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 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.

Conversations With Equestrians: Paige Dotson

By Laura Ware

Ten riders are heading to Colorado in late July to represent Zone 10 at the North American Junior and Young Rider Championships. Congratulations to all who participated in the trials– successfully competing at 1.40 is a huge accomplishment. Young Rider Team Member Paige Dotson was generous enough to share her trials experience. Part of Zone 10’s Gold Medal winning ‘B’ Team last year in Virginia, Dotson, 17, is hoping to strike a repeat performance at Young Riders this year participating on the ‘A’ Team.

Laura: Please tell us a bit about your Young Rider horse.
Paige: I am taking Friponnier II CH (aka Flip) to the Young Riders championships. He is a 16 year old Swiss warmblood gelding, but he likes to pretend that he is still seven! Mandy Porter rode him as a young horse in Europe and brought him back with her when she returned to California. He has qualified for young riders at least three times – with me, Erica Buie, and once or twice with Kelly Fong. I cannot thank the Buies enough for selling him to me and my parents for buying him; he has done wonders for my riding! He moved me up from the low jumpers to the highs, to the opens, and I did my first (very small) Grand Prix on him in Del Mar last October. He’s a grumpy old man but he’s all bark and no bite. He will charge out of his stall ears pinned back, snarling, but all he really wants is for you to pay attention to him and play with him. And besides his strong dislike of Keri Potter’s dog, JJ, he’s a favorite at the Buie’s barn.

Laura: What did you like/dislike about the trials format?
Paige: I really like the trial format; it’s the reason I’m on the team. I was a little worried that it would be a lot of rounds for Flip but he almost bucked me off in the warm-up on the last day! Having experienced these trials and how they prepare you for the finals, I love them. It is nice to know what to expect when you get to the finals, and Linda Allen set the courses so that they are comparable to the finals, which allows us to know what we are going up against.

Laura: How much experience have you had competing at 1.45m?
Paige: I have been doing the 1.45m with Flippy since the end of last September. At HITS I competed in the Jimmy Williams future classes to get some more experience and have been doing the 1.45m at the previous trials this year.

Laura: Tell us about the trial rounds at Oaks Blenheim. How were the courses, difficulty factor, number of clean rounds, format…
Paige: The final trials were challenging and asked the riders to be consistent over a three day period:
Speed class: The first day faults were converted into time. There were some very tricky spots such as the double combination of verticals which were very tight. In order to be fast enough you had to do a forward eight to the jump, making the rails difficult to leave up. There also was a tall vertical that you had to jump on a very sharp angle. That one came down quite a bit. After a course that encouraged you to come very forward, a lot of horses got strong. Linda asked us to jump across the open water and go directly to a VERY tight one-stride. Many people had beautiful rounds until this point then had a rail at ‘B’ of this combination because they could not get their horses back after the beginning which was so forward, and then the forward water jump.
Day Two: The course was very technical, with a few wide oxers asking for scope. Once again, Linda asked if you could get across the water, this time going to it right after another jump, then get your horse back for a tall airy vertical. The last combination was a tight one stride where ‘B’ had black boxes underneath that scared some horses. The four Young Rider/horse combinations that were clean in the first round came back for a jump off. There was a very tight inside turn to the second jump that saved time, but was very risky and caused problems, as well as the last long gallop to a huge airy vertical. We had Saturday off, and then returned Sunday for a two round competition.
Final Day: The first course was very hard. The time was tight and encouraged riders to rush, causing them to have rails. The triple combination was early on and was a very quiet two to a longer one-stride at a rather wide oxer. Some people got the two done but had trouble getting across the oxer. The last line was the water jump, then a quiet seven to an airy vertical. Most of the class had a foot in the water, even while riding at it hard. After galloping hard to the water, they then had difficulty fitting in the quiet seven, in order to leave the last jump up. The second round was fairly straight-forward and much shorter, with many clean rounds. The time was tight and it seemed that the problem area on this course was the wide oxer that rocketed you into a tight two-stride of verticals. Then you had to protect your horse’s front end at the oxer that was seven strides away.

Laura: After last year, what do you expect and what do you hope for at NAYJRC?
Paige: Last year both the junior and young rider teams won gold, with Karl winning individual gold and Aurora winning bronze. It was the first time in a while that Zone 10 did that well. Our group was tightly knit and there was great team camaraderie. I expect the courses to be technical and the jumps to be big, but I think that our trials prepared us well. I’m sure that our teams this year will be just as close as last I hope that we can win some medals again – gold would be great! I hope to place in the top individually and maybe even get a medal.

Laura: Why did you choose to focus on the jumpers instead of the equitation or hunters?
Paige: I chose to concentrate on jumpers for several reasons. Ever since I was little, I have enjoyed going fast on things, whether it’s a roller coaster, a dirt bike, or a horse. After I competed in the short stirrup classes on my first horse, I got a pony jumper who was really fast and fun. From there on I did jumpers. Since I really enjoyed it and so did my parents, that’s where I ended up! A few years back, I got to watch the Olympic Trials held at Oaks Blenheim, while I was riding there in Children’s Jumpers. I got hooked on international competition and decided that I would really like to compete in the Olympic Trials someday.

Laura: What are your future riding goals?
Paige: Next year, I hope to start competing at the Grand Prix level regularly. When I graduate from high school I am going to go to college in California in order to continue riding and training with Keri Potter. Hopefully, after college I will turn professional. One day, also, if I have the horse, I would like to compete in international competitions such as the World Cup.

Thanks for your input, Paige, and good luck to you and both teams at the Championships!

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.

Highlights From Oaks Blenheim April 2008

Keri Potter and Rockford I win the $50,000 Orange County Register CSI-W World Cup Qualifier Grand Prix

Kudos to the Keris (and a Karazissis) this past week!

Keri Potter garners the win in the $50,000 Orange County Register CSI-W World Cup Qualifier Grand Prix and secures a spot for the World Cup if she chooses to head to Sweden. And in the hunter arena Keri Kampsen topped the field in the $10,000 USHJA Hunter Challenge riding On Top, owned by Monarch International.

Second to go, Potter entered the jump-off thinking ‘just go for it’ which clearly paid off – she was fastest by just over ½ a second. Guy Thomas put in a great ride with a time of 31.28 but couldn’t beat Potter’s 30.71 seconds.

Jenny Karazissis wins the First Annual Arthur Hawkins Award of Excellence.

“The Blenheim EquiSports team has been great and I always enjoy coming to these shows. Riding in the indoor ring here is great practice for future indoor competitions,” Potter commented.

Kampsen was glad to be riding the Hunter Challenge in the covered arena as well. “It was a totally different feel indoors – it worked out well for me.”

“The entire event was well done from start to finish. It was great that it was for Artie Hawkins. Artie judged me when I rode small ponies.”

A final congratulations highlight for Week I of the Oaks Blenheim Spring Series goes to Jenny Karazissis. Recipient of the First Annual Arthur Hawkins Award of Excellence, Karazissis was honored for her contribution to the show hunter discipline.

Keri Kampsen and Monarch International’s On Top win the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Challenge.
Photos © Captured Moment Photography

This week Oaks-Blenheim will host what might be the most interesting event of the entire year. The “You Thought You’d Never Ride Again” Professional Challenge will take place on the main Grand Prix field on Saturday afternoon immediately following the Spring Classic II Grand Prix. With $5,000 in prizes awarded to the winners, this might be your one and only chance to root on some legendary trainers as they hark back to their youth in a two round jumper/equitation competition.