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The Lucy Show

Riding True Love in her backyard at LAEC, 17-year-old Lucy Davis gets her first career grand prix win

From Horsetrader staff reports - June 17th, 2010 - Cover Story, Show & Event News

BURBANK – Final exams of her junior year in high school loomed in the days ahead, but they were far from Lucy Davis’s mind on Memorial Day when the 17-year old warmed up her gelding, True Love, for the jump-off at the Memorial Day Classic Grand Prix.

A more immediate concern was Susie Hutchison on Cantano, her jump-off rival.

“I really didn’t think there was a possible way to beat her, so I just kind of said to myself, ‘well, here goes nothing,’ and I guess I got lucky,” said Davis, whose coolness under pressure as a junior rider has followed her into the grand prix level. “I knew she would go behind me and that she’d be tough to beat, so I just gave it my all and went as fast as I possibly could.”

Her pace-setting 39.222-second effort on the Scott Starnes-designed jump-off course was unmatched by Hutchison (41.085), who took second. Davis also finished third on her Nemo 119 (41.992), and Michael Endicott completed the final-round quartet in fourth with a time of 43.009 and a downed rail.

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Lucy Davis of Los Angeles takes her gelding True Love to the teen-ager’s first career grand prix win May 31 at the Memorial Day Grand Prix.

Davis’ grand prix win surprises no one familiar with her rise through the junior ranks, but the teen-ager’s early success at this level is turning heads. Just two weeks earlier at Showpark, Davis faced a challenging, 51-horse field at the Blenheim Ranch and Coast Tournament and took third on Nemo 119. Such a high finish against stiff competition inspired Davis. Late last year and during this year’s winter circuit, she had entered some smaller grand prixes for experience, but the big Showpark performance had an impact.

“I was super excited after that one,” said Davis, a goal-oriented rider who last January had set sites on getting some grand prix experience – not necessarily wins – in 2010.

“She really is on fire,” said her jumper trainer, Dick Carvin of Meadow Grove Farm in Lake View Terrace. “She is truly an amazing rider. Before she entered the jumper world, she’d won everything there is to win in the hunters. She’s been champion in Harrisburg, Washington, Devon, many times over, time and time again. She doesn’t do the hunters any more – just the jumpers now – but she always has won. Always.”

With a hunter and equitation foundation laid by trainer Archie Cox in her early teens, Davis’s junior resume is sterling. Her wins include the 2007 Junior Hunter Championship and Best Child Rider at Devon title, the 2008 Junior Young Rider Championship and Team Gold, and last year took the silver in Young Rider competition. Last October in the prestigious Prix De States team competition at Harrisburg, the Zone 10 squad of Davis, Saer Coulter, Paris Sellon and Karl Cook faced a jumo-off in Nation’s Cup format where one rider would represent each team. Davis got the call – and the win.

“I was talking with someone at Harrisburg, and he said Lucy has the best head of anybody I know that rides,” said Carvin, who compares Davis’s poise to another top rider, Nicole Shahanian-Simpson. “Her mind is amazing. As a trainer, in watching these kids – even other trainers – they all know what a mind she has and what a talent she has.”

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Mark Watring takes his grand prix horse, Sapphire, on a final public tour during a retirement ceremony that followed a moving, patriotic Memorial Day tribute to the those who have honorably served the U.S.

Davis will move on quickly after her first grand prix win. She heads to Germany this month with Nemo 119 and her newest horse, 9-year-old Hannah, to ride with Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and to compete in three European shows before returning home to vie in Young Rider competition.

“I’m just going to soak up as much as I possibly can with them – just learn as much as I possibly can,” she said of her summer trip. “I’m really looking forward to it.”
In hunter competition at LAEC, Jenny Karazissis rode Forbes, owned by Tonia Cook Looker, to the $10,000 Memorial Day Classic Chronicle of the Horse USHJA Hunter Derby for the second year in a row.

“He’s fantastic,” Karazissis said of the 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood, a horse she has been riding for two years. Karazissis noted that they call him a specialty horse because they only brought him to the show for the derby. In addition to his wins at the Memorial Day Classic, Forbes has earned consistent high prizes in other derbies and qualified for last year’s inaugural derby championship.

After watching the riders before her, Karazissis was going to play it safe and put in a more conservative ride but changed her mind

“He was so rideable in the first round I decided to go for it,” she said. “I took every inside track and tried to keep my turns as tidy as possible.”

Chris Collman’s course in the handy round sent the riders out of the arena — to what is usually the warm-up area — to negotiate two fences and a bounce through two hedges before jumping back into the arena. Riders had to quickly make a tight rollback to a trot fence before continuing the rest of the course. Riders had a number of opportunities to choose varying tracks and option jumps.

“I wanted to give the riders a lot of options to pick what would help them show off their horses,” Collman said.

Keri Kampsen piloted On Top, owned by Two Goals Farm LLC, to a close second behind Karazissis and Forbes. For Kampsen, the derbies are a fun combination of hunters and equitation.

“I live for these derbies,” she said. “They are my favorite class.”
Karazissis was equally positive.

“I think it brings so much excitement for the hunters,” she said of the derby. “It really gets us pumped up and excited.”

Excited was how professional Tasha Visokay described her feeling after winning a trip to Maui. The Memorial Day Equitation Challenge features teams of three riders, a professional, an amateur, and a junior. The professional of the winning team gets a week long stay at the Marriott Maui Ocean Club Resort courtesy of Langer Equestrian Group, while the junior and amateur each win beach bikes. Visokay rides for the Karen Healey Stables, and this was her first time participating in the class.

“I’ve never had a horse I could do it on. I’m very grateful to Kristi Siam for letting me borrow Krosus this year,” she said.

SHOW RESULTS: See website: http://bit.ly/LAECMemorial
MORE INFO: On Future LEG events: http://www.langershows.com

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