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Stars Shine at L.A. International

Special to the Horsetrader - October 6th, 2011 - Show & Event News
Saer Coulter and Springtime at the $50,000 L.A. International Sept. 21-25

Flying Horse photo

Saer Coulter and Springtime at the $50,000 L.A. International Sept. 21-25

BURBANK — The stars were out at the L.A. International Horse Show Sept. 21-25, particularly at the $50,000 L.A. International Grand Prix, a World Cup Qualifier where performances in the ring kept the crowd on the edge of their seats.

Sixteen riders tackled Michel Vaillancourt’s course in LAEC’s indoor arena, but it was the youngest of them all, Saer Coulter (Markus Beerbaum, trainer), who was the only rider to go double-clear and clinch the top title.

The excitement started early in the class, when Saer entered the ring second in the order aboard Springtime, the horse owned by Copernicus Stables that she campaigned in Europe this summer. She was the first to go clean, followed immediately by Harley Brown on his Cassiato who also left all the rails in their cups. Four more rides qualified for the jump-off: Francie Steinwedell-Carvin on Taunus (Prentiss Partners, owner), Mark Watring on his Green Sleeps Vioco, Harley on his second horse Angelli (Paige Harryman, owner), and Kirsten Coe on Combina (Ilan Ferder, owner).

Going into the jump-off, Coulter and Watring put on quite a duel, and the 19-year-old Coulter took to the course first at a blistering pace. Her time of 42.82 on a clean go left little room for error for her rivals.

“I just concentrated on going in there and going fast and clean,” said Coulter. “I knew I was first of a lot of fast riders, so I had to go for it and trust Springtime, and he was fantastic. I got lucky.”

Watring was even faster with Green Sleeps Vioco (Horse Works Etc., owner) despite taking the longer outside approach to the second to last fence, which was the wall. His four faults for the one dropped brick over the liverpool at the last fence put him in second place with a 42.48-second time.

“I gave it a good go,” said Watring. “I saw a couple others take that inside track before the wall, and I didn’t think it would give my horse enough room to push off so I went around. He jumped up and came down on the wall, and the way he hit it I thought we might be OK. When I heard the crowd groan, I knew it was over.”

No one could catch Mark’s time or repeat Saer’s feat of jumping clear, although Francie Steinwedell-Carvin made a respectable bid and landed in third place with Taunus in 43.48 seconds.

“We didn’t come off the oxer square at fence 3 and the rail came down, but my horse was great,” said Steinwedell. “This was a really good course for us and a good test. We’ve been working a lot on ridability, and he was very ridable in this class. He’s a really big and long horse for me, but he’s sweet and will jump anything.”

Kirsten Coe was unable to repeat her one-two finish of the week before, and a rail at the final oxer relegated her to fourth.

Crowd favorite Richard Spooner dropped a rail in the triple combination and made a bid to be the fastest of the four-faulters. He took an inside track to the wall at fence 12 that had the crowd gasping and then cheering when he cleared it and crossed the timer seconds later and secured his spot in the standings.

Saer had represented the U.S. on the Nation’s Cup team in Europe this summer in her first Super League experience. She put the time to good use, getting used to the pressure and format of international competition, as well as spending time getting coaching from Markus and Meredeth Beerbaum, who were present at the show.

“Spending that time in Europe definitely helped me,” Coulter explained. “Being in that environment makes you want to step up your game and set your goals even higher. Markus and Meredith did an incredible job with Springtime and me, and it was good to get the mixture of American and German styles of riding. I definitely sit in the saddle more now.”

Before the main event, LEG warmed up the crowd with opening ceremonies that included performances by the John Burroughs High School Marching Band, an appearance by University of Southern California (USC) mascot Traveler, and a parade of community groups like the USC Equestrian Team, Shadow Hills Riding Club and Therapeutic Riding, Camino Real Region Pony Clubs, and the top ten finishers in the Platinum Performance/USEF Talent Search Final.

After the closing ceremonies, the audience was invited into the arena to get autographs from the top grand prix finishers while kids did some show jumping of their own over jumps made just for them.

“It’s an honor to be part of the grand prix show, and we’ve been involved with it for years in different ways,” Joann Asman commented of her invitation to bring Traveler for the opening ceremonies. “I think USC and its affiliates are important to the community, and it’s great that LEG supports that.”

Medal final season is under way, and Gold Coast 7 (Oct. 20-23) will host the 2011 CPHA Horsemanship and CPHA Child/Adult Regional Finals, while pony riders are gearing up for West Coast Pony Finals at the National Preview Horse Show (Nov 9-13). Woodside Fall Finale (Sep 29-Oct 2) will conclude the 2011 LEG show season in Northern California, followed by the Verdugo Hills League Preview (Oct 28-29) at Hansen Dam.

The $50,000 L.A. International Grand Prix was the highlight of a long and exciting week of show jumping excitement.

More results: See website: http://bit.ly/qbgyMy

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