Highlights From June 2011 Ranch & Coast Show

Just a few highlights at the Ranch & Coast Classic include Friday’s $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby and Saturday’s $10,000 1.40M Jumper Classic and $50,000 Grand Prix of California. Competitive until the final horse galloped on course, these three events welcomed well over a hundred horses onto the gorgeous grass field at the Del Mar Horse Park.$10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby

Qualifying for the Handy round of the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby required a cumulative first round score of 169 or better. The challenges of the Handy Round included a snake vertical, galloping up a hill, a trot jump and galloping down the hill to an oxer option. Although some illustrated classic hunter style, Yellow Dog Farm’s Crown Affair and John French proved their handy prowess, scoring a solid ten points higher than any other round. The thirteen-year-old Holsteiner stallion moved up from 10th after the first round for the win.

“I wasn’t sure if it was his day after the first round,” explained owner Gail Morey. “But he really perked up for the next round, he just loves to be handy!”

Second to Crown Affair was Davlyn Farm’s Come Monday, with Christa Endicott in the irons. Still green at the Derby level, the mare has a fabulous jump and no doubt will be a recognizable name in the hunter ranks.

$10,000 1.40m Jumper Classic
Of the thirty-eight horses who entered the $10,000 1.40M Jumper Classic, eleven were clean and the top five spots went to up and coming young riders. Last to go, Karl Cook aboard Lavito (owned by Signe Ostby) took the top prize away from Paris Sellon on her Orlando LA, when he stopped the clock a mere half a second faster. Coming in a close third, just a half a second slower than Sellon was fourteen year old Kara Chad of Canada on Stone Ridge’s Alberto. College freshman Saer Coulter rounded out the top five on her two mounts Atticus and Asgard.

$50,000 Grand Prix of California
The $50,000 Grand Prix of California hosted thirty-eight horse and rider duets onto the grass field at the Del Mar Horse Park. Venezuelan course designer Leopoldo Palacios challenged riders and horses alike setting a flowing course that demanded a keen eye and technically accurate ride. With plenty competitors garnering time and jumping faults, nine riders managed to navigate the first round with a clean score.

When designing the course for the $50,000 competition, Palacios said it was very important to him to understand the level of every horse and rider in the class.

“I believe this show is one of the biggest events on the west coast and I’m building big so those who are winning, are winning at the top national level,” noted Palacios.

In addition to his challenging courses, Palacios is also known for his setting tight times. Originally, competitors were not to exceed 79 seconds but after a few riders encountered time faults, an adjustment to 81 seconds saved many riders from faults. Third to go in the jump-off, Hutchison galloped Cantano around Palacios’ shortened track with the win in mind, knowing she would have to put in a quick and accurate ride to leave all the jumps in place. Stopping the clock at 36.56, nearly ten seconds under the time allowed Hutchison was able to do just that. The pair are truly in sync, as they enter their third grand prix season, this is their fifteenth win to date.

“Leopoldo is one of the best course designers around,” said Hutchison. “He has a tight time and sets to par which challenges the sport, making the riders and horses better. It’s what we need.”

Also earning a place in the jump-off and ending the day double clear, veteran riders Helen McNaught and Hap Hansen battled it out for second and third place honors. Navigating the shortened track second to last, Hansen masterfully piloted Archie Bunker (Linda Smith) to stop the clock in 39.20 seconds. Hansen seemingly had the second place finish secured until last to go McNaught and her own Caballo shaved one more second off the clock to finish in 38.12, bumping Hansen to third. Michelle Spadone and Uwwalon (Morgan Hill Partners) were the first pair to navigate the first round track without fault and did so again when they entered the ring for the jump-off, crossing the timers in 40.19 seconds for fourth. As the last double clear ride of the afternoon, Kirsten Coe rode Kilkenny Randall Z (Ilan Ferder) to the fifth position in a time of 40.54.

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 2011 Summer Shows at Showpark

Welcome to August in Del Mar and San Juan Capistrano. Over the summer season into early fall (June 9 – Sept. 19) Blenheim EquiSports presents twelve grand prix events, numerous young jumper classes, three medal finals – CPHA, CPHA Foundation and ASPCA Regionals – Zone 10 Pony Hunter Finals, the West Coast Junior Hunter Championships, the Western League Young Jumper Championships, International Hunter Futurity Classes, Hunter Breeding Championships and two USHJA International Hunter Derbies. Plus a full schedule of rated divisions in every discipline. Summer has seen some super classes in So Cal. Read on…

The $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby

Saturday afternoon boasted blue skies and perfect weather in the 70s, making the grass grand prix field an ideal setting for the thirty-one high performance hunters.

During the first round of competition, entrants tried their hand at the eleven efforts, with four 4’ option fences. Described by course designer Joe Lombardo as a “horseman’s course,” the track was flowing with long lines that didn’t ask too much in the way of stride count but allowed the rider to show off the horse. Given the 2010/2011 qualifying season’s new scoring, each of the 4’ options jumped was automatically awarded one point, so up to four points were added to both sets of judges’ scores.

Top west coast rider in the overall Derby standings, Jenny Karazissis was the first to negotiate the course aboard the one of her four mounts, CR Franz Marc (Hannah Stabler, owner). Jumping three of the four option fences, the pair earned a first round score of 166, which led the class until ninth in the order Jamie Taylor aboard CR Masterpiece (Lisa Levine, owner) galloped in. The pair jumped each of the four option fences and earned a total of 169, taking over the lead and securing a spot in the handy round. Fifteenth to trot onto the grass was Nick Haness and Gelato (Conor Perrin, owner) who impressed the judges and left the ring with two scores of 88 for a total of 176. Next to wow both the crowd and the judges was junior rider Morgan Geller and her mount, Fabricio (Katie Kelso, owner). The pair presented the ride that would lead going into the handy round, earning scores of 90 from both sets of judges including four bonus points after beautifully negotiating each 4’ option. Two trips later, Karazissis was back in the ring aboard her fabulous Derby partner Forbes (Tonia Cook Looker, owner). The duo carried over a total score of 175 to the second round. 

The handy course included a rollback to a large oxer from fence one to fence two, which caused a few bobbles, rails and stops. Next up the hill to a trot jump as fence three, then down the hill to a three-part snake fence where jumps four, five and six included rollbacks to each of the three sides of the snake. The light natural rails that made up the snake jump fell easily and came down a few times. There were again four 4’ options as well as a hand gallop to an oxer. Ranked fifth after the first round, Teddi Mellencamp aboard Artisan Farm’s Relentless rallied with a great trip. The duo earned a high score of 192 for their handy efforts bringing their total to 359.5 and moving them into third place overall. Second place honors went to Karazissis and Forbes who earned handy scores of 97 and 102 respectively, bringing their overall total to 374. Sitting third after the first round, Haness and Gelato managed the trot fence, snake jumps and hand gallop with ease, earning the highest handy total of 202.

“I like to go all out in the Handy Round,” explained Haness. “I know Gelato and I knew he would do the snake jump well. And we both like to gallop to the jumps, so the hand gallop jump was truly a gallop! I think I got the nine bonus points because we did all that was asked.”

Going in last, Geller had an unfortunate rail on the handy course that bumped her to seventh position with a score of 239 overall. With all of the scores in, it was Gelato’s impressive trip that brought the duo’s total to 378 overall, four points above Forbes, for the win.

Congratulations to Nick Haness, Gelato and owner Conor Perrin.

For the press release and results, visit Blenheim’s Facebook page.

Double the Glory in the $25,000 Racing Festival Grand Prix
The $25,000 Racing Festival Grand Prix on the first of August welcomed forty-six horse and rider couples from six different countries onto the grass field. With seven clean rides representing four countries in the jump-off, Canada’s Chris Pratt claimed two of those spots. Going double clean aboard both horses, Pratt clinched the win on G5 (Indigo Farms LLC, owner) as well as second on Cruise (Indigo Farms LLC, owner). 

“What a great day for Indigo Farms! That was Cruise’s first grand prix. For him to jump double clear was amazing. He has a bright future. I’m fortunate to have owners such as Indigo Farms to support me with horses like G5 & Cruise,” remarked a pleased Pratt.

With several technical lines, Guillermo Diaz designed a 16-effort course in a tight time allowed of 72 seconds. Over half of the entrants had time faults, including the first two on course.

However, third to go Pratt on G5 set the stage for his fellow competitors. Proving that riding within the time allowed was possible, and without fault at that, the pair went clean in just over 69 seconds. Iran’s Ali Nilforushan and his own Pegasus as well as California’s brilliant pair Susan Hutchison and Cantano (El Dorado 29, owner) matched Pratt’s clean efforts. On his second of three mounts, Pratt once again jumped clean, this time aboard Cruise. Two from Mexico joined the jump off group: Octavio Penedo riding Don Arturo EquiSearch and John Perez aboard Utopia. Seventh clear was local Del Mar star rider Josephina Nor-Lantzman on Chello Z in their third grand prix outing together. 

Pratt and G5 were first to negotiate the shortened track of eight fences. Clearly in to win, the well-matched pair had an unbeatable performance, crossing the timers clean in 33.03. Next in the ring, Nilforushan and Pegasus had the third to the last fence down in a time of 33.60 for four faults and third place. Always a force to be reckoned with, Hutchison and Cantano knew they had to be quick but pulled an uncharacteristic two rails at the last two fences on course for eight and a seventh place finish. Penedo in the tack of Don Arturo EquiSearch dislodged the third jump-off fence in a time of 34.26 for fourth place honors. Pratt returned to the ring next aboard Cruise and the pair sailed to second place with a double-clean performance in a time of 42.16. Perez went next on Utopia incurring a rail halfway through the course and stopping the clock in 37.84 for sixth. Last to give it a go was twenty-six-year-old Nor-Lantzman and Chello Z. The gutsy pair maneuvered the course in a time of 36.861 but just clipped the second fence for four faults and the fifth place award.

For the press release and full results, visit Blenheim’s Facebook page.

The $25,000 August Festival Grand Prix

Forty horse and rider combinations came to play on the grass field at the Del Mar Horse Park Saturday afternoon August 7th in the $25,000 August Festival Grand Prix. The sixteenth pair on course, Jaime Azcarraga of Mexico City on Selcius, was the first clean and the only double clear performance for the win.

“[The course] didn’t look very difficult but as it turned out, it was,” noted Azcarraga. “The turn to 4A-B caused a lot of problems. All of the jumps fell down; it did ask a lot of questions.”

California-based course designer Scott Starnes said he wanted an even track with consistent challenges, and since faults occurred on almost every fence on course that is exactly what happened. One challenge that proved difficult to achieve was to ride all 16 efforts clean and within the 83-second time allowed. “Having not seen a lot of the [Mexican] horses jump, my objective was to get most around but challenge them,” commented Starnes. “There was a nice mixture between local and Mexican talent. Azcarraga is a master and he rode really well.”

Second to jump clean went twenty-first in the order, Ali Nilforushan aboard Pegasus, who advanced to the jump off last week as well. Then it was four to return when another resident of Mexico, Charlotte Van Breemen riding Chepepe La Escondida (Guillermo Zambrano, owner) and local Michelle Parker with her own Clever both rode clean within the time. Galloping onto the grass twenty-eighth in the order, Nicholas Pizarro aboard his mount Crossing Jordan Mercedes Benz, were the final team to advance to the second round.

Azcarraga and Selcius were the first to negotiate the shortened track of eight fences. “I tried to go as fast as I could to put the pressure on the rest of the riders,” commented Azcarraga. “I was lucky.”

  Pressure ensued indeed. The pair zipped around in a time of 42.39, leaving all of the fences up, apparently not an easy act to follow. Next in the ring, Nilforushan and Pegasus had a quicker time of 42.04, but knocked the last two fences down for eight faults and fifth place. Even faster than the trips before her, Van Breemen and Chepepe La Escondida had a great time of 39.86 but also incurred eight faults, ending up fourth. Parker and Clever looked as though they were going to take over the lead but lowered the height of the second to last fence in a time of 41.69 for second. Pizarro in the tack of Crossing Jordan Mercedes Benz also dislodged a rail early in the jump off in a time of 42.60 for four faults and third place overall.

Two entries were clean over the fences in the first round but stopped the clock just over the time allowed. Last week’s one-two winner, Chris Pratt was second to go on Union (The Union Group, owner). Clean over the sixteen efforts the duo crossed the timers two-tenths of a second over the time allowed, accruing one fault for sixth. Rusty Stewart and his exceedingly consistent eight-year-old Bristol (Grey Fox Farms, owner) also jumped clean but stopped the clock just over a second too slow, ending up with two time faults for a seventh place finish.

Visit Blenheim’s Facebook page for the press release and results.

Discipline: Hunter

Some of the best of the west in the Junior Hunter arena have the spotlight in San Juan Capistrano at the two-day USEF National Junior Hunter Championships – West Coast this week. Within a few days after that competition is the $100,000 The Chronicle of the Horse/USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. Note that this year the finals will be held in the indoor facility, which will highlight another type of talent. Just as there are high performance jumpers who are better indoors than out or vice versa, we will see the same with the hunters. Watch it live online at EquestrianLife.com.

Discipline: Equitation
Medal riders are beginning to prepare themselves and their mounts for the high pressure of finals season. Practicing all the potential tests that may be asked is one way to be ready; another is to focus on the mental aspect. As hot shot junior rider Reed Kessler expressed in her interview, medal finals prepared her to be a better rider in the jumper ring, teaching her how to handle difficult and technical courses in an intensely competitive situation. From CPHA to ASPCA and all in-between, we wish the best of luck and nerves of steel to all the competitors from amateur to junior, east to west. We will bring you the highlights and stories as they unfold.

Exclusively for EquestriSol
Plenty of the worlds top show jumpers flocked to Spruce Meadows for the summer. Read about the keen competition in the Spruce Report by Jennifer Wood of Jennifer Wood Media. On to Aachen Accolades, world-traveler Jennifer Wood reports on the happenings at this world-class venue as well.

EquestriSol News: November 17, 2009

Congratulations to…

Laura Teodori and Kasoar D’Uxelles on their success in the CSIO Nations Cup in Buenos Aires – they were the only double clear! Laura is now working on the east coast. We wish her the best.

$1,000 Thoroughbred Hunter Champions Classic this weekend

As a kickoff for the Thoroughbred Show Horse Association, which will take membership paid to offer prize money for classes throughout the year, the Autumn Jubilee Show at Industry Hills Equestrian Center on November 21-22 will host a $1,000 Thoroughbred Hunter Champions Classic. Call Duncan McIntosh for more information or to join at 818-943-7102.

Clinics Coming to Town

Before Santa comes you can give yourself an early Christmas present by participating in and/or auditing at some upcoming clinics. Names synonymous with the world’s best in the sport – Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, Joe Fargis and George Morris – will be in sunny California hosting clinics at three beautiful locations. Clinic sessions are filling fast but auditing is the next best thing to riding…

November 20-22: Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum at El Campeon Farms
Contact Kasey Ament: 805-794-6107

December 2-3: Joe Fargis at Menlo Circus Club
Contact Nathan Stiles: 209-765-7755

December 11-13: George Morris at Shelburne Farms – clinic space is full.
Auditing available at $75 p/day. No auditing reservations needed.
Contact Melissa Jones: 805-370-1941

Save The Date! December 10th – 7-10 pm: Anthropologie Holiday Shopping Soiree to Benefit the Equestrian Aid Foundation

Enjoy fabulous hors d’oeuvres and Stephen Vincent sauvignon blanc while shopping and benefitting a great cause. All attendees receive a 15% discount. Click here for details.

2010 Horse Mastership

Already looking forward to 2010, riders invited to participate in the George H. Morris Horsemastership Training Session January 5-9, 2010 in Wellington, Florida were just announced. Invited west coast riders include Zazou Hoffman, Tina Dilandri and Theodore Boris. If you happen to be in Wellington in January, auditing the training session is free.

USHJA’S Emerging Athletes Program Level 3 is coming

The inaugural EAP National Training Session is also coming in 2010. On January 8-10, 2010 the top 12 finalists will spend three days on their riding, horsemanship and stable management skills. The 12 riders selected to participate will be announced at the end of November. Auditors are welcome at $75 per day.

Host Facility: Maplewood Stables
Location: Reno, Nevada
Main Clinician: Peter Wylde
Veterinarian Seminar/Asst Stable Mgr: Dr. Midge Leitch
Horsemanship Seminar: Mindy Bower
Course Designer: Chrystine Tauber
Judge: Melanie Smith Taylor
Host Hotel: Peppermill Resort

EAP Level 2 clinician Bernie Traurig had some encouraging words to share. “I was extremely impressed with the level of riding. There were eighteen kids there, some who showed a high level of talent. I think that directly reflects on the quality of our west coast trainers. They are doing their job– these kids are getting a high level of training.”

For more EAP information, visit: www.ushja.org.

E-news Announcement

Our last e-news had tremendous response – thank you! Unfortunately, the email list server went down for several hours so for anyone that got an error when trying to view it, here is the enews link again


USHJA’s Emerging Athletes Program – Zone 10’s Level I Training Session

By Laura Ware

Back in October of 2008 I was excited to read that the USHJA was creating the Emerging Athlete’s Program (EAP). Geared towards discovering and teaching young people who are dedicated to becoming the best riders and horsemen possible, I was happy it began while I was still young enough to participate. The application, which I eagerly completed, contained questions about academics, extracurricular activities, and riding accomplishments. I was thrilled to be chosen to participate in the 3’6” section on my young jumper Westin.

The clinic, given by Melanie Smith Taylor, was split into three sections: 3’, 3’6”, and 4’, with no more than eight riders each. The first day, we did trot rails, a circle of four jumps, and a relatively straightforward course. The trot rails were spaced one step, two steps, then one step apart, and the circle of jumps was set so the rider could put either two or three strides between the fences, which were actually just small flower boxes with potted plants as standards. Melanie really focused on increasing our awareness of our horse’s feet. She had us do an exercise where we would back up four steps, go forward four steps, and then decrease the amount of steps until we were just shifting our horse’s weight forward and backwards, without actually moving their feet. The idea was that this shifting of our horse’s weight at the halt would be similar to the feeling of rebalancing our horses back over their hindquarters while cantering on course.

The second day, the exercises were more technically challenging and Melanie was a bit more demanding. I loved it. Of course, I had my fair share of problems, but I learned so much about what I need to do to improve myself and my horse, and being able to figure my way out of some of the problems presented improved my confidence in my riding abilities. Similar to the first day, we did more trot and canter rails – Melanie had been unimpressed with our performance over the trot cavaletti the previous day. We also practiced exercises that forced us to dramatically lengthen and shorten our horse’s stride. In our flatwork, we cantered over a long bounce to a short bounce at one end of the ring, to a short one stride to a long one stride, all ground rails, at the other end. During the 3’ session, I stood next to the rails so I could re-position them as the horses displaced them, and I felt bad every time I had to close the gap between them – they were set so short! Though Westin had been really good with the trot rails, we had some problems with the cantering elements. He wasn’t keen on the idea of putting his feet between such closely placed poles – he found it much easier to just take one big, awkward leap over them! However, after a few corrections, he figured out how short he needed to make his stride, and did the exercise quite well.

Over the jumps, we practiced long gallops to singles, accompanied with short turns. Melanie instructed us to ride to each fence with a particular distance so the task upon landing would be easier to accomplish. The amount of discipline the lesson demanded was starting to wear on Westin and at times he became a little resistant, but overall he performed well over the jumps. It was fun being able to gallop down to a single oxer, and then do a pretty prompt turn right afterwards, which six months ago Westin probably couldn’t have done. Immediately after our last jumping pattern, Melanie asked us to do a small movement to keep our horses thinking. She asked me to place my horse’s front feet one step to the right, without moving his hind end. Westin wanted nothing to do with this! He threw a small temper tantrum as Melanie was going on about how none of the riders in my generation are able to do something as simple as place their horse’s feet, and I was really starting to sweat. “How do you expect to adjust for a distance if you can’t even move your horse’s feet at the halt?” she asked us emphatically. A little light illuminating the significance of flatwork went on in my head. I’d never thought of this, and I was frustrated with myself for not being able to do something so simple. She continued explaining this particular failing to me as well as the rest of the group, even using her pen to demonstrate my incorrect turn effort. Just when it seemed she was going to give up on me and continue with the clinic, I thought to myself, “Westin, you are going to participate” and sure enough, he did and we did it! Being able to move my horse’s hooves one step to the right may not seem like a great achievement, but I was proud of both of us for finally figuring it out. Though I had to take some heat for being unable accomplish the task initially, I was truly pleased with our eventual success.

The end result of the EAP annually is that the pool of riders chosen from each zone will be narrowed down, after more training sessions and a Nation’s Cup-style competition, until there are just two, and the top two will each receive a grant for one month’s worth of training with a particular professional. Through this experience I gained perspective, learned a lot and came home motivated with some new exercises to practice. EAP provides a unique chance for young competitors to learn from top professionals and grow as riders. If you’re under 21 and aspire to be the best rider possible – I highly recommend that you apply for the 2010 program.

See a Zone 10 EAP Training Session First Hand!

Earlier this year the United States Hunter Jumper Association, Inc. announced the 2009 USHJA Emerging Athletes Program, a unique series that offers an unprecedented opportunity for young riders at various levels to learn from some of our nation’s top show jumpers. They received an overwhelmingly fabulous response from all levels of riders. Almost three hundred applicants, many of whom have not competed in ‘A’ horse shows or have a high level horse, will be selected – twenty-four from each zone – to participate in their zone’s 2-day clinic – eight riders at 3’, eight riders at 3’6” and eight riders at 4’. The applications received to date were well prepared and showed a very hard working, dedicated group of young athletes.

Watch Olympic medalist Melanie Taylor work with riders who show talent on horses with limited abilities, young horses, difficult horses, as well as pony jumper rider participants. Additionally, participants will do all their own work from horse care to course setting, learning about the skills of riding well from the ground up.

This exceptional format makes the EAP a wonderful audit to riders and trainers who find themselves in similar situations every day – it is a chance to truly relate to the clinicians and partakers. As an auditor, one will have complete access to the techniques used to identify talented young riders competing at the grassroots level of competition in our sport, nurture budding talent regardless of the means, and support the emerging athletes that embody the future of Hunter/Jumper sports.

Forty-eight riders from Training Level 1 will then be selected to join in one of four regional clinics. The next twelve chosen from the regional clinics qualify for a week-long intensive session, culminating in a Nations Cup type competition. Finally, the top two from this session will be invited to train for 30-days with an experienced trainer.

As Committee Co-Chairman Melanie Smith states, “This is a program for emerging athletes that is only the start of something very big and important to the future of the next generation of our sport. USHJA and the members of the Emerging Athletes Committee are committed to making this program one that will provide a stepladder for young talent to reach their goals of riding on a team representing the United States someday.”

2008 USHJA Annual Meeting

A to Z at USHJA
By Jackie McFarland

We all expect interesting changes due to the economic climate. However our industry is hot to trot – attendance didn’t appear to be light at this year’s USHJA Annual Meeting in Nashville, TN. The interaction at the rule change forum, in committee meetings and regarding program implementation was lively and positive. USHJA is taking big strides for our discipline and participating members are playing a big role.

The meeting covered a wide range of topics over a four-day period. The following is a brief overview of a handful of the impressive developments happening with this five-year-young hunter jumper association.

Hard work for HJ

The staff, board members and committee members of USHJA are working diligently on behalf of the hunter jumper discipline – from the grassroots to high performance. It takes an incredible amount of effort to build a brand new organization for a discipline steeped-in-tradition that wants to evolve to new levels. That said, even the traditionalists are opening their minds and participating in some very forward thinking.

Unruly Ruling

Rule changes are a key element of these annual meetings. Seemingly mundane, these sessions can get quite animated as various individuals speak their mind on details that are important to their passion and potentially their livelihood. Covering topics from measuring ponies to splitting an equitation class to heights of Low Junior Jumper Classics, these minute details are important to hunter jumper exhibitors at all levels.


2008 was the inaugural year of the High Performance Hunter. In the form of the USHJA Hunter Derbies, chosen A-rated horse shows hosted these special hunter derbies throughout the country. Not only did hunter, jumpers and equitation horses step up to compete for the money, the points and the fun, but spectators gathered in droves. To watch hunters! The program returns in 2009 and will culminate in the first final in Kentucky this August. The top 75 horses on the money-qualifying list will be invited to a unique two-day competition, offering fabulous prize money and awards to grooms, riders, trainers and most importantly owners. The first International Hunter Derby of 2009 is during Week III of HITS-Thermal with another during the Championship Week. Winter circuit derbies will be held in Ocala, Gulfport and Wellington.


New! Although the details of the program may change as it evolves, the Emerging Athletes Program offers an unprecedented opportunity for young riders at various levels to learn from some of our nation’s top show jumpers. As Committee Co-Chairman Melanie Smith states, “…this program will provide a stepladder for young talent to reach their goals of riding on a team representing the United States someday.” An applicant needs to ambitious and assertive, however they do not need to have competed in ‘A’ horse shows or have a high level horse. So spread the news! Riders who show talent on horse’s with limited abilities, young horses, difficult horses… as well as pony jumper riders all are encouraged to apply. Almost three hundred chosen applicants, twenty-four from each zone will participate in their zone’s 2-day clinic – eight at 3’, eight at 3’6” and eight at 4’. Some of our nation’s top riders and trainers will run the clinics. Participants will do all their own work from horse care to course setting, learning about the skills of riding well from the ground up. A group of twelve from each of the twelve zone clinics will then be selected to participate in one of four regional clinics, narrowing it down to forty-eight riders. The next twelve chosen from the regional clinics will be participate in a week-long intensive session, culminating in a Nations Cup type competition. And the top two from this session will be invited to train for 30-days with an experienced trainer.

EAP offers education for hundreds of riders that they otherwise may never have dreamed of garnering. Not to mention discovering young talent that these top trainers may never have otherwise seen. Auditors and volunteers are welcome – check with the clinic host for details. Since this program is just spreading its wings, watch the USHJA web site for the specifics and for application information.

Trainers Certification Program

Calling all trainers or those who aspire to be trainers – now there is a certification program brought to you and endorsed by some of the nation’s best trainers. It is a voluntary program, intended to enhance trainer credibility and offer ongoing education. The time for this concept to become a reality is way overdue.

In 2005, the USHJA formed the Trainer Certification Program Committee in response to an overwhelming interest from membership. Now that it’s coming to fruition, many have expressed skepticism regarding this new program… And the question is why? Are the critics afraid of how much that they know or don’t know? This group has spent countless volunteer hours over the last three years arguing, developing, changing, discussing, meeting and finally agreeing to create this program. Were they not thinking about what is best for the industry? For the horses and for the riders and for ultimately the trainers? Hopefully all will step up to the plate and participate. Yes, there are hundreds of trainers who should be ‘grandfathered in’ without having to pass Level 1 – but as George Morris expressed, why should they want to? For many trainers Level 1 should be easy to pass. So stay tuned – the USHJA Trainers Certification Program will begin June 2009. Applications and enrollment procedures will be released in May 2009.

Capital Campaign

Amongst all the other happenings, including creating the USHJA Foundation, USHJA’s staff has grown at an alarming rate. In order to make the transition as well as develop a nationally recognized headquarters at the Kentucky Horse Park, USHJA seeks to raise $6.5 million in the next 24 months. As we know raising capital is a challenge these days. Consider this an investment in your discipline’s future. They’ve developed creative ways to give, for example buying a brick or a bench for the garden. Sponsors

Although I could write more, I am going to conclude with thanking the sponsors and donors whom without we would not have High Performance Hunter Derbies or a new Courtyard and Gardens for USHJA. At the risk of forgetting one, we won’t name them all here. Suffice to say from A (ASG Software) to almost Z (World Equestrian Brands), thank you!

Bringing The Hunter Back

By  Tammy Chipko

Imagine watching a gorgeous horse galloping a course of fences that replicate what you would find in an open hunt field.

Imagine watching the art of good riding: jumping hunt obstacles that ask different questions of horse and rider – negotiating turns, establishing a true hunter pace, trotting a wide fence like one you might find in the country.

Imagine spectators who typically only watch the grand prix ring enthusiastically showing up at the hunter ring to cheer on their favorite hunters. And, most importantly, understanding what a hunter is all about.

Well, you don’t have to imagine it any longer. The High Performance Hunter is here and, due to those who have worked hard to get it back, is gaining recognition.

It all started with George Morris who earlier this year told me that he had “…planted the seed. It’s now up to everyone else to make it happen.” Well, as most of us know, when George Morris speaks, we listen! So, it is thanks to people like Diane Carney, a member of the High Performance Committee, who have invested valuable time to develop a program that will bring the lost art of showing the traditional hunter back to the show ring.

High Performance Riding means addressing the jump through good horsemanship. We want to build courses that address height and width with more demanding jumps. We have had tremendous support from everyone regarding this class. Riders everywhere are rising to the occasion. Lauren Hough and Beezie Madden are just a few of the jumper riders who have shown a lot of enthusiasm and are looking forward to competing in these classes in the coming year.

How it Works
There will be four classes in each region. The classes will be held at ‘AA’ shows, in grass fields or in sand arenas, and offer a minimum of $10,000.00 in prize money. Each class will be judged by four judges, two groups of two judges each. The first round is a classic hunter type of round. The second round will be a handy course rewarding those who show true handiness with a bonus of up to ten points.

I had the chance to compete in one of these classes at the Washington International Horse Show. The jumps were spectacular, the courses were fun and challenging, and the spectators were thrilled. It was a very memorable experience and I hope all of you, either as exhibitors or spectators, will get a chance to be part of this. These events will be well worth the walk over to the hunter ring.

Check for the 2008 schedule of the High Performance Hunter classes at www.ushja.org.

Special thanks to Kristi Siam for providing this classic hunter photo.

EquestriSol News: August 31, 2007

Announcing two new ‘A’ rated shows well worth considering:

October 17 – 21: Del Mar Festival I
October 24 – 28: Del Mar Festival II

BOTH shows have:
– $25,000 Grand Prix (1.45m)
– $2,000 Jumper Classics (1.35-1.40m)
– $2,500 Young Jumper Classics presented by Mary’s Tack & Feed
– $3,500 Junior / Amateur Owner Jumper Classic (1.35m – 1.40m) ENTRIES CLOSE: September 28th

Visit www.jumpdelmar.com for more details.

Harley Brown Equestrian, located at Oak Park Equestrian Center in San Luis Obispo, to our list of clients. We will be developing a new campaign for Harley, so stay tuned! Congratulations to Harley and Cassiato, owned by the Oak Park Group, on winning the $30,000 Pebble Beach Grand Prix earlier this month.

The summer season is coming to a close with a fantastic West Coast Active Riders report – from Richard Spooner & Joie Gatlin traveling to and winning in Europe to our successful Spruce Meadow Teams as well as fabulous individual results at Spruce from a number of west coasters, AND hats off to Zone 10 for bringing home the GOLD in both the Team and Individual competitions at Young Riders! WOW, now that’s a GREAT SUMMER!

Congratulations to everyone – the west coast is so proud of how beautifully you have represented us and we hope to continue to expand in the ways WCAR can support your efforts. We envision a bright future.

Who will go to Göteborg, Sweden in April ’08? September means the start of the World Cup qualifying season, best of luck to everyone. All the World Cup Qualifier dates can be found at www.westcoastactiveriders.com.

Are you ready to develop a fabulous ad or design a web site? We are ready to create a look that perfectly fits your marketing goals. Contact us for more details.

DEL MAR INTERNATIONAL: September 26th – 30th, 2007
Prize list, vendor information and application available online at jumpdelmar.com. Entries closed August 31, 2007.

With ads and editorial from USHJA’s In Stride to California’s Hunter Jumper Magazine and also on the web, ShowMom.com is the new community for show moms (and dads) everywhere. Click here to take the survey and sign up for the free Savvy ShowMom e-newsletter.

EquestriSol News: June 21, 2007

EquestriSol announces our newest client, Jenny Williams’ LaSalle Farms located in Northern California. We are currently developing a brand new web site for this growing hunter/jumper sales barn.

Are you ready to develop a fabulous ad or build a web site? Has your web site not been updated or redesigned in months or even years? We work hard to help clients attain their marketing goals.

For new web sites set to go live this month! We’ve had an incredible year to date, not only has business grown quite a bit but between us we’ve also experienced two significant & joyous milestones – as of February Jackie has an adorable baby girl and Lena just had a beautiful May wedding. We appreciate your continued support and look forward to offering you innovative marketing solutions.

EquestriSol just completed the redesign of JumpDelMar.com, the official web site for the Del Mar International and Palms Classic horse shows. New this year, “A” Rated Open Hunters at Del Mar International, September 26-30. Check the web site for additional information as it becomes available, and look for their new ad campaign to follow.

We’re also excited to announce the redesign of Nicole Bloom’s Round Meadow Farm. visit website

Also look for ShowMom.com in magazines spanning both coasts. In the May and June issues of Hunter Jumper Magazine look for a great editorial written for Show Moms and a new ad in this month’s USHJA In Stride Magazine.

From custom ad design and placement to developing copy, we can handle every aspect of your advertising campaign. Our equestrian experience is an asset in understanding the look and feel our clients seek in print advertising and the results speak for themselves. Look for EquestriSol designed ads in current and upcoming issues of The Chronicle of the Horse, Show Circuit Magazine, USHJA’s In Stride Magazine and in horse show programs around the country. Contact us for more details.

California Horsetrader
• July 5th Issue – Deadline: 6/25
• July 19th Issue – Deadline: 7/9

California Riding Magazine
• August Issue – Deadline: 7/15/07

Chronicle of the Horse – published weekly
• Deadline: 2 weeks prior to the publication date

Hunter Jumper Magazine
• July Issue – Deadline: 6/29/07

PCHA Newsletter
• August Issue – Deadline: 7/1/07

USEF’s Equestrian Magazine
• August Issue – Deadline: 7/15/07

USHJA’s In Stride Magazine
• September Issue – Deadline: 7/15/07