Wet Colorado Weather Doesn’t Dampen Spirits During High Prairie Spring Preview

Saturday, May 22, 2010
Posted by LEG Up News

As anyone who’s familiar with Colorado weather knows, May can be an interesting month. Such was the case during the first of three weeks of horse shows at the Colorado Horse Park where a mid-May snowstorm (yes, you read that right) forced the High Prairie Spring Preview (May 13-16) to have a noon start on the first day.
“I love the people at the Colorado shows,” said Show Manager Charlotte Skinner of Langer Equestrian Group. “They were much more accepting of the schedule modifications than I was. I’ll admit I was a bit of a whiner,” she added with a laugh.

The weather didn’t seem to bother Jessica Kiel of Elizabeth, Colorado. She and her horse Newman not only topped the Marshall & Sterling Children’s/Adult Hunter Classic but also were champions in the Combined 12-17 Children’s Hunter division. The Elizabeth High School junior found the experience exciting and was especially pleased with her consistent rounds in the Children's Hunter Classic.

Kiel did not start riding until the summer she was 14 (2007). By that autumn, she had come to Molly Rinedollar's Helicon Show Stables located just two miles up the road from the Colorado Horse Park.

“I'm very glad Molly's my trainer. None of this would have happened without her,” said Kiel. “She’s always very supportive. Even with the stress of school and with college coming up, we always figure something out and make it all balance. Molly has given me lots of opportunities I wouldn't have had otherwise, especially riding other horses and showing her ponies.”

Newman, a striking dappled grey Oldenburg, was one of the first horses Kiel tried out after her previous horse died. “I have always really, really liked him. I like his personality and he has taught me a lot as he is not just a push button horse,” Kiel added. “I have really teamed up with him.”

And indeed the pair has become a team. They ended the 2009 show season as CHJA reserve champions in the Children’s Hunter division and third in USEF Zone 8. She hopes to continue this success in 2010.

A serious student, Jessica maintains a 3.85 GPA in “challenging classes.” Her ultimate educational goal is a doctorate in marine biology at Duke University. “I want to be dedicated to my studies, but still want to ride – so I would like to participate in an intercollegiate riding program,” Kiel explained.

Professional Keiri Kaneps laid down some impressive trips on her way to winning the First Year Hunter championship aboard Emma Willsky’s Simply Said, a horse Kaneps admits can be “quirky.” “This is a horse that operates by his own set of rules,” she noted. “Even so, I really enjoy riding him because the jumping part is so easy for him. I am just putting the polish on this big guy so Emma can show him in the Large Junior Hunters.”  

Kaneps also took home the reserve championship in the First Year Green Hunters with Austin Aibel’s Kashmir. “Kashmir is very sweet and sincere despite his youth,” Kaneps reported. “He always tries to do better each time he is in the show ring. He’s just a delight.” As if to prove Kaneps’ point, Aibel earned the tri-color in the Adult Amateur Hunters on Kashmir as well.

The $3,500 Rider’s Choice High Prairie Mini-Prix was dominated by Bjorn Ikast (left), who claimed the top three places and the sixth spot as well. His mount Anchor Man placed first, followed by Amore (Bovee Limited Liability, owners). Breaking up the party for Ikast was junior rider Nick Gegen (Paul Rohrbach and Corky Shaha, trainers), who fresh off of a stint with George Morris as a demonstration rider, claimed fourth aboard Sancerre.

The Adult Amateur Jumpers featured an intra-barn duel between Rachel Boggus, riding her Wiedam, and Kristina Matthews on her Finesse 176. Both amateurs train with Michael Dennehy at Bridlewood Farms. In the end, Boggus topped the division by winning every class while Matthews finished in the reserve champion slot.  
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Horse showing continues at the Colorado Horse Park beginning May 20, 2010 with the High Prairie Spring Classic. Featured classes include the $10,000 Rider’s Choice High Prairie Mini-Prix, the $1,000 Marshall & Sterling Children’s/Adult Amateur Jumper Classic and the $1,000 Children’s/Adult Amateur Hunter Classic. Back in California, jumping fans will get plenty of action at the Gold Coast 3 show at the LAEC May 21 – 23, followed by the ever popular Memorial Day Classic May 27 – 31. Hansen Dam is a beautiful setting for the Verdugo Hills/Lake View 5 show June 5 - 6.

Photos: Jessica Kiel and Newman were tops in Hunters Photo: Brian Ryder  Bjorn Ikast dominated the Mini-Prix Photo: Brian Ryder