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Something for all

From prixes to ponies -- and a Six Bar, too -- Blenheim puts on a show with its Classic III

- July 7th, 2016 - Show & Event News
Sixteen-year old Serenity Phillips and LCC Samson soar pathe Six Bar High Jump Challenge.

Sixteen-year old Serenity Phillips and LCC Samson soar pathe Six Bar High Jump Challenge.

Amy McCool photo

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO — Whether attending as a competitor or a spectator, Blenheim EquiSports offered something for everyone at the June Classic III, held June 23-26 at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park.

From taking quizzes and enjoying cupcakes and ice cream, to a six-bar class that went up to 1.80m with a teen-aged champion, as well as continuing popular classes, series and championships, it was a week of big winners.

Super Sunday at the June Classic III featured three premium events: the $30,000 Markel Insurance Grand Prix Series qualifier, the $2,500 Interactive Mortgage U25 Series Qualifier and the wrap-up of the USHJA Zone 10 Pony Challenge.

In the grand prix, 27 horses vied on Kenny Krome’s 16-effort course.  built by course designer Kenny Krome. Six went clean, but Mandy Porter aboard Abigail Weese’s Milano could not be touched for the win. Two of the six in the grand prix jump-off competed in the U25 Qualifier jump-off, with Delaney Flynn riding Taxo de la Nutria to the top of the class, as well as taking third in the Markel Insurance Qualifier.
Porter is keeping “Cookie” in shape while owner Weese is out of the saddle.

“Abigail, one of my clients, is taking time off from riding and was nice enough to let me keep him going until August when she comes back,” Porter said. “We will go to a few Showpark shows to keep him going and have a little bit of fun.”

The Oaks International Grand Prix Field hosted the Six Bar High Jump Challenge, a test of power and skill in which six jumps were placed in a line with about 36 feet – two strides — between each element. The starting heights of the jumps were 1.15m, then two successive 1.20m obstacles, a pair of 1.30m jumps, and finally, the sixth jump at 1.35m.

With a maximum of four jump-off rounds, after the first round, all six fences increased in height. For the subsequent rounds, the first two verticals
were removed so only four fences continued to get taller.

While enjoying tacos and tasty ice cream treats, compliments of the sponsoring Park Place Foundation and Blenheim EquiSports, the crowd watched the 10 entries try to master the Six Bar Challenge. The class advanced until the final element reached 1.80m (5’9″). The lone entry to go clean through the final round was 16-year-old Serenity Phillips and LCC Samson, owned by her sister, Summer Phillips.

“I didn’t expect to make it past the first round,” said Phillips, who had talked with her trainer, Hillary Ridland, about entering the class beforehand. “Then, I was excited when it went up to 1.45m in the second round.”

Phillips was thrilled with Samson. “His attitude was as casual in the last round as it was in the first. This definitely changes my perspective on the
horse. I now feel confident about his ability to jump the highs!”

When Park Place Foundation Board Member and trainer Hillary stepped out to take the presentation photo, she peered up in amazement at the 1.80m jump, Serenity and Samson.

“I went to meet her at the jump and we were thinking, ‘Wow!’,” said the trainer. “She was just as shocked as I was — not that we didn’t think he could do it, but that we just did it for fun. No expectations. It was a blast!”

The schedules for Blenheim June Classic III and the following week’s Blenheim Red, White & Blue Classic were packed with pony fun, referred to as the summer “Pony Palooza.”

Over 50 ponies strutted their stuff on Saturday in the USHJA Zone 10 Pony Challenge. Earning their first two scores on the line and under saddle, it was points awarded in Sunday’s over fences class that determined the final scores. With six divisions competing, medium pony Captain America (owner, Mackenzie Root), with Augusta Iwasaki aboard, topped them all with a high score of 259 to take home the Grand Champion award. Finishing with solid scores of 86 (model), 88 (under saddle) and 85 (over fences) in the three classes, Iwasaki competed on the pony for the first time at this event.

Further illustrating her talent, Iwasaki also piloted Small Illustration to the Green Pony Grand Champion. Once again earning a grand total of 259, Iwasaki rode the medium green pony with aplomb. “I just started showing her at the beginning of the June series,” she explained. “We’d like to take her to Pony Finals in 2017. Since she’s a green pony, so we’d like for her to keep learning for this year.”
Jamie Taylor and Catira, owned by Sue Lightner, topped a field of 57 in the June Classic III $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby presented by Taylor Harris Insurance Services (T.H.I.S.).
A top catch-rider, Taylor piloted the bay to a commanding lead, earning a 95 and a 92 in the two rounds for a total of 187.

Taking over the reins for Marissa Metzger who is on the injured list, Taylor had ridden the horse at a couple of shows this spring, and could be aboard when Catira competes in Kentucky at the Pre-Green Incentive Championships later this summer.

“This was our third horse show together. I first rode Catira the second week at Paso Robles because her usual rider, Marissa Metzger, broke her collarbone,” Taylor said. “She was purchased as an investment horse. Prior to this class, we’ve been discussing and considering taking her to Kentucky for the Pre-green Incentive later this summer. After this win, we are planning on taking her.”

Sue Lightner received the Balmoral Farm, Inc. Owner Award and the Equitex Stable Accessories Trainer Award. Congratulations also go to these award winners: the Shapley’s Best Turned Out Award went to Jaime Peralta for a job well done with Intuition, owned by Kelli Di Gioia-Bautista, Augusta Iwasaki and Spot On earned the The Plaid Horse High Score Junior Award, and the One K Helmets High Score Amateur Award went to Carly Sereni and Walk This Way.

MORE ONLINE: Http://bit.ly/607A_Blen

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