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Henley Atkins wins the Los Angeles Hunter Jumper Association's Horsemanship Finals.

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Henley Atkins wins the Los Angeles Hunter Jumper Association's Horsemanship Finals.

BURBANK — The Los Angeles Hunter Jumper Association held two of its five medal finals at the annual Gold Coast 6 show: the LAHJA Horsemanship Finals, won by Henley Atkins; and the Rosewood Medal Finals, won by Olivia Esse.

LAHJA has a comprehensive set of medal classes, with the LAHJA Horsemanship serving as an entry-level final for both amateur and junior riders with fences set at 2’9” to 3’0”.

The Gold Coast 6 hunter/jumper horse show was managed by Langer Equestrian Group from Aug. 27-30 at Los Angeles Equestrian Center.

Riders and show organizers said course designer Stephen DeFisher did a masterful job by offering challenging options for the more advanced riders and allowing the less experienced riders to take a slightly easier track.

The Rosewood is one of three 14-and-under medal classes in California and the various finals are held at 3’3”. The Rosewood is also held in an indoor setting, giving West Coast riders heading East an opportunity to gain valuable indoor experience.

Henley Atkins wins LAHJA Horsemanship

This year, Elvenstar students led both victory gallops. Henley Atkins was fourth after the first round of the LAHJA Horsemanship Final. “The first round, we were just getting used to it,” Atkins said.” The fences were lower than we had been jumping at home.”

In the second round, Atkins posted a solid performance and moved into the lead going to the work off, in which the top four riders had to hand gallop a jump. There were also two lines and the riders had to pick the shortest route between the lines, weaving their way past other jumps.

To get the shortest distance, they had to use inside turns, and quick transitions. Next, there was a trot jump, halt, and posting trot back to line.

Atkins rode an accurate work off test and held on to her lead. She gave credit to her horse, Wupicor, a horse she has had for almost two years. “He’s almost like a human; he understands what needs to be done,” said Atkins, whose parents were on hand to cheer for her. “He’s better at equitation than hunters, so we’ll keep on doing equitation.”

Olivia Esse wins the Los Angeles Hunter Jumper Association's Rosewood Finals.

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Olivia Esse wins the Los Angeles Hunter Jumper Association's Rosewood Finals.

Olivia Esse wins LAHJA Rosewood Finals

In the LAHJA Rosewood Finals, Olivia Esse rose to the top with polished riding on her horse, Guns and Roses. “The Rosewood work off wasn’t too hard,” Esse said. “There was an in and out, a trot jump, a bounce, a hand gallop, and two lead changes on judges’ side of the arena.”

However, she was worried about the trot jump. “There was only a 4-point gap going into the work off. I wanted a good forward distance for the hand gallop jump. Guns and Roses has great rhythm, is very brave and scopey, and he’s always cooperative,” said Esse, who nailed the trot jump she was concerned about. “Hopefully I will go to Harrisburg and do the USEF finals using one of my jumpers.”

Elvenstar head trainer Jim Hagman said they focus on the basics. “Everything about Elvenstar is about basics. We work on pace, staying on track, and balance–we are old fashioned,” Hagman said. “Olivia is the seventh rider from Elvenstar to win the Rosewood.”

Esse is petite and Hagman noted she is little for horses. “Olivia has quite a record; she’s very consistent. With the technical courses, the riders have to know their horses well,” Hagman said. “Both Olivia and Henley are terrific students with excellent concentration.”

One to watch: Olivia Champ

Another rider, Olivia Champ, who trains with Peter Lombardo, proved she is someone to watch for the future. She finished in the top four of the CPHA Foundation Final, and the 11-and-under rider finished 4th in the Rosewood Finals.

All three of the other riders were in their final year of eligibility to ride in the Rosewood. Champ showed great poise and could be a serious contender in the Onondarka Finals later this year held during the Los Angeles National in November.

For information about the Los Angeles Hunter Jumper Association, visit the Web site: www.lahja.org

Complete show results from are available at the Web site: http://www.langershows.com/laec/show_details.php?show_id=107

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