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Amateur, pro talent light up 2011 L.A. National

Special to the Horsetrader - December 1st, 2011 - Show & Event News

BURBANK — With The Beatles setting the beat, Rich Fellers and Flexible beat the competition at the $50,000 Grand Prix of Los Angeles on Nov. 19. The Saturday night crowd-pleaser at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center was a highlight of the five-day 2011 L.A. National.

The crowd loudly welcomed Rich and Flexible back into the ring for the last of the jump off trips, then fell silent as Flexible neatly cleared each fence in 42.78 — nearly three seconds faster than runner-up Rusty Stewart and Bristol.

In addition to the excitement of Fellers winning two grands prix in a row, his wife, Shelley, was also in the class, placing ninth aboard Revenge, owned by she and her husband. While Rich beamed with pride at his wife’s great riding, she said, “I wasn’t thinking about the competition — I was just thinking about surviving!”

While the grand prix showcases today’s show jumping stars, the L.A. National also welcomed the stars of tomorrow. Hannah Warde (Dick Carvin, trainer) may not be in the grand prix ranks quite yet, but she and her Canasucre tore it up in the Junior Jumpers. After winning all three of her $500 Junior Jumpers 1.40M classes, she was champion in the section. She also showed in the $5,000 PCHA Junior-Amateur Owner Jumper Championship and won the first three rounds, but a stop in the $5,000 Junior-Amateur Owner Jumper Classic relegated her to seventh place in that class and fourth overall in the championship.

In addition to having a great show, Hannah received recognition at the Celebrate Jumpers! banquet for being reserve champion in the Zone 10 Junior Jumpers, and she was inducted into the USHJA Meter 40 Club. She also received the LEG Up Cup for being the high scoring junior rider in the Zone 10 Selection Trials for the North American Junior and Young Rider Championships.

The $5,000 PCHA Junior-Amateur Owner Jumper Championship went to Lauren Croquenois (Christian Croquenois, trainer) aboard Milo Fellini Mia.

“Winning the $5,000 PCHA Junior-Amateur Owner Jumper Championship this year was an unexpected victory,” said Croquenois. “Mia got very sick a month ago. I had only done one round during the week, but she showed she was back at the top of her game which made me very happy.”

Some of the other jumper classics included the $5,000 Children’s Jumper Classic, where Mitchell Endicott (Michael Endicott, trainer) won out over 14 other entries with Celantares (Pegasus Show Stable Inc., owner) and in the $5,000 PCHA/Jimmy Williams Classic, where Jenni Martin-McAllister won aboard Columbus Van De Helle (David Sterckx, owner).

In the $5,000 Adult Amateur Jumper Classic, Marnye Langer (Martin-McAllister Training, trainer) rode two horses to the ribbons. Her trainers loaned her Granville’s Zenith (Granville Equine, owner) since her own horse was laid up, and the pair braved the rain and came out the winners. She also rode LEGIS Touch The Sun (Marnco, owner) to a fifth place finish. “I’ve never ridden this horse over a course of jumps before,” Marnye explained. “He’s five years old and just arrived from Germany three weeks ago.”

The show started Thursday night with the $31,000 Welcome Stake, won by Eduardo Menezes and Calavda (Francisco Pasquel Q, owner) over 25 other horse-and-rider combinations.

Friday’s intense competition started with the $5,000 Pre-green Hunter Championship, where John French and Catarella (Kristen Emery Orr, owner) outdueled Patrick Spanton (Mary Gatti, trainer) and Undeniable (Kelly Straeter, owner).

That night, John had two beautiful rounds on Columbus (Taylor Thibault, owner) in the $3,000 USHJA National Hunter Classic, scoring a total of 170. However, amateur rider Karrie Rufer (Diane Yeager, trainer) and her My Way were hot on his heels, taking advantage of the higher option jumps to pass him up with a final score of 174. Karrie’s victory in the 39-horse field was all the sweeter when her other entry, Declaration, placed third with Jenny Karazissis in the irons.

“It was really exciting,” Karrie said. “This was my first year doing the derbies, and My Way is only 8 years old. I think these classes are a nice break from traditional hunter classes. I like being able to get creative and tailor the options to suit my horse. I chose to take all of the higher options in the first round, but in the second it was handier to sacrifice one of them and take the inside turn. I hoped that by being handier, we would pick up more points than the one we lost by not taking the option.”

My Way’s diminutive size, at 15.1 hands, allows him to take tight turns with ease. “He turns on a dime,” Karrie added. “He’s so small he has to gallop, which is good in the derbies because the judges like to see that. He gets to show a lot of freedom in his stride.”

My Way has done several derbies this year, but John’s mount Columbus was a green horse he was really just taking in for experience.

“I didn’t do the options since he’s a baby, and he’s never done a handy course before,” John explained. “The fact that he was right in there with all those horses was great. The derby courses were really nice, with a lot of single jumps. The handy course had a lot of long gallops and tight turns.”

Allon Equestrian sponsors awards for the top placing amateur and junior riders to reward them for riding against the professionals. Karrie earned the Allon High Scoring Amateur along with her win, and 12-year-old Tylor Nowell (Nina Alario, trainer), the only junior in the top 10, was Allon High Scoring Junior aboard Askaban (Alyssa Bansbach, owner). Her score of 146 put her in eighth place.

Marnye Langer, President of Pacific Equestrians, presented the Visionary Award to Robert Ridland of Blenheim Equisports, who has excelled in many different aspects of the sport and continues to be active and support the industry. “I’m very honored, grateful, and surprised to receive this,” he commented.

More results: http://bit.ly/112A_LA

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