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Newest Show Jumping Hall of Famer sees bright futures in West Coast

By Pam Maley / For the Horsetrader - June 2nd, 2016 - Feature Article, Show & Event News
904089-1606A HJ feature PHOTO_A Lucy Davis 2014 Altech FEI WEG

USET photo

USET photo

Susie Hutchison was recently elected to the Show Jumping Hall of Fame.  The official induction ceremony will take place on the East Coast during the Devon Horse Show in June, but Blenheim EquiSports will honor her on the West Coast before the home crowd on June 12, at the end of the Blenheim June Series Week I Grand Prix.

The Show Jumping Hall of Fame was established in 1987 to promote the sport of show jumping and to memorialize the legends of the men, women and horses who have made great contributions to the sport.

Already  in the Hunter Hall of Fame in 2015, alongside her longtime mentor and partner Jimmy Williams, and her famous hunter mount Best Bet, Hutchison is one of the infamous ‘Rat Pack’ that all rode with Williams.  Names such as Hap Hansen, Robert Ridland, Mason Phelps, Rob Gage, Mary Chapot and Hutchison lessoned with Williams at the Flintridge Riding Club in the 1960s.

Over her long and stellar career, Hutchison has and still does ride multiple mounts to victory.  She has headlined many an article or press release, and is indeed the stuff of legend.

Jennifer Kappler, writing for Phelps Sports in 2007,  noted this innate quality about Hutchison:  “Jimmy is always with me in the ring,” she said.  “His life lessons have forever affected my riding and the way that I communicate with a horse, not just in a physical sense, but also mentally.  True horsemanship is when the horse and rider become one.  It takes a lot of work to do this,” she said.  “The sport is not about having your horse prepared by someone else and getting right on.  It takes hard work and empathy for your mount.”

At this time of reflection and recognition, we discussed some of the young California riders who are making names for themselves in this era. We asked her if she could envision a modern-day Rat Pack among them. “There will never be another Rat Pack,” she told us, with maybe the slightest touch of wistfulness.  “We all rode with Jimmy Williams, and there were 200 horses.  Each of us had five or six to ride every day.”

But there are some, she told us, that do meet her standards of horsemanship and talent.  Natasha Traurig, daughter of the legendary Bernie Traurig and top dressage rider Christine Traurig, and now a professional riding for Michelle Parker of Cross Creek Farms, was a working student during her college days at UCSD.  She graduated in 2014 with a B.A. in Communication, and has explored some careers out of the saddle, but she couldn’t stay away for long.  Natasha seems to have found her niche in working with young horses, and recently had a big win on Cross Creek Farms five-year-old homebred CCF Hibiscus Coast with her mom there to cheer her on.

Emma Marlow, a 17-year-old working student for Leslie Steele, is another talented young horsewoman that has caught Hutchison’s eye.  An aspiring equestrian who works to earn her opportunities in the show ring, Emma wouldn’t have it any other way.  Those long days at the barn teach lessons of horsemanship, not just riding.  To maximize her time at the barn, she’s getting her high school education online, so at the end of the day, she tackles her schoolwork.  “Emma is a hands-on kind of young woman,” says Leslie.  “Unlike some riders who simply walk up, get on, and get off, she is involved in every aspect.”

Another devoted California equestrian Hutchison named, Zazou Hoffman, has also put in years of hard work, which took her to the top of the 2009 ASPCA Maclay Finals and sealed her prowess as a talented junior rider.  Graduating Phi Beta Kappa and Cum Laude from UCLA, she is happiest in the horse world, and that’s where she continues to excel.  Recently awarded the North American Riders Group Rider’s Grant, she’s using the funds to gain experience in the bigger classes this year while continuing in her role as assistant trainer at Meadow Grove Farm.  Her long-term dream is to one day represent the United States in international competition.

Already making a name for herself in the international Grand Prix ranks, 22-year-old Californian Lucy Davis finished at Stanford in 2015 with a B.S. in Engineering and Architectural Design.  She competed successfully  through college, including the 2014 World Equestrian Games in Caen, and pursued her riding career alongside her academics.  Once graduated, she moved to Eric Van der Vleuten’s yard in the Netherlands.  Well on her way to the top, she has already won grand prix classes among the world’s top riders with her talented mount Barron.  In April Davis was named one of 10 on the short list for the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

Certainly ones to watch, the Hall of Fame inductee knows a solid horsewoman.  All these young equestrians are on their own paths to achieve goals similar to Hutchison. We congratulate Susie Hutchison for her achievements, and appreciate her perspective.

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