Jill Humphrey is Two for Two at Woodside

Jill Humphrey is tops again at Woodside Spring Classic  Photo: Sheri Scott
Jill Humphrey is tops again at Woodside Spring Classic Photo: Sheri Scott

Jill Humphrey proved that aboard Zubliem (Alicia Foster, owner), she can win regardless of the circumstances. For the second week in a row at Woodside, Jill led the victory gallop in the grand prix. This time, she also won the first leg of the LEGIS Jumper Rider Bonus and a $5,000 check. In the first week with only two in the grand prix jump off, Jill had to prove that she could pilot Zubliem to a careful clear round. In this second week’s grand prix, Jill showed that Zubliem could turn on the speed and still keep the rails in the cups.

Michael Roy Curtis built an inviting track for the 24-horse field during the Woodside Spring Classic (May 2-5), and eleven riders posted clear rounds--including three for Jill. The first four riders in the jump off all had a rail and it looked like clear rounds would be hard to come by.

Amateur rider Lindsay Douglass showed everyone how to ride the track when she blazed around the course in 42.997 with no faults. “I just love her,” said Lindsay of her mount, Butterfly Z. This was her first big class with the talented bay mare, and Lindsay is looking forward to more fun and success with her new horse. Toni McIntosh and her Lexito challenged Lindsay for the lead, but despite a valiant effort they dropped in behind Lindsay with a time of 43.795.

When Jill stepped up to the gate, she knew she had a fast time to beat. “My strategy was a little different this week,” she remarked. “The early riders had four faults, but then I heard how fast Lindsay’s time was and I knew there were still some fast ones behind me. I knew I just had to go for it. Zubliem is super fast and I can trust him.”

Trust him she did as she streaked around the course. The jump off required tight turns and the ability to jump up the double bank to a vertical, where Jill executed an efficient three stride turn, before galloping down the ramp to an oxer and then a long gallop to the double combination in front of the VIP seating. “The course was different from last week in that it was more open and galloping with more single fences,” Jill recalled.

Stopping the timers in 42.909, Jill moved ahead of Lindsay by only hundreths of a second and held onto the lead to claim victory. “It was really fun to see how Zubliem handles two different scenarios,” commented Jill of the back-to-back weeks. “We love showing at Woodside. Good footing is really important to me, and we really like the shows here.”

Jill didn’t know about the LEGIS Jumper Rider Bonus until earlier in the day. When she won the first leg of the bonus by posting two wins on the same horse and earning $5,000 toward the $25,000 ultimate bonus, Jill was thrilled. “This is a lovely surprise, and I am for sure coming to the rest of the shows in the series. I was planning to anyhow, and this only makes me want to come even more.”

Zubliem’s owner, Alicia, is expecting her second child in just a few weeks, and she is looking forward to getting back in the saddle. “Now with the LEGIS Jumper Rider Bonus I don’t think I am getting my horse back!" she said with a laugh. "Maybe we will just have to share, with me riding him in the Amateur Owner classes and Jill can ride him in the grands prix.”

Marisa Metzger and Maillisco are too tough to beat in the ,500 USHJA National Hunte Derby Photo: Sheri Scott
Marisa Metzger and Maillisco are too tough to beat in the ,500 USHJA National Hunte Derby Photo: Sheri Scott

Jill was not the only professional dominating her ring this week at Woodside. In the hunter ring, Marisa Metzger aboard Maillisco(Bailey Campbell, owner) tackled the USHJA $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby with elegance that only an experienced pair can. They made the tight turns and trot fence in the handy round look easy and earned a 90 for their efforts. “I was so happy with my first round especially!” Marisa exclaimed. “Ninety is the highest score I have ever gotten on a derby round, and he just felt so solid. I am so lucky to have the chance to ride him. We have done a lot of hunter classes together, but this one was special. I just love the vibe and venue here at Woodside.” The win puts Marisa in contention for the LEGIS Hunter Rider Bonus, and if the pair wins another derby at Woodside, she could earn herself a bonus check.
 

Bailey Campbell holds her own Photo: Sheri Scott
Bailey Campbell holds her own Photo: Sheri Scott

Marisa works with Sue Lightner, and Sue’s winning touch did not stop at Marisa’s win. Bailey Campbell piloted Valentine (Sue Lightner, owner) through a solid round in the derby and placed fourth overall, winning the award for Best Junior Rider. “Although both rounds felt great, I was really pleased with my second round,” Bailey explained. “I’ve been leasing Valentine for almost four years now, so we know each other really well. He’s taken me from  Short Stirrup all the way up to Junior Hunters, which I just started showing in. This is my first time at Woodside and I really like it. I’m excited for the rest of the show season.”

Valentine is a solid, trustworthy horse that not only is a great partner for Bailey, but he even does cross rail classes with Bailey’s Father, John Campbell. Sue couldn't help but laugh as she noted, “He’s an amazing horse.”

Kelsey Fenger (Jeannie Scalise, trainer) showed some cool competence of her own in the equitation ring. She did not blink an eye at the difficult work off test given during the Nor Cal 3’6" Junior/Senior Medal Class. The test consisted of a single oxer, a trot fence, a two stride, and a bending line. “I’ve only had Charming for about a month and a half, so I was really happy with our rounds,” Fenger commented. “I’m really big on equitation and plan to attend the Nor Cal Medal Finals [Oct 9-13]."

Kelsey spends a lot of time preparing for her equitation classes. "At home, I try to do a lot of no stirrup work. I also watch a lot of videos of big name riders, and it helps me out a lot.” Kelsey's determination did not stop in the equitation ring: the pair put in beautiful rounds that night in the hunter derby as well and landed in fifth place behind Bailey.

Kennedy Alexander keeps her cool in the equitation ring Photo: Sheri Scott
Kennedy Alexander keeps her cool in the equitation ring Photo: Sheri Scott

Once the Nor Cal 3’6" Junior/Senior Medal class wrapped up, the Taylor Harris Children’s Medal was underway. After a classical equitation round and the work off, Kennedy Alexander (Susan Crenshaw, trainer) emerged the winner aboard Ca-Ta Sud. “My round felt great today! This is only my second show on Sud, so I’m very proud of us. I do plan on attending the national finals and to keep competing in the medals and equitation with Sud.”

Not only are the riders rewarded for their hard work at Woodside shows, the trainers have their own chance at a big prize. The Maui Trainer Incentive is awarded to the trainer with the highest overall number of points at the end of the season. The winner receives a week's stay in Maui for some well-deserved rest and relaxation. Denize Borges of Crystal Image Farm is currently sitting number one in the standings by eight points. “I am absolutely thrilled to be in first for the Maui trip. I have never been there, and I am so excited to possibly have the chance. I love scuba diving!”

Denize has been a long-time supporter of LEG's Woodside shows. “The Woodside shows are amazing because of the special classes LEG has. I think they did a wonderful job these last two weeks, the footing is great, and they have classes for my more inexperienced riders all the way up to my 1.30M jumpers, and everyone has a blast. My barn has a little bit of everything, and Woodside accommodates all. I am just so proud of my team and how well they rode these last two weeks. We will definitely be coming back to finish out the 2013 show series.”

No doubt, Denize and her team will be working hard this season to earn the trip to Maui. They'll have more chances to earn points for the trip, plus earn a spot in a medal final or get in on the LEGIS Hunter Rider Bonus or Jumper Rider Bonus when showing at Woodside resumes with Woodside Circuit Opener (June 19-23) and Bay Area Summer Festival (June 26-30).

Show jumping excitement is ramping up in Southern California with the Gold Coast May Show (May 17-19) followed by the ever-popular Memorial Day Classic (May 23-27), while Verdugo Hills 4 (May 11-12) is at Hansen Dam Equestrian Center. The Colorado show season continues at its new location, the Norris Penrose Event Center, with the Colorado Springs Spring Preview (May 9-12).

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