Jenny Karazissis started out 2011 in the ideal way, with the victory in the first USHJA National Hunter Derby on the West Coast. She piloted Rendez-vous (Kimberly Narlinger, owner) to the win in this class at the LAEC Opener Horse show (Jan 21-23). Jenny has been a force to reckon with ever since the USHJA derbies started a few years ago, and with the advent of new USHJA National Derbies at 3’0”, even more horses and riders have an opportunity to compete in these special classes.
Recently imported from Europe, the five year old Holsteiner gelding handled Chris Collman’s well designed courses with aplomb. After a spook in the first round the pair earned a 75, but they came back decisively in the handy phase. The course started out with a hand gallop directly to the first fence, followed by a roll back to second fence with options of how tight a track a rider wanted to take. Jenny was moderately conservative on the roll back, and she took all four high options to finish with a score of 87 and the win.
“I was so pleased,” Jenny said. “It was late in the afternoon, so you worry about the shadows and the horse spooking, but it could not have been better. He was listening and rode so beautifully, and I couldn’t be happier. The class was a good way to get to know him better.”
She plans to move the gelding into the First Year Green Hunter section and is keeping an eye on the USHJA International Hunter Derbies for the talented Rendez-vous.
Tommi Clark and Kamari (Raquelle De La Rocha Bussel, owner) finished second. Kamari competed in the First Year Green Hunters last year and this year the gelding has stepped into the Junior Hunter section. Deirdra Davis captured third with Lacora (Morgan Dickerson, owner) after posting a score in the 80s in the handy round.
Georges Bittar was thrilled with his last minute decision to enter Raphael when the gelding captured fourth in his first time in the hunter ring. “He shows in the jumpers and does well, but he also jumps so nice I knew he would do great,” said Georges.
Not only was Jenny pleased with her success, but also with that of her student, 15-year-old Molly Peddicord, who took home several first and second place ribbons in her equitation rounds aboard Loupino. Molly won the CPHA Foundation Equitation Class and had second place finishes in the USEF, WCE and LAHJA Junior Medal classes.
At the end of last season, Molly transitioned to the 3’6” medals after winning both local based LAHJA Rosewood Finals and the national based THIS National Children’s Medal National Finals (Capital Challenge Horse Show, Maryland. Since then, she has been busy practicing riding without stirrups and looking forward to the start of the 2011 season. “She’ll do extremely well; she’s a great student with a wonderful horse,” Jenny added.
While Tommi Clark was happy with her performance on Kamari in the derby, she was also happy with Kylee Arbuckle’s rides on the talented gelding in the Small Junior Hunters where they captured the show championship. “He’s a really cool horse and so much fun to ride, so I'm really thankful to Raquelle and Tommi for giving me the opportunity to show him,” Kyle explained. “I'm planning on showing him at Thermal and I'm really excited about it. Kamari is an awesome horse and I had a blast on him.”
The Childrens Hunter Championship went to 12-year-old Sydney Hutchins (Jim Hagman, trainer) after emerging victorious in each of her jumping classes and earning second place in the under saddle with Cappuccino. Sydney also was a success in her equitation classes, earning blue ribbons in the Onondarka and LAHJA Rosewood medal classes.
“He hasn’t been doing equitation for that long, and he’s really brave and honest to the jumps,” Sydney said. This will be her first year focusing on riding only horses after several years of riding ponies. “I would like to place in the top four in the Onondarka finals this year, because this is my last year in it.”
Another of Jim Hagman's students, Gail Horrigan, took home a tricolor ribbon when she earned the reserve championship in the Adult Amateur 36 & Over section with her By Design. Gail only competed in one horse show in 2010, because she spent most of the year recovering from two broken bones that kept her out of the saddle for months.
“It was great to show again and really great to go to a nice show close to home,” Gail commented. “With my schedule and the time I dedicate to family, I really enjoy staying close to home. It does my brain good when I am not on the road so much to get to a show, and it allows me to concentrate more on my rides. The weather was beautiful all weekend, and the horses were great.”
Gina Groth, aboard Watchful, edged Gail for the championship in the Adult Amateur Hunters 36 & Over by just one point.
Over in the jumper ring, 19-year-old Alyssa Palmquist (Kelly James, trainer) made a clean sweep in the Adult Amateur Jumpers with her Too Much Bling. The pair missed most of the show season last year while Too Much Bling recovered from an injury, but he and Alyssa and are back in the show ring.
Of her out-the-gate winning performances, Alyssa stated, “Too Much Bling is an athlete, and I have spent the past four months getting him fit and ready to compete again. He's quick, and because he's a small Quarter Horse, he can make a lot of the turns the Warmbloods typically cannot. There is always the turn that will win the class.”
Taylor Adams won two Junior-Amateur/ Owner Jumper Classes with Polaris (Martin McAllister Training, owner) and clinched the championship. “We did a lot of work over the winter and I felt really confident,” said the sixteen year old teenager who hails from Texas but now calls California home. She also rode her young jumper MTM Lester to a win in the 1.25 jumpers and third in the Modified Junior/Amateur Jumpers. “We’ll probably do some of the Seven and Eight Year Old Young Jumper classes,” said Taylor, “and move into the Low Junior-Amateur Owner Jumpers.”
For more information about the LAEC Opener Horse Show, including complete results, visit http://langershows.com/laec/show_details.php?show_id=180.
The show season is just getting started, and it promises to be another exciting year. The Verdugo Hills shows at Hansen Dam will kick off January 29-30, while at LAEC, the Gold Coast series will begin February 18-20. In Northern California, the season will start April 28 - May 1 with the Woodside Spring Preview, and the High Prairie Spring Preview will get things started in Colorado May 12-15.
For more information about Langer Equestrian Group and all the shows, visit the website at www.langershows.com.
Photo Credit: Jenny Karazissis takes top honors in the $2,500 LAEC Opener/USHJA Hunter Classic Photo: Flying Horse Photography; Jenny and Rendez-vous Photo: Flying Horse Photography.