Mickie Sage and Audrey Buck Collect Top Ribbons in 3'6" Performance Hunters at Colorado Horse Park

Harlu and Mickie Sage
Harlu and Mickie Sage

Parker, CO - June 13, 2013 - Mickie Sage received the perfect birthday present on Wednesday, the opening day of the Colorado Horse Park's Summer in the Rockies II: a blue ribbon in the Performance Working Hunter 3'6" O/F class aboard Laurie Brants' Harlu. Sage guided Harlu through a confident, forward round to claim the win.

"He is fairly new to the hunter ring," Sage said of Harlu. "Today was one of the first days I really felt him start to stretch out and act and go like a hunter. He's only 6 - he just turned 6. He was a really good boy today."

Sage, who is based in Parker, noted that keeping the horse's attention is key to ensuring they have a good round. "The hardest part for him is the outside of the ring," she explained. "He loses his concentration. He's very distracted by everything outside the ring. So what I try to do is just keep him focused on the jumps ahead of him." 

Sage faces tough competition in the Performance Working Hunter 3'6" division, however. Audrey Buck and Edwina, owned by Patricia Murphy, followed up a fourth-place finish to Sage with wins in both the handy and under saddle classes. Buck and Edwina also took home the blue in the Colorado Horse Park Open Hunter O/F class.

Audrey Buck and Edwina
Audrey Buck and Edwina

Buck said Edwina specializes in the handy rounds. "She definitely gets a little fazed by some of the fences and she is a little spooky, but it actually makes it better for the handy, because I can sit down and ride her a little harder," she explained. "We just have fun!"

"The turns are actually easier for her," Buck added. "She doesn't have as much time to think about everything. She does very well in the handy rounds. They're kind of made for her."  

Jennifer Hulkko rode Lisa Martinez-Bates' Brego to the first-place finish in the Performance Working Hunter 3'3" O/F class. Their score of 85 was enough to clinch the win in the field of 26 entrants. Hulkko, who has just recently begun competing Brego, was thrilled with the horse's effort.

"I thought he was awesome!" she said. "He was so good. Just kind of right on it. He's pretty much the same horse in the show ring as he is at home to practice on. He's really solid."

Hulkko's goals for Brego include moving up to 3'6", and she wants to improve his performance in the handy by perfecting trot jumps. "We're just getting him fit, so we're going to step up to the 3'6" Performance and then do the hunter derbies," she said.

The trot jump was one of the most challenging elements of the Scott Starnes-designed handy course, which began with a long approach to a single oxer and gave competitors several options for inside routes.

Calido's Son and Heidi Hildebrand
Calido's Son and Heidi Hildebrand

While the trot jump tripped up several competitors, Heidi Hildebrand and Calido's Son, owned by Amanda Hauser, took it in stride en route to a victory in the Performance Working Hunter 3'3" Handy. Hildebrand said her main challenge in the handy was keeping Calido's Son energetic and forward throughout the course.

"He felt just a little bit behind my leg today," Hildebrand said. "So when we started the handy, I just tried to catch a really good gallop to the first jump. I thought our trot jump worked out really well. From then on, I just really tried to maintain a nice gallop and let it flow. We did the inside turn after the five-stride line. It wasn't super smooth, but he made it work."

Hildebrand said the initial plan for Calido's Son was to compete in the conformation hunters with his owner, but Hauser moved up to the juniors and has been successful there.

"Primarily my goal is to keep him ready for her," Hildebrand said. "I used to do some of the hunter derbies with him. He won in Tulsa this year with her and he won in Tulsa last year with me, at the very same show, so it's kind of fun. Now she's stepping up and doing the hunter derbies."

Amoro De Legante and Mark Mead
Amoro De Legante and Mark Mead

Mark Mead with Laura Fereday's Amoro De Legante and Paul Rohrbach with NTM Enterprises' Up In Smoke traded wins in the Working Hunter division's over-fences classes. Amore De Legante and Mead won the first over-fences class, scoring 82 to second-placed Up In Smoke and Rohrbach's 78, but the tables turned in the handy as Rohrbach scored 83 to Mead's 78.

"He rode great - he can still be a little bit on the green side sometimes," Mead said of Amore De Legante. "He's normally better in the handy rounds. Today he just was great in the first round and then got a little green in the handy round."

Amore De Legante began his career as a dressage horse: owner Laura Fereday, who rides him in the juniors, purchased him in California from owners who had imported him from Holland for that purpose. "I just think he likes jumping better!" Fereday said.

With Mead in the irons, Amore De Legante has become increasingly comfortable in the hunter ring. "He's a cool horse," Mead, who is based outside of Boulder, said. Mead noted that both he and his horses appreciated the Colorado Horse Park's new GGT footing. "I like it," he said. "It feels like my horses are taking a deep breath on it, so it's good."
 
The Working Hunter division and the Performance Working Hunter 3'6" and 3'3" divisions conclude Thursday. The $1,000 Open Hunter Classic will also be featured as Summer in the Rockies II continues at the Colorado Horse Park.

Results: Summer in the Rockies II - Hunters - June 12, 2013 (Number/Horse/Owner/Rider)
Performance Working Hunter 3'6" O/F
1. 411/Harlu/Laurie Brants/Mickie Sage
2. 333/Simply Said/Emma Willsky/Ashley Keeler
3. 204/Sir Topham Hat/The Cottonwoods Ltd/Charlie Dennehy
4. 496/Edwina/Patricia Murphy/Audrey Buck
5. 199/Uriela CWF/Audrey Slouka/Audrey Slouka
6. 435/Jazzo/Kali Barnes/Paul Rohrbach
7. 329/Rio's Firefly/Christen Tuxworth/Christen Tuxworth
8. 158/CR Explosive/Katie Crone/Katie Crone

Performance Working Hunter 3'6" Handy
1. 496/Edwina/Patricia Murphy/Audrey Buck
2. 199/Uriela CWF/Audrey Slouka/Audrey Slouka
3. 411/Harlu/Laurie Brants/Mickie Sage
4. 329/Rio's Firefly/Christen Tuxworth/Christen Tuxworth
5. 435/Jazzo/Kali Barnes/Paul Rohrbach
6. 333/Simply Said/Emma Willsky/Ashley Keeler
7. 158/CR Explosive/Katie Crone/Katie Crone
8. 404/Chakira/Catherine Schoelzel/Jennifer Rhodes 

Performance Working 3'6" U/S
1. 496/Edwina/Patricia Murphy/Audrey Buck
2. 312/Leoncito/Lucy Hunsaker/Meredith Houx Remiger
3. 333/Simply Said/Emma Willsky/Ashley Keeler
4. 435/Jazzo/Kali Barnes/Katie Rosenzweig
5. 329/Rio's Firefly/Christen Tuxworth/Christen Tuxworth
6. 404/Chakira/Catherine Schoelzel/Jennifer Rhodes 

Performance Working Hunter 3'3" O/F
1. 793/Brego/Lisa Martinez-Bates/Jennifer Hulkko
2. 438/D'Anconia Copper/Natalie Hejda/Katie Rosenzweig
3. 223/Hennessy/Tony Font/Tony Font
4. 500/Golden Girl/Lindsay Gersoff/Ashley Keeler
5. 429/In Like Fynn/NTM Enterprises/Paul Rohrbach
6. 165/Showtime/Patricia Murphy/Erin Murphy
7. 184/Concierge/Elizabeth Richter/Meghan Felts
8. 858/Briscoe/Gretchen Brictson/Mark Mead

Performance Working Hunter 3'3" Handy
1. 765/Calido's Son/Amanda Hauser/Heidi Hildebrand
2. 165/Showtime/Patricia Murphy/Erin Murphy
3. 429/In Like Fynn/NTM Enterprises/Paul Rohrbach
4. 110/Rio/Chelsea Magness/Stacey Swink
5. 500/Golden Girl/Lindsay Gersoff/Ashley Keeler
6. 858/Briscoe/Gretchen Brictson/Mark Mead
7. 223/Hennessy/Tony Font/Tony Font
8. 190/Brunello/Megan Engel/Brianna Davis

Working Hunter O/F
1. 366/Amoro De Legante/Laura Fereday/Mark Mead
2. 427/Up In Smoke/NTM Enterprises/Paul Rohrbach
3. 405/Simone/Catherine Schoelzel/Jennifer Rhodes
4. 328/Barista/Anne Fitz/Laurie Jueneman
5. 445/Alla' Mint/Stacy Sibel/Stacy Sibel

Working Hunter Handy
1. 427/Up In Smoke/NTM Enterprises/Paul Rohrbach
2. 366/Amoro De Legante/Laura Fereday/Mark Mead
3. 361/Metternich/Karen King/Laureen Mc Kenzie
4. 328/Barista/Anne Fitz/Laurie Jueneman
5. 445/Alla' Mint/Stacy Sibel/Stacy Sibel
6. 405/Simone/Catherine Schoelzel/Jennifer Rhodes

Working Hunter U/S
1. 361/Metternich/Karen King/Laureen Mc Kenzie
2. 427/Up In Smoke/NTM Enterprises/Katie Rosenzweig
3. 366/Amoro De Legante/Laura Fereday/Mark Mead
4. 405/Simone/Catherine Schoelzel/Jennifer Rhodes
5. 445/Alla' Mint/Stacy Sibel/Stacy Sibel
6. 328/Barista/Anne Fitz/Laurie Jueneman

Colorado Horse Park Open Hunter O/F
1. 496/Edwina/Patricia Murphy/Audrey Buck
2. 790/Baseline/Kramig LLC/Jennifer Hulkko
3. 165/Showtime/Patricia Murphy/Erin Murphy
4. 499/Rocket Man/Lindsay Gersoff/Ashley Keeler
5. 184/Concierge/Elizabeth Richter/Meghan Felts
6. 346/C. Quito/Margot Snowdon/Jessie Lang
7. 295/Hutton/Lexi Mulkey/Megan Ghere
8. 446/Snow Day/Patricia With/Laura Simpson




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