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Rising stars and a retiring one…

From Horsetrader staff reports - December 18th, 2014 - Show & Event News

1408ACoverJANUARY: In their first grand prix of the season, Saer Coulter and Springtime kicked off 2014 on the highest of notes, topping 30 other jumpers in the $50,000 StrongidC 2X CSI-W2* — a qualifier for the approaching FEI World Cup Finals.

FEBRUARY: Legolas 92 began his year like the ended the previous one – brilliantly. Along with Steffen Peters, the pair showed at California Dreaming Productions’ Mid-Winter Dressage Fair why they were favorites to lead the U.S. Dressage Team to France for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. In the Grand Prix Special Feb. 22, their unanimous victory included the FEI High Percentage Championship (76.540).

In Thermal, Mandy Porter enjoyed a memorable catch-ride, taking Lexico to victory in the $25,000 SmartPak GrandPrix when Lexito’s regular rider, Toni McIntosh, was sidelined by injury.

MARCH: Ashlee Bond Clarke admits that she had to keep her nerves and her emotions in check on March 16 when she entered the ring for the jump-off of the AIG $1 Million Grand Prix in Thermal. She was the picture of poise, as 4,000 spectators watched her top a star-studded field to win the historic event aboard Little Valley Farms’ Chela LS. The March 16 win came over a “Who’s Who” field that included the likes of Nayel Nassar (second, on Jordan), Beezie Madden (fourth, on Coral Reef Via Volo) and Rich Fellers (seventh, on Flexible).

Sonoma-based dressage trainer Brian Hafner and his longtime partner, Lombardo LHF, continued their ascension at the Capistrano Dressage International in San Juan Capistrano. With his “go for it” attitude and a 71.800 percent score, Halfner outperformed the likes of 2012 U.S. Olympic Team member Jan Eberling aboard an exciting new mount, FRH Rassolini, freestyle victory.

APRIL: Susie Hutchison returned to the top of the Blenheim EquiSports grand prix scene with Ziedento. Her young up-and-comers SIG Zulieka and SIG Excel proved to be winners, too. On Ziedento, the former AGA Rider of the Year and World Cup Finalist – now 61 — took two grand prixes in less than seven days. “My drive to do what I need to in order to prepare these horses comes from the love I have for this,” Hutchison said. “I must do what it takes to be the best I can for these horses – and the owners.”

MAY: Thirty horses tried to clear the $100,000 Grand Prix of Del Mar course on May 3, and just two did — setting the stage for a memorable jump-off between Karl Cook on Jonkheer Z and Lane Clarke on Semira de Saulieu. Going first and fast, Clarke and Charlotte Gadbois’s horse showed the form that got them there, recording a 39.440-second run. Cook rose to the challenge, shaving .2 seconds off for the big win.

Hutchison continued her tear with Ziedento and SIG Excel. Ziedento won his third straight grand prix, the $60,000 Grand Prix of California, and SIG Excel captured the $7,500 Cashcall Mortgage Futurity.
In Woodside, David Adamo of Petaluma and Joanna Saunders of Castro Valley won respective titles at the Preliminary Challenge held at the Spring Event. Adamo rode Henry to a climatic, faultless show jumping round to win the Horse Division, and Saunders, a UC Berkeley student, took the Riders Division.

JUNE: On the heels of their showing at Del Mar, Lane Clarke of Laguna Hills and Semira de Saulieu went to San Juan Capistrano and won apair of events, including topping Hutchison and SIG Zulieka in the $30,000 Blenheim Grand Prix.

Just in time for her 20th birthday present, Anna Buffini from Escondido was named the AGCO/USEF Young Rider Dressage National Champion. She captured both legs of the Young Rider event in Gladstone, N.J., with Sundayboy, a 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, with an overall average score of 73.408 percent. Now in her 11th year of dressage, Buffini previously was a competitive gymnast who was eyeing the Olympics before falling for dressage.

At the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions, Steffen Peters and Legolas 92 clinched their third consecutive national title.

JULY: Jan Eberling announced July 13 that he had withdrawn the popular Rafalca from the CDI4* Aachen as well as from contention for the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. The Moorpark-based Eberling said the welfare of the 17-year-old Oldenburg mare, owned by Beth Meyer, Ann Romney and Amy Eberling, was paramount, and that it would be in the best interest of the World Cup and 2012 Olympic Games veteran to retire from competition. “With mixed emotions, we regretfully announce that Rafalca will relinquish her bid for the WEG team in Normandy,” Eberling said. “We will be cheering on Team USA from the sidelines.”

Catherine Chamberlain, a 19-year-old dressage competitor who moved to Murrieta to train with Katherine Raine and David Wightman, dominated the USDF/Platinum Performance North American Junior and Young Rider Dressage Championships in Lexington, Ky. It was a sweet victory for her and Verdicci, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding she calls “Chance,” who bounced back from a last-place finish at the 2011 Young Riders after Chamberlain had injured her arm.

AUGUST: Kicking off the medal finals season, Abby Jorgenson and Leina King won their respective divisions of the California Professonal Horseman’s Association Junior and Adult Finals. Jorgenson, trained by John French, won the Junior Division, with King, trained by Karen Healey Stables, was the Adult Division winner.

At the West Coast Junior Medal Finals at Showpark in Del Mar, Ashton Alexander and Café de Columbia came away with the Junior Hunters title, with Destry Spielberg and Illusion in reserve. Spielberg and Illusion also won the Small Hunters 16-17 Division.

At the USEF Young and Developing Horse Dressage Championships in Illinois, Sanceo (San Remo X Rivera/Ramio’s Son II) and Sabine Schut-Kery of Thousand Oaks took top honors among a field of 15.
At the CPHA Medal Finals, Julia Nagler (21-under Division), Caroline Ingalls (22-over Division) and Katie Browne (14-under Division) captured respective championships at Showpark. Nagler trained with Benson Carroll, Ingalls with Hap Hansen, and Browne with Karen Healey.

With seven total medals, the U.S. WEG team finished its Normandy campaign in fourth place behind Great Britain (Gold), Netherlands (Silver) and Germany (Bronze). Highlights for the Americans were the Bronze Medals won by the U.S. in team competition that included Lucy Davis of Los Angeles, and by Beezie Madden in individual competition.

SEPTEMBER: Thirty-six junior riders vied to advance to the November ASPCA Maclay National Finals, and Sydney Hutchins on Gaudi outshined the field for Region 8 in San Juan Capistrano. Elvenstar is Hutchins’s trainer.

Hutchins also shined at the USEFSHow Jumping Talent Search competition at Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park. She rode her horse, Sorcerer, to the regional jumping championship, and Sorcerer was tabbed “Best Horse” of the finals. In hunter competition, Karen Healey Stables student Shelby Drazan took Marco to the USEF Zones 8,9,10 regional championship.

After four days, six rings and nearly 1,500 rides scheduled to come down the centerline at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center, final championships were presented in the largest edition of the annual California Dressage Society Championship Show. Stars included Jan Eberling and Anne Romney’s Hanoverian gelding, Bakari, who had been unbeatable in Fourth Level en route to winning the Region 7 Championship score of 72.875 percent. Meanwhile, hometown rider Khara Johnson of Los Angeles rode her Westfalen gelding, Furst Dance, to a decisive win in the Adult Amateur Division with a 72.875%. Amy Miller of Fullerton and the U.S.-bred Encore took the CDS Young Horse Futurity.

The Twin Rivers Fall Trials kicked off the fall eventing season, and Bunnie Sexton soaredto the Open Advanced Division title on Rise Against in Paso Robles. Andrea Baxter was second on Indy 500, and David Acord was third on Reigns For Justice.

OCTOBER: Two weeks later at the Woodside International Horse Trials, the eventing action continued to heat up. Texan Bonner Carpenter rode her Basco to first place in the CIC3*, edging James Alliston of Castro Valley on Tivolo. Kaitlin Veltkamp of Los Gatos was third on Flashpoint D.

Packed with world class competition, appreciative crowds and the likes of zombies and engaging contests, the Del Mar International each year adds to itslat-October “must-attend” faithful. This year’s line-up did not disappoint, from Dutch grand prix rider Harry Smolders and Regina Z outdueling Rich Fellers and Flexible by .04 seconds in the $125,000 Rancho Valencia World Cup Grand Prix of Del Mar to Hannah Von Heidegger and Geledimar taking the GGT Footing Grand Prix Series Final the next day. Among the special class winners was Buddy Brown, taking his horse Finally Ours to the Grand Prix Hunter Derby Final title.

NOVEMBER: Galway Downs in Temecula came to life for its International 3-Day Event, and the headliner was Barbara Crabo of Scottsdale who rode her Everready II to her first victory in a CCI3*. Crabo bred Everready II, now 15 years old, was the first person to ride him, and is the only person to ever compete on him. “I’m not trying to swear, but it feels awesome to win this,” she said. “We’ve been working together so hard, and for so long.”

DECEMBER: Like a bookend for the year, Steffen Peters and Legolas 92 were awarded the Adequan/USDF Grand Prix Horse of the Year. It marked the third straight year for Legolas, whose median score of 75.451 percent made him the top horse in the U.S. competing at this level.

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