Friday night continued a week of exciting competition at the LA National Horse Show (Nov 6-10), when the competitive WCE Medal Finals concluded after three difficult rounds. The final was an epic fight to the finish, as three riders earned identical final scores. Allison Causky (Archie Cox, trainer), Adrienne Dixon (Benson Carroll, trainer), and Pilar Flournoy (Mark Bone, trainer) all rode fantastically on Olaf Peterson, Jr.’s difficult courses for a final total score of 177. In the end, it was Judge 1’s third round score that broke the tie and Allison Causky won the blue ribbon aboard Magic Act (Rutabega Farm, owner). Adrienne and her Ramazzotti 54 placed second for the second year in a row. Pilar and Correy Sanders (Jamie Taylor, owner) placed third.
“I’m so excited,” Allison shared. “It was the first medal final I’ve ever won, and it was the last show of my junior career. There was a lot of pressure.” But Allison didn’t let the pressure get to her and fought her way to the top despite standing sixteenth after the first round. “We had a little mistake in the first round and got a 75, so when we came back in the second round I decided to just go for it and my horse was awesome. I was pretty nervous in the third round, but he performed yet again.”
Allison was thrilled to be aboard Magic Act, which she rode just for the end of the show season. “He’s a great horse. I borrowed him for the ASPCA Maclay Regional Finals, the CPHA Foundation Final, and the WCE Medal Final,” Allison mentioned. “He’s really easy to ride; you just hop on and he’s perfect.”
The pair proved to be near perfect, earning back to back scores of 93 for their second and third rounds. “We had to pick up the pace in the third round, which was like a jump off in a jumper class, so time was definitely a factor,” Allison recalled. “The course was set really nice with a lot of inside options we could take. I’ve never done that in a medal final before, so that was interesting and fun.”
Riders in the WCE Junior-Amateur Medal Finals must combine equitation and jumper skills, and Allison enjoyed getting some jumper experience. “I don’t normally ride in the jumpers. I didn’t really have a horse this year, so I mostly did equitation on whatever horse Archie was able to provide for me. Next year I will continue to show as amateur and start doing some jumpers, which I’ve wanted to do for a while now. I’ll be going to college next year, but hopefully I’ll still be able to ride.”
Though Hap Hansen is routinely a fan favorite in the jumper arena, he proved once again that he is perfectly comfortable in the hunter ring. He and Willow CBF (Julie Hancock, owner) topped 19 other entries to win the $5,000 Pre-green Hunter Championship. “The horse was wonderful,” Hap commented. “Willow CBF is normally in training with Philip Cillis, but he couldn’t make it to the show so Julie asked me to ride him. I couldn’t have asked for a nicer horse. He’s a Steady Eddie, a good mover, and a good jumper.”
They looked like a seasoned pair in the championship, and Hap was thrilled with the results. “I think it’s great that they have this championship for these horses,” Hap said. “This class has been a goal of mine for years. As many years as I’ve been showing, this was the first time I’ve won so I was very excited.” John French took home the red ribbon aboard Boss (Laura Wasserman, owner) and Tracy Burroughs and Charismatique (Mg Equine Associates, owner) placed third.
In the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, Katie Gardner won her second national derby in a row aboard Diamond River (Abigail Friedman, owner). The pair took home the win at LA International’s $3,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby in September and proved that they were a force to be reckoned with their second win. “I’m really excited about the win tonight,” Katie gushed. “Diamond was the best I have ever felt him. He has been getting better and better and I’m really enjoying getting to know him. He loves his job and definitely makes my job fun as well. I’m looking forward to doing more derbies on him next year and moving him up to the regular conformation division.”
Katie was also grateful for the great team behind her riding. “I would like to give a huge thank you to Abby Friedman for letting me ride such an awesome horse,” Katie enumerated. “She is always so supportive and encouraging of me and everyone else in the barn. I also want to thank everyone at Elvenstar for all of their hard work and dedication. I’m lucky to be part of an amazing team!”
Amateur riders proved they could hang with the professionals and earned the second and third places in the derby. Conor Perrin (Nick Haness, trainer) took second place on his Gelato. Gelato has won several hunter derbies with Nick Haness aboard, and Conor and Gelato won the North American Adult Amateur Equitation Finals in September. Allyssa Rapp (Wendy Carter, trainer) and her Sunday Best placed third.
There is lots more excitement to be had at LA National! Jumpers will get their turn to shine Saturday night, so watch for our coverage of the Celebrate Jumpers! dinner and the $50,000 LEGIS Grand Prix of Los Angeles. Plus, there’s the West Coast Junior-Amateur Jumper Championship, Equitation Championships, Ponypalooza classes, and the Onondarka Medal Final.
For more information about the LA National Horse Show, including a schedule and complete results as they are available, please visit the LEG website.