Although the weather threatened to put a damper on the weekend, it held off just enough to allow the first Gold Coast show of the season (Feb. 19-21), held at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center, to be the fun event exhibitors knew it would be. There was a great mix of familiar faces and new ones to make the show a big success with a record number of entries.
One group of new faces came from Hayden Show Jumping and Riding School of
Photo: Nancy Albright
Laguna Hills, riding under the tutelage of Mickey Hayden and assistant Lane Clarke. While they normally go to Tucson this time of year, they chose to go to Gold Coast because it was close to home and offered so many different types of classes. “It allowed us to bring all of our riders to one show instead of splitting our barn between two different shows to meet everyone’s abilities (a USEF show and a county level show),” said Hayden. “The Gold Coast show incorporated both.” With classes ranging from Opportunity and Academy to Regular Working Hunters to the USEF Talent Search to 1.35 meter jumpers, there is something for every level of horse and rider.
Hayden was impressed by the friendly, efficient staff, as well as the world class design of the Los Angeles Equestrian Center. “We thought there was a good selection of judges and the courses were well designed,” he added. Scott Starnes and Joe Lombardo served as the course designers.
Charlotte Gadbois, a 16-year-old student of Hayden’s, did particularly well at Gold
Photo: Nancy Albright
Coast 1. She took two horses to the show and couldn’t have been more pleased with the results. Cavaljere had just come off of a long lay-up, and she decided to take him just 20 minutes before the trailers left for the show. She was not sure how he would do. “He completely exceeded my expectations,” said Gadbois. She piloted him to second and third places in the 1.15m jumpers.
Gadbois’ other horse, Maxim, made his maiden voyage under Hayden’s tutelage and won a 1.15 meter class with Clarke. Gadbois took over the reins and finished second in a 1.20 meter class before moving up to the Junior - Amateur Owner Jumpers, her first outing at that level, and won a class. With her characteristic aplomb Gadbois stated, “We’ll hopefully have a good show season this year.” She plans to do some equitation and medals, and she definitely plans to attend more Gold Coasts shows. “I don’t usually get to show in the big indoor arenas,” she explained. “It’s a super cool environment without the pressure of a big show.”
In addition to being a dedicated and talented rider, Gadbois is also ambitious and creative: she has started her own custom clothing company called Charlotte Couture Equestrian. Her company creates custom show jackets and off-the-rack show shirts.
Other Hayden students did their fair share of winning. Lindsay Douglas and Pernot won a 1.30 meter class and were named champions in the Junior-Amateur Owner Jumpers. Heather Zadra rode McLord’s Natana (Mickey Hayden, owner) to four first place finishes in Low Children’s and Children’s Jumpers, garnering the Low Children’s Jumpers championship along the way.
Photo: Nancy Albright
Lane Clarke found himself at the top of several classes and sections, including the 1.35 meter show champion with McLord’s First John (M. Hayden, owner), and first place in Low Hunters on Knight In White Satin. “All in all, this show was everything we planned and prepared for,” Hayden said. “Our riders placed well, but more importantly, they rode well. The ease and organization of the Gold Coast show was much appreciated, and we hope this is the start of another successful show season.”
Gold Coast Brings Riders Together
Some new and familiar faces at the show came from Jigsaw Farms, led by head trainer by Cha Cha Jago along with help from Kevan Husky. “We had a great time,” said Husky. “I always love Gold Coast. When I pull in, it feels like coming home.”
The Jigsaw group found that their schedule allowed for the younger kids to watch the older ones do well in their rings, and the older kids then went to watch the walk-trotters in their ring. It made for great teamwork and camaraderie. Demonstrating their versatility, the Jigsaw Farms riders had success in each of the rings—hunter, jumper and equitation. With eight new young students, they had a lot of entries in the walk-trot classes and made it fun and special for the kids and their parents.
Their top rider, 14-year-old Alexandra Murray, rode her new horse from Holland, Amadeus. She was second in the Rosewood Medal and fourth in the CPHA Childrens-Adult Medal. “She did really well,” Husky said. “She doesn’t have a lot of experience in equitation, but she put in really good rounds all day.” Hero Stevenson rode Time To Believe (Nicole Husky, owner) to the Long Stirrup championship after winning two of her classes, coming in second, and fourth in another. Katherine Ewell posted double clear rounds in the .90 meter jumpers on Literati (Cha Cha Jago, owner).
Two riders from Elvenstar also did well at the show. Rachel Thurman won both the USEF Talent Search and the USEF Medal aboard her horse, Vermeer. She also finished fourth in the Maclay. Last year she made her first trip east and finished 11th in the USEF Medal Finals. “She is a super student—smart, challenges herself, and offers feedback as to what she is feeling from her horse,” said trainer Kay Altheuser. ”She thinks of possible solutions to any problems and discusses them with her trainer.”
Thurman is getting ready to go to college, having already been accepted at two schools and is waiting to hear back from a few more before making her decision. She hopes to compete in the national medal finals again this year as long as her school schedule allows it.
Kayla Lott also rides with Elvenstar. She has just started showing her warmblood gelding, Kif Kif d'elle, at the LAHJA B shows, having moved up from the Tri Valley level. She ended up reserve champion in the 11 & Under Hunters and champion in the 11 & Under Equitation. “Her riding is very consistent and smooth,” explained Altheuser. “She is athletic, brave, and a very hard worker. She is one who will always help around the barn and is eager to ride any horse available regardless of how difficult.”
Elvenstar supports the entire Gold Coast Series, and their horses and riders earn their share of top honors. “As a trainer, I was impressed with the way the show ran so smoothly,” Altheuser stated. “The classes were large, and although some of the arenas ran into the evening, everything was pretty much on time. The office staff and management are always very accommodating, and this is important when you have 25 horses at the show. All in all, Elvenstar had a very nice Gold Coast I.”
Mary Gatti and her group from Rainbow Canyon Ranch have long been big supporters of the Gold Coast shows. “It’s always a good format. I like having the open classes separate from the amateurs,” she said. She likes the fact that she can concentrate on schooling horses, then focus her attention on her students.
She went on to explain, “They work on improving the facility all the time. The footing is good, and they water often so you don’t have to worry about dust.” She also likes having the opportunity to get the horses into different types of rings—indoor and outdoor—all at one show.
Gatti’s rider, Patrick Spanton, rode County Line (Ann Deren-Lewis, owner) to a championship in the Green Working Hunters. They had purchased the horse a year ago for his amateur owner. “He has a great mind, great jump, easy lead changes, and he’s a nice mover,” Gatti explained.
Spanton said he likes Gold Coast because it has all the classes and jumps of a big show, while being convenient, affordable and close to home. Additionally, he noted, “They did a good job of dealing with the weather. There was some rain, but they prepared the rings well.”