Exhibitors at the Bay Area Festival (June 30-July 4) celebrated Independence Day in fine style, particularly during the $20,000 Bayfest Grand Prix. Spectators enjoyed an old fashioned American style barbecue while watching the grand prix, and for an added touch of patriotism, Denize Borges’ students hung up their red, white and blue ribbons on their barn in a patriotic display.
The ladies are ruling the Saturday night jumper events at Woodside this circuit, with the top three winners from last week trading places but remaining in the top spots. Rachel Field won the blue this week aboard Karl Du Chateau (Cathy Mendez, owner), while Jenni McAllister piloted Glados (Marnco, owner) neatly to second place. Last week’s winner Helen McNaught was third with Laricello (Alison Heafey, owner) after accruing just one time fault, and Helen also finished fourth with Caballo (Helen McNaught Show LLC, owner). All three ladies vie for the CWD Jumper Rider Bonus, which is a $1,000 gift certificate that goes to the rider with the most prize money on one horse in the unrestricted jumper classes at the three Woodside Summer Circuit shows. With her victory in the $20,000 Bayfest Grand Prix, Rachel took the lead.
Rachel and Karl Du Chateau won this very class in 2007, and they have continued to do well since then. “We have started in five grands prix this year and have placed in all of them. He has jumped super all season, so it was nice to win one. He has so much step and jumps with such ease, he is so light off of the ground and has become much more rideable this season. He has a lot of attitude which I think is what makes him so good. I'm very fortunate to ride a horse like this and I have Cathy and Alex Mendez to thank for that.” Rachel added that she appreciates all the support she gets from the Sandhaven team.
Rachel continued, “This week was really no different, although my father had told me the day before that if I wanted to win I had better go faster through the start flags. I try to do what I'm told, especially by the likes of him. I was always figuring that Helen and Jenni would be the ones I had to jump off with if I went clear, along with a few others like Duncan McFarlane and Peter Breakwell. They have so much more experience than I do, but I stuck to the plan and it paid off.”
Jenni McAllister of Martin McAllister Training found the course technical but good, and she guided Glados around it skillfully and left every rail in place. “This is a new partnership with Glados, and we’re just starting to develop trust in each other,” she explained. “She’s a very competitive horse, but she’s sensitive, and that makes a difference in how you ride her and how much confidence you give her. She’s with you 110% as long as she thinks you’re with her. She’s a really fun horse.”
Jenni enjoys the relaxed family atmosphere of the Woodside shows, coupled with good competition. “I liked that the grand prix was a little later in the day. It made it feel more special—more of an event—and I think more people came to watch. They root for everyone, and it’s really nice.”
Veteran hunter rider Diane Yeager was solid gold in the $2,500 USHJA National 3’ Classic aboard Absolute Gold, bred and owned by Twinkle Gorman. The gelding started his show career as a champion, garnering reserve championships in the International Hunter Futurity as a two year old, three year old, and four year old. In his fifth year he took the top honors. “When he was two, he was so quiet I let Twinkle ride him,” said Diane, who has worked with the seven year old gelding every step of the way.
At the Bay Area Festival, Absolute Gold was confident and stylish throughout both rounds. “He definitely had his game face on,” Diane said. “Being handy is his strong suit, so we took all the inside turns and higher option fences.”
Diane, whose Westhaven Farm recently relocated to Graceland Equestrian Center in Castro Valley, thinks the derby-style classes are good for the sport. “It puts a whole new spin on the hunters—it’s a little more old school. It helps get people interested in the hunters again, because it’s a crowd pleaser. They want to see how the riders handle the different options, and having the bonus points makes it more exciting. If the rider before you takes them, you do, too, or they’ll beat you.” Diane also finished sixth with Regal (Susan Dorsey, owner), and two of her students also got top prizes. Mariah Brush aboard her High Profile took third place and Sue Sadlier piloted her Double Eagle to the eighth place ribbon.
Amateur rider Elizabeth Robbins (Beverly Jovais, trainer) proved that juniors and amateurs can hold their own with professionals. With two consistent rounds on her Jonagold, Elizabeth found herself in second when the class was over. After a long hiatus, Elizabeth returned to riding when her daughter, Caroline, showed an interest in riding. Finishing second in the classic was a highlight for Elizabeth. “I just feel so lucky to be riding again. I don’t think I fully appreciated it when I was a child. It is scarier now, and I get more nervous than I did as kid. However, it’s really fun to share this with my daughter.”
Caroline got to share success with her mother after piloting Right On Time to the reserve championship in the Small/ Medium Pony Hunters.
Elizabeth was both excited and nervous to ride in the derby-style class. “I love the hunter derbies. They’re so fun, and I like being out there in that huge field of jumps. My favorite was the hay bale with the brush top. I also like how they bring the juniors, amateurs and professionals together. It’s difficult riding against the professionals, but you can watch them and learn from them, and then go ride the same course. That made it even more exciting that I did well.” Elizabeth also enjoyed being able to do the class with other riders from Chestnut Hill, like Tylor Nowell, who came in seventh with her Too Cool.
Clementine Yost was too cool in the equitation ranks, topping 19 other riders in the competitive CPHA Foundation Equitation Medal class. She also took the WCE Medal and several other wins at the show. She rode her William Tell, a grand prix jumper she bought at the end of last year. “He was still looking for the bell last year, but they’re starting to get together this year and have some success,” explained trainer Benson Carroll of Ventana Farm.
Clementine has been concentrating on school this year and is not showing as much as she normally would. However, that does not seem to be affecting her results. She has qualified for several of the NorCal medals, and she has one more year to show as a junior. “I really think we’ll see good things from her this year at the finals,” Benson added. “She’s an incredible student, great to work with and teach. I’m really thrilled for her, and it’s great to see her and William Tell come together like they have. They’re both showing more consistency in the show ring, and that’s what will pay off for her.”
Laura Hartness (Julie Keville, trainer) had her own payoff when she was champion in Equitation 36 and Over aboard Stands Alone (Marissa Metzger, owner) and champion in Adult Amateur Hunters 36-49 with Revlon (Rudy Leone, owner). “I am fortunate to catch ride at Julie’s barn, and I love riding Revlon. He is such a special horse. She was so kind to offer him to me. The barn is like a family, and Julie has amazing talent with taking on horses and making them shine.”
The Bay Area Festival wrapped up in star spangled fashion, and the upcoming Golden Gate Classic concludes the three week Woodside Summer Circuit.
For complete results and other information about the Woodside shows, visit http://www.langershows.com/woodside/show_details.php?show_id=162.
The summer circuit in Woodside concludes this weekend with the Golden Gate Classic July 7-11, and the show season will return there September 3-6 for the Labor Day Classic. The Colorado Circuit Opener also runs July 7-11, followed by the Rocky Mountain Classic July 14-18. Jumping action returns to Southern California July 23-25 for Gold Coast 5 at the LAEC.
For more information on Langer Equestrian Group and all the shows, visit www.langershows.com.
Photos: Rachel Field and Karl Du Chateau top the grand prix Photo: Sheri Scott, Diane Yeager and Absolute Gold win the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter 3' Classic Photo: Sheri Scott,
Elizabeth Robbins on cloud nine after winning second place in the classic Photo: Sheri Scott