Highlights From Blenheim Red, White & Blue Classic

The Hutch is on Fire!

After an impressive win last week in the $30,000 Copa de Amistad Grand Prix at the Blenheim June Classic III, the exceptionally consistent team of Susie Hutchison and El Dorado 29’s Cantano snatched up the top prize in the $25,000 Red, White and Blue Grand Prix presented by the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort & Spa. Top honors also went to Hutchison aboard Veronica Tracy’s Muscadet de la Saveniere in the $30,000 Blenheim Classic Grand Prix held during the first week of the 2009 June series. Of the four grand prix events hosted at Blenheim during June, Susie Hutchison walked away with three for three – she entered three and won each one.

Last season Susie and the little bay wonder Cantano had another awesome winning streak. In April 2008 they conquered a field of 39 in the $35,000 Spring Classic II Grand Prix, their first outing at this level.  Next came the glorious summer – when this pair won the $25,000 Red, White & Blue Grand Prix, the $25,000 July Theme Grand Prix and the $25,000 Racing Festival Grand Prix. Repeat performances in 2009 include winning the Spring Classic II and Red, White & Blue Grand Prix events.  We’ve not seen the last of this dynamic duo.

The Grand Event

Third to show in round one and once again first to go clean (see write-up for last week’s Copa de Amistad Grand Prix), Keri Potter and her 13-year-old gelding, Rockford I, put down a solid trip. Fifth and sixth entrants, Erin Duffy aboard Lionel, (Elizabeth Oliver, owner), also second clean last week, and Susan Hutchison riding Playboy (Ellen Spalding, owner), both managed fault free rides. As did Leslie Steele in the irons of her own, A.W. Butterfly Hula, Daniel Silverstone and Cindarco (Rebecca Lewis, owner), Michelle Parker atop Socrates (Cross Creek Farms Inc., owners), and sixteenth to go Erin Duffy earning a second spot in the jump off with her partner Kir Royal. The second to last pair to gallop onto the grass in the first round, Cantano and Hutchison effortlessly laid down a clean trip to secure their second spot in the jump off as well, bringing the total to eight.

First back was Rockford I and Potter. The pair jumped well through the first half of the shortened course, but picked up four faults midway through, finishing with a time of 48.38, earning them fifth overall. Duffy and Lionel were up next and gave the crowd what they were looking for – a clean round, but in the end, only good enough for second, a few seconds too slow for the win. Hutchison’s first horse in the jump-off, Playboy was the third to return, but after clipping rails at fences 5 and 9, earned eighth. The next three horses to enter the ring left with four faults a piece. Steele and A.W. Butterfly Hula were clear until fence 12, the second to last obstacle for four faults in a time of 49.15, earning the duo sixth place, Silverstone aboard Cindarco had a rail at fence 9 for seventh, and Socrates with Michelle Parker in the tack, brought down 6b in a time of 46.41 to grab a hold of fourth position. Duffy directed her second mount, Kir Royal, to another clean trip in a time of 52.44, adding a third place finish to her already great second place performance. With only one horse and rider left to negotiate the course, onlookers watched in anticipation as Hutchison and Cantano made their way onto the grass. In it to win it from the buzz of the timers, Hutchison expertly piloted the 9-year-old stallion around the course with ease, shaving seconds off the clock for the win.

Not quite making the jump-off, but rounding out the top twelve was Jenni Martin-McAllister aboard Union Jack (Alain Van Ryckeghem, owner) who went clean but exceeded the 90 second time allowed and picked up three time faults for ninth. Fastest of the four-faulters, Paige Dotson and Friponnier II CH (The Dotson Family, owners), had only 6b down in a time of 84.40 for tenth. Pulling a rail at 8b with a time of 85.12 was eleventh place pair, Holly Scapa and her mount, Country Girl, followed by Ashtin’s Obsession (Ashtin Holdings Inc., owners) and Kristin Russell who clipped the top rail of 11a for four faults in a time of 87.11 to take home twelfth.


presented by St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort & Spa

Susan Hutchison
El Dorado 29

Erin Duffy
Elizabeth Oliver

Kir Royal
Erin Duffy
Erin Duffy

Michelle Parker
Cross Creek Farms Inc.

Rockford I
Keri Potter
Keri Potter

A.W. Butterfly Hula
Leslie Steele
Leslie Steele

Daniel Silverstone
Rebecca Lewis

Play Boy
Susan Hutchison
Ellen Spalding

Union Jack
Alain Van Ryckeghem
Jenni Martin-McAllister

Friponnier II CH
Paige Dotson
The Dotson Family

Country Girl
Holly Scapa
Holly Scapa

Ashtin’s Obsession
Kristin Russell
Ashtin Holdings Inc.

A Sunday of Prix and Ponies

Twenty-three horses came out to play on Sunday, June 21st in the $30,000 Copa de Amistad Grand Prix during the third show of the Blenheim June series. Seven entries jumped without fault over the course designed by Canadian Peter Holmes, first of which was Keri Potter’s Rockford I, the sixth horse to enter the ring. Ninth to show, Erin Duffy and Lionel (Elizabeth Oliver, owner) forced a jump off, followed by clean rounds from the next two entrants, Becky Smith aboard Ashtin’s Obsession (Ashtin’s Holdings Inc., owners), and Grafin with Jill Humphrey in the irons (Leone Equestrians Inc., owners). Three more clean rounds totaled seven, including the fabulous pair of Susan Hutchison and Cantano (El Dorado 29, owners), Molly Talla and Camaron Hills Shanroe (Camaron Hills Farm, owners), and last to go, Jill Humphrey aboard her third mount, Corralino (Cathy Harris, owner).

The first two to show over the shortened jump off track, Potter and Duffy, both had four jumping faults and times of 41.12 and 40.51 respectively which earned them fifth and third positions overall. Next in, Smith and Ashtin’s Obsession rode a carefully clean trip in 44.99 seconds, putting them into first position with four left to go.

Humphrey followed with her first of two rides in the jump-off, Grafin, but the pair encountered a bit of trouble and finished with 12 faults, taking home seventh place. Fifth team to enter the ring, Hutchison aboard Cantano zipped around the course, leaving all of the rails in their cups in a time of 40.98, beating Smith by four seconds. Two more riders tried to catch Hutchison but couldn’t – Talla and Camaron Hills Shanroe had the time, 40.86, but clipped the rail at the liverpool for fourth and Humphrey riding Coralino ended up with eight jumping faults and a sixth place finish. Hutchison secures her second grand prix win in the Blenheim June series, two weeks ago piloting Muscadet del la Saveniere (Veronica Tracy, owner) and this week with Cantano.

Harley Brown and Cassiato (Oak Park Group LLC owners) just missed the jump off, exceeding the time allowed by .93 seconds and picking up one time fault for eighth place. The fastest of the four faulters, Joie Gatlin with her longtime partner SunCal’s King, garnered ninth. Tenth place honors went to Hutchison and her second mount, Playboy, who brought down a rail at fence three for four faults, eleventh place went once again to Gatlin, this time aboard Twindoline who were flawless except for the rail at fence 11, and picking up the remainder of the prize money, also with just one jump down, was Leslie Steele on her own A. W. Butterfly Hula.

Zone 10 Pony Finals

While the Grand Prix was a perfect way to bring Sunday afternoon to a close, the ponies were the best way for the day to begin. The Zone 10 Pony Hunter Finals wrapped up on the West Grass Field Sunday morning with the over fences phase of the competition, leaving the ponies with one final chance to strut their stuff. The young riders piloted their small, medium, and large mounts around the hunter course and added another score to the mix, having already shown in the model and under saddle during the previous day’s competition.

First in the ring was small pony, Helicon Take Notice (Newmarket Inc., owners) ridden by Pearl Theodosakis. The pair started the morning off right by laying down a solid trip, earning them a score of 84. It wasn’t until the second to last rider, Tara Spencer, trotted onto the field aboard Rainbow Canyon (Wild Sky Farm, owners), that spectators saw another score in the eighties, this time an 88, bringing the team’s total to an impressive 261. Rainbow Canyon’s nearly flawless round secured a blue ribbon in the class and Champion honors in the Zone 10 Small Pony Hunter division. Pearl Theodosakis scored a 78 on her second mount, Made For Me (Marigot Bay Farm LLC, owners), taking home Reserve Champion in the division with an overall total of 251.

The medium ponies were next and proved to be quite competitive when out of the twelve entrants, four earned scores of 80 or better. The class winner, Truly Noble, ridden beautifully by Mitchell Endicott in his scarlet hunt coat, scored an 89. Skylar Nelson and her classy mount Macy Grey (Wild Sky Farm, owners) were second, with a score of 83.5 and when added to their already solid total, clenched the Championship for the division. Destry Spielberg was in the irons on As You Wish (Pegasus Show Stable LLC, owner) and rode the pony to a score of 82 and a third place finish. When points were tallied for the mediums, the duo received Reserve Champion.

Tara Spencer and Romeo (Marissa Platt, owner) were the first to show in the large division and quickly became the pair to beat with a score of 80. Third to go, McKenna Skelton and Balthazar had a rebuttal to Romeo’s round, taking over the top spot and earning a blue ribbon in the class with a score of 81. With their second place over fences added to their Saturday scores, Spencer and Romeo were Champions in the large division. Additionally, Spielberg finished third aboard Love And Laughter (Olivia Jack, owner), to secure another Reserve Championship.

The Zone 10 Pony Final Grand Champion was small pony Rainbow Canyon, ridden by Tara Spencer, and Grand Reserve Champion was medium pony Macy Grey, with Skylar Nelson in the tack. Hats off to Wild Sky Farm, the Nelson family and trainers Archie Cox and Richard Slocum for taking home the top honors.

Congratulations to all ponies – large, medium, and small – on a job well done.

Highlights 2008 ShowPark

Oaks Blenheim Red, White & Blue Grand Prix

Susie Hutch and El Dorado 29’s Cantano are hot, hot, hot! Topping the field in the $25,000 Red, White & Blue Grand Prix presented by St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort, the $25,000 July Theme Grand Prix and this past weekend’s $25,000 Showpark Racing Festival makes for four victories in five Grand Prix starts. Very impressive.

For the Red, White & Blue Grand Prix, Michel Vaillancourt designed a course that suited the field well – inviting with technical challenges resulting in four clean rounds. Susie and Cantano led the way, followed by Keri Potter riding her horse Rockford I, Kristin Russell aboard Ashtin’s Obsession and then Keri again on the Dotson’s Caretano B. Just off the mark with a single time fault was Young Rider Paige Dotson on her own Friponnier II. Riding the course with flair, Paige is definitely ready for the NAJYRC later this month where she will represent Zone X on the ‘A’ Team (see the interview with Paige in our June 13th issue online).

Susie set the pace with a clean ride in 40.37. Kristin made a gallant effort, having the last fence down in a respectable 42.43. Keri chose to come back on only one of her two, Caretano B, almost catching Susie in a time of 40.52. 

Showpark July Theme Grand Prix

Twenty-one horses entered the $25,000 July Theme Grand Prix. With a mix of youngsters and veterans, the questions asked by the Michael Roy Curtis designed course gave the horses and riders enough tests that only three of 21 went clean. Veronica Tracy on her Muscadet de la Saveniere was first clean and with a fast time but four faults in the jump off, she left it open for the next two. The second in, Eva Gonda, rode El Campeon’s Conteros with precision but also had an unfortunate rail. This left Susie Hutch and Cantano a chance to be clean for the win.

Once again the dynamic duo of Susie and her handsome mount took the spotlight. “It’s nice to have Cantano back in the winner’s circle. He is a fast and clever horse. This win is a team effort and I again celebrate this victory with the Iversons and Sandy.” Congratulations!

Showpark Racing Festival

On a beautiful July day in Del Mar, Guillermo Diaz set a straight-forward course and added to the time allowed after the third horse in the ring, resulting in ten clean rounds. So it was a race to the finish with yet again Susie Hutch and Cantano taking top honors.

She explained her strategy: “I only watched Erin Duffy before I went. She added where I had planned to leave out strides and went clean. So I took the gamble leaving the strides out and it paid off.”

Michael Endicott on the young Santiago went clean and fast enough for the 3rd spot and Erin’s conservative clean ride placed her in 4th on Lionell. Ali Nilfourshan tried to catch the leading time riding Kilgrew’s Attraction, but had trouble at the last fence and ended up 5th. Leslie Steele on AW Butterfly Hula put the heat on and ended up a very close second, just 2/10 of a second behind Susie.

Highlights Oaks Blenheim April 10, 2008

$35,000 Spring Classic II Grand Prix

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

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

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

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

Oaks Blenheim Spring Classic III

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

Exhibitor Party Details

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

Conversations With Equestrians: Shelby Wakeman

By Laura Ware

The USHJA International Hunter Derby made its debut at the third week of HITS Thermal, and has proven to be a success every time it was held. This unique class attempts to create spectator interest in Hunters, with difficult courses consisting of bending lines, natural jumps, and four-foot fence options, all set in the main Hunter or Grand Prix arena. Other special features of this class are that it rewards bonus points for brilliant riding, and has a minimum amount of $10,000 prize money.

The most recent Hunter Derby was at the Oaks Spring Tournament in the small, intimate indoor ring, which has never before been used for a hunter class. Shelby Wakeman, a talented and successful rider in the hunter, jumper, and equitation rings, placed second in this past Hunter Derby, making her the highest placing junior rider. She was gracious enough to answer a few questions for me.

Laura: What were the classic and handy courses like?
Shelby: The classic course was more like a hunter course with a forward ride and couple of bending lines. There were natural options, including a skinny plank, multiple brush jumps, and a log under a jump, which made it different from any other hunter course. The handy course was hard, with a lot of tight inside turns that I could not get on Truly because they were more like jumper turns. It was difficult, but fun.

Laura: What was it like showing hunters in such a small arena?
Shelby: I was a little skeptical about showing a hunter in an indoor ring, but the course designer did a good job, and I really enjoyed riding it.

Laura: Tell me about the horse you rode.
Shelby: I rode Truly, who is owned by Ashley Pryde. He was a bit spooky in the Derby at Thermal, so I didn’t know how he’d be, but he ended up being really good and relaxed.

Laura: What makes this class special?
Shelby: The fact that it was in the indoor ring was fun and special, because the hunters never show in there and it is a completely different environment. It was at night and under the lights, so a lot of people came to watch it, adding to the uniqueness of this class.

Laura: Did you get any bonus points for taking risks in the handy round?
Shelby: You can get up to 8 bonus points from each judge team in the handy round, so a maximum of 16 points. This can really add to your score. I watched Jenny Karazissis (who had won the class at Thermal) go before me, and she took all the inside turns and got 7 bonus points. I didn’t know what it would take to earn 8 bonus points, so I planned on taking all the inside turns.

Once I got into the ring, however, I realized that the turns were tighter then I had thought. I ended up missing a couple, but I still ended up with 5 bonus points from one judge and 2 from the other.

Laura: How did it feel to be second in a class with famous professionals?
Shelby: It felt really good. I was honored to do well in such a prestigious class.

Laura: What are your riding goals for 2008?
Shelby: I want to do well at Devon. I’ve never been there and it’s my last junior year, so it would be really special if I did well. I’d also like to compete effectively at Indoors, and end my junior career on a good note.

We congratulate you Shelby, and wish you all the best in your last junior year.

Results of the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby:
1st   On Top    Keri Kampsen
2nd   Truly    Shelby Wakeman
3rd   Cinico    Katie Taylor
4th    Palmar     Jenny Karazissis
5th    Aragon    Jenny Karazissis
6th    Rumba    Erin Duffy
7th    Wesley    Shelby Wakeman
8th    Fiona    Elizabeth Blaisdell
9th    Norah Jones    Ali Leopold
10th    Rascal    Archibald Cox
11th    Mata Hari    Hilary Neff
12th    Chaucer    Peter Lombardo

Laura Listens is brought to you by Laura Ware. Winner of the 2007 LAHSA Junior Medal Finals and a recipient of the 2008 WCAR Jumper Rider Grant, Laura rides with First Field Farm and often trains with Archie Cox. She is very successful in the all three disciplines on her own mounts as well as catch riding other horses.