The second week of hunter/jumper action at the Horse Park at Woodside during the Woodside Spring Classic (May 6-9) featured repeat winners, double wins, and new stars. Regardless of who claimed victory, competition was keen across the board.
In a repeat of the previous week, Hope Glynn dominated the USHJA National 3’ Classic by sweeping the top three places with Woodstock (Sabrina H. Hellman, owner), Chance Of Flurries (Sovereign Farms, owner) and Timeless (Avery Hellman, owner) in that order. "This is my favorite class. You can really ride in them,” she said. The derby style class provided a fantastic opportunity for spectators to relax and enjoy a complimentary catered dinner while watching an exciting group of talented riders jump in and out of the arena, show off their bravery by taking bigger option jumps, and earn extra points for handiness by taking tighter turns. Glynn recalled, “Everyone was out having dinner provided by management while enjoying the class. The riders were dressed up for the class and the horses were jumping great as it was a bit spooky jumping from the one ring to the other. It was a fun venue to ride in or to watch.”
Derby-style classes are not only great entertainment for the spectators, but they are also good opportunities for hunter riders to get a little limelight, earn prize money and challenge themselves and their mounts. “I personally like to ride in the derbies because it pushes me to ride better, and my horses usually perk up a bit so I get a great effort from them off the ground,” Glynn explained. “I really like the change of pace from line, diagonal, line in the traditional hunters.”
She went on to say, “I feel like my horses jump the best in the derby classes not only because they are impressed by the jumps, but because I ride a little more like an equitation rider. I sit up better, use more leg off the ground, and take more of a feel of my canter. I think I need to ride more like this in all of my classes, and when I put the shadbelly on it just makes me sit up better.”
The show also awarded special prizes to the highest score junior and the highest scoring amateur, which were well received since the juniors and amateurs have ride against the tough to beat professionals.
Sarina Kornberg earned the highest scoring junior rider in the 3’ Classic with her tenth place finish. “I am incredibly proud of her,” said Kornberg’s mother, Carrie Finkle. Kornberg has been bringing along her Thoroughbred cross, Atticus, since he was four with the help of Chestnut Hill trainers Beverly Jovais and Katharina Coleman. “She’s had great highs and great lows with this horse. This was one of the highs,” added Finkle.
“It was really exciting,” added Kornberg. “Going into the class I just wanted to focus on having a good round. Getting called back (for the second round) was just icing on the cake.” Although she has ridden in a derby-style class before and won it, this week was her first time riding in a class of this type against professionals. This show served as a transition for her, as she is moving up to the Modified Junior section. “I’m hoping to be consistent and successful in those classes this year.”
Amateur rider Sue Sadlier finished fourth in the class behind Glynn and was therefore the high scoring amateur. “I loved the format,” she said of her first derby experience. “They opened up the adjacent arenas to make a large track. There were challenging lines and more variables than a typical hunter class.” She added that she equated it to a medal finals type of course.
She took all of the bigger option jumps and kept to as tight a track as she could in the handy round to maximize her points. She felt she had an advantage in the class because of her experience in the equitation and medal classes, as well as the fact that her horse, Double Eagle, jumps 3’6” regularly. The pair captured the Amateur Owner Hunter championship for the show, and Sadlier also won the Horse & Hound Medal. However, Sadlier was not done garnering accolades. Aboard her new horse, Diamond River, a horse she has only owned for a month, Sadlier captured the Low Amateur Owner Hunter and Modified Amateur Hunter championships.
Sadlier trains with Buddy and Vanessa Brown of Derby Hill at home, and often works with Diane Yeager at shows. She had trained with Yeager for several years, but when Sadlier moved from the East Bay to Woodside, the commute was too long so she began working with Derby Hill in January. The situation served her well as Yeager was out of town during the Woodside Spring Classic, so Buddy and Vanessa Brown stepped in and it was all seamless.
“I really like it,” Sadlier explained about working with two different trainers. “It’s the best of both worlds. They’re all great trainers, and I feel really lucky that they are flexible enough to allow me to do it.” While it may seem like it could be confusing to work with different people, Sadlier finds that it works well. “There are a lot of similarities between them, but it’s good having a different set of eyes watching you ride.” She noted that the trainers she works with have similar philosophies, are hard working, and have the best interests of the clients in mind. “They’re all about the clients being successful.”
“We’re all good friends,” Buddy Brown added. “We’re like a team; helping each other out when needed.” He noted that different trainers specialize in different rings, so the client gets the best instruction for each—and gets help transferring the information from one style to another.
Sadlier is not the only client Buddy shares with other trainers. His student Marnye Langer, who won High Junior/ Amateur Owner Classic with Glados and fourth with On The Town (Marnco, owner) regularly trains with Steve and Jenni McAllister (Martin McAllister Training) but gets help from Buddy at the Woodside shows. In fact, Buddy recommended Langer to McAllister.
“It’s no different from coaching any other rider,” Steve McAllister put in. “It’s the trainer’s job to show the rider what needs to be done, and it’s the rider’s job to take that information and do the best they can.” He noted that Derby Hill and Martin McAllister have similar systems, so working with the same students works well for them. In fact, Buddy sometimes helps Jenni at shows, especially for the grands prix. “It’s easy as long as both trainers are agreeable, the rider is up-front and open, and there are clear goals set for the horse and rider,” McAllister continued.
Another rider who works with two different trainers is Adrienne Dixon, who works with Derby Hill for jumpers and Benson Carroll (left) for equitation and medals. This week she won the $1000 Low Junior/ Amateur Owner Classic aboard Alize, a horse she has owned for six years. However, she reported that he is for sale so she can keep moving up. “While I’m sad to see that partnership end, I’m looking forward to the next opportunity,” she explained. “He’ll never say no. He’s always go, go, go.”
While her horse did well for her, that is only one part of the equation. “I love, love, love Michael’s courses,” she said of course designer Michael Roy Curtis. “I always do well when he sets. His courses flow really well and have a challenging level of technicality, but they are definitely do-able. They’re inviting for every skill level; they’re not overwhelming, but they ask enough of the rider.”
“She’s a great student,” Brown said of Dixon, who was on the bronze medal team at the NAJYRC last year. “Benson Carroll did a great job with her—he gave her good basics.”
“I can’t say enough about Adrienne,” Carroll offered. “She has a beautiful style and is very poised. She really knows how to follow a plan.” He feels that riding in all three rings – jumpers, hunters, and equitation -- makes Dixon a better rider. “In my experience, it all boils down to experience. Riding in the different rings you get more time in the ring and you ride different horses, and horses are the best teachers. That’s the important thing when grooming a young rider: exposing them to different rings and as many different horses as possible.”
Dixon finds working with both Brown and Carroll helps her to ride better. “I love it,” she explained. “It really helps to have more than one set of eyes calling me out on different things in my riding. It gives you more perspective and input.”
Dixon earned numerous ribbons in the hunter and equitation rings with Regent Park (Lauren and Cathy Michaels, owners), including Equitation 18 to 35 Champion. She enjoys showing at Woodside mainly because of the positive atmosphere. “Everyone supports each other and cheers each other on. It’s like a big family reunion.”
Carroll had some success on his own as well, winning the Welcome Stake with a spectacular ride on a fabulous young horse. “He’s a pretty special horse. Very talented,” he said of the eight-year-old Catrine (Julia Nagler, owner). “He’s a super careful jumper. We’re really lucky to have him in our barn.” He felt the class set Catrine up well for Sunday’s $7,500 Woodside Jumper Classic, in which he placed third. “I mostly wanted to make sure he felt really confident,” he recounted. “I always really enjoy Michael Roy Curtis’s courses. He’s producing young horses, not just building a track. A good designer asks the right questions so the horses learn, and that’s what he does.” The pair also took the $500 Young Jumper Championships for seven- and eight-year-olds.
While Nagler also rides Catrine, she is currently letting Carroll put some miles on him. She rode Vincenzo to great success this week after trying him at the Woodside Spring Preview and buying him. She was Champion in her equitation section after winning several of her classes, as well as taking the Pessoa/USEF Hunter Seat Medal, ASPCA Horsemanship, and CPHA Foundation Equitation Medal. She also piloted Utric (Henge Hill Investments, owner) to a win in the Carousel Junior/Amateur Medal.
Rene Rios and Cartier (Connie Fitzgerald, owner) were second in the Welcome Stake after winning it last week. He then topped this by winning the $7500 Spring Jumper Classic in a very exciting seven horse jump off that went fast, faster, fastest. Rios (right) was fastest of all and double clean to take the title. “My horse was really good,” he recalled. “He’s never gone that fast with me before.” However, the speed didn’t throw the talented young rider. “I ride him really well instinctively, because we know each other so well.”
He watched a couple of the other riders go before him and knew he could make up time by making tighter turns in the first part of the jump off, concluding with a long gallop to the Golden Gate Bridge jump. Everyone went fast, but Rios was fastest with an all out gallop and Cartier skimmed over the jump, leaving the rails on their cups. “The second place finishers, Lindsay Ramar and Puma, are really competitive at the 1.40m height,” he explained. “I watched her go, and I was amazed that I was faster than her.”
Rios was coached in his ride by Jeff and Rachel Fields. “They’re a great help. It’s really a lot of fun to have friends to school and ride with. Everyone needs a trainer,” Rios added. Rios also rode two 10-year-old Dutch Warmbloods to wins this week. His own Ethos was the star in the 1.20m Jumpers, while Malcolm McNaughton’s Tarkan won the 1.15m Jumpers and was Reserve Champion in his section. “We had a great week,” Rios finished. “We ended it with better horses and riders than we started with.”
Rios and Peter Breakwell are both in contention for the LEGIS $25,000 Jumper Rider Bonus awarded to the jumper rider who can win multiple jumper classics or grands prix during the 2010 show season at Woodside. When show jumping action resumes during the Woodside Summer Circuit, both Rios and Breakwell will be vying for additional wins along with other top jumper riders. For more information on the LEGIS $25,000 Jumper Rider Bonus: http://www.langershows.com/pdf/programs/2010_legis_jpr_rider_bonus_rules.pdf
For more information on LEG Insurance Solutions, the sponsor of the award, please visit: www.legisequine.com.
Woodside Spring Classic results and information are on the LEG website at: http://www.leghorseshows.com/woodside/show_details.php?show_id=160
The Woodside show season resumes June 23-27 with the three week Woodside Summer Circuit. Hunter/Jumper action gets underway for the year at the Colorado Horse Park with Langer Equestrian Group’s three spring shows, beginning with the High Prairie Spring Preview (May 13-16). Verdugo Hills 4 at the Hansen Equestrian Center is scheduled for May 15-16, and then the third Gold Coast show of the year at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center is May 21-23. May closes out with the ever popular Memorial Day Classic (May 27-31).
Complete information about the shows is on the LEG website at: www.langershows.com.
Photos: Marnye Langer celebrates her win in the High Junior/Amateur Owner Classic - Photo: Sheri Scott
Benson Carroll sails to a win in the Welcome Stake - Photo: Sheri Scott
Rene Rios and Cartier take charge of the $7500 Spring Jumper Classic - Photo: Sheri Scott