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Crowning equitation

Top talent rides to 2015 titles at CPHA Foundation Equitation Final

Special to the Horsetrader - September 3rd, 2015 - Cover Story, Show & Event News
Miela Gross, Ransome Rombauer and Sydney Hutchins celebrate their respective first-through-third placings in the CPHA Foundation  Equitation Championship, 21-under Division, held at Showpark in Del Mar Aug. 22-23.

Miela Gross, Ransome Rombauer and Sydney Hutchins celebrate their respective first-through-third placings in the CPHA Foundation
Equitation Championship, 21-under Division, held at Showpark in Del Mar Aug. 22-23.

Captured Moment photo

DEL MAR — After hosting a full schedule of hunter and jumper divisions, including two grand prix classes, the Showpark Summer Classic wrapped up a well-established equitation event Aug. 16 with three sections of second rounds and work-offs in the California Professional Horsemen’s Association Foundation Equitation Championship Finals. Divided into 22-over, 14-under and 21-under age divisions, riders faced challenging courses with work-offs built in, part of the Foundation format. The honorable Alex Jayne and Frank Willard scored, tested and ultimately awarded the final placings.

Round 1 tests included a counter-canter to fence 3 and walking fence 12 plus some tight turn options. After 27 entries competed in Round 1, the top prize for the round went to Stephanie Goodson aboard Poetic, who earned a first round average of 86.5. Second went to Renee Rodda riding Notable with an average of 85.5, and third to Katie Cramer on SS Brando with an average of 84.75. Only 6.5 points separated the top eight, with fourth through eighth awarded to Kathy Nolan, Tonya Johnston, Belle Calkin, Laura Owens and Virginia Fout, respectively.

Early on Sunday morning, Round 2 for the 22 -over division kicked off the final day. Course tests included a counter-canter directly to fence 1, and to demonstrate a change of lead between fences 3 and 4 on a bending line. After receiving solid scores in Round 2, Rodda, Goodson, Calkin and Owens had the highest total average scores from both rounds. These top four returned for a work-off. The judges came together as one panel to score the final test of the top four.

Coming in with the highest average score by four points, Rodda earned a work-off score of 86, the Championship sash and cooler and the Victor Hugo-Vidal Perpetual Trophy, with a final total of 172.5. With an 83 score in the work-off, the Reserve Championship went to Calkin with a total of 165.5.

“I thought the courses were really fun. They were challenging, but there were options that were really rideable. I think it gave us an opportunity to show off and show how nice our horses are,” Rodda commented.

Renee Rodda and Notable capture the 22-over Division Championship.

Renee Rodda and Notable capture the 22-over Division Championship.

Captured Moment photo

Rodda trains with Mary Gatti and Rainbow Canyon Ranch. Not her first top finish in a medal final, Rodda won the 2011 SFHJA 18 -over finals and was third in the 2014 Foxfield Medal Finals.

Round 1 for the youngest division started Saturday afternoon, with 36 entries, several showing in their first season of medal finals. For the younger age group, the tests on course, a halt after 9b and trotting fence 12, proved to be challenging since they came towards the end. Grady Lyman aboard Sinatra’s Ruhm earned an excellent first-round average of 87.5 for the win. Second went to Paige Dendiu on Netflix with another solid average of 85.5, while Natalie Templeton and Prophecy were third, also with an 85.5 average. In this group, the top eight places were separated by 7.25 points, with fourth through eighth Round 1 ribbons going to Finley Burger, Jillian Stuart, Cory Williams, Logan Tomaselli and Kaitlyn Lovingfoss.Opposite of Round 1, the tests in Round 2 of the 14-under division occurred early in the course and included a halt after fence 2, a counter-canter to fence 3 and a rollback to ride fence 4 at a walk.

In a bit of a shake up of scores, second and third place scores in Round 2 included two riders who hadn’t made the top eight the day before, Sophia Sanders and Tali DeJong. Templeton was the top score in Round 2, and went in to the work-off with a substantial lead.

She was joined by Burger, Lovingfoss and Dendiu as the top four for the work-off, which included a hand gallop directly to a jump in the beginning, as well as demonstrating two changes of lead.

Natalie Templeton, Finley Burger and Paige Dendiu at the podium for their 14-under Division Championship.

Natalie Templeton, Finley Burger and Paige Dendiu at the podium for their 14-under Division Championship.

Captured Moment photo

Earning a work-off score of 79, Templeton held her lead and claimed the top prize, along with the Hap Hansen Perpetual Trophy, with a final score of 162.25. Reserve Champion went to Burger, who was best in the work-off with an 80 score and had a grand total of 158.125.

Feeling the pressure in the work-off, twelve-year-old Templeton said, “The test was hard, it was challenging. I was a little bit nervous about it, but everyone did really well and I was happy.”

She’s been riding her equine partner Prophecy, whom Templeton labels as a ‘super horse’, since Thermal of this year. The talented Templeton has been steadily rising up through the ranks since training with Robyn Stiegler of Citrus Hill Farms.

The young rider will continue to compete in the medal finals on both the East and West Coasts this season.

The 21-under age division of the CPHA Foundation Equitation Championship Finals is a mix of top junior and young amateur riders. With both days set in the Grand Prix field, 53 entries were tested by FEI course designer Leopoldo Palacios. As in all divisions in this final, judges Alex Jayne and Frank Willard made the calls.

Palacio’s first-round track consisted of 16 efforts and used the entire expanse of the grass field. With a combination early at 3a-b, a liverpool at fence 5, related lines, a halt after the triple combination at 9c, a change of lead between fences 10 and 11, and going up the hill to the final fence 13, the course truly tested the riders from beginning to end.

Rising to the top of Round 1 was Eve Jobs aboard Emerson with a first-round average of 88.5. Sitting a very close second was Miela Gross and Exquisite with an 88 average, while third place winner, Ransome Rombauer riding Gaston, had an average of 87.5.

This competitive group illustrated the span of talent in Round 1, with only 6.5 points separating the top ten placings. The remaining seven who earned a solid score included Jordyn Hechter, Peyton Warren, Sydney McManus, Cayley Boyd, Morgan Dickerson, Nina Vogel and Jacqueline Vail.

Round 2 was the final class in the Grand Prix Field on Sunday. The course Palacios created included a counter-canter to the first fence, related bending lines from 1-2-3 and also from 4-5-6, a trot jump into a combination on the hill at 8a-b, a triple bar-vertical-vertical triple combination that was forward from element a to b, and tight from b to c, plus a bending line away from the in-gate to finish.

As often happens in challenging, high-pressure competition, the leader board changed a bit after Round 2. The best rides were executed by Gross, with a 90, and Rombauer with an 88. They entered the work-off with only 1.25 points separating their averages of 89 and 87.75. Eight more riders earned a spot in the top ten work-off, with scores averaging at 80 or above.

The work-off required a demonstration of two figure eights around specific markers, one at the sitting trot and one at the counter-canter with a flying change, followed by a hand gallop to fence 7. Requiring skill and balance from both horse and rider, five of the ten returning competitors scored 80 or above.

Suspenseful until the final announcements, the work-off scores were announced at the same time as the top ten ribbon winners, in reverse order. Sydney Hutchins, who rides with Elvenstar, jumped from seventh to third with her work-off score of 90 and final total of 170.75. Gross and Rombauer held their top two spots, with work-off scores of 86 and 85, finishing with final totals of 175 and 172.75. Along with the Championship, Gross was presented with the Barbara Worth Oakford Perpetual Trophy.

Gross was complimentary of the courses and her mount, Exquisite. “The courses were really good. They were challenging but not ridiculous. I thought they showed each rider’s strengths. I liked them a lot,” she said. “[Exquisite] is definitely good at bending lines and big fields. He really proved it this weekend. This is my fifth show season on him, I know him like the back of my hand.”

Like many of the riders who have worked all season to qualify for the medal finals, Gross plans to continue pursuing her year-end equitation goals including the ASPCA Maclay Regionals and USEF Talent Search Finals on the West Coast, as well as the finals back East during the fall Indoor circuit. She rides with Emily Esau Williams and EE Show Stables, Inc.

Exciting show jumping competition continues in Del Mar this week with the All Seasons Summer Tournament, August 26-30. Highlights include a $25,000 Markel Insurance 1.40m Grand Prix, the Sallie B. Wheeler/USEF National Hunter Breeding Championship, a $7,500 CashCall Mortgage U25 Qualifier, the $45,000 “YJC” Young Jumper Championships and the $50,000 Grand Prix of Showpark.

CPHA Foundation Equit Final, 22-over
Place Name – Trainer
1. Renee Rodda – Mary Gatti and Kim Tasker
2. Belle Calkin – Joe Thorpe
3. Laura Owens – Benson Carroll
4. Stephanie Goodson – Kate Considine
5. Tonya Johnston – Nick Haness
6. Katie Kramer – Shauna Pennell
7. Virginia Fout – Archie Cox
8. Kathy Nolan – Kelly Van Vleck
9. Theresa Boucher – Emily Esau Williams
10.Catherine Westling – Victoria LaCagnina

CPHA Foundation Equit Final, 14-under
Place Name – Trainer
1. Natalie Templeton – Robyn Stiegler
2. Finley Burger – Kasey Ament
3. Paige Dendiu – Leslie Steele
4. Kaitlyn Lovingfoss – Carolyn Culligan
5. Cory Williams – Corinne Bevis
6. Keely Laughlin – Nina Alario
7. Bianca Jenkins – Devon Gibson
8. Sophia Sanders – Patty Ball
9. Makenzy Barnes – Kelly Van Vleck
10.Grady Lyman – Bridgeport Farms and Karen Healey Stables

CPHA Foundation Equit Final, 21-under
Place – Entry – Name – Trainer
1. Miela Gross – Emily Esau Williams
2. Ransome Rombauer – Daniel Ighani and Karen Healey Stables
3. Sydney Hutchins – Elvenstar
4. Emily Maclean – Devon Gibson and Karen Healey Stables
5. Mitchell Endicott – Pegasus Show Stable
6. Nina Vogel – Far West Farms
7. Cayley Boyd – Far West Farms
8. Peyton Warren – Jill Humphrey
9. Gracie Marlowe – Leslie Steele
10.Jacqueline Vail – Kelly Van Vleck

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