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Gaby Salick makes a comeback
to win Memorial Day Grand Prix

Hunters, youth riders shine at L.A. Equestrian Center

Special to the Horsetrader - June 18th, 2009 - Show & Event News
Gaby Salick and Gredo la Daviere win the $25,000 Memorial Day Classic Grand Prix on May 25 at Los Angeles Equestrian Center.

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Gaby Salick and Gredo la Daviere win the $25,000 Memorial Day Classic Grand Prix on May 25 at Los Angeles Equestrian Center.

BURBANK — The $25,000 Memorial Day Classic Grand Prix proved to be a memorable one for Gaby Salick riding Gredo la Daviere as she won her first Grand Prix at Los Angeles Equestrian Center on May 25, along with making a successful comeback to the show circuit after having a baby four months ago.

“I went as fast as I thought I could,” Salick said of her jump-off ride. “I figured I would finish about third since I went second in the jump-off and there were 12.” What Salick did not bargain for was the win, and she was thrilled. “I’ve never won a Grand Prix at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center and there are always the best crowds.” Even more gratifying for Salick was the fact that her parents and her 4-month-old daughter, Eleanor, were in attendance.

After returning from time in Europe, Salick decided to focus on developing a jumper training business at her family’s ranch. Although she was pregnant with her first child, she wasn’t expecting four months of bed rest. “I am kind of re-building my business and figuring things out, but I really want to focus on jumpers,” Salick said.

Team Brown Sugar (Navona Gallegos, Kacey Ament and Michelle Morris) win the Memorial Day Equitation Challenge.

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Team Brown Sugar (Navona Gallegos, Kacey Ament and Michelle Morris) win the Memorial Day Equitation Challenge.

Salick’s pregnancy proved good timing for her 15-year-old gelding Gredo la Daviere. The horse jumped for Greece at the 2004 Athens Olympics; and after Salick purchased him in 2007, she struggled with soundness issues. Her pregnancy related bed rest served Gredo la Daviere well and the pair have jumped several Grand Prix courses in the past months. “After ‘our’ maternity leave, he has come back fit and fresh,” Salick laughed. “Today’s course was a lovely track and very friendly.”

Scott Starnes designed the course and the class also served as a selection trial for the Zone 10 Young Rider team, so there were a number of juniors and amateurs in the field. In addition, some professionals brought their young horses as well. For Jenni Martin-McAllister and her husband, Steve, they found the class very inviting for their young, up-and-coming Grand Prix horses. Although Martin-McAllister jumped clear on both, she posted time faults aboard Union Jack.

However, with Maloubet du Rouet, Martin-McAllister finished 9th with a jump-off rail coming out of the vertical-vertical combination. “This was a good class for our horses and we have always liked showing in L.A. Now we are based here and it is even better for us,” she said.

Ray Texel piloted Waldman Doo, owned by Janice Aron, to second in front of the sell-out crowd, and Nicole Shahinian-Simpson was third with Toyster Gold, owned by Ilan Ferder. Out of the 30 horse field, 12 jumped clear which gave the audience an exciting jump-off and all 12 ribbons went to jump-off riders.

Jenny Karazissis and Forbes win USHJA Hunter Derby

In other competition, the USHJA Hunter Derby took place in LAEC’s Large Oval ring as part of the Memorial Day Classic from May 21-24. Thirty-nine horses and riders faced off over the first-round course which had them jumping in-and-out of the ring. An enthusiastic audience was on hand to cheer for the brilliance of the hunters, and the tables on the LAEC Terrace were filled as spectators enjoyed a catered dinner.

The Top 20 returned for the Handy Round, which once again had horses jumping in-and-out of the ring, and they finished over the hedge in the middle of the ring. Professional Mark Purcell told course designer Michael Roy Curtis about a stage prop company near his barn that specializes in plants and trees for movie and television sets. “I just thought that a natural hedge would be really great for the Derby,” Purcell said.

Curtis agreed and all the hunters jumped it in style. “It was a little intimidating at first, but my horse jumped it great both times,” said Ali Leopold, who rides for Philip Klipa’s Marlay Farms. Leopold finished reserve champion aboard the First-Year Hunter, Neverland, owned by Gina Groth.

Jenny Karazissis piloted Forbes, owned by Tonia Cook Looker, to a solid first round and sat fifth going into the Handy Round. She pulled out all the stops and won the round and the USHJA Hunter Derby overall championship. Leopold riding Neverland were second, and Kylee Arbuckle riding Valor, owned by Oscany, Inc., were third.

Keri Kampsen aboard King’s Ransom, owned by Karen Lucian, rounded out the top four. “It was an exciting class and the Derby is a great thing for the hunters,” said Lucian, who shows in the Adult Hunters and Equitation with King’s Ransom and her second horse.

Rachel Thurman, Olivia Champ win specialty classes

In the Equitation, Rachel Thurman, 16, proved hard work and consistent riding yield excellent results. Aboard her 7-year-old gelding Vermeer, Thurman won a very large ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship Class and also the West Coast Equestrian Junior-Amateur Medal Class. She was the “Chel” part of the third place Marchelmar team in the Memorial Day Equitation Challenge, and earned her own third place finishes in both the USEF and CPHA Foundation classes.

“He tries really hard and is a lot of fun,” Thurman said of her horse. She trains under the watchful eyes of Jim Hagman and Linda Cooper. Although not a “big name” junior rider yet, Thurman proved she could hold her own and that judges will reward excellent riding.

Another young rider to watch is Olivia Champ. Fresh out of the Pony Hunter ranks, Champ made the move to a horse and won the Onondarka Medal Class during the Memorial Day Classic. She is quickly becoming a show ring veteran by riding at Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Fla., with Jeffrey Welles and Peter Lombardo, who is based at the Hansen Dam Equestrian Center. Champ is looking forward to the Onondarka Finals hosted at the end of the year at Los Angeles National Horse Show.

Memorial Day Equitation Challenge awards trip to Maui

Thirteen teams contested the Memorial Day Equitation Challenge, presented by LA Saddlery–and with a trip to Maui on the line–competition was fierce May 22. A junior rider, an amateur rider, and a professional made up each team and only the eight best teams qualified for the second round.

Although the scores were close, Team Brown Sugar emerged as the winner. For professional Kacey Ament, the victory was especially sweet. “When I rode on a team as a junior, we won and I really wanted the trip to Hawaii. I loved my beach bike, but now I get to go to Maui!” Michelle Morris rode as the amateur member and Navona Gallegos earned the junior score. Both girls were also thrilled with their beach bikes they won for their efforts.

Blondes Have More Fun came in a close second. Katie Gardner, another winner as an amateur in a previous year, rode in the professional’s irons. Holly Scapa braided up her handsome jumper and earned the amateur score and Kilian McGrath served as the junior member of the team.

Rounding out the top three was Marchelmar Maui Bond. Professional Marla Amormino, junior Rachel Thurman, and amateur Marnye Langer had fun creating a play on their names with “Marchelmar.”

Bowling Benefit raises funds for California Professional Horsemen’s Association Foundation

The 4th Annual California Professional Horsemen’s Association Foundation Bowling Benefit provided a great deal of fun for competitors and raised money for the Foundation. The funds raised help support the Foundation’s worth programs of aiding professionals in times of need and providing higher education opportunities through scholarships and grants. Over the years, the Bowling Benefit has grown in popularity and some teams have resorted to seeding their teams with experienced players. Philip Klipa’s Marlay Farms bowlers were not content with just supporting the event and this year they were determined to unseat the LEG Up Bowlers who have won two of the last three years.

Stan Edwards, father of junior rider Nicole, recruited two friends to join the team. When trainer Philip Klipa had to have shoulder surgery, Mark Farndale, who has his own training barn alongside Klipa’s at Los Angeles Equestrian Center, stepped in. “Actually I was happy Mark wanted to bowl on our team because he bowls much better than I do,” laughed Klipa. Marlay Farms was marvelous and bowled their way right to the top. In second was event organizer George Chatigny’s Bowled Tendons, with the LEG Up Bowlers taking third.

The benefit has turned into a fun night for everyone and is a kind of revival at the bowling alley with beer, pizzas, and snacks. It is also a great fundraiser and in a couple of hours, they raise some much appreciated funds for the CPHA Foundation. Chris Norden of Norden Equine affiliated with Markel Insurance, fielded a team for the first time and they had a ball. “I last bowled when I was 10, but this was so fun,” Norden laughed. “What a great idea and we will definitely be back next year.”

For information about the California Professional Horsemen’s Association Foundation, visit: www.cpha.org/Foundation/index.htm

For complete show results, visit: www.langershows.com

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