September 20, 2015 – San Juan Capistrano, CA – September is the time when young horses have their chance to shine at Blenheim EquiSports. The final rounds for three divisions wrapped up the second annual event today, with jump-offs in the six and seven-year-old classes. And last week, the four-year-olds competed in the International Jumper Futurity Western Regionals.
Beginning in the Spring and ending in late Summer, Blenheim hosts thirteen shows with qualifying classes for five, six and seven-year-olds, wrapping up the year with the Young Jumper Championships at Showpark in Del Mar (see press release here), and now also the Young Jumper Finals at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park at San Juan Capistrano. Knowing that show ring mileage is essential for developing young talent, there are no entry fees for the qualifying classes all season, and stall fees are discounted.
Repeat Feat: Sailor and Flashdance Are On Fire in Five-Year-Old Division
Jamie Sailor and Felyn Farm’s Hanoverian gelding Flashdance (For Edition x Quinar), jumped through all three rounds fault free in the $10,000 Blenheim EquiSports Five Year Old Jumper Final, sponsored by Fairbanks Valley Farm, LLC. A repeat performance, they had the same results in Del Mar a few weeks ago. As the only horse to not have a rail, once again they earned the championship.
Jamie Sailor and Flashdance.
After cruising through the final round with ease, Sailor admitted that she is very excited about Flashdance, who started as a pre-green horse at Thermal this winter. He will move up to the six-year-old division next year.
Hillary Ridland and Oasis II Win the $15,000 Blenheim EquiSports Six-Year-Old Young Jumper Final, sponsored by Fairbanks Valley Farm, LLC
Both Jason McArdle and Hillary Ridland rode three clean rounds on two talented six-year-olds during the three day event. Heading into the jump-off, McArdle rode the KWPN gelding Elrito (Zapatero VDL x Tenerife VDL), owned by Fairbank Valley Farm, LLC, to a four fault score in 36.32.
Having the advantage of going second, Ridland knew what she had to do to capture the win on the American-bred gelding Oasis II (Ocean I x Cheer), owned by Endedino Gonzalez. After having a rail early on, she changed her jump-off plan and finished with four in 35.78.
Hillary Ridland and Oasis II.
“I was lucky enough to go after Jason, so I knew I had to do the first turn, and then after I didn’t jump it clean, I knew I had to make the second turn, which I hadn’t planned on! And he’s got a huge step,” Ridland explained.
She complimented both the horse and his owners. “Ramon and Endedino have worked really hard on the horse, he has the best attitude ever and a great mind. We’ve just gone really slow, thanks to Ramon. He’s always saying,’Hillary, just wait. Just wait.'”
Michelle Parker Pilots Volero to a Victory in the Seven-Year-Old Final
Riding four clear rounds, including a jump-off, Michelle Parker and Annie Tame’s Belgian WB gelding Volero (Cicero Van Paemel Z x Voltaire) were pretty perfect in the Blenheim EquiSports Seven Year Old Young Jumper Final, sponsored by Fairbanks Valley Farm, LLC.
Michelle Parker and Volero.
Tied for first with Veronica Tracy and her Dutch mare Daify (Numero Uno x Calvados), Parker was fault free, while Tracy had two rails in the jump-off.
“We’ve had him since he was a young six-year-old. He’s just a very consistent competitor and he’s been easy to bring along. His owner Annie Tame is going to begin to start riding him more after this week and begin to compete on him,” Parker said.
International Jumper Futurity Western Regionals Award Patty Vasey and Odysseus With First
Last week in the four-year-old finals, young horses competed in two rounds over two days showing off their natural abilities and potential as jumper/grand prix prospects. With a total score of 141, Odysseus (Osilvis x Unfettered) and Patty Vasey (owner, rider, and breeder) topped the field earning the Champion ribbons for both Best Scope/Technique and Best Type/Movement.
Patty Vasey and Odysseus.
The courses consisted of friendly distances and flowing hunter-type lines over jumper-style jumps. The second round began with a two-minute “freestyle”, where riders were able to show off the horse’s flatwork. Each entry was given a numerical score between one and ten on each of the following: canter, rideability and jumping, which were then added to a score based on course faults.
Karl Cook and the Belgian WB gelding Latte Grande VF (Cappucino x Ugonada) were awarded the Most Consistent/Rideable, with a total two round score of 134. Reserve Champion in all three sections went to Gee Whiz, owned and bred by Linda Smith and ridden by Trudi Fletcher.
Support for the System – Blenheim Believes in Building the Youngster Pipeline
Hillary Ridland expressed what many American young horse breeders, trainers and riders feel. “I’d like America and California to catch up with Europe. A focus on breeding and young horses is something they do really well. I hope people start to realize that they can buy horses here in America, so our breeders have some support.”
For sponsors Pam and Bob Buie of Fairbanks Valley Farm, supporting a new Young Jumper program aligns well with their own program. Several of their young horses, all trained and shown by Jason McArdle, compete in the Championships annually. And they continue to purchase youngsters to bring along. “We have several three and four-year-olds at the farm that Jason will start working later in the year. Bob and I enjoy watching the young horses learn and grow. We appreciate Blenheim EquiSports and their commitment to developing a young horse program,” Pam Buie said.
Congratulations to all the up-and-coming talent who competed this season. That’s a wrap on the Blenheim EquiSports Fall season in San Juan Capistrano. More announcements, congratulations and excitement to come before 2015 comes to a close.
Photos by McCool