Three weeks of hunter/jumper competition got underway the weekend of June 23-27, giving jumper riders the chance to try for the LEGIS Jumper Rider Bonus, hunters a chance to shine in the $2,500 USHJA National 3’ Hunter Classic, and juniors and amateurs a chance to accumulate points for their trainers in LEG’s Maui Trainer Incentive.
Chestnut Hill, under the leadership of trainer Beverly Jovais and assistant trainer Katharina Coleman, had a fantastic show. They earned six championships, three reserve championships and dozens of firsts and other high-placing ribbons. Coleman was the standard bearer, winning three of those championships and one reserve. “It was amazing,” Katharina said. “The horses jumped amazing. It was a very good horse show.”
She was particularly proud of Capital Hill (Gwen McLaughlin, owner), a horse that was champion in the Pre-green Hunters and reserve champion in Low Hunters, taking first in five out of his seven classes and second in the other two. “He just turned five. We were really happy with him,” Katharina explained. “He’s a new horse for us. He’s very brave, a good mover and has a great mind.”
She also did well with Too Cool (Tylor Nowell, owner) in the First Year Green Hunters, winning the championship and four out of his five classes. Tylor took over the reins for her first show at 3’3” in the hunter and equitation rings and was champion in the Modified Junior Hunters and Equitation 11 & Under. She also took some firsts in the Children’s Hunter 13 & Under to complement those in the other sections.
Other champions from Chestnut Hill included Caroline Robbins with her Right on Time, who were right on the money to take the championship in the Pony Equitation and two wins in the Medium Pony Hunters. Olympic (Grace McLaughlin, owner) was champion in the Second Year Green Hunters with Katharina and champion in the Junior Hunters with Julia Nagler (Benson Carroll, trainer). Mia Rudick piloted her Reveille to a reserve championship in Children’s Hunter 14 to 17, while Blaire Kingsley was reserve champion in Modified Junior Hunters with her Biarritz.
Katharina joined Chestnut Hill nine years ago when she was 19. She was training green ponies at the time. Beverly commented, “Her hard work and dedication have moved her up the ranks and she is winning in the open divisions. I am very proud of all my students and their horses. Head groom Guelano Herrera and rider/trainer Sue Ellen Wright also had a huge part in our success. It takes a village!”
Karrie Rufer (Robert Walker, trainer) earned some tri-colors of her own, taking a championship in the Amateur Owner Hunter 18 and Over and reserve in Modified Amateur Hunter with Justice, as well as in the Equitation 18 to 35 with My Way. However, the highlight of the weekend was sweeping the top two spots of the $2,500 USHJA National 3’ Hunter Classic with My Way in the lead and Justice right behind. Cheyenne Silvester (Didi Woods, trainer) was third in the class with Avant Garde.
“Placing first and second was an amazing experience,” Karrie commented. “I've owned My Way for many years, but Justice is young and a fairly new ride for me. I love working with young horses and the training process in general, so for him to do so well this early in his career makes me very excited for his bright future.”
This is not the first time she’s been in the winner’s circle in a derby style class. She won one at Pebble Beach last year and has competed in several others as well. “Winning this class was so exciting because, although I've been competing in these classes since Thermal, it's the first big win for me this year with this horse. The classes have been so competitive, especially with all the juniors, amateurs, and professionals involved, that winning means you really had to ride. I truly enjoy the derby classes; they are a refreshing change for the horses and riders. A derby class gives me the freedom to make challenging decisions and my horses a chance to see natural obstacles and show off their ability to be handy. The derbies really spice up the hunter ring.”
Having two horses in the class meant managing two different plans to bring out the best performance in each. “On My Way, it's all about taking the course one fence at a time. You never know how the horses are going to react to the course (especially to the more natural obstacles), so I had to really focus on being flexible according to his reactions and not get stuck on a specific plan.”
Karrie has owned the seven-year-old My Way (“Frankie”) for about three years. “Everyone at Westhaven (my barn) refers to him as the "miracle horse." He broke his shoulder right after I bought him and no one really thought he would ever see a show ring. Somehow, after a year of stall rest as a four year-old, he healed nicely enough to bring back. I never thought he would compete at this level and do so well.”
The diminutive gelding is just 15.1 hands, but he doesn’t seem to know it, compensating for his size with a big attitude. “In the show ring, he's all heart. The more difficult things get, the harder he tries. He's just one of those horses that loves his job and trusts me unconditionally. He really rose to the occasion in this class in terms of his rideability and confidence to the jumps.”
She added, “I would like to thank my trainers, Diane Yeager and Kristen Swanson, who couldn't make it to the show, and also Bob Walker, Erin Stewart, and the amazing barn family at Edgewood Equestrian who made me feel so at home this past week!”
While Karrie celebrated success in the hunter ring, Helen McNaught of Outwoods Farm had her own reason to celebrate in the jumpers. After winning the 1.15m Jumper championship with Vizcaya (Gretchen Bering, Helen McNaught Show LLC, owners), she went on to take the win in the $10,000 Woodside Jumper Classic with Caballo. Her victory puts her in line for the LEGIS Jumper Rider Bonus, along with Rene Rios and Peter Breakwell.
The Jumper Rider Bonus offers a bonus check to any rider who wins two, three, four or five of the Jumper Classics or Grands Prix at the Woodside shows. Riders can win as much as $25,000 if they win all five. With four shows left in the Woodside season, each of the three riders in contention has a chance for a bonus check this fall.
Helen won the Jumper Classic at last year’s Circuit Preview aboard Ocean Cat (Doug & Julie White, owners), while Caballo placed seventh. “I like to win, and it's always nicer when it's a good money class. My horse is incredible. We've had a fantastic year, as he's become so reliable he makes it easy for me. In the jump off, I made sure I stayed inside Jenni’s and Rachel’s tracks. ” Rachel Yorke was second in the class aboard Karl Du Chateau (Cathy Mendez, owner), while Jenni McAllister took Glados (Marnco, owner) to the third place ribbon.
Outwoods Farm had numerous other wins and ribbons at the show. Duncan McFarlane was reserve champion in the 1.35m Jumpers with Mr. Whoopy (Simone Coxe, owner), along with several blues including the $1,000 Open Welcome Stake. Simone Coxe earned ribbons with her Cardano and Guverner, plus a win in the 1.15m Modified Junior/Amateur Jumpers with Dondero. Gretchen Bering was reserve champion in 1.20 Modified Junior/Amateur Jumpers with Hemingway (Helen McNaught Show LLC, owner) and placed first or second in all her classes with him and Country Boy (Helen McNaught Show LLC, owner).
Helen added, “The Woodside shows have a great atmosphere, friendly office and grounds people. They offer decent prize money, and for the young horses and clients, three weeks in one place is a great way to bring them along in their career a little quicker.”
For complete results and more information on the Woodside shows, visit http://www.langershows.com/woodside/show_details.php?show_id=161.
The second week of exciting competition is under way at Woodside, concluding on Sunday, while the third show in the summer circuit will run July 7-11. Meanwhile, the Colorado Circuit Preview runs July 1-4, and LEG will head back to the LAEC July 23-25 for Gold Coast 5.
Photos: Karrie Rufer and My Way are no strangers to the winner's circle Photo: Sheri Scott
Helen Mcnaught and Caballo sail through the $10,000 Jumper Classic Photo: Sheri Scott
Duncan McFarlane and Mr. Whoopy take the $1,000 Open Welcome Stake Photo: Sheri Scott