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Reiners hop to it

CRHA Bunny Slide draws top talent to Burbank

Horsetrader Staff Reports - April 16th, 2015

1504B CoverBURBANK — The Bunny Slide, the California Reining Horse Association’s first competition of the year, hopped into the Los Angeles Equestrian Center April 5-7, attracting established regional talent along with some newcomers looking to enjoy the popular sport.

With 175 horses competing for payouts over $12,000, this was no Easter egg hunt, as reiners vied for the payout and a variety of points. Not only were CRHA year-end and Reiner of the Year points at stake, so were points for respective NRHA Affiliate and AQHA qualifications, as well as PCHA points for the popular Jack and Linda Baker Finals event.

“We had a really nice show,” said CRHA Secretary Marilyn Scheffers, whose club will host another NRHA Affiliate-qualifier, the $11,500-added Reiner Shine, June 5-7 at the LAEC. “It was big. We pretty much had every trainer that’s on board, and we’re enjoying looking at bringing in new people now.”

Ready for the Rolex

Alliston rides Tivoli to big Galway win as Kentucky 3-day event nears

Special to the Horsetrader - April 16th, 2015

Tivoli, ridden by James Alliston to the Galway Downs International Horse Trials CIC3* Championship March 29, looks fully recovered from an injury setback and ready to compete in Lexington, Ky., later this month.

Tivoli, ridden by James Alliston to the Galway Downs International Horse Trials CIC3* Championship March 29, looks fully recovered from an injury setback and ready to compete in Lexington, Ky., later this month.

Captured Moment photo

TEMECULA — Tivoli and James Alliston jumped brilliantly and faultlessly around the cross-country course to win the CIC3* at the Galway Downs International Horse Trials, finishing on their dressage score of 49.5.

Alliston and Tivoli took over the lead with a faultless show jumping round on Friday, and their fast cross-country round on Saturday kept them comfortably ahead of John Michael Durr on Esprit De La Danse (52.4) and Jolie Wentworth on GoodKnight (53.6).

Tivoli and Alliston won the Galway Downs CIC3* in March 2012, and that November they followed up that victory with another one in the Galway Downs CCI3*. But then foot problems and a dispute about his ownership kept Tivoli out of action for more than a year. Tivoli, 15, has since had surgery to remove a chip in his hoof, and Alliston is now his sole owner.

“He’s won a lot over the years, but I think I forgot what it felt like to win a big event like this,” said Alliston, of San Ramon. “It’s great fun to ride him around a big course - he’s so scopey. He makes big jumps feel not big, which is a very nice feeling. When they’re near the edge of what they can do, it’s a big deal if you make a mistake at a jump.”

Kocher finish

From St. Louis to San Juan, Andrew hits winning stride with Ciana at Blenheim

Special to the Horsetrader - April 16th, 2015

Andrew Kocher soars with Ciana in San Juan Capistrano April 11 to edge Eduardo Menenzes on Carushka in the 1.35m Jumper-Classic, sponsored by CardFlex.

Andrew Kocher soars with Ciana in San Juan Capistrano April 11 to edge Eduardo Menenzes on Carushka in the 1.35m Jumper-Classic, sponsored by CardFlex.

Amy McCool photo

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO — Saturday afternoon was filled with awards and accolades for a range of recipients, beginning with the $10,000 CardFlex 1.35m Jumper Classic, the $500 Grooms’ Class, sponsored by Shapley’s, and culminating with the $50,000 Spring Classic III Grand Prix, presented by EquiFit, Inc.

Andrew Kocher took home the top prize in the 1.35m Jumper Classic, sponsored by CardFlex, on Ciana (owned by Eagle Valley Partners, LLC), going quick and clear in the jump-off in 43.16 seconds. Eduardo Menezes and his own Carushka narrowly missed the win, stopping the clock in 43.30 for a close second place. The winners of Thursday’s Markel Insurance 1.40m Grand Prix, Nayel Nassar and Nakich Double Dutch (Madeleine Wilson, owner), sped through the timers in 44.66 seconds to take home third.

As the riders took to the Grand Prix field to walk the course, the gleaming horses entered in the $500 Grooms’ Class sauntered in. Standing in center field the grooms illustrated all the essentials used to keep riders and horses prepared to enter the ring beautifully. Adolfo Garcia of Revolution Farms took home the win, showing off Laura Hite’s Chapot Z in pristine, sparkling condition.

Lords of the Ring

Peters inspires on both Legolas, 'Rosie', as Southern California dressage in bloom

Releases and Horsetrader Staff Reports - April 2nd, 2015

1504A CoverSAN JUAN CAPISTRANO — Southern California sunshine cast dressage in full bloom during March, filling Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park with back-to-back events on successive weekends that proved 2015 will be an exciting year.

With the Pan American Games in Toronto this July and the Olympics a year away, intensity is raised as competitors jostle for attention and qualifications.

Top American rider Steffen Peters cemented his top stature across both weekends. At the California Dreaming Productions’ Capistrano Dressage International CDI-W/Y/J/U-25 on March 19 – 22, Peters successfully punched his ticket to next month’s Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Final in Las Vegas by not only winning the CDI-W Grand Prix Freestyle with Legolas 92, but doing so with a new personal-best score of 80.925%. The following weekend, at the California Dreaming Productions’ Festival of the Horse CDI 3*/Y/J/U-25, Peters took his young star Rosamunde to her first Grand Prix Freestyle performance, and the Rheinlander mare affectionately known as “Rosie” looked like a seasoned veteran, earning a unanimous win under all five FEI judges with an impressive 77.750% final score.

Back to the Ranch

Ranch classes are big at first 2015 SCRCHA competition

Special to the Horsetrader - April 2nd, 2015

It was hats-off to Erica Vincent and Raygun at the SCRCHA Pot-O-Gold Show March 14-15. They won the NRCHA Youth Limited in Ranch Riding.

It was hats-off to Erica Vincent and Raygun at the SCRCHA Pot-O-Gold Show March 14-15. They won the NRCHA Youth Limited in Ranch Riding.

Jeff Lynch photo

TEMECULA — Something new was something popular at the first Southern California Reined Cow Association event of the year, the Pot-O-Gold Show held at Casner’s Ranch March 14-15.

Ranch riding classes, tested in a pair of SCRCHA events last September and October, made the line-up for 2015, and the classes attracted numbers.

“They’re are a great complement to the regular working cow classes,” said SCRCHA Past President, non-pro Laura Edwards. “Pretty much all the working cow horse skills are brought into it. The actual pattern itself is pretty much ‘everything slow and easy.’ But it’s a lot harder than it looks!”

Ranch riding is one of five categories of the American Quarter Horse Association Versaility Ranch Horse competition, designed to promote the horse’s athletic ability and versatility. This class shows the horse’s ability to move at a working speed with a rider chiefly in three gaits ­- walk, trot and lope — in each direction. According to AQHA, the horse’s performance should simulate a horse riding outside the confines of an arena and that of a working ranch horse. Responsiveness of the horse while performing requirements and the horse’s quality of movement are primary considerations.

Road opens to Vegas

Exciting Blenheim season-opener launches Markel Insurance series

Special to the Horsetrader - April 2nd, 2015

Nayel Nassar and Acita win the $25,000 Markel Insurance Grand Prix March 22, the first of 12 2015 Markel Insurance GrandPrix Series qualifiers.

Nayel Nassar and Acita win the $25,000 Markel Insurance Grand Prix March 22, the first of 12 2015 Markel Insurance GrandPrix Series qualifiers.

Amy McCool photo

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO — An idyllic spring afternoon played host to the $25,000 Markel Insurance Grand Prix, the first showcase show jumping event of the season at Blenheim EquiSports. Twenty-five entries competed for the top prize in this first of twelve 2015 Markel Insurance Grand Prix Series qualifiers. The Series culminates with a Final event at the Las Vegas National.

The track was another inaugural feature of the event, as it was course designer Rob Gage’s first time designing at Blenheim EquiSports. With 16 efforts in a time allowed of 96 seconds, the weaving track required stamina from both horse and rider.

Difficult elements included an airy double combination and a liverpool vertical, designed to challenge but not frighten the competitors. “I expect since this is the first grand prix in a series of four weeks that I’ve got a lot of young horses that are just trying, and a few experienced ones that are warming up,” Gage explained. “I don’t want to make this too hard; I don’t want to scare anybody… I want them to have a challenge, but a good experience.”

Desert glory

Californians shine at 2015 Scottsdale Arabian Show

Horsetrader Staff Reports - March 19th, 2015

1503B CoverSCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – You expect things to begin heating up in the desert this time of year, but the warming trend at the 2015 Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show extended beyond climate. With almost 2,400 horses, the 60th Annual Scottsdale event, put on by the Arabian Horse Association of Arizona, was booming — an indicator that both the event and breed are, well, on fire.

And Californians were part of the heat source. Several barns from the Golden State returned with Scottsdale Championships and Top Tens. And, a former California barn that moved to Cave Creek, Ariz., the Burkman Centre, racked up several tri-colors by loyal California exhibitors who continue to ride under Cynthia Burkman.

Fast Lane earns HITS GP victory

Horsetrader Staff Reports - March 19th, 2015

Lane Clarke and Semira De Saulieu win $50,000 Card Flex Grand Prix March 8 in Thermal.

Lane Clarke and Semira De Saulieu win $50,000 Card Flex Grand Prix March 8 in Thermal.

ESI Photography photo

THERMAL — Lane Clarke and Semira De Saulieu, owned by Charlotte Gadbois, topped the $50,000 CardFlex Grand Prix at HITS Desert Horse Park March 8, trumping a field of 52 competitors, with a clear round in the jump-off and a time of 39.309 seconds.

Karl Cook, winner of the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix a day earlier, placed second, this time on Tembla, owned by Signe Ostby. Cook finished double-clear in a time of 39.361. Jaime Azcarraga on his Anton Radio Formula rounded out the top three in a clear 40.120 seconds.

Thirteen riders made it into the jump-off, and the top six went double-clear, with a tight spread in their finishing times of less than three seconds. Cook, who went sixth in the jump-off had the fastest time until Clark’s turn in the ring. The stage had been set for Clarke, with a total of five double-clears before him, amping up the pressure to complete the shortened course even faster, and without faults.

‘Out of control’

And into the record books goes Will Simpson with GP win No. 9

Horsetrader Staff Reports - March 19th, 2015

When Will Simpson took Katie Riddle, owned by Monarch International, to the March 13 $25,000 SmartPak Wild Card Grand Prix title, he set a record with nine HITS grand prix victories.

When Will Simpson took Katie Riddle, owned by Monarch International, to the March 13 $25,000 SmartPak Wild Card Grand Prix title, he set a record with nine HITS grand prix victories.

ESI Photography photo

THERMAL — As equestrians were preparing for the March 15 AIG $1 Million Grand Prix at HITS Thermal (coverage in the April 5 Horsetrader), Olympic Gold Medalist Will Simpson claimed his ninth Grand Prix victory at HITS Desert Horse Park this season. His last Thermal win in 2015 came on Katie Riddle, owned by Monarch International, in the $25,000 SmartPak Wild Card Grand Prix on March 13.

“It’s out of control,” said Simpson, after trumping a field of 38 riders. Simpson rode S.F. Ariantha, owned by Olivia Cox-Fill, in Sunday’s big event and finished ninth.

No rider made it double-clear in Friday’s class. Simpson and Katie Riddle were first to go and were very fast, in a time of 32.641, but had the “A” element of the combination down. The combination proved to be almost every riders’ nemesis in the jump-off, and it became the focus of the remaining riders’ warm-up preparation.

Hot in Mid-Winter

Legolas 92 and Peters mark 80.825 -- their best

By JENNIFER KEELER - For the Horsetrader - March 5th, 2015

Steffen Peters & Legolas 92 accept congratulations from the ground jury for their big win Feb. XX in the Grand Prix Freestyle at the Mid-Winter Dressage CDI-W.

Steffen Peters & Legolas 92 accept congratulations from the ground jury for their big win Feb. XX in the Grand Prix Freestyle at the Mid-Winter Dressage CDI-W.

Terri Miller photo

BURBANK — The much-anticipated inaugural West Coast qualifying competition for this year’s Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Final came to a resounding conclusion on the final day of California Dreaming Productions’ Mid-Winter Dressage Fair CDI-W/Y/J/U-25 in Burbank as U.S. Dressage Team veterans Steffen Peters and Legolas 92 earned an impressive score of 80.825% for their popular U-2 themed Grand Prix Freestyle. This remarkable score is not only a personal best for the pair, but it also firmly cements them as favorites to lead the American contingent to Las Vegas. Finishing in second was Peters’ 2012 Olympic team mate Jan Ebeling aboard Vantage Equestrian Group LLC’s impressive Hanoverian stallion FRH Rassolini (Rubioso N x Sweetheart by Silvano) with 75.050%.

“We had an exciting ride today and I’m so pleased,” said Peters, who explained that he specifically asked announcer Brian O’Connor to raise the volume in the Equidome, which almost created a problem mid-test. “When we did the sound check, I didn’t want to take it easy because that’s not going to be the reality in Las Vegas. So the music was definitely louder, and at the end of the arena just before the one tempi’s, Legolas reacted to it. But even though we had that bobble, he recovered and still did the line of one’s, and I’m particularly happy about that. This is his fifth test in a row where he hasn’t made a mistake in the changes, and that’s huge improvement for him.”