by Daniella Sternberg
On Saturday afternoon the $50,000 Grand Prix hosted by Blenheim took place at the gorgeous Show Park facility down in Del Mar. It was a beautiful afternoon and the atmosphere was electric as riders discussed the course. The fences were not maximum height, and yet tricky turns proved too much for a majority of the 25 starters.
The course designer was the world renowned Anthony D'Ambrosio of New York, who built the 2015 World Cup course. It was truly a "riders" course, challenging the horses adjustability but mostly the riders ability to make quick yet accurate decisions. It was Jamie Azcarraga and Anton's turn for a win today and he flew to victory in a speedy and clear jump off round that beat his second horse Toulonia giving him a 1st and 2nd over a technical course. Not far behind was Mandy Porter and Milano who took 3rd place.
Overall it was a fantastic day from a spectator's point of view as the best in the west competed to earn the title winner of the $50,000 Grand Prix.
by Daniella Sternberg
Big, stout and technical was the name of the game at Blenhiem's Markel Insurance 1.40 Grand Prix. Located at The Show Park facility in Del Mar, this class is a favorite for many, whether they bespectator or rider.
The class began with 52 starters and was narrowed down to eight clear rounds after a double plank one stride took out a good portion of competitors. While a good number of riders were regular west coast representatives, Jaime Azcarraga from Mexico proceeded to jump clear with three of his horses. Unfortunately, winning wasn't in the books for him this week.
Michelle Parker and Cupilor triumphed over the field with a clear and fast round leaving them as the winners of the $25,000 Grand Prix. Among the top prize list was Jaime Azcarraga in 2nd, 5th, and 6th and Hanna Mauritzon in 3rd.
Check back soon for an update from the $50,000 Grand Prix this weekend!
by Emily Baker
As an equestrienne for 20+ years now I have only recently started to venture into the world of shows outside of Colorado. Reason being: I am footing the bills myself these days and not having to convince my parents of the benefits of a shipping bill that is twice the cost of the show itself. That said, this was one of the greatest draws of the HIPICO Santa Fe horse shows as it was reasonably inexpensive to get there from Colorado - relatively speaking of course. So with my checkbook in one hand and a regrettably flimsy rain jacket in the other I set out this past week on an adventure to New Mexico.
The town of Santa Fe itself has a western vibe that is quite charming. All of the buildings are modern recreations of the Native American structures that dominated the area historically. In fact, not only is this the only city in America that can claim such an abundance of this style of architecture, but the town enacted an ordinance in 1957 requiring all architecture to maintain the historical integrity of the town and keep up the adobe style.
The horse show also had this distinctly Southwestern flair. Many of the permanent structures resembled the adobe architecture in town. Country song-esque red dirt roads weave around the property, and the show sits in the middle of the New Mexico desert. It, too, was very charming and aesthetically appealing especially to a western enthusiast.
Cost of shipping aside, the main pull factor for the Santa Fe horse show was the grass. I had heard incredible things from exhibitors last year both about the size and quality of the field. And in fact, they certainly lived up to the hype. They took great care of their grass fields, alternating use on certain days and saving the largest field for the weekend only. Unfortunately, I never did get to show on the grass.
Lo and behold, it was monsoon season in Santa Fe at this time of year and it was not about to disappoint. Around roughly the same time every day that we were there a monsoon would roll through the horse park sending soaked horse and riders fleeing to their barns and shutting down the horse show for at least an hour. As a result, my class on the day shown above was actually cancelled. In addition, the rain so badly flooded the grass fields that ALL jumper classes on the days subsequent were held in the much smaller and less impressive Jumper 2 arena (including the Grand Prix.) This did not come without it's own share of challenges after the rain.
One entire corner of Jumper 2 had formed it's own Lake HIPICO after Friday's monsoon and the ring crew worked tirelessly to correct it. It was an all day process which included pole rolling, excessive raking, cordoning off the corner of the arena entirely (giving riders only one option in a rollback turn on course that caused quite a few rails and refusals on course), and then eventually bringing in tractor loads of sand to soak up the water. By the time my class went late in the afternoon the ground was dry and we were no longer restricted from using that part of the arena.
By far the horse show's most commendable quality was the VIP tent experience. For the price of a few pretty pennies you were given a table in the tent which included breakfast, lunch, open bar, complimentary 15 minute massages, a pool and ping pong table, and comfortable shaded viewing of the arenas. Not only did the tent provide us shelter from the storm but it afforded a comfortable place to watch much of the horse show action.
The show had many ups and downs beyond the VIP tent and the storms. There were countless other amenities around the horse show. On the down side many exhibitors were still upset about the footing situation particularly in the warm-up rings, which was a complaint echoed from last year. Not to mention, those warm-up rings were perilously small. In addition, quite a few barns were housed in stalls in the stuffy indoor arena as a result of a tenting faux pas, which caused us to pack up and leave the show a week early.
On the upside, vendor's row had numerous different merchants, a HIPICO merchandise shop, and stands from many of their sponsors including the circulation chairs above which were enjoyed by many drowsy exhibitors. In addition, the show had an art walk which featured sculptures and paintings from many local artists available for viewing and purchase. Further, the show was also well-outfitted with helpful signage including these "Future Shade Tree Do Not Eat" signs that were placed nowhere near an actual tree. I'm still pondering the purpose of those signs.
by Emily Baker
photos by Claire Hertel
It was a Derby affair this past Sunday at Summer in the Rockies IV at the Colorado Horse Park! The schedule boasted the Pony Derby, National Derby, International Derby, and a Jumper Derby along with all of the Jumper and Hunter Classics. Here are the results from this event filled day.
$5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby
Winner: Journey ridden by Ariel Black
2nd Place: Verity ridden by Amberly Wentz
3rd place: Arcadian ridden by Becky Warner
$1,500 NAL/WIHS Children's Hunter Classic
Winner: Love Struck ridden by Kelly Stensland
2nd Place: After the Laughter ridden by Lindsey Boesen
3rd Place: Sirius Black ridden by Anna Lawrence
Pre-Adult Hunter Classic
Winner: Hip Hop ridden by Jackie Johnson
2nd Place: All In ridden by Mallory McVey
3rd Place: La Martina ridden by Kendra Alcock
$4,000 Adult Jumper Classic
Winner: Carlos ridden by Tami Sopinski
2nd Place: Balthazar ridden by Audrey Carlson
3rd Place: No Nonsense Z ridden by Sharon McElvain
$2,000 Low Adult Classic
Winner: Pegase de Thurgis ridden by Tami Sopinski
2nd Place: WT Chevelle ridden by Molly Faunce
3rd Place: Tarantino ridden by Madison Bloom
by Daniella Sternberg
photos by Retha and Daniella Sternberg
Summer is finally here and California's favorite horse show series is officially underway! Placed at the beautiful Oaks facility, the Blenhiem June Week 2 is a show not to be missed as a competitor or spectator. With four grass fields and three sand rings running all week, it was a busy show. There were numerous exciting classes filled with extremely talented horses. Some of these classes were the $1,000 Pre-Green Hunter Stakes, $5,000 1.40 Classic, $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby and the $30,000 Blenhiem June Classic 2 Grand Prix.
With school officially ou , it was time for some serious fun, which everyone seemed to have in the softball game (high-five orange team!) This was a show with big fences, hard competition and a whole lot of fun as well as success. Come jump into summer with us at all four weeks of the Blenhiem Summer series and see how we do it down here in Southern California.
by Emily Baker
photos by Claire Hertel
With Summer in the Rockies well under way it is clear that the Colorado Horse Park is undergoing a complete transformation. The footing project has been completed in Ring 6 and 7 (formerly the Coles arena and Hunter 4), the International Ring (formerly the Derby Field), and the Coors Family Arena (formerly the Grand Prix Ring.) The drastic improvements therein are immediately apparent both visually and tangibly through the rides in these arenas. As a long time CHP competitor, having suffered many a footing related injury with my horses there, I was notably impressed by the change this week.
Furthermore, the Horse Park is making a clear effort to reawaken the social scene at the shows. Thanks to the efforts of Community Relations Manager, Sarah Tredennick, the first few weeks have boasted ice cream socials, pizza parties, and many other events! The upcoming weeks they will be launching a Lunch and Learn series where riders can become more educated about aspects of our sport.
More importantly, however, the show was a success this week for many riders. Here are some of the highlights:
Riveting and Sarah Engel
After a hiatus from the show ring Sarah and Riveting, aka "Toad," returned this week in style. The pair were Champion in the Children's Hunter 14-17 and Toad won two of his Low Hunter classes earlier in the week with trainer Brianna Davis.
Madison Bloom and Tarantino
Madison Bloom and Tarantino have made a great team so far, this just being the second month that the pair have been working together. They placed 3rd in one of their Low Adult Jumpers classes in the newly revamped Coors Family Arena and then were 7th in the Low Adult Jumper Classic. Tarantino is currently for sale by Michael Kirby, but is here in Colorado for the summer competing with Savoy Stables.
KT Lansini and Reide Smithers
Smithers and Lansini continue their campaign in the Junior medals at the Summer Circuit with a 5th in the Washington International and an 8th placing in the Pessoa Medal. Lansini also came in 3rd this week in the Performance Hunters with trainer Brianna Davis.
Provence and Teddy McNaughton
Teddy and Provence, aka "Playboy," are a versatile team who have made appearances in the Jumper, Equitation, and Hunter rings. This show they excelled the Junior Hunters, coming in consistently in the top four, with a 2nd place finish on Saturday. They also came in 4th in the CHJA Junior Medal.
Love Struck and Kelly Stensland
Stensland and Leo came to the Colorado show circuit from Pennsylvania this past year. The move boded well for them, as their show record from this week alone was quite lengthy! The pair had numerous 1st, 2nd and 3rd placings in the the Children's Hunter 13 and Under and were Champion in their division. "Leo" also was also champion in the Performance Hunters this week with trainer Brianna Davis.
Odin and Emma Gjester
Gjester was the youngest Savoy Stables rider at the horse show this week with her Selle Francais cross, Odin. The pair ended up 5th in the Modified Children's Hunter Classic and came in 2nd in the Under Saddle.
V.P.N. and Megan Engel
Engel, a veteran in the Junior Hunters, made the transition at Summer in the Rockies III to the Jumper ring and had a blast. With V.P.N she ended up 4th in the Low Children's Jumper Classic on Sunday, being one of only four double clear rounds on course. V.P.N. also comes to Savoy from Michael Kirby and is for sale. He can be seen in the Jumper ring again this week at Summer in the Rockies IV.
KT Clapton and Kylah Romke
Clapton is a 7 year old warmblood who excels in any arena he competes in. With Kylah Romke aboard this week, they competed in the Junior Hunters and the 12-14 equitation. Most notably, Clapton and Romke brought home the yellow ribbon consistently in their equitation classes.
Sun Runner and Emily Baker
Sun Runner, aka "Sonny", and owner/rider Emily Baker competed in their first show together this week at Summer in the Rockies III. Sonny is a veteran in the Children's Jumpers and carried Baker to a 6th place finish in the Low Adult Jumper Classic on Sunday. They are looking forward to another fun week this week!
Here are just a few Candids from around the Horse Park this week. If you would like your own Photo Journal, or to be featured in one, contact Editor in Chief Emily Baker here.
by Daniella Sternberg
photos by Retha Sternberg
The A show's impressive atmosphere and competitive spirit are something to be admired however, it's important to take a step back and realize why we show: for the love of the horses. The Victory County Horse Show on the 21st and 22nd of May at The Oaks was a great place for riders and horses to gain experience without the pressure of an A rated show.
It was so nice to see the horses, trainers, and students having fun and enjoying every moment. Not to mention it was a great way to gear up for the upcoming Blenheim June Classic series!
We are so pleased to have Daniella and Retha Sternberg representing Equestrienne in the California show circuit this summer! Keep an eye out for my photos and stories from The Blenheim June Classic at The Oaks.
Featuring Savoy Stables, and Friends of Savoy
by Emily Baker; photos by Kristina Kern and Emily Baker
The Colorado Horse Park Spring series wrapped up this past weekend with the High Prairie Spring Final. Equestrienne had the pleasure of following around the Savoy Stables team and a few of their friends on Sunday to photograph their experience. Check out the lovely ladies (and gentlemen of Savoy) in this second installment in our Photo Journals. Smaller photos can be enlarged by clicking on them for a closer look!
Marley Bajoras and Charly 1498
Bajoras purchased Charly in March of this year in Thermal, CA after a few year hiatus from the sport. In just their second show back in the saddle, Bajoras and Charly were in 5th place in the High Adult Jumper Classic at the time of these photos.
Kristina Matthews and Neolisto van het Mierenhof
This pair came in third in the High Adult Jumper Classic and won two other division classes this week. Neolisto, or "Neo," is a seasoned Grand Prix jumper with an extensive show record, and he and Matthews have seen quite an amount of success in their career together thus far! Also featured here is Matthews' trainer John McConnell.
High Adult Jumper Classic
Here are a few of our other favorite competitors from the High Adult Jumper Classic on Sunday May 29, 2016.
Mary Dunahay and Bailando
Mary Dunahay, owner of Savoy Stables, competed with her gelding, Bailando, this week in the 3'3" AO Hunters. The pair has been competing and winning in this division all circuit.
Reide Smithers and KT Lansini
Smithers and Lansini became a team in November of this past year, and the High Prairie Spring Circuit has been their first showing experience together. The two had a great time in the Junior Hunters and the 3'6" Medals this week, finishing 6th in the Maclay and 5th in the Pessoa.
Around the Show
by Kristina Kern and Emily Baker
The 2016 show year is under way at the Colorado Horse Park with the second week of the spring circuit- the High Prairie Spring Classic. While the footing improvements are still in progress in preparation for the summer circuit, the show must go on! We spent some time at the show and chronicled our experience there. Check out our High Prairie Spring Classic Photo Journal:
by Kristina Kern
An image is more than just a thousand words, it is a story. One of impactful moments, big accomplishments, and dreams turning into reality. It takes a trained and creative eye to freeze these stories in a photograph and make them last for a lifetime. It almost appears to be magic. In that sense, photographer, Christy Burleson, is a very talented magician.
With over 20 years of photography experience, Burleson has been able to blend her passion for horses with her love of photography to create a career that most could only dream of. Christy boasts a stunning portfolio of photos from her years in the industry that ranges from family photo shoots and weddings to cattle branding and Grand Prix jumper classes.
In fact, in Thermal, California at this year's $100,000 Purina Animal Nutrition Grand Prix, as Rich Fellers stole the show aboard Lux Lady with a jump off time of 39.052 seconds Burleson was there behind the lens.
After partnering with companies like Purina and Performance Microbials to photograph sponsored riders, Christy expanded her business exponentially. This move has sent her around the country to shoot various events, including Wellington, Florida to cover portions of the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival. During our interview, Burleson humbly depicted a grocery list of accomplished riders that she has had the pleasure of working with over the years. “My photography has allowed me the opportunity to meet some of the most amazing people.. a name like Purina attracts a high caliber of rider..” she stated of her career.
In between traveling for different equestrian competitions, Burleson fills her days with personalized photo shoots, designed to highlight each individual's unique passion for the sport. “I want my images to empower people, to make people happy, to bring out people's personality,” Burleson stated.
When thumbing through Burleson’s portfolio of images, it is clear that behind each image there is purpose, there is a deeper message. She said of her craft, “I love taking special photos that can touch a family and give them something that will last them forever.” Her talent goes beyond the action shot and allows her to blend artistry and sport together to create a level of duality within her images. Burleson’s photography style can both capture the ethereal beauty of the horse and rider relationship, along with the strength and determination of a horse on the job.
Burleson’s keen eye was developed through her own experiences with horses. She frequently competes with her gelding Peps Smokin for Cash, also known as Rebel, in rodeos around the western region, specifically spending her time in the barrel racing arena. Rebel is Burleson’s trusted assistant when it comes to more active photoshoots. It is not uncommon to see her riding along side her subjects to obtain the best shots.
Burleson has successfully been able to immortalize her love for the equestrian world by creating her own unique path within the industry. She not only freezes time for her subjects in front of the camera but has been able to preserve her own passion for a lifetime. Burleson truly has created magic.
**Look for Part II of the series from our conversation with Christy Burleson and more of her images coming soon.