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Jenni Martin-McAllister and Glados pose after winning the $20,000 Bayfest Grand Prix July 3.

Sheri Scott photo

Jenni Martin-McAllister and Glados pose after winning the $20,000 Bayfest Grand Prix July 3.

WOODSIDE — The only thing that’s been predictable about the weather this year is that it is unpredictable, and the Bay Area Summer Festival June 29-July 3 proved that — starting off with an unseasonable rainstorm. However, the clouds soon gave way for a beautiful weekend, and all levels of riders from grand prix to walk-trot found plenty of opportunities to step up their game to meet the demands of the challenging competition and courses.


The $20,000 Bayfest Grand Prix was the highlight of the weekend, and spectators gathered to see if there would be a repeat of the previous week when the juniors ruled the big jumper class. It looked like it might happen again when the previous week’s winner, Haley Robison (Rachel Yorke, trainer), piloted Chantre (Equinity, owner) through the first clear trip in the class, followed by another junior, Kendall Skreden (Kelly Van Vleck, trainer), on her Esperanto. They soon had company in the jump-off when they were joined by Peter Breakwell on Lucas (No Drama, owner) and Jenni Martin-McAllister on two of her rides, Glados (Marnco, owner) and Majuscule (Christina Caruso, owner).

Haley was first to go in the jump-off, and she and Kendall each dropped a rail which left an opening for the professionals to step in and take the win. Martin-McAllister was clear in 35.999 seconds with Glados, assuring her a top placing. When Peter dropped a rail, it was clear the win was Martin-McAllister’s–it was just a question of which horse it would be. Majuscule knocked down a rail at the second to last fence that relegated her to fourth place with a time of 36.153, and Glados was officially the winning horse. Haley settled for second with her time of 34.592, followed by Peter in 34.885.

“I was very happy with Glados,” Martin-McAllister reported. “She’s coming off an injury from last year, and this was the biggest class she’s done since she’s been back. She can be a little tricky, so I’m glad she decided to play my game today.” The pair also won the $2,500 Open Welcome Stake in the first week.

Martin-McAllister’s continuing strong performance kept her at the top of the leader board for the CWD Jumper Rider Bonus, garnering her a $1,000 bonus gift certificate for earning the most prize money at the Woodside Summer Circuit. “I’m excited,” she commented about the bonus. “It’ll be nice to get that gift certificate.” If Martin-McAllister and Glados win the $7,500 Fall Finale Jumper Classic at the Woodside Fall Finale (Sep 29-Oct 2), they will win the LEGIS Woodside Jumper Bonus as well.

Immediately before the grand prix, accompanied by an Independence Day barbecue on the berm for attendees, hunter riders had the chance to show off their talented horses in the $250 Open Under Saddle Derby. Laura Strasburg was thrilled when her two entries took the top two placings. Trainer Lesann LeClaire won the blue with Manhattan, while Laura rode Houston to the red. “It’s a fun class,” Lesann commented. “It brings attention to the hunter division and how special our horses are. These two are really nice movers, and we’re happy they won.”

Hope Glynn and Chance of Flurries are tops again in the $2,500 USHJA National 3′ Hunter Classic

The $2500 USHJA National 3′ Hunter Classic is another way to show exactly how special hunter horses can be. Hope Glynn has been the mistress of these derby style classes, and she showed her prowess once again at the Bay Area Summer Festival. Not only did she take the top spot with Chance Of Flurries (Helen McEvoy, owner), but she also coached several riders to ribbons as well. Avery Hellman placed third and High Score Amateur on her own entry, Rococco, and fifth on Woodstock (Sabrina H. Hellman, owner). Emma Townsend was eighth on her CR Habibo, and Haley Webster was tenth and High Score Junior on Biarritz (Blaire Kingsley, owner).

“It was a good quality group with a lot of participation from kids and amateurs,” Hope commented. “I really like how LEG gives special recognition to the top amateur and junior in the class, since it’s hard for them to compete against the professionals. I think a lot of the juniors and amateurs have just as good of horses as the pros, and having us all out there together gets them to push themselves to work harder to be competitive.”

Hope also attracted some attention by wearing the LEG Helmet Cam to capture her trip from the rider’s point of view, which can be viewed on Facebook or YouTube. “I think it’s a fun and unique perspective,” Hope said. “People often ask what it’s like to ride a horse or ride in this class. I’m fully supportive of any way to get new people interested in the sport.”

Hope coached several other riders to ribbons and championships through the course of the week, including her six-year-old daughter Avery Glynn, who was champion in the Opportunity Walk-Trot Over Poles section after placing first or second in most of her classes on All That (Sonoma Valley Stables, owner). 2011 is Avery’s first year in the walk-trot classes, and she’s just starting to canter at home.

“She’s working hard to do crossrails by the end of summer,” Hope reported. “She was really excited she was champion, but she was also really excited to see other kids her age riding and getting to play with them in the dirt afterward. I get a tremendous amount of enjoyment having her around me at the show. As a professional, you spend a lot of time at the shows away from your family, so having my husband and daughter there made it so much more rewarding for me. My mom taught me when I was a kid and is Avery’s coach, so we both teach her.”

Diane Yeager rode Diamond River (Sue Sadlier, owner) to a second place finish in the $2,500 USHJA National 3′ Hunter Classic behind Hope. Due to the excellent performance of her students throughout the season, Diane currently leads the standings for the Maui Trainer Incentive. If she can hold onto the lead through the remaining two Woodside shows this year, she’ll be on her way to Maui for a relaxing vacation later this year. In addition, the top five trainers at the end of the year each get a bonus check for $1,000.

“I would love to win,” Diane said. “I’ve gotten the bonus check before, but never the trip. It’s a nice added bonus for going to shows I like taking my clients to anyway. It’s one of the few treats that’s just for the trainers to reward us for our 12-15 hour work days at the shows.”

While the Bay Area Summer Festival provided good opportunities for advanced riders to pit themselves against tough competition, there are also plenty of classes for those just starting out. The Opportunity section is specifically designed to provide entry level classes at a big show with high quality courses and judging.

“The Opportunity section is so great for our clients because we all have the big hunters and 3’6″ equitation kids, but it’s important to think of the kids just coming up and to make them feel like they’re part of the team,” explained Jill Hamilton of Millennium Farm. “It’s a wonderful service for us trainers, because it gives us the chance to get all levels of clients to the shows to participate.”

Jill and her riders took great advantage of these Opportunity classes, as well as medal classes and many levels in between. Hannah Schneider made this her first horse show and won three of her classes and the championship in the Opportunity Cross Rails section on Kaspar (Stuartfield Farm, owner).

“She was a super star,” Jill recalled. “She was super nervous the first day, but she did everything she’s been working on at home: she got into her corners, got her straight lines, and got into two point. The next day she was more relaxed and was just a rock star. Having these shows gives us something to focus on for our lessons at home. We’ve been working toward this show for the last six weeks.”

Hannah has been riding at Millennium Farm for just under a year, riding a school pony before leasing Kaspar. “She works really hard and takes riding seriously,” Jill added. “She’s obsessed–riding is all she thinks about and wants to do, and it’s kind of fun because even though she’s in the Opportunity ranks, this is something she actually knows more about than her parents.”

For Jill, there are a lot of reasons to come to Woodside for the LEG shows. “One of the things I love about the LEG shows is they’re so committed to making the show better, making the facility better, and making it a good experience. They know showing is an expensive sport, so they try really hard to create a quality product for us. There’s always something free, like show staff driving around giving away free cold water, and free food and parties, like the barbeque during the grand prix. They do a lot for the exhibitors.”

Lynn Mullins and her group from Meadow View Farms came all the way from Reno, Nevada, to enjoy the show and rack up a few ribbons of their own. They earned some of every color in everything from ponies to jumpers, and Christine Jorst had the tri-color in 1.10M Jumpers by winning two of her classes in the section aboard her Matterhorn.

“I like coming to The Horse Park at Woodside,” Lynn shared. “Every time we come, there are improvements to the facility. I was really impressed by how the footing in the Grand Prix Ring held after the rain on Wednesday and how quickly it drained. We rode in there the morning after the rain, and even though it still held water, the horses didn’t slip even in rollbacks. We also like having the trails so we can take horses out to relax.”

In the equitation ring, Michele Tobin won several of her classes aboard Deutsche Mark (Joey Pedroni, owner), including the CPHA Junior/Senior Medal, the NorCal Senior Medal, and the Foxfield Medal, among others, and she was reserve champion of the Equitation 36 & Over section. “I thought the course designer (Brian Post) really challenged everyone in all of the equitation classes, and it’s always more fun when it’s harder,” she remarked. She was also reserve champion in the Modified Junior/Adult Hunters with her own entry, Nic of Time.

Other medal winners included Caroline Albright (Buddy Brown, trainer), who won the Pessoa / USEF Hunter Seat Medal Class and the Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search, and Samantha Levy (Nicole Bloom, trainer), who piloted Cool Man Z to a victory in the competitive WCE Medal. She was also reserve champion in the 1.10M Jumpers.

From beginners to grand prix riders, the Bay Area Summer Festival had something for everyone to make the most of the horse show experience.

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