Some memorable news from a year in - and out of - the arena
JANUARY: Every year kicks off with hope and enthusiasm, and 2014 has been no different. After all, it’s the Chinese “Year of the Horse”, as well as a World Equestrian Games year.
Out of the gate, 2014 featured change, as the Sierra Empire Arabian Horse Association moved the 39th version of its popular January show from the Fairplex in Pomona to a new venue, the expanded George Ingalls Equestrian Event Center in Norco. Happiest of all may have been Gordon and Paula Jahr of Wrightwood, whose 6-year-old Half-Arab gelding, WW Ive Been Spotted, went home with the Supreme Halter Championship.
Halfway across the nation in Oklahoma City, Lakeside horsewoman Elisa Swenson was named the 2014 Miss Rodeo USA at a pressure-filled competition at the International Professional Rodeo Association World Finals. Upon winning, the 25-year-old San Diego County native credited horses and her supportive father, Thomas Swenson, for overcoming some of life’s stumbling blocks.
JANUARY: From start to end, 2014 was a good year for Nicolas Barthelemy and owner Sheri Jamieson. The Ramona-based Barthelemy kick-started his season at the Horse Expo Pomona, winning the inaugural Toyota California Classic aboard Jans Rey Cuatro, edging Marjie Robinson on MH Its Only Boon.
FEBRUARY: California stars shined in Fort Worth, the new home of the NRCHA Celebration of Champions and World Championship Finals events. Doug Williamson took the Celebration Open Derby on Short And Smart, owned by Rocking J Ranch, and Phillip Ralls was reserve on Estelle Roitblat’s Jackies Sparkle. Tish Wilhite rode her Smokin My Cash to the NRCHA Non Pro Two Rein World Championship.
Damp weather didn’t dampen spirits of the West Coast reiners who launched their year at the WCRHA Affiliate 1 show. TessaLIndberg and Chicaderowere sharp, taking the Intermediate Non Pro, Limited Non Pro and Youth 14-18 titles.
JANUARY: In their first grand prix of the season, Saer Coulter and Springtime kicked off 2014 on the highest of notes, topping 30 other jumpers in the $50,000 StrongidC 2X CSI-W2* — a qualifier for the approaching FEI World Cup Finals.
FEBRUARY: Legolas 92 began his year like the ended the previous one – brilliantly. Along with Steffen Peters, the pair showed at California Dreaming Productions’ Mid-Winter Dressage Fair why they were favorites to lead the U.S. Dressage Team to France for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. In the Grand Prix Special Feb. 22, their unanimous victory included the FEI High Percentage Championship (76.540).
In Thermal, Mandy Porter enjoyed a memorable catch-ride, taking Lexico to victory in the $25,000 SmartPak GrandPrix when Lexito’s regular rider, Toni McIntosh, was sidelined by injury.
Sandy Miller's SCRCHA Triple Crown win was a rehab journey with 'Cruz'
TEMECULA – What do you do when your horse sustains bowed tendons on both hind legs, right before your key season-ending competition?
Nothing. Not for a whole year.
That’s the fate that faced Sandy Miller and Dual Ya Luv Me, a promising then-4-year-old on which she was gaining momentum heading into last year’s Southern California Reining Cow Horse Association Saddle Shootout.
“We still aren’t certain how the injury happened,” says Miller, a non pro from Winchester who was floored by her gelding’s October 2013 injury. “When the vet told me it was going to be a whole year, I was stunned.”
BAKERSFIELD – These days, when it rains, relief pours. That’s true even when a deluge disrupts a year-end event as big as the California Cow Horse Association’s Futurity and Bridle Spectacular.
After Friday’s herd work kicked off the three-day show at the Sundance Arena Oct. 31-Nov. 2, heavy rains canceled all Saturday action, and Sunday was used to complete non-Open classes. A make-up show has been scheduled Dec. 6, featuring one-day, single point classes with Shootouts for the saddle and buckle to be takenfrom the high cow scores of the day.
Handsome prizes from sponsors, including title sponsor Lucas Oil Products and Protect The Harvest.com, were given to winners of the classes held.
Nicolas Barthelemy rode a pair of Sheri Jamieson-owned horses, All That Boon and Sonita Lana Rey, to first and second, respectively, in the Open and Intermediate Open Futurity classes,taking home nearly $4,000 between them.
Stars are out as Las Vegas National delivers a spectacular show week
LAS VEGAS, Nev. – In true Las Vegas style, the final highlight event of the Las Vegas National opened with glitz and glamour. As eager spectators began to fill the stands, 44 of show jumping’s best and brightest prepared to compete in the $75,000 Las Vegas CSI-W Grand Prix on Nov. 15. After 10 went clean, it was Dutch rider Harrie Smolders and the speedy Regina Z who outran the rest for the win.
The Opening Ceremonies epitomized the grandeur of the week,which included a line-up of special classes and important year-end finals. A Parade of Nations in which flags from 11 countries waved as each rider was introduced to the crowd, led into a performance by the silk aerialist group Flight La Femme, a tumbling and twirling act from floating banners affixed to the ceiling.
In the jump-off, the 10 finalists challenged a track that offered options to leave out strides, take tight turns and gallop to the final oxer. In a showdown of speed, Karl Cook on Jonkheer Z, owned by Signe Ostby, set a time to beat in 39.33; Lucy Davis and Old Oak Farm’s Barron had the time, 39.16, but lowered the height of the last oxer for four faults.
NAMPA, Idaho — Although Smokin Little Ringo didn’t make the NRCHA Futurity finals last September, both rider Monica Caetano and owner John Pascoe knew there was something special in him. They were proved right at the Idaho Reined Cow Horse Futurity, where Smokin Little Ringo (Smart Little Pepinic x Smoking Sabrina x Mister Dual Pep) won the Open Futurity convincingly.
“It’s a very, very good little horse,” said Caetano. “At Reno, I let myself get too worked up and
I blew my herd work and lost the cow. Then I ended up marking a 220.5 in the reining and a 218.5 in the fence — the horse was fantastic. So, the owner said ‘let’s try it again!’ We loaded up, went up there, and this time it worked out.”
A blistering 151 preliminary fence work and a 149 in the final fence work carried Caetano and Smart Little Ringo to an Open Futurity title payout of $9,344. Their 592 cumulative score outdistanced reserve champion John Swales on SLR Won Smart Wolf by 8.5 points.
CRHA show, Southwest Affiliate finals draw top reiners to LAEC
BURBANK — With the last big derby of the year, a tough pre-futurity and the NRHA Southwest Regional Affiliate Finals, it’s no wonder the Los Angeles Equestrian Center was at near-capacity for the California Challenge, held Oct. 22-26 by the California Reining Horse Association.
Perfect weather and good ground greeted a talented group of competitors from throughout California as well as five other states. CRHA officials said they sold a record number of stalls.
The futurity, always a big draw as NRHA Futurity hopefuls enter the show pen, showcased potential finalists for the Oklahoma City event Nov. 28-Dec. 6. Competing at home, Tom Foran took Gunnin For A Shine to the Open L4 Futurity Championship, topping reserve co-champions Tracer Gilson of Sanger on Gunna Spank You and Randy Paul on Gunnadeous.
Plus, she just loves the 5-year-old gelding that carried her to unexpected heights this year, winning the California Reining Horse Association 2014 Reiner of the Year. Valenzuela, an Orange County native who learned to ride at the Ortega Equestrian Center, earned the award at the CRHA Challenge show Oct. 22-26. After qualifying for the special class by virtue of her success in her division at CRHA shows this year, she went head-to-head against other club members of all divisions – non pros, novice non pros, and all – and finished on top.
“I’m still in shock that I actually accomplished that,” says Valenzuela, who also claimed the Southwest Affiliate Reserve Championship in her Rookie Division.
Crabo wins first CCI3* at Galway Downs International
For Crabo, of Scottsdale, Ariz., Galway Downs was her first victory in a CCI3*, and for it she received a check for $7,000.
“I’m trying not to swear, but it feels awesome. It means the world to me,” said Crabo.
Crabo bred Eveready II, now 15 years old, was the first person to ride him, and is the only person to ever compete him. “We’ve been working together so hard and so long. I think, why couldn’t he be 11 now and not 15? But when he was 11 he was unrideable.”
With the second-fastest cross-country time on Copper Beech, Davidson put himself in position to win the CCI3* at Galway Downs for the second consecutive year. Davidson won the CCI3* in 2013 on Petite Flower.