Culminating on Father’s Day, Gold Coast 4 ran June 18-20, providing the perfect opportunity for fathers to celebrate their special day in what several of them considered to be the best possible way: watching their daughters shine in the show ring.
Ron Burdett was one such father, who proudly watched his daughter Kathryn Burdett-Griffiths enjoy her life’s passion: riding and showing horses. The up-and-coming professional was champion in the "B" Open Hunters with Rembrandt (Margie Dufford, owner) after winning one class and placing second in the others. With their success at the Gold Coast 4 show, Rembrandt moved into second place in the B Open Hunters series standings with 22 points, behind Viva’s Las Vegas (Melissa Sklenar, owner) with 30. The Gold Coast Series awards are sponsored by LEGIS and presented at Gold Coast 7 (Oct. 20-24), the final show of the series.
“It’s been a long road, but Margie always believed in him. Now, he surprises us every day,” Burdett-Griffiths explained. “Before Margie got him he’d been passed around and could never really pull it together. We started over with him, built him up slowly, and now he’s becoming a superstar. Margie was great about letting me follow my gut with him, and it paid off. He’s really a wonderful horse.”
Kathryn also rode Hey Handsome (Jennifer Miller, owner) to a reserve championship in the Low Pre-green Hunters in his first horse show. “It was incredible,” Kathryn recalled. “We weren’t even sure we were going to show him, but he really grew up in 48 hours of being at the show and was ready to go by Saturday. He really surprised us and exceeded all expectations.”
Kathryn noted that her parents have not missed any of her horse shows since she was 11. “They’re both extremely dedicated horse show parents,” she said fondly.
Ron could not say enough about how proud he is of his daughter. “I’m the luckiest guy I’ve ever met. All of my dreams have come true because Kathryn’s have. She loves her life with the horses, and that’s all a father can ever ask for. Having a family day at LAEC for Father’s Day was a wonderful experience.” Ron grew up with horses and still rides occasionally. “Just to be around the sport Kathryn loves so much is wonderful. To watch her ride is a thrill.”
Brittany Albrecq’s father, Ken, was also there to cheer his daughter on. “What I look forward to the most at the shows are the people who have had so much influence on her life. The people, the horses, and the relationships are amazing. The lessons she learns as a person are fantastic.” He explained that Brittany has been involved in the Gold Coast shows since she was showing ponies at the age of eight. She trains with Martin McAllister Training, and while her goal used to be to jump 3’9”, she now has her sights set on Low Junior Jumpers and wants to compete in High Junior Jumpers before the end of her junior career. As for spending Father’s Day at a horse show he said, “I couldn’t think of a better place to be.”
Brittany recently moved up to the 1.20 classes and was thrilled to win one class and come in second in two others aboard her Union Jack. “It feels great to win in a class that I am new to. Even though it was a small class, I felt I rode nicely and was happy to be rewarded for that. Going in, I had the plan in my head that I had walked and I kept reminding myself to ride well and not to get nervous.”
Brittany was as happy to have her father at the show as he was to be there. “Whenever my dad is in town he likes to see me ride, whether it's a lesson or a show. I used to get very nervous when he would come to watch me ride, but now I love it when he comes because I get to spend time with him and he is always supportive of me, even if I fall off.”
Family provides an important level of support for many young riders, and Bailey Gossett (Tommi Clark, trainer) is no exception. The 11-year-old was once a tentative rider, but has gained a lot of skill and confidence over the past year. At Gold Coast 4, she won her under saddle class and earned ribbons in the others. She and her horse Harper are second in the “B” Children’s Hunters 11 and Under series standings with 55 points behind Kayla Lott and Kif Kif D’Elle with 68.
“It takes a village,” explained Clark. “You have to have the right combination of kid, horse, parents and trainer to complete the puzzle.” Harper is a big piece of that puzzle. Although he is only seven and Gossett has been riding him less than a year, the two get along fabulously. “He’s really a wonderful horse,” Clark said. “He has the mind of a master, and he’s teaching her how to ride in the hunter ring. He’s an incredible match for Bailey.”
Gossett’s parents are another important part of the puzzle. They like to be involved, but trust Clark to do her job in training and advising their daughter. “They’re the perfect little horse show family,” Clark added. “Her parents are very interested in all aspects of what happens in and out of the ring. They’re very supportive, win or lose.”
Gossett likes the Gold Coast shows because she has a lot of fun and feels comfortable there. Clark likes them because it’s a good stepping stone to the bigger shows. “They offer so many wonderful sections, like Opportunity and Academy, so the riders can move up. I like the fact that they listen to what the exhibitors and trainers need, like offering crossrail classes as an easier transition into jumping courses. They’re willing to try new, innovative ideas.”
Amza Bossom takes advantage of the Opportunity section for her son, Bayne. “I love it. I think it’s a fantastic idea,” she commented. “It gives the opportunity for young or new riders to get started in the show ring without having to pay all the extra fees. I think anything we do to give people who are new to the industry a break in price is a positive thing.” Bayne won two of his Opportunity classes and won ribbons in several others.
Eight-year-old Bayne has been riding for three years and started showing last summer. He has only owned his horse Butterfly for about three months, but Bayne’s mother Amza says, “She’s a really cool horse. She’s a great teacher for him.” Bayne adds, “She’s my favorite horse ever. I love her a lot.”
Bayne has always learned to ride with his mother at home, but he recently started taking lessons at Martin McAllister training, where Amza also rides. He will continue to show for the rest of the season to hone his skills, but his next goal is to learn to play polo, like his father. Although he can already hit the ball from the back of a horse, he will wait to start playing games until he is more solid as a rider. “We’re a total horse family,” explained Amza. She rides in the jumper ring, and they keep several horses at home.
Cheryl Child (Jenni Brown trainer) gave her father plenty to be proud of as well, winning her two "B" Equitation 18 & Over classes and the "B" LAHJA Sr. Medal. “I was super excited and really happy with Luka. He was such a good man! The wins were special for me because my dad came out to watch me and it was Father’s Day. It was a fun way to spend the day with my dad,” she commented. Her wins put her in the second spot for the “B” Equitation 18 & Over series standings, tied with Daphne Thompson, Liz Hendry and Susan Azad. With 20 points, they are all in reach of Cindy Morris, who holds the lead with 24. “I think that is really exciting. I may have to add some more Gold Coast horse shows into my busy schedule,” Cheryl added.
Cheryl has been riding for 18 years and did some showing throughout that time, but she did not start trying to be competitive until she bought her now 10-year-old Hanoverian/Holsteiner, Luka, five years ago. She has been concentrating on equitation and really enjoys it. “I think the equitation is an on-going work in progress. There is always something that needs to be worked on. I feel I am fairly new to the medals and the finals – I never did them as a junior –so there is so much for me to accomplish in the future.”
Her focus for the rest of the show year is to balance showing and medal finals with her upcoming wedding. “I just want to do the best I can in each of the finals and enjoy the exciting end of the year that is ahead of me.” While getting married might mean the end of riding for some people, Cheryl expects it to be business as usual. “My fiancé understands how important riding is to me. He is very supportive and can often times be found at the shows with my parents and me.”
Patrick Spanton may not have had his father at the show, but he had reason to celebrate after earning some tri-colors for trainer Mary Gatti and their clients. Casino (Kim Nelson, owner) was champion in the Pre-green Hunters, and the flashy chestnut is tied for first with Vancouver (Elizabeth Murray, owner) in the Pre-green Hunters series standings.
County line (Ann Derrin-Lewis) has been champion many times this year in the Green Working Hunter section, and the big gelding was reserve champion at this show. He maintains a comfortable lead in the Green Working Hunters series standings, with 66 points over Arcadia’s (Leslie Scharf, owner) 44.5. “He has a great mind, great jump, easy lead changes, and he’s a nice mover,” Gatti said of County Line.
La Boheme (Anne-Marie Muller) is a seven-year-old premium Trakehner mare that was a brood mare until last year. She was Baby Green Hunter Champion at Gold Coast 4 and has been champion almost every time she has shown.
“I like Gold Coast because it has all the classes and jumps of a big show, but it’s convenient, affordable and close to home,” commented Spanton.
For more information about the Gold Coast 4 show, including complete results, please visit http://www.langershows.com/laec/show_details.php?show_id=151.
LEG heads north to Woodside for the Circuit Opener June 23-27, while the next Gold Coast show is set for July 23-25. Summer jumping action kicks off for four weeks in Colorado July 1-4 for the Circuit Preview.
Photos: Kathryn Burdett-Griffiths and Rembrandt Photo by Ron Burdett; Cheryl Child and Luka Photo by Holly Gross