It may not seem like winter will end any time soon, but the competition in the show ring is providing plenty of heat. The LAEC Winter Horse show (March 18-20) featured the very popular $2,500 LAEC Winter/USHJA Hunter Classic.
These derby-style classes have been immensely popular with competitors and spectators alike, and this class was no exception. Tommi Clark and Kamari (Raquelle De La Rocha Bussel, owner) have started off the 2011 show season with stellar results in the 3'0" derbies. After placing second at the LAEC Opener, they showed up to win at LAEC Winter, topping both rounds with scores of 87 and 88 and taking the overall title.
"Kamari is the most amazing horse I've ever had," Tommi remarked after her win.
While the first round was relatively simple, the second round proved difficult for the less experienced teams, resulting in a few refusals. However, the best riders had the opportunity to show their consistency and rise to the top of the class. With some of the same problems that would be presented in the bigger derbies but at lower fence heights, the $2,500 LAEC Winter/USHJA Hunter Classic is a good test of each team's mettle.
"I thought the courses tonight were great," Tommi reported. "They were really fun. I liked the trot jump as the first jump; it was a challenge that I think caught a lot of people off guard."
Tommi took the four higher option fences in both rounds, and Michael Leon was hard on her heels with First & Goal (Stage Left Farm, LLC, owner). However, a refusal in the second round opened the door for Karen Perlow to pass him on her own Lumier, and Michael settled in third place. The Allon Award for the top-placing junior in the class went to McKenna Skelton and her Timber Line, who placed fifth.
While Tommi and Kamari are no strangers to the hunter classics, Halie Robinson (Becky Abeita, trainer) gave herself a new challenge by moving up to the Modified Jr. Jumpers aboard her Rumpus Room and was thrilled to be named champion in the section. "This is my first time showing in the 1.20M," Halie said. "It feels great, and I could not be luckier to get to ride the amazing horse I am right now, along with the other wonderful horses I got to ride this weekend. It's unreal!"
Halie also garnered blues on There's An App For That (Snowden Clarke, owner) in the Pony Hunters and other ribbons with Mentos Junior (Mackenzie Rosman, owner) in .90M Jumpers and Cadillac Jack (Amy Lucks-blatt, owner) in Junior/Amateur Owner Hunters and the $2,500 LAEC Winter/USHJA Hunter Classic.
Halie just started leasing Rumpus Room, AKA Roxy, from trainer Becky Abeita and owner Evan Cherry in February. As for the rest of the year, Halie plans to continue working on being competitive in the Modified Jumpers, and she looks forward to trying the hunter derbies and jumper medals.
In the big jumper classes, David Sterckx won the tri-color in the 1.35m Jumpers with GSCO Exceflo (David Sterckx and Régis Ganée, owner) after winning both classes in the section. "I'm very happy to win with GSCO Ecxeflo," David commented. "She is amazing to ride. Everything is so easy with her, and she is really fast."
David has his sights set on the grand prix ring for his nine-year-old mare. "My goal with her is the $25,000 Memorial Day Grand Prix. She has everything a horse needs to be able to win the grand prix. However, she is for sale, so I'm not sure if I will still have her in the barn by then."
David's students from San Pascual Stables also had a good show. "Jordan Lee won all three of her Low Children's/Adult Amateur Jumpers classes and was champion with her new horse Summertyme, which we sold her a couple of months ago. Stephanie Don was champion in the 1.00M Pony Jumpers on her Bentley, and Julia Otter was reserve champion behind Stephanie with her Ace Of Hearts."
In the Equitation ring, Hadley Boyd (Kost Karazissis, trainer) got a good start to the year by piloting Liolani (Hayley Selch, owner) to wins in both the PCHA Horsemanship Medal and the large LAHJA/LA Saddlery Junior Medal Class and a second in the THIS Children's Medal behind Alice Kuhns and True Blue (Katherine Sears, owner).
Although the weather looked ominous early in the week, when the LEG team met all indications were that the massive storm drenching Northern California would not hit Southern California until late Sunday. However, by Saturday morning weather reports showed the storm was due to hit on Sunday morning. Show organizers met with trainers, and everyone agreed to get as many of the classes run as possible before the wind and torrential rain hit. Once the Saturday jumper classes concluded, hunters and equitation classes continued in the covered and lit Equidome until late in the night. For those wishing to continue showing, they were able to get in a few more classes. On Sunday morning the skies opened up and 24 hours later Burbank recorded more than four inches of rain. “I have never seen rain and wind like we had,” said Show Secretary Brenda Outwater. “Everybody was great about the changes we made to the schedule, but it was a tough weekend. I just couldn’t believe how hard it rained.”
Horses and riders are starting to settle into the show season, and LAEC Winter provided a good warm-up for the spring shows that are just around the corner.
For more information on the LAEC Winter Horse show, including complete results, visit http://langershows.com/laec/show_details.php?show_id=182.
The next show at LAEC will be Gold Coast 2 April 8-10. Meanwhile, Southern California riders will head over to Hansen Dam April 2-3 for Verdugo Hills 3. The Northern California show season will get started April 28-May 1 with the Woodside Spring Preview, and in Colorado, the jumping excitement will kick into gear May 12-15 for the High Prairie Spring Preview.
For more information about Langer Equestrian Group and all the shows, visit the website at www.langershows.com.
Photos: Tommi Clark and Kamari top the $2,500 LAEC Winter/USHJA Hunter Classic; Halie Robinson scores with Rumpus Room; David Sterckx is high flying with GSCO Ecxeflo All Photos by Flying Horse Photography