With the Langer Equestrian Group show season in full swing, there have been several shows at each venue for riders to rack up points and help their trainers win a fabulous trip to the beautiful Marriott’s Maui Ocean Club Resort, courtesy of LEG. The top five finishers also earn a bonus check for their accomplishments.
Maui trips are awarded to the professionals whose students earn the most points at the Woodside, Colorado, Verdugo Hills and Woodside Dressage series, as well as a fifth prize for the professional member of the Memorial Day Equitation Challenge winning team.
The winner of the first trip has already been decided with the conclusion of the Memorial Day Equitation Challenge at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center. The winners of this team event included professional Tasha Visokay, who rides for Karen Healey Stables, amateur Michelle Morris and junior Theo Boris. While Visokay gets ready for her trip to Hawaii, Morris and Boris will enjoy the beach bikes they received for their prize.
Visokay explained that her team’s strategy was to be smooth and consistent throughout the two-round competition and to take the inside turns when possible. The strategy paid off, and Visokay’s team were the victors. “I cannot wait to go to Hawaii,” she added. “I’m taking my boyfriend, and we’ve never gone away together.”
While Visokay’s win is secured, Diedra Davis will have to keep up the hard work she has put in this year at the Verdugo Hills shows to maintain her lead. Over the course of the first five shows of the season, her clients have amassed 107 points and a comfortable 45-point lead over Kim Tasker. Like Visokay, Davis is looking forward to the possibility of a Hawaiian vacation. “I haven’t taken a non-horse vacation since 2003. I will so enjoy every second if I win!” However, this incentive is about more than just getting away. “After all my hard work over the show season, to be rewarded like this is really great."
Tasker agrees. “It is really nice for trainers to get a year-end award. I try to work hard to get students to win year-end prizes, and it is special to have a chance for them to win something for us trainers. Although, I would show at Hansen Dam with or without the program.”
Although the Verdugo Hills show season is nearly over, the Woodside shows have barely begun. After the first two shows of 2010, Hope Glynn is leading the pack with 178 points. “I’m always excited and look forward to a vacation, and I do love Maui. The Ocean Club is a really great, fun resort,” she said of the possibility of winning the trip. She added, “It’s good to have an incentive like this when picking shows. This is the one of the few shows that give back to the trainers.”
Glynn also noted that she is lucky enough to have a nice balance of talented riders in all three rings—hunter, jumper and equitation—and this has helped her gain her lead. “The way the incentive is set up, it makes for a level playing field for everyone,” she explained.
Glynn is trailed by Paige Pierce, who had 138.5 points after the Woodside Spring Classic. “I feel rewarded every time my students and horses do well, but it's nice to have an incentive such as this to celebrate all the hard work and dedication it takes to get there,” she commented. “As a person who has been involved in this sport all my life, it's nice to be rewarded by our competition host, peers and clients for the hard work and dedication it takes.”
In Colorado, the competition is just as hot for another much-anticipated Maui trip. Randy Henry, assisted by her daughter Micca, is at the top of the leader board there with 284 points. “It’s really nice to have the support of the horse show management with all the support we give them,” said Micca. “It’s definitely a benefit to have a payoff at the end of the season.” The Henrys have finished in the top five of the trainer incentive and received the cash prizes every year it has been offered. “The bonus is awesome!”
With 241 points, Michael Dennehy has plenty of shows left in the season to catch up and take the prize. He won it two years ago, but he and his wife had just bought a new house and the timing did not allow them to go on the trip. He hopes to win this year so they can finally take their hard-earned vacation. “It’s a great program and a great prize. I’m very appreciative of LEG and Larry Langer for starting it. The trainers are the hardest working and most underpaid in the business, so programs like this are great for us.”
Dressage trainers work just as hard as hunter/jumper trainers, but there are few large prizes at dressage shows. LEG provides a Maui trip for professionals whose students earn the most points at the Woodside Dressage shows, which are managed by Cornerstone. Gina Duran of Topline Training leads after the spring show with 15 points, while Katie Hoefs-Martin is close behind with 10.
“I think it’s a really cool thing to have something like this offered,” says Duran. “Kudos to LEG and Cornerstone, and thank you to Larry for recognizing how hard the professionals work. I’m really glad they took this incentive into the dressage world. People invest a lot of time and money into this sport, and the payoff is not huge in dressage. You spend a lot to get one ribbon and a small trophy or wine glass. It’s really great to have a big prize like this—it’s a great incentive."
Professionals have several shows left in the season to take their clients and beef up their point totals. The next opportunity will be the the Woodside Circuit Opener June 23-27. The show season resumes in Colorado July 1-4 for the Circuit Preview, while Verdugo Hills is on hiatus until October 29-30 for the Season Preview.
For complete standings on the LEG Maui Trainer Incentive, including complete standings, visit the website at http://www.langershows.com/programs.php.
Photos: Past winner, Mark Purcell and John Bragg with friend in Maui. LEG Up News file photos.