Temecula, Calif.-Adult amateur Jamie Lawrence, Northridge, Calif., could not have been more pleased with her college project at the USEA West Coast Young Event Horse Championships for four-year-old horses. Pavi's Sinfandel, a Trakehner mare by Pavarotti out of Lawrence's mare Sidra Holland, impressed the judges with the highest marks in the Jumping & Potential section of the four-year-old division, boosting the pair to first overall with final percentage score of 81.8.
"I'm riding my homebred Pavi's Sinfandel and it's just been a treat to watch her grow up and a good way to end our show season for her this year. I'm just really thrilled with how she was," said Lawrence. "The jumping was a lot of fun. It was nice that it got progressively harder, so it didn't start off over facing them, which was nice."
Lawrence made the decision to breed Sinfandel's mother while she was in college. "I had the dam, I was in school, and I thought, 'Why don't I breed her?'" she said. "She was a college project. The stallion is Pavarotti, the Trakehner stallion, from San Luis Obispo where I went to college. I bred to him because I had been around him and he is just a doll to work with. He produces such lovely brains. My mare was hot, so it was nice to have something that gave a mellowing out."
Reserve champion in the four-year-old division with a final score of 79.4 was the Hanoverian gelding Rockstar, owned by David Adamo and John Miller, and shown by Adamo, Corte Madera, Calif. Rounding out the top three was Tracy Bowman's Hanoverian gelding KF Peroni, ridden by Jolie Wentworth, Crockett, Calif., to a final percentage score of 77.6. In the very competitive five-year-old division, Barbara Crabo's mount, Quite Electric, owned by Bo and Margareta Crabo, Scottsdale, Ariz., garnered the Championship with high scores in both the Conformation and Jumping sections. The homebred Swedish Warmblood gelding had a few moments of greenness in the dressage portion, but prevailed with a final score of 82.3.
"He's a really good boy but he is also really spooky. Every time someone moved up in the tent, he was scooting, then he kicked the rail and he spooked," she laughed. "But when he was good, he was super good. It actually showed me that they [the judges] were judging potential and not [just] how good can you be today."
Only a tenth of a percentage point separated Reserve Champion Rondelet (80.5) from third-placed competitor Get Rowdy (80.4). Co-owner and rider Erin Kellerhouse credited the Hanoverian mare by Welteje, out of Rascalino, with her performance in the Dressage section. "It was really fun," Kellerhouse said. "She did her thing in the dressage ring. She likes to go in there and show off. I'm really proud of her - she was just really good out there."
Kellerhouse praised the Young Event Horse Championships for the opportunity that it gives owners to enjoy their horses. "It's great," she said. "This [program] is the best. It's the next step for moving up to Prelim. I think it's great for the breeders and owners. My half-owner Laura Ridder is here, I think it is really important for the owners to see their horses doing something fun."
The judging panel for this year's USEA Young Event Horse Championships - Ian Stark, Bea di Grazia and Cathy Tucker-Slaterbeck - judged both the East Coast Finals held two weeks ago and the West Coast Finals today. California-based rider, trainer and judge Bea di Grazia described the competition.
"The course here at Galway Downs was beautifully prepared, nice flow to the show jumping into the cross-country," she said. "We got to see water and up banks and ditches, and it was very comparable to what we saw at Fair Hill [site of the East Coast Championships]. "But grass versus dirt," she laughed, describing the difference in footing between Maryland-located Fair Hill and California's Galway Downs.
Special Awards by the judges included the Safe Harbor Award, presented to the young horse who consistently exhibits graceful and rider-friendly performance throughout the competition. Team Express' five-year-old Dutch Warmblood Get Rowdy, by Baltic VDL out of 2. Unellie, ridden by Heather Morris, Wildomar, Calif., was this year's winner.
A new award for the YEH competition, the Thoroughbred Incentive Program Award was given to the highest scored Thoroughbred in the entire competition. Five-year-old gelding Tomlong Ratatouille, owned by the Pinnacle Syndicate LLC and ridden by Kelsey Horn was the recipient.
The highly anticipated Galway Downs International Event kicks off Thursday, Oct. 29 with the First Horse Inspection of all of the CCI and the Training Three-Day competitors at 11 a.m. The dressage phase of competition will commence at 2 p.m., with Training Three-Day and Preliminary horses and riders set to ride.
The CCI horses will perform their dressage tests on Friday, Oct. 30, and then they'll gallop around the spectator-friendly cross-country course, once again designed by British Olympian Ian Stark, on Saturday, Oct. 31. The event reaches its climax with the show jumping finals and awards on Sunday, Nov.1.
For more information on the Galway Downs International Event, visit www.galwaydowns.net or call 951-303-0405. To learn more about eventing, visit the U.S. Eventing Association's website www.useventing.com.