Rebecca Bruce rose to the occasion to take top honors on Cristallo (Christine Phillips, owner) in the $1,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby at Gold Coast April (Apr 4-6). With high expectations for this young horse, Rebecca guided Cristallo to a well-deserved win.
“This was Cristallo’s first derby, so I was overjoyed to have him do so well. We had him since he was a baby and did all the training with him, so to see him win his first derby was great.” With scores of 89 in the first round and 93 in the second, Cristallo is off to a promising derby career. If the pair wins another derby during the Gold Coast Series this season, they will win a bonus check courtesy of the LEGIS Hunter Rider Bonus. Michael Leon, who won a $5,000 LEGIS Derby Rider Bonus in 2013, placed second on Cullen (Pinon West LLC, owner).
Top-placing junior rider Cece Manze (Joe Thorpe, trainer) piloted Curacao (Michael Chaney, owner) to a third place finish. With the exuberance of youth on her side, 16-year-old Cece has successfully competed with her mentors and heroes, such as Michael Leon and Hap Hansen. An excited Cece told of a history of her derby success by saying, “Curacao and I began doing derbies last year. The first big derby I did was the $10,000 USHJA International Memorial Day Hunter Derby last year where I surprised both my trainer and myself by taking every high option. I remember thinking at the time that one oxer in particular was huge! It was so much fun and I ended up seventh right behind Hap Hansen, which was a thrill. I felt so out of place standing out there getting my ribbons with all the professionals, and still do after doing quite a few derbies. I was also the highest placing junior then, which I have been lucky to be in every derby I have entered since.”
Cece and Curacao also won the WCE Junior-Amateur Medal Class and the ASPCA Horsemanship Class. “I'm hoping to qualify for both medal finals,” Cece revealed. “To be able to rack up points in a calm environment like Gold Coast is something I'm really thankful for.”
In the jumper ring, Nicholas Rossi and Agnes (Lacy Stormes and Nicholas Rossi, owner) claimed 1.20M Jumper Champion. “Agnes is a challenging ride,” Nicholas shared, “but she has become light on her feet while being shoeless and has developed into a solid jumper.” Nicholas hopes to take Agnes to the higher jumper classes in the future. “I’ll take her as far as she can go – this is what is rewarding about this sport,” he added.
In the April Outreach classes, Charlie Sheen watched as his children (Nancy Frost, trainer) took over the Opportunity Walk-Trot and Walk-Trot-Canter classes. Sami Sheen on her Small But Mighty took Opportunity Walk-Trot-Canter Champion. Sami’s sister, Lola, rode her Princess Lili to win Opportunity Walk-Trot Reserve Champion.
The Outreach classes are a new addition to the Gold Coast Shows. “We wanted to encourage people new to showing to come to Gold Coast,” explained show secretary Brenda Outwater. “Some people think the competition is too steep for them, and we wanted a way to introduce them to the Gold Coast shows. We even have series awards for the Outreach riders sponsored by U.S. Horse Feeds and LEGISequine.”
Outreach class successes continued with Annabelle Steel (Nancy Frost, trainer) winning her first blue ribbon and ultimately Opportunity Walk-Trot Champion. “I was so surprised! Since this was my first show, I didn’t even realize there was a champion award!”
Brooke Baldwin (Rebecca Bruce, trainer) on her own Some Like It Hot showed in Opportunity Walk-Trot-Canter. “I felt really surprised and excited when I heard the announcer call my name first,” Brooke said. “It was only my second blue ribbon and my first time competing at LAEC.” Brooke did well enough to earn the reserve championship for her section.
The next show at LAEC will be the Gold Coast Series May Horse Show, including Outreach classes (May 16-18), followed by the always popular Memorial Day Classic (May 21-25). Also in Southern California, the Verdugo Hills May Show (May 10-11) will be held at the Hansen Dam Equestrian Center. The Colorado Springs April Shows have been combined into one show (Apr. 17-19). In Northern California, the Woodside Spring Preview (Apr. 23-27) and the Woodside Spring Classic (Apr. 30-May 1) are coming up.
For more information about these shows, visit the LEG website.