Ashley Keeler and Simply Said Cruise to Victory in $1,000 Open Hunter Classic at Colorado Horse Park

Ashley Keeler and Simply Said
Ashley Keeler and Simply Said

Parker, CO - June 13, 2013 - Ashley Keeler and Simply Said were unbeatable in the hunter ring on the second day of the Colorado Horse Park's Summer in the Rockies II, laying down consistently impressive rounds en route to wins in the $1,000 Open Hunter Classic and both Performance Working Hunter 3'6" O/F classes. Meanwhile, Calido's Son and Amanda Hauser were similarly hard to catch in the Performance Working Hunter 3'3" division, where they collected three blue ribbons to wrap up the divisional championship.
 
Simply Said, a gray Holsteiner gelding owned by Emma Willsky, kept his cool on a hot day at the Horse Park. Keeler noted that he felt more focused than the day before, which allowed him to show off his ample talent.
 
"He was pretty much fantastic," Keeler said. "He came out ready to work today, ready to be good today. He was really forward and calm. He's sort of a quirky horse, but he was just ready today, ready to be on it."
 
"I definitely think he stepped up today," she added. "Yesterday he was kind of playing around a little, looking around and finding things to spook at, but he was on his game today. He was perfect."

Audrey Buck and Edwina (Photo by Carrie Wirth)
Audrey Buck and Edwina (Photo by Carrie Wirth)

Keeler and Simply Said's performances over two days of competition were good enough for the reserve championship in the Performance Working Hunter 3'6" division. Audrey Buck and Patricia Murphy's Edwina claimed the championship after wins in Wednesday's Handy and Under Saddle classes and second- and third-place finishes over fences on Thursday.
 
Buck was happy with the mare's solid effort throughout. "I thought our rides were even better than yesterday, but she was just getting a little tired," she said. "So we had a couple rubs in both rounds. But overall, this is the most consistent she's ever been for us."
 
Keeler was thrilled after her first-place finish in the Open Hunter Classic. "I was really excited to win that today!" she said. "I don't usually do those - usually the horses I have are a little too green or don't have three rounds in them. But after yesterday, he was pretty good, so I decided I would go ahead and give it a chance today and came out with two good scores."
 
The pair scored a total of 167 for their two rounds to win by a solid margin in the 10-horse class.

Keeler has taken her time getting to know Simply Said after inheriting the ride from her friend Keiri Kaneps. Kaneps, a popular and well-loved trainer at the Horse Park, tragically passed away in August 2012. The Horse Park turned to Keeler to see if she was interested in helping Kaneps' former clients.
 
"I moved here and several of them took lessons with me," Keeler explained. "All 15 of them ended up staying with me, so I just moved in. I was friends with Keiri long before any of this happened - I was actually the very first lesson she taught in Colorado, when I was a kid. It was nice to be able to sort of help her when she had helped me."
 
Kaneps had previously ridden Simply Said, and Keeler found that it took some work to build a connection and unlock the horse's potential. But the pair's recent performances together suggest that they can look forward to continued success.
 
"He's probably the most talented horse I've ever ridden in my life - one of the best jumpers," Keeler said. "He's a special animal and it took me awhile to get to know him. Now that I've figured it out, we just really click. He gives you everything he can give you if you figure out how to ask for it. I've taken a lot of time with him and figured him out. We did it all right today and he gave me his everything."

Amanda Hauser and Calido's Son
Amanda Hauser and Calido's Son

Another horse and rider pair on the rise, Calido's Son and young owner Amanda Hauser, turned what was supposed to be a warm-up ride into a dominating display in the Performance Working Hunter 3'3" division. Trainer Heidi Hildebrand got Calido's Son off to a good start in the division on Wednesday, riding him to first place in the Handy class. Hauser, who plans to show him in the Juniors on Friday and Saturday, opted to finish out the division with him as preparation for the Junior classes. Three blue ribbons and the championship prize showed that the pair is more than ready.
 
"I haven't shown since May, so I just wanted to go in there and have a nice smooth round and make it clean," Hauser said. "I wanted to have a nice round to start off my weeks here."

Ashley Keeler and Simply Said
Ashley Keeler and Simply Said

While Hauser might have been surprised by her success in a competitive division that drew over 30 riders, she knew she had a more than capable horse. "He's a really fun horse to ride," she described. "He jumps super nice and knows what he's doing. His canter and all of his gaits are smooth, so that's a bonus."
 
Hauser said she found Calido's Son at the Colorado Horse Park three years ago. "Another trainer came up to my trainer and said, 'I have a really sexy horse for you!'" she explained, laughing.
 
Hildebrand, who has been working with Hauser for six years now, was proud of her student's poise and professionalism. She said Hauser handled the challenges of the courses, including a long approach to a single oxer and a forward five-stride line, with ease.
 
"She had one of her best rounds today that I think she's ever had, in the second 3'3" class," Hildebrand said. "She was just so consistent. With the ride to the single oxer, she came right through the corner and sat patiently. She looked like a professional to me coming to that single oxer. She's learning to be patient and wait for the distance and then smooth out the steps if it's not going to be right. She's getting good at it."
 
Hauser will have another chance to test her skill in the show ring on Friday as the focus shifts to the junior divisions. Other offerings on Friday at Summer in the Rockies II include qualifiers for the ASPCA Maclay Finals and the Washington Hunter Phase. Classes in the main hunter ring get underway at 8:15 a.m.
 
Results: Summer in the Rockies II - Hunters - June 13, 2013 (Number/Horse/Owner/Rider)
707. $1,000 Open Hunter Classic
1. 333/Simply Said/Emma Willsky/Ashley Keeler
2. 312/Leoncito/Lucy Hunsaker/Meredith Houx Remiger
3. 446/Snow Day/Patricia With/Laura Simpson
4. 158/CR Explosive/Katie Crone/Katie Crone
5. 765/Calido's Son/Amanda Hauser/Amanda Hauser
6. 793/Brego/Lisa Martinez-Bates/Jennifer Hulkko
7. 787/Quite Nice/Susan Winston/Susan Winston
8. 188/Casco/BTP Investments LLC/Brooke Pettet
9. 445/Alla' Mint/Stacy Sibel/Stacy Sibel
10. 790/Baseline/Kramig LLC/Jennifer Hulkko
 
Performance Working 3'6" Champions
Champion: 496/Edwina/Patricia Murphy/Audrey Buck
Reserve: 333/Simply Said/Emma Willsky/Ashley Keeler
 
1006. Performance Working Hunter 3'6" O/F
1. 333/Simply Said/Emma Willsky/Ashley Keeler
2. 496/Edwina/Patricia Murphy/Audrey Buck
3. 158/CR Explosive/Katie Crone/Katie Crone
4. 411/Harlu/Laurie Brants/Mickie Sage
5. 329/Rio's Firefly/Christen Tuxworth/Christen Tuxworth
6. 404/Chakira/Catherine Schoelzel/Jennifer Rhodes
7. 312/Leoncito/Lucy Hunsaker/Meredith Houx Remiger
8. 336/Zygo/Alessandra Sozzi/Alessandra Sozzi
 
1007. Performance Working Hunter 3'6" O/F
1. 333/Simply Said/Emma Willsky/Ashley Keeler
2. 312/Leoncito/Lucy Hunsaker/Meredith Houx Remiger
3. 496/Edwina/Patricia Murphy/Audrey Buck
4. 329/Rio's Firefly/Christen Tuxworth/Christen Tuxworth
5. 287/French Kiss/Abigail Graham/Abigail Graham
6. 158/CR Explosive/Katie Crone/Katie Crone
7. 404/Chakira/Catherine Schoelzel/Jennifer Rhodes
8. 188/Casco/BTP Investments LLC/ Brooke Pettet
 
Performance Working 3'3" Champions
Champion: 765/Calido's Son/Amanda Hauser/Heidi Hildebrand and Amanda Hauser
Reserve: 446/Snow Day/Patricia With/Laura Simpson
 
1001. Performance Working Hunter 3'3" O/F
1. 765/Calido's Son/Amanda Hauser/ Amanda Hauser
2. 446/Snow Day/Patricia With/Laura Simpson
3. 804/Olivia/Nellie & Heidi Schmutz/Ashley Keeler
4. 184/Concierge/Elizabeth Richter/Meghan Felts
5. 286/Balaika du Ry/Abigail Graham/Cindy Cruciotti
6. 787/Quite Nice/Susan Winston/Susan Winston
7. 110/Rio/Chelsea Magness/Stacey Swink
8. 406/Duet/Lisa Philpott/Jennifer Rhodes
 
1002. Performance Working Hunter 3'3" O/F
1. 765/Calido's Son/Amanda Hauser/ Amanda Hauser
2. 184/Concierge/Elizabeth Richter/Meghan Felts
3. 110/Rio/Chelsea Magness/Stacey Swink
4. 446/Snow Day/Patricia With/Laura Simpson
5. 165/Showtime/Patricia Murphy/Erin Murphy
6. 827/Havana/Sophie Chavanon/Lee Unruh
7. 210/Prince/Allison Belcher/Allison Belcher
8. 223/Hennessy/Tony Font/Tony Font
 
1005. Performance Working Hunter 3'3" U/S
1. 765/Calido's Son/Amanda Hauser/ Amanda Hauser
2. 446/Snow Day/Patricia With/Laura Simpson
3. 184/Concierge/Elizabeth Richter/Meghan Felts
4. 804/Olivia/Nellie & Heidi Schmutz/Ashley Keeler
5. 793/Brego/Lisa Martinez-Bates/Jennifer Hulkko
6. 798/Quite Cool/Page Tredennick/Sarah Tredennick
7. 429/In Like Fynn/NTM Enterprises/Paul Rohrbach
 
126. Colorado Horse Park Open Hunter O/F
1. 405/Simone/Catherine Schoelzel/Jennifer Rhodes
2. 446/Snow Day/Patricia With/Laura Simpson
3. 496/Edwina/Patricia Murphy/Audrey Buck
4. 406/Duet/Lisa Philpott/Jennifer Rhodes
5. 184/Concierge/Elizabeth Richter/Meghan Felts
6. 827/Havana/Sophie Chavanon/Lee Unruh
7. 757/Cakebread/Kathy Mason Maechtle/Ireland Maechtle
8. 173/Patita A./Grace Howard/Matt Cyphert
 
Working Hunter Champions
Champion: 427/Up In Smoke/NTM Enterprises/Paul Rohrbach
Reserve: 366/Amoro De Legante/Laura Fereday/Mark Mead
 
139. Working Hunter O/F
1. 427/Up In Smoke/NTM Enterprises/Paul Rohrbach
2. 328/Barista/Anne Fitz/Laurie Jueneman
3. 445/Alla' Mint/Stacy Sibel/Stacy Sibel
4. 366/Amoro De Legante/Laura Fereday/Mark Mead
5. 405/Simone/Catherine Schoelzel/Jennifer Rhodes
 
140. Working Hunter O/F
1. 427/Up In Smoke/NTM Enterprises/Paul Rohrbach
2. 366/Amoro De Legante/Laura Fereday/Mark Mead
3. 405/Simone/Catherine Schoelzel/Jennifer Rhodes
4. 328/Barista/Anne Fitz/Laurie Jueneman
5. 445/Alla' Mint/Stacy Sibel/Stacy Sibel




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