The Woodside Circuit Opener (June 22-26) kicked off the Woodside Summer Circuit with beautiful weather, fierce competition, and fun people. Some of those who had the most fun were the junior riders, who showed they are a force to contend with.
The juniors swept the competition in the $10,000 Woodside Jumper Classic on Saturday night. An exciting class lead to a very dramatic finish with two juniors taking the top prizes after putting in the only two double-clear rounds of the competition. Brittany Albrecq (Jenni Martin-McAllister, trainer) was the first to go clear and first to come back for the seven-horse jump-off aboard her Union Jack. Haley Roberson (Rachel Yorke, trainer) was right behind her with Chantre (Equinity, LLC, owner), and she knew she had to be quick to win.
With five jump-off rides remaining, Haley watched every trip nervously. “I was most worried about Maja Lindeman and Live Fire (Vicki Juelsgaard, owner),” commented Haley, although Maja, trainer at Willow Tree, had an unfortunate rail in the jump-off. While a few riders crossed the wire in time, none could catch Haley without dropping a rail and she rode away with the top prize and left Brittany in second.
“I was nervous when I found out I had to go so early in the order,” said Brittany, "and then because I was the first one clean I had to go first in the jump off. I didn’t think I could be the fastest, but then when everyone kept having rails I couldn’t believe I finished second. It was so exciting that Haley and I were first and second.”
The 2011 show season is Haley’s first experience at the grand prix level and she is loving it. Haley had the opportunity to compete for Zone 10 in the North American Junior & Young Rider Championships this year, but due to an unfortunate summer school schedule she decided to stay in California and have fun in the bigger grands prix. “I went to NAJYRC when it was in Colorado and it was great, but this year I’d almost rather stick around here and do these classes,” she explained. Although Haley is staying home, Brittany will take advantage of the opportunity she earned to represent Zone 10 in the NAJYRC on the Junior team.
Thanks to her great riding, Brittany earned the ride on Maloubet du Rouet (Marnco, owner) in the next day’s Junior Amateur Owner Classic. Although she had hacked “Mal” at home, she had never jumped him. After an unfortunate fall in the jump off in the Saturday night class, regular rider Marnye Langer grounded herself and offered the ride to Brittany, who posted the only clear round in the class and led the victory gallop. “I was so excited when I was asked if I wanted to show Mal, and all this experience will really help in Kentucky at Young Riders,” said Brittany.
Brittany's trainer, Jenni Martin-McAllister, had a very successful week in the jumpers. Jenni won the $2,500 Open Welcome Stake with Glados (Marnco, owner) and came in third as the fastest of the four-falters in the $10,000 Woodside Jumper Classic on Majuscule (Christina Caruso, owner). “It’s fulfilling to do well in these bigger classes; we’ve worked hard and it’s nice to see her come along and have success,” Jenni commented about Majuscule, a horse that has been in her program for several years. Thanks to strong, consistent performances throughout the week, Jenni is sitting in second for the CWD Leading Jumper Rider Award, just behind Haley Roberson.
Martin-McAllister Training’s clients did very well, taking top prizes in the week’s biggest classes. In addition to her second in the $10,000 Woodside Jumper Classic, Brittany Albrecq had the win in the $2,500 High Jr/AO Classic on Maloubet du Rouet (Marnco, owner). Brittany also piloted another Marnco entry, No Sugar Added, to a second in the WCE Medal and a fourth in the $500 1.15M Jumper Stake. “It’s great to have success in these types of classes because I have so little experience at it," Brittany remarked, then added with a smile, "It’s also great to beat my trainer for a change.”
Competition in the Hunter and Equitation rings was equally exciting. Stevie Sorenson (Julie Keville-Young, trainer) and Atari (Stevie and Julie, owners) started the year in the Children's Hunters, but when Stevie decided she wanted the challenge of riding in the Junior Hunter sections, Julie gave her blessing. "She works hard and I knew she was up to it," Julie explained. "Atari is a First Year horse and still green, so he's a little difficult when it comes to adjustability. Stevie really has to pay attention, make a plan and stick with it, and she did a fantastic job."
Indeed, Stevie's skills earned her and Atari numerous ribbons in the Junior Hunters and Modified Junior Hunters, and Julie rode him to placings in the Green Working Hunters. Additionally, Stevie piloted him to a second place finish in the $1,000 Junior/Amateur Owner Hunter Classic. "She put in two really consistent rounds," Julie continued. "Consistency is important to being a good rider. You have to maintain good composure, be disciplined, and stick with the plan, and that's what Stevie did. I'm really happy with her and Atari."
Julie, who owns and trains at Silver Bay Stables, had her chance to shine with her own entry, Georgetown. The pair stole the show in the $2,500 USHJA National 3’ Hunter Classic with two great rounds over the difficult course designed by Brian Post of Phoenix, Arizona. "Since he's a new horse to me, I wanted to stick with my plan, and I did. I wanted to go in there and be as consistent as possible, and it paid off. Going into handy round, I knew I had to go big or go home, so I did as many of the inside turns and handier, higher options as I could. With Priscilla (Trees) and Diane (Yeager) having high scores, I knew I needed to step up my game so I went for it." Julie prevailed, leaving second place for Priscilla aboard Kamari (Stanford University, owner) and third for Diane and Diamond River (Sue Sadlier, owner).
Julie was very proud of Georgetown, a horse she just purchased a couple of months ago off a video, as he also took the top prize in the $1,000 Adult Amateur Hunter Classic with Laura Hartness in the irons. "He's a super special horse," Laura put in. "I try to ride him exactly how she tells me to, and as long as I stick to that it works really well. I feel blessed that I get to catch ride him all year. It makes it easier to stay consistent."
In her own junior riding career Julie had success outside the hunter ring as well, competing successfully in vaulting on the international level at the age of 13. She was even selected as an alternate for the United States Vaulting Team in the 2002 World Equestrian Games in Jerez, Spain.
Yet another junior rider, Rebecca Heller (Dick Widger, trainer) had a successful show. Winning nothing less than a fourth place all week, Heller and her Utric owned the equitation rings, including a win in the ASPCA Horsemanship Medal and topping both phases of the Washington International Equitation Classic.
With several shows on the books for the Woodside show season, the race is in full force for professionals to earn points that could earn them a week's stay in Maui. Diane Yeager leads the pack with 281.5 points, but Beverly Jovais, in second with 226.5, has two more shows to catch her. Anything could happen, and the Maui Trainer Incentive is a fun and exciting way to reward professionals for their support of the shows.
From Hunters to Jumpers, it was a great week in Woodside, and the Bay Area Summer Festival is already shaping up to match it.
For more information about Woodside or complete results visit, http://www.horseshowing.com/show.php?show=209.
Photos: Haley Robinson is victorious in the $10,000 Woodside Jumper Classic Photo: Sheri Scott; Jenni Martin-McAllister and Glados welcome the week with a win in the $2,500 Open Welcome Stake Photo: Sheri Scott; Julie Keville-Young and Georgetown have the win in the $2,500 USHJA National 3’ Hunter Classic Photo: Sheri Scott