 2010: First World Cup Qualifier of the California Season
Twenty-nine horse and rider combinations were all business as they competed under the lights in the Del Mar Horse Park covered arena on Saturday night. With riders representing eight different countries vying for the top prize as well as points on the World Cup leader board in the $50,000 Grand Prix of Showpark CSI-W, presented by EquiFit, inc., course designer Anthony D’Ambrosio had the task of building a course that tested both the scope of the horse and eye of the rider. Four jumped clean in the first round to earn a spot in the jump-off, but it was the talented couple of Percynality Mercedes Benz and Eduardo Menezes who clinched the win by delivering the only double clear performance of the evening.

D’Ambrosio presented the competitors with sixteen efforts. With some ‘delicate’ fences, D’Ambrosio wanted to test the accuracy of the entrants without too many demanding fences in a row. “I had one wide oxer in the triple combination and one in the double, but I didn’t have another difficult fence immediately follow either,” the American designer explained. Some riders lowered the height of the triple bar on course while others found trouble at various areas in the triple and double combinations, as well as fence 11, a daunting vertical jumped on a slight angle towards the grand stands.

As the ninth pair to make their entrance in the first round, Brazilian Menezes and his own Percynality Mercedes Benz jumped clean and forced a jump-off with second in the order and first to go clean, East Coast rider Michelle Spadone and her mount Melisimo (Morgan Hill Partners, owner). Later in the order, Susan Hutchison and the bay stallion Cantano (El Dorado 29, owner) delivered a fault-free performance to earn a spot in the second round as did 18-year-old Karl Cook aboard his second mount, Uno de Laubry (Signe Ostby, owner).

As the second rider to step up to the jump off challenge, Menezes knew he had to give it his all. “I had to be fast because Susie [Hutchison] and Karl [Cook] were behind me and they are quick,” the winner said. Jumping around clean in 36.87, Menezes clearly delivered as neither Hutchison nor Cook were fault-free. After having finished second in his share of grand prix events this season, Menezes was particularly happy. “When I felt him in the warm-up ring, I knew he was feeling great,” Menezes said of his 13-year-old partner.

Finishing second was the California hotshot Cook and Uno de Laubry. The young rider completed the jump-off track with four faults, lowering the height of an early fence on the track, in a final time of 37.65. First to return to the shortened track, Spadone and Melisimo also had four faults in 38.77 for a third place finish. Picking up fourth place, Hutchison and Cantano had a great time of 36.78 but dislodged two rails for eight faults.

Highlights From The $40,000 Summer Grand Prix On August 22nd, 2009

The weekend of August 22nd, 2009 will be remembered for many years to come in the equestrian world. On Saturday we watched 56 horses start and fourteen jump-off in the last outdoor grand prix of the 2009 season. Plus we simultaneously witnessed the final rounds of the inaugural ASG Software Solutions/USHJA Hunter Derby Finals live from the Kentucky Horse Park online at equestrianlife.com. On Sunday not only did the CPHA Foundation Medal Finals come to an exciting close but the EquSport and Coapexpan Horse Shows along with a handful of fantastic sponsors hosted a fabulous cocktail party that evening. More on all the above and other outstanding stories below, so read on.

Designing a course for a large field requires the track be challenging enough to narrow the jump-off to a handful of horses and riders. Among the 56 entries were competitors at the International level, horses returning from a summer in Europe with this as their first comeback to the show ring as well as riders on young horses and new mounts. Quite a mix for course designer Olaf Petersen Jr. to contend with and successfully so with exactly one quarter of the first round attempts making it to the jump-off.

Sixteen-year-old Paris Sellon on her Orlando LA went fourth and were the first clean. Familiar with Olaf Jr.’s courses after competing at the 2009 NAYJRC in late July, she set the pace with one rail in the jump-off in a time of 49.25. Up against some top West Coast and Mexican riders, she held her lead for several rounds when rails dropped as riders attempted to beat the clock. Sixth to ride in the second round was another young rider who has made her mark several times in the grand prix arena, Laura Teodori on her fabulous Kasoar D’Uxelles. She also had four faults but in 47.70 to take over the lead for a brief moment.

Next in Mexican rider Eduardo Menezes on his Renoir Mercedes Benz were the first double clean setting, the time to beat at 45.38. Another top contender, Susie Hutchison and El Dorado 29’s Cantano, nipped at Menezes heels, double clean in 47.70, which would end up third best. The amazing (and young) Ashlee Bond was clean on all three of her Little Valley Farm entries, her first time back in on Chivas Z garnered her lowest prize, seventh with a rail in 49.10. Her next attempt on GZS Cassira Z ended up fastest of the four-faulters in 45.37 for fourth overall. Menezes returned on his Let’s Go Mercedes Benz, racing around in 46.80 with four for fifth place. And Ashlee Bond finished the class on her outstanding Cadett 7. The pair blazed around in their now internationally known style and stopped the clock clean in 44.73 for the win.

August 29th, 2009 – The $50,000 Grand Prix of Showpark Indoor World Cup Qualifier

Fitting that the end of our summer season and the start of the new Indoor season would include a retirement ceremony for a horse known worldwide – Wild Turkey Farm’s Summer. Discovered, trained and taken to the highest levels by Mandy Porter, this gorgeous gray mare cleared many World Cup level courses and competed in the FEI World Cup Finals. She also sailed effortlessly around many outdoor venues, including wins at Spruce Meadows and the Del Mar National. When trying the mare as a mount for Barb Ellison, both Mandy and owner Barb saw international potential. Barb purchased Summer and allowed Mandy to bring out the best in the horse. After a very successful five-year reign in the show arena, Mandy will hand the reins back to Barb, who will breed the mare to some of her fabulous Wild Turkey Farm stallions in Summer’s second career as a broodmare. Can’t wait to see those babies jump!

Of forty starters in the first World Cup qualifier of the West Coast season, six horses piloted by four riders jumped off. Last to go, Tiwistar and Francie Steinwedell Carvin were two time faults away from making it seven clean. Four faulters rounded out the top eleven and similarly to seventh, twelfth went to a team with one rail and one time fault.

“I built a legitimate course,” explained course designer Leopoldo Palacios. “What the West Coast has done having all the qualifiers indoors is the best for the sport, you can see the improvement in the riders.”

A beautiful course that started with the black and white EquiFit, inc. plank oxer, to a bending six, around a tight right turn to a liverpool vertical, blind corner to the red planks, left turn to a diagonal line down the middle of the arena with a triple combination – one stride to a two stride to three forward strides to the brick wall, another bending line that ended with a square wide oxer, to a triple bar in a tight five to a vertical – oxer combination and finishing in a bend over an airy gate. Suffice to say the most of the jumps came down at one point or another, but the middle line and the tight five were the biggest culprits.

First to go clean was none other than rock star duo Ashlee Bond and Cadett 7, seventh in the ring. She did it again on Little Valley Farm’s GZS Cassira Z later in the class. Ashlee’s coach, Richard Spooner followed suit, clean on Cristallo (Show Jumping Syndications Intl, owner) and on his wife Kaylen’s horse Pako. The other two to join the jump off included Santiago Rickard on his own Jet Star and Keri Potter on her Rockford I. Of course Bond set a blazing pace in the jump off, clean in 33.95. No other rider could catch that time. Two more went clean – Spooner and Pako in 34.30 for second place and Potter with Rockford I in 36.08. Cristallo with one rail in 34.20 ended up fourth. Cassira fifth with a rail in 38.38 and rounding out the top six was Jet Star and Rickard with four in 41.17.

Young Horses

The Showpark All Seasons Classic also crowns a good number of young horses with their first big victories. On Wednesday and Thursday, the Wheeler family sponsored the Sallie B. Wheeler/USEF Hunter Breeding Championships for yearlings, two-year-olds and three-year-olds in hand, while two-year-old, three-year-old and four-year-old hunters competed in the International Hunter Futurity classes.

The 2009 Wild Turkey Farm Young Jumper Championships Western League Finals offers competition for three age divisions, five-year-olds, six-year-olds and seven/eight-year-olds over three days. Exhibitors from northern and southern California, Mexico, Colorado and Arizona gathered to show their young prospects. The Simpsons, Nicki and Will, dominated the five year old division riding Holly Go Lightly (Ilan Ferder, owner) and Carpendale (Kimberly Thomas, owner) respectively. Mexican riders garnered the top spots in both the six-year-old and seven/eight-year-old divisions – John Perez won with his six year old Winalaris La Cantera and was second on Carla (Eduardo Leon, owner). He also battled it out with Mandy Porter for the win in the seven/eight-year-olds, with the blue going to Arezzo (Rolling Oaks West LLC, owner) and a close second to LaMarque (Wild Turkey Farm, owner) in an exciting six horse jump off.

Are these horses potential USHJA Hunter Derby winners? Grand Prix contenders? International horses? Time will tell… We wish all the best to these young horses in their future careers.

Highlights LEG Summer Show Circuits

Welcome to the e-news covering seven weeks of fabulous horse shows in two phenomenal locations – The Horse Park at Woodside situated on the border of Menlo Park and Woodside in northern California and the Colorado Horse Park in Parker nested between Denver and Castle Rock in Colorado.

Three weeks in June and early July for Woodside included the inaugural Bayfest Under Saddle Derby and a first time Grand Prix win for amateur rider Jessica Sullivan. Four weeks in Parker boasted a $5,000 Hunter Classic and a $10,000 Chronicle of the Horse Hunter Derby, plus a run for the $100,000 Grand Prix Rider Bonus if one rider wins all three Colorado Grand Prix events.

Woodside Summer Circuit
The 2009 Woodside Summer Circuit featured exciting jump offs, lovely hunter rounds, and some stylish equitation riders. Jumpers battled it out, and while it looked like Helen McNaught was invincible with her fleet of talented horses, she had to share the limelight. McNaught started off as queen of the jumper ring when she won both the $1,000 Welcome Stake and the $10,000 Woodside Jumper Classic on Ocean Cat (Doug & Julie White, owners). However, she had to give up her throne the second week when Duncan McFarlane edged her out of the win in the $20,000 Bayfest Grand Prix aboard Mr. Whoopy (Simone Coxe, owner). The third week it was an amateur rider who reigned supreme when Jessica Sullivan piloted her Classic Europa to victory in the $30,000 Golden Gate Grand Prix.

McNaught is fairly new to Northern California, but she has settled in nicely. “This area reminds me of home (England) and the weather is great. Woodside is quiet and filled with horse people, and I love the area shops. I’ve wanted to come up here for years and there is more competition than I expected. The Horse Park (at Woodside) is lovely and the big fields give you lots of riding area. What is there not to like?”

Sullivan was equally excited about her trip north. “This is my first time showing in Northern California and everyone is so nice. I train with Santiago Rickard at home, but I have been friends with Patrick Seaton for a long time so I decided to bring my four horses north and work with him.” Sullivan and Seaton found that they could be friends and work together, successfully it seems!

Having Fun on the Circuit 
In addition to keen competition, Show Manager Chris Collman wanted to have some fun activities during the three weeks. The Stick Horse Parade was the hands down favorite. Throughout the week, exhibitors stopped by the horse show office to pick up a stick horse with instructions to decorate it in their own unique way. When Saturday afternoon rolled around, forty kids showed up at the grand prix ring to parade around before the big class. Creativity abounded, and while all the kids got great gift bags, it was Avery Glynn (Ned and Hope Glynn, trainers…and parents) who was named the overall champion. Dressed as a beautiful princess in pink, Avery paraded a pink fairy pony complete with pink bell boots, a pink bonnet, and lots of ribbons and streamers.

$125,000 in Bonus Money Up For Grabs
Topping the field repeatedly can pay off big for high performance riders on the Summer Circuits in both Woodside and Colorado.

In Woodside, if a rider can win all three of grand prix events, they take home the Woodside Jumper Accumulator. There was $25,000 in the 2009 Accumulator Fund and when it goes unclaimed another $5,000 is added. In 2008 Patrick Seaton won two of the three classes, earning an extra $5,000.

In Colorado, the $100,000 Rider Bonus is up for grabs for the person who can win all three grand prix events – the $25,000 High Prairie Grand Prix, the $40,000 Rocky Mountain Grand Prix, and the $50,000 Grand Prix of Denver – on the same horse. Several years ago Bjorn Ikast won two of the classes and took home a $25,000 check.

The potential for a big pay off remains and entices top riders to compete on the summer circuits year after year.

Cool Colorado
Horses and riders from more than twenty states and Canadian provinces converge on Parker to attend the Colorado Summer Circuit. The big classes had a true international flavor with Bjorn Ikast (Denmark) capturing the $25,000 High Prairie Grand Prix on Braveheart; Canadian John Pearce aboard Son of a Gun (Forest View Farm, owner) leading the victory gallop in the $40,000 Rocky Mountain Grand Prix and to wrap it up, Eduardo Menezes of Mexico rode Don Guido Mercedes Benz to the win in the $50,000 Grand Prix of Denver. With the wins split among these three top riders, the $100,000 bonus went unclaimed.

Hunters Take the Stage
Hunters enjoyed their share of the limelight during the Colorado Summer Circuit.

Colleen Acosta earned a big win in the $10,000 USHJA Hunter Derby aboard Posse (Chris Guthrie, owner). Usually the handsome bay horse competes in the Adult Amateur Hunters, but to prepare for the Derby Acosta rode him in the Modified Hunters and a low jumper class.

Summer Means Family
Competing in Colorado means family fun during the summer months. Page and Sarah Tredennick share a love of horses and riding, as do Suellen and Clare Walker.

Triple or quadruple the fun when the entire family gets involved, like with the Quagliano’s of Edwards, Colorado.