Highlights From The November 2011 North American League

NAL Sunday in Vegas
Competitors hit the jackpot at the inaugural North American League (NAL) West Coast Finals and none of the nearly one hundred exhibitors went home empty-handed. Every NAL member who competed in one of the five classics on “NAL Sunday” at the Las Vegas National Horse Show received a gift bag and an NAL embroidered saddle pad.

The group who earned a trip to the victory circle garnered an array of awards. In addition to a ribbon and prize money, winners of each NAL class took home a silver trophy, a coolerette, a pendant, plus an NAL backpack filled with other goodies including a necklace designed exclusively for the NAL by Herschel Bonchek, a prize package from Equine Matrix, and a Clothes Horse Certificate for an NAL scrim sheet.

“The riders were thrilled with our inaugural event,” said President of Ryegate Show Services, Lloyd Longenecker, who was present to handout the gifts and awards to each competitor. He heard one young member exclaim, “There’s a saddle pad in this bag… I am so excited!”

Five Divisions of Glory on NAL Sunday
Five champions in five divisions found the experience worth the trip. “I love doing big classes indoors and thought it would be fun to enter the NAL Finals here at the Las Vegas National. It was also a good prep for the upcoming medal finals – it is a special place,” said 13-year-old Melanie Selleck after winning the NAL Children’s Hunter Classic aboard her Foreign Escape.

Chelsea Samuels, 21, of La Canada, CA won the NAL Adult Amateur Classic on Brooklyn, a 12-year-old chestnut warmblood, with scores of 81 in the first round and 85 in the second. “If I dreamed a horse into life, it would be Brooklyn. He is like a wind-up toy… He always rises to the occasion and was jumping out of his skin here,” she explained.

Melanie Selleck and Foreign Escape (left), Chelsea Samuels and Brooklyn

A student at U.C. Santa Barbara, Chelsea rides with Archie Cox and Teddi Mellencamp. “It is difficult to balance school with riding and I haven’t jumped or shown since September. It is really nice to have a big finals for amateurs and not have to go east to compete.”

Jaclyn Jarrell and Barthez

Barthez and Calgary University student Jaclyn Jarrell won the NAL Low Junior-Amateur Jumper Classic, topping a 20-horse field and a seven-hocrse jump-off in 30.42 seconds.

“We have done lots of shows in Calgary, but decided to come to Las Vegas to skip the snow—it is below zero there now and this is my first time here. I love this venue!”

Caroline Underwood of Bonsall, CA, and her 12-year-old Holsteiner mare, Reina, are on a winning streak. Prior to the NAL Adult Amateur Jumper Classic, they won the $25,000 PCHA Adult Amateur Jumper Championship at Del Mar, and the week before that they won a $5,000 Classic in Del Mar. So she wasn’t surprised when her clean jump-off in 34.44 was a second and a half faster than anyone in the 10-horse jump-off.

Dinnia Digennaro, 16, didn’t know much about the North American League before winning the NAL Children’s Jumper Classic. But after collecting a wealth of prizes, it is a victory she will remember. Digennaro rode her Volturi, to the win in a 23-horse field with only four clean rounds. She went first in the jump-off clocking a clean 36.294 round that couldn’t be beat. “He’s my three-ring horse. We bought him as a hunter and he also does equitation as well as the jumpers. This is my first year in the children’s jumpers.”

Caroline Underwood and Reina (left), Dinnia Digennaro and Volturi

For more information regarding the NAL series, including series specifications, membership information and a list of upcoming events, please call (717) 867-5643, email[email protected] or visit www.ryegate.com.

Highlights From The 2011 Las Vegas National Horse Show

Truly terrific this year – the turn out at The Las Vegas National was super, competition fierce and in Vegas there is certainly no lack of extracurricular activities. At the South Point alone you can go to the movies, bowl, visit the spa, dine in one of nine restaurants and of course gamble. And your horse is on the premises!

Featuring several savory equestrian evenings, the event served up some great show jumping, exciting until the last rider.

Francie Steinwedell-Carvin
and Taunus

Steinwedell-Carvin Gives Up Control 
When twenty-nine horse and rider combinations competed in a one round competition against the clock in the $31,000 Las Vegas National Welcome Jumper Classic, presented by Summit General Insurance Agency, Francie Steinwedell-Carvin and Taunus were top notch. Eleventh to go, Steinwedell-Carvin and Prentiss Partner’s Taunus set a solid time, clean in 60.25, and held their lead through the next eighteen attempts.

Steinwedell-Carvin shared how her relationship with Taunus has blossomed of late, as she had an experience that taught her to “‘give up control to get control.’ He likes to go around on the flat with his head up and I would work so hard to get him to get round.” After working with a horse in a western saddle in a round pen with a cowboy, Francie learned about giving up control.

“A light came on without me realizing it, I had a transition of trust that I could let go. I relaxed so he relaxed and it worked.”

A difficult aspect to give up while negotiating a course of big jumps and tight turns – control – finding that synchronicity is a constant challenge. How an experienced rider learns new ways to communicate is an interesting question. Ask someone you admire about an unexpected experience that led to success in the show ring.

Good to the Last Draw
On a chilly evening in the Vegas desert the South Point Equestrian arena was on fire as twenty-nine horse and rider combinations hailing from all over the world raced for the win in the $20,000 1.35m Speed Classic, presented by CardFlex. Previous to this fast and furious event, the kids had a ton of fun at the JustWorld International Horseless Horse Show and the precious leadliners stole the crowd’s heart.

The track created by course designer Anthony D’Ambrosio offered several options for speed, and riders picked a variety of tracks for success. First to go American Karl Cook set the pace aboard Signe Ostby’s Notories Utopia. The ride was smooth and slick in a time of 61.44. D’Ambrosio commented, “Karl is going to be tough to beat. There are two places where you could do one less stride than he did, that may be the only way to win.”

Per his prediction, try as they might, rider after rider nipped at Karl’s heels but none could catch him. The ultimate thrill of the evening came with the final ride, Argentinean Eduardo Braun on H.J. El Magnifico. Just when the crowd figured Cook had it in the bag, Braun sped his way through the track with style and stopped the clock in 61.10, just over three tenths of a second faster than Cook for the win. The crowd went crazy as Braun raised his fist in victory.

Saturday Night Lights & Heights
Saturday was super at the Las Vegas National. The evening began by crowning a champion in the PCHA Victor Hugo-Vidal Adult Medal Finals. In its first year at this indoor location, three riders finished the first two rounds within three percentage points of each other and returned for a work-off. Called in second, Lorri Quiett on Abigail performed well and ultimately earned the top spot.

Next Karl Cook illustrated that speed pays off in the exciting $10,000 Winning Round Classic, presented by Royal Champion. Twenty-seven couples gave it a go and nine completed the course fault free. Unique to the Winning Round Format, riders return according to their score and time in the first round.

Since all were clean, time determined the order of go in the second round. It was no surprise that Karl Cook and Jonkheer Z (Signe Ostby, owner) were the last to come back in the second round. Shaving almost two seconds off Kirsten Coe and Vernon G’s leading time, Cook took the win at the last second.

Commencing with a rockin’ light show, followed by a Parade of Nations with an introduction of each grand prix rider, the crowd was ready for some superb show jumping. Before the four-hooved types galloped in, kids large and small leaped up to 1.20m in the JustWorld International High Jump competition.

The twenty-four entries in the $50,000 Last Vegas National Grand Prix, presented by Summit General Insurance Agency, were a balance of eleven male and ten female competitors representing six nations. Course designer Anthony D’Ambrosio set an ‘up to standard’ 1.60m track with spreads up to 1.65m, a triple bar at 1.90m, a triple combination with two oxers and a delicate 1.60m skinny vertical. Over half the class rose to the occasion, with eight moving on to the jump-off round and five scored just four faults.

Double clears included American John McConnell aboard Rancho Corazon’s Katie Riddle, who sailed smoothly around the shortened course clean in 40.57, taking the lead. A short-lived lead however, as the young and quick Karl Cook on ASB Conquistador (Signe Ostby, owner) followed with another double clean effort in 38.56. The petite Danish rider Emilie Martinsen rode the powerful Toscane well (J.a.j Van Rijiswijk, owner), finishing double clean in 45.16 earning a respectable fourth place. Last but certainly not least, Brazilian Eduardo Menezes entered on Francisco Pasquel’s Calavda. He had this envious position in 2010 as well and won. On a horse he’d only been riding a few months, Menezes was double clean, stopping the clock in 38.15, four tenths of a second faster than Cook for another sweet Vegas victory. The crowd went crazy as Menezes crossed the finish line. Once again the final ride clinched the top prize.

Eduardo Menezes and Calavda

The Brazilian professional who resides in Mexico and California was especially pleased with his win, since this was his first grand prix on Calavda. When asked about the Vegas vibe, Menezes smiled and said, “I love this show, this venue. Vegas is like Disneyland for adults.”

Highlights From The Summer and Fall Blenheim EquiSports Show

Summer Into Fall
Blenheim EquiSports hosted a month plus of shows to wrap up a very busy southern California season. Beginning at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park in San Juan Capistrano for two weeks in August, down to Showpark in Del Mar for two weeks and with one week off returning to San Juan Capistrano in September. From IHF classes to USHJA Hunter Derbies and Young Jumper Championships to World Cup Qualifiers as well as the start of end of the year excitement with finals for Junior Hunters and Equitation riders, it was a jam-packed month of equestrian excellence.

The final fanfare will be in Vegas at the Las Vegas National, November 3-7. With a schedule for both hunters and jumpers, the Blenheim Team along with the South Point added a list of new perks for both competitor and spectator to savor.
As we think about the end of summer and head into fall – another year is flying by – we welcome you to August with Blenheim EquiSports. Once again several hundred horses, riders, owners and trainers enjoyed picture perfect weather and fabulous footing. So read on to enjoy the highlights of the summer season.

August 14, 2010: Blenheim Summer Classic I: $25,000 Summer Classic Grand Prix

Thirty-five horse and rider combinations galloped onto the International Field to compete in the $25,000 Summer Classic Grand Prix during the first week of showing of the Blenheim Summer Classic Series. With twelve horses returning to the grass for the jump-off, the last to go proved to be best, Mexico’s Otavio Penedo and his partner Don Arturo Equisearch. The pair went fast and clean to clinch the win.

Patrick Rhodes designed a flowing course with several technical elements for a total of 16 efforts in a generous time allowed of 92 seconds. “It was a good field. Maybe a few too many clean, but overall I was happy,” commented Rhodes.

John Perez aboard Daniel Rihan’s Abel was the first go clean. The next two competitors were also fault-free, Joie Gatlin on Camaron Hills Quick Dollar (Camaron Hills Farm, owner), one of only two women in the jump-off, and Eduardo Sanchez Navarro on his own Virgo.

The clean rounds kept coming from the Mexican riders. Tenth in the ring, Francisco Pasquel riding his own Calavda Z, advanced to the second round. With a total of four rides for the afternoon, Perez also qualified his own Utopia as well as Daniel Rihan’s Twister for the jump-off. Galloping onto the grass sixteenth, Juan Jose Bancalari and Villeneve (7) made it seven. Sanchez Navarro and Centinaio 2, Rodrigo Lambre riding Carpaccio and Eduardo Menezes aboard Percynality Mercedes Benz, all posted clean rides. The other female representative in the jump-off was 17-year-old Californian Jocelyn Neff, competing in her first grand prix on Gaga 20 (Donna Neff, owner).

Only four of twelve riders managed double clear rounds. With the advantage of watching eleven of his fellow competitors precede him in the second round, Penedo knew what he and his 10-year-old mount had to do for the win. “I had to take all of the risks and it paid off.” The winning duo navigated the jump-off track in a time of 36.41, almost two seconds faster than the previous leading time, to secure the top prize.