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LAEC Opener shines through January rain

Special to the Horsetrader - February 2nd, 2012 - Show & Event News

BURBANK — Langer Equestrian Group kicked off the 2012 show season and the company’s 40th Anniversary year with the LAEC Opener Horse Show Jan 20-22, and although Saturday morning dawned cold and rainy, the show was able to go on.

The new Olympic Mix footing in the large oval for the jumpers played a role in that, while the hunters and equitation riders enjoyed the expansive Equidome. By late morning, clouds disappeared, and the jumper arena was the place to be to show and soak up some sun.

“The rain normally would have ruined the footing, but it held up great,” said trainer Susie Artes, who recently moved her training program to the Los Angeles Equestrian Center.

Artes won the 1.10M Jumpers on Zeraton, owned by Victoria Johnson, who took the reins and won .90M Jumpers.

As the sun went down on Saturday, people moved into the Equidome in anticipation of the $2,500 LAEC Opener USHJA National Hunter Derby. Part of the LEG Anniversary $40,000 Hunter Derby Series, riders will compete in qualifying classes throughout the year to earn a spot in the $10,000 LEG Anniversary Hunter Derby Final at the LA National this fall. A similar format applies to the LEG Anniversary $40,000 Jumper Classic Series.

Rebecca Bruce won the hunter class aboard Cirque Du Soleil, owned by Polly Coleman, with a final score of 176.

Though she went through the course several times, Rebecca said she always adjusts her plan for each horse in order to maximize their strengths. In Cirque Du Soleil’s case, those strengths included his gallop, precise turns, and courage. “He is so brave,” Bruce said. “I know I can always take the bigger fence options and I never have to worry.”

She scored a 90 on the first round and was in first place heading into the handy round where she would need at least 85.5. She scored 86 to edge Teddi Mellencamp on Cruise, owned by Jessica Singer.

Cirque Du Soleil, a pretty chestnut gelding, also carried Bruce’s student, Katie Browne, to three wins in the Low Children’s Hunters, making her champion of the Low Children’s Hunter section.

Elsewhere in the hunger ring, Laura Wasserman, trained by Archie Cox, had a fantastic show and swept most of her classes and the championship in the 3’6″ Amateur Owner Hunters 36 and over with her own two entries. Truman was the champion in this section as well as reserve champion in Modified Junior-Amateur Hunters, and Back In The Game was reserve champion in the 3’6″ Amateur Owner Hunters with Laura and reserve champion in Performance Hunters 3’3” with Archie Cox.

After watching several jumper classes over the weekend, one could hardly fail to notice Susan Azad, trained by Heidi Misrahy, who was champion in Adult Amateur Jumpers on her Thalassa and reserve champion in Low Children’s-Adult Amateur Jumpers on her Mozart Z. Azad just moved up to the Modified Junior-Amateur Jumpers on her Thalassa and was thrilled to get second and third in her first show at this level.

Though you wouldn’t know it from watching her, Azad had returned to riding just a few years ago and started out jumping at two feet. She had ridden when she was younger, but stopped when she attended college. It wasn’t until five years ago that she became a member of the Flintridge Riding Club with her daughter, Ali Azad, and got back into riding again. Susan credits Misrahy for bringing her “up to speed” so quickly.

“Heidi is precise on technical equitation,” she said. “She would rather that you lost a class but rode it well, rather than win a class even though you rode poorly.”

Susan carefully plans out her track when she walks each course, and her careful planning was obvious in the tight angles and balanced turns of each jump off round.

Susan’s daughter, Ali, placed second in two rounds of Low Children’s Hunters and third in Novice Equitation Over Fences 17 and under on her Maximus. Susan also spoke highly of her barn mate, 12-year-old Garrett Creedon, who won the Onondarka Medal Class and placed second in the two rounds of 1.00M Jumpers, as well as the PCHA Horsemanship Medal Class, all on his horse, Gumby.

Like Garrett, Henley Adkins shined in the equitation classes, winning four of her five medal classes: LAHJA/LA Saddlery Junior Medal, ASPCA Horsemanship, CPHA Junior Medal, and the CPHA Foundation Equitation Class. Adkins has taken advantage of local and national programs to improve her riding, including winning the Riding Phase of Los Angeles Hunter Jumper Association’s Horsemastership program and advancing to the national final in USHJA’s Emerging Athletes Program in 2011. She also competed in the ASPCA (Maclay) National Final. She trains at Elvenstar.

MORE ONLINE: See website http://bit.ly/202A_LAEC

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